When you are maintaining or renovating your home, be on the lookout for asbestos. There are two main types of asbestos to look for – friable asbestos and non-friable asbestos.
Friable asbestos has materials that easily reduce to powder if crushed by hand when dry. If damaged or disturbed, friable asbestos fibres can become airborne and cause a health risk. Friable asbestos is in materials like:
some sprayed-on fire retardants
sound proofing and insulation
the lining on some old domestic heaters, stoves, hot water systems and pipe insulation
the backing of sheet vinyl and linoleum floor coverings
Non-friable asbestos has asbestos fibres that are firmly bonded with other materials. It’s also called bonded, asbestos containing material (ACM). Non-friable asbestos is in materials like:
asbestos cement products (flat, profiled and corrugated sheeting used in walls)
ceilings and roofs (particularly molded items like downpipes)
gables, eaves and soffits
carports and shed wall sheeting.
You must not use a power tool to cut or clean asbestos. This includes:
using an electric sander to remove paint from asbestos cement sheeting
using an angle grinder to cut asbestos
using a high pressure washer to clean an asbestos roof
using an air compressor to clean an area after working with asbestos cement sheeting
using compressed air or abrasive-blasting asbestos materials.
If your home has asbestos that is in good condition, it’s best to leave it alone when you are renovating or doing maintenance. If you need to disturb or remove any asbestos, you might need a certificate or special contractor.
You can remove less than 10 square meters of non-friable asbestos without a certificate, but you must still take safety precautions.
If you want to remove more than 10 square meters of friable asbestos, you must get a certificate or get a contractor with a current asbestos removal certificate to do it for you.