Imagine, you find the house of your dreams. You investigate the condition of the house and see that there is asbestos in the roof. What to do?
This situation may sound weird, because asbestos is not something to worry about in the country you grew up. Or you panic, because asbestos is already forbidden in your home country. What is your reaction?
Asbestos, what is it?
Asbestos is a natural mineral, and contains fibres. The material is strong, insulating and fire safe. It has different forms. The most used asbestos has a white or light grey colour. But it can be brown and blue.
Why is asbestos harmful?
As long as asbestos fibres stick in the place where it should be, there is no problem. When you inhale the fibres of asbestos, you can have a problem in the long term. It can cause long cancer.
How is asbestos used in houses?
From 1945 till 1993 asbestos is used in a lot of houses in the Netherlands. Chimney pipes, sewage system, vinyl flooring, roofing, sealant, window sills and many more. Nowadays 3500 products with asbestos are known which are used in the past.
What to do when you know there is asbestos in your house?
This answer isn’t easy. It depends. Let me give you a few examples.
Example 1: Corrugated roof on your shed or house
If you have a corrugated roof which contains asbestos, be aware that in a few years it will be forbidden. In this case, you need to remove it. In some cases, you are allowed to do it yourself. But is it is much safer to remove it by a professional. In both cases, there are very strict rules which you need to be aware of.
Example 2: renovating your old bathroom
You are renovating your bathroom, open the wall, and you will find asbestos pipes. What to do? First: don’t touch the asbestos. You can close the wall forever and think about other options for your renovation. If this is not an option: contact a professional. You are not allowed to dig or saw the asbestos out.
Example 3: Insulating your roof
You want to insulate your roof. First, you check how the roof is build. In between the roof tiles and wood, you discover a layer of asbestos. What to do?
In this case, you have three options. The first one is you can insulate the roof from the inside without touching the asbestos. The second is to renew the roof and pay a professional to remove the asbestos. Or you can decide to not insulating at all.
Professional removing of asbestos
Only companies who are certified can remove asbestos for you. You can find the register here.
Removing asbestos is expensive. A lot of precautions are taken before the asbestos is removed. Also, the waste disposal is expensive.
What if you want to remove the asbestos yourself?
You are only allowed to remove asbestos in a few cases. In this case, I advise visiting this website. Be aware that the rules can change.
Houses built before 1993 can contain asbestos. If that is the case, investigate if it is a problem. Is the asbestos fixed and in good condition, it is normally not a problem. But you are not allowed to edit the material. Only if you want to renovate that part of your house, it can cause problems.
Asbestos is a problem as the condition is deteriorating. In most cases, only certified companies can remove the material. Removing is costly.