What does asbestos insulation look like?

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For many years, asbestos has been used in construction due to its unique properties. Asbestos is a very cheap material, readily available, and its strength and durability make it an excellent choice to make buildings fire-resistant and improve insulation. Asbestos is also resistant to chemicals, electricity and water. Those unique factors made it an extremely popular building material within the construction industry pre-Millenium, which is why it can still be found in the insulation of many domestic and commercial buildings.

Whether you are looking to buy a house or plan a renovation, it is essential to know what asbestos insulation looks like and where to find it, which is why many people decide to hire professionals who can conduct an asbestos survey.

What is asbestos insulation?

The naturally occurring mineral has a fibrous look, with its texture and consistency quite similar to that of cotton. It is this structure that makes asbestos a highly effective insulator for buildings.

Where can you find asbestos insulation?

If your home was built before 1999, it's possible that asbestos could be present in your property. The use of the material is now banned but asbestos insulation is still commonly found in many old buildings. Key areas for asbestos insulation include:

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  • Floors

  • Ceilings

  • Attics

  • Basements

  • Walls

What are the types of asbestos insulation?

The construction industry used numerous types of asbestos insulation, the four most popular being block, loose-fill, spray-on and blanket.

  • Block Insulation: can be found in any insulated area and has rigid panels usually made of foam.

  • Loose-fill Insulation: can be found in various forms but is easily identifiable due to its "fluffy" texture.

  • Spray-on Insulation: often used in areas which are hard to reach, this type of asbestos insulation is sprayed in liquid form, then hardens and expands to fill any gaps.

  • Blanket Insulation: usually comes in pre-cut sections or large rolls and looks like a large cotton blanket. Due to its flexibility, this type of asbestos insulation was often used in walls, attics or around pipes.

Why is asbestos insulation dangerous?

When we inhale asbestos particles, they cause gradual but serious damage to the lungs.

Due to the damage being caused slowly and over time, signs of asbestos exposure don’t show themselves immediately. This is arguably the reason why the dangers of asbestos were only realised relatively recently. Now we understand the material better. We know the dangers are extensive and result in many diseases, such as cancer.

How to check for asbestos insulation in your home?

Oftentimes, asbestos can remain in a building without posing a threat but then becomes toxic when disturbed. For this reason, it’s vital that any suspicions of asbestos are dealt with by qualified asbestos removers.

The first step is to check when the property was built. If it was before 1999, there’s a higher chance that it contains asbestos so we would advise seeking out an asbestos survey. At this point, you’ll be able to get an idea of whether asbestos is present and if so how much. Finally, you’ll be able to start the process of removal without posing a danger to yourself or your family.

Asbestos exposure is incredibly serious. If you think the material might be present in your property, we are here to help. Contact us today to get a quote.