Tips for renovating a property which might contain asbestos

'Asbestos' is a word that is used to describe several types of mineral fibres, all of which can result in cancerous growths if they are inhaled. Unfortunately, up until a few decades ago, asbestos was routinely used to construct both commercial and residential properties. As such, many older houses still contain this dangerous material.

Asbestos can be found in many areas of a house, including the ceiling and floor tiles, the cement panels, the loft insulation and the partition walls, to name just a few. So if you are planning to renovate an older property, you need to be careful to avoid exposure to asbestos. Here are some safety tips for renovating a property which you suspect might contain asbestos.

Take appropriate safety measures

Implementing just a few simple safety measures can significantly reduce the risk of you or your construction crew coming into contact with any asbestos and endangering your health.

First, everyone who will be present in the property throughout the course of the renovation project should be provided with protective clothing and accessories, including a respiratory mask (to prevent the inhalation of asbestos fibres) and gloves. Also, any loose cuffs on an individual's shirt sleeves or trousers should be taped, to create an airtight seal. Disposable overalls, which can be removed and thrown away at the end of each work day, should also be provided.

The renovation workers should also wash their hands and faces thoroughly before going for lunch and before heading home at the end of the work day to reduce the chances of accidentally contaminating food, personal vehicles or homes with asbestos.

Additionally, the construction crew should avoid performing any work which will generate large amounts of (potentially contaminated) dust; activities such as cutting through walls with power tools and sweeping must be avoided, where possible.

Do not disturb any visible asbestos

If you come across an area which you are certain contains asbestos, you should not attempt to continue working in this part of the property. If you disturb this area by using saws or power tools, the asbestos will become airborne and put both you and anyone else in the house at risk of serious health problems.

Instead, you should put a stop to the renovation work and get in touch with a company in your area that offers asbestos removal services. They will be able to safely extract the dangerous materials from the property (without running the risk of contaminating other areas of the house) and dispose of it in the appropriate manner.