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Asbestos Tiles: The Hidden Danger Under Your Feet
Tiles are parts of a building, which can add its aesthetic value. People who live in old premises commonly leave the old tiles, which were placed earlier, just to maintain its historical value. However, old tiles possess some danger to human health because old building materials have a higher chance to contain asbestos.
If you live in an old property, you don’t have to get panic, as an asbestos-containing material (ACM) isn’t quite dangerous if it’s left undisturbed. Nevertheless, you are highly recommended to hire a removalist to remove the contaminated product. But if you insist on having an asbestos removal and testing, you should consider the information presented in this article before starting to do the jobs yourself. You may as well raise your awareness to the dangers of living with fibrous floors.
How to identify a contaminated flooring material
Let’s begin with a fundamental principle in handling a contaminated material: if you believe that you’ve found some materials suspected of containing these dangerous fibres, you must treat them as if they are contaminated by ACM. You’d better be safe than sorry.
By keeping this principle in your mind, you can start your own investigation. Here are the main steps to identify a contaminated tile:
- Collect some information about the tiles’ age. Tiles made up to 1985 are indeed containing this dangerous mineral. You can estimate when the tiles were made if you can find out what year the property was built.
- Take a closer look at the tiles’ condition. If they are in good condition, you don’t have to worry about the risk of ACM exposure. In contrast, if the tiles are damaged, you should take extra precautions. Hiring an accredited removalist would be much better than doing a DIY removal for the damaged tiles.
- Look whether there is a change in colour. ACM tiles are most often made of asphalt. Over time, the asphalt oil can seep out and discolour the tiles. When you find discoloration on your tiles, they are likely to contain ACMs.
As you may notice, the above methods may cost you time and energy. A better way to identify contaminated tiles is by having a professional to do a testing via a NATA accredited laboratory.
Other products of ACMs
Up until 1985, ACMs were commonly used in the construction industry. These contaminated products were manufactured in different shapes and forms. Up till now, there are around 3,000 building materials, which are identified as ACMs.
ACMs are differentiated into two types based on their condition:
- Friable – A fibrous material that has degraded over time. It’s very fragile and can be easily crushed just by hand force. An extra precaution is necessary for managing friable ACMs safely.
- Non-friable – A fibrous material that can’t be crushed by hand force. The material is still intact and possesses the least possibility to release fibres to the surrounding.
The bad news is that an ACM cannot be identified visually since its fibres are tiny and they can break up into smaller pieces. This is the reason why you should contact a licensed removalist to perform ACM-related work.
Nevertheless, there are some areas in a property that commonly use ACMs in its structures. Below are the locations where you could find them:
- Wall sheeting
- Corrugated roofing
- Insulation system
- Acoustic ceiling
- Vinyl flooring
- Back of an electric box
- Wet area
There are many other places in a building where ACMs can be found. Some of them can be well-hidden beneath or behind the newest installed structures. An experienced assessor can help you find those hidden ACMs without risking yourself to the fibre exposure.
Can I remove it myself?
The Queensland regulations allow an individual to work on an ACM less than 10 sq. metres in size. You will need to follow the safety procedure if you intend to do an asbestos removal and testing project on your own. Just remember that when you fail to follow the guidelines, you may face a penalty for endangering the environment with these hazardous fibres. The amount of fine you’ll be facing upon breaking this law can be as high as $6,000 for individual and $30,000 for a body corporate. If so, your expense costs will increase more than you can imagine.
Below are preventive measures in managing ACMs at your house:
- Close all air ventilation to prevent any respirable fibres from spreading out of the contaminated area.
- Put on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with a P3 grade. The equipment required are a pair of gloves, some goggles, an overall suit, shoe covering, a respirator, thick plastic bags, and other supporting tools to do the job.
- Dampen the ACM, that is going to be removed, all the time during the process. The water will keep the fibres from being airborne.
- Wrap the ACM with a double layer plastic bag, seal it, and pile it carefully.
- Transport the ACM waste to a disposal facility. (you will need a permit to transport hazardous waste from EPA).
Frankly, conducting a DIY asbestos removal and testing can be quite exhausting and time-consuming. Not to mention about the permits required to handle this dangerous material. That’s why many experts will advise you to hire an approved removalist to manage this problem.
Brisbane Asbestos Removal, Testing and Management Plan
Manage the risk with a pro!
We are an endorsement company, which has gathered the finest B-class removalists in the greater Brisbane region and its’ surrounding areas. Our approved members are selectively chosen to perform a secure asbestos removal and testing work efficiently in your residential, commercial, or industrial premises at reasonable prices.
Every ACM problem is unique and requires the particular treatment. Therefore, you’ll find a lot of services offered by removalists that can match your certain needs. These services are commonly determined as follow: Asbestos demolition, emergency repair, air monitoring, soil remediation, and consultant
Our endorsed removalists are mainly focusing on these following services:
- Asbestos removal in Brisbane
- Asbestos testing
- Asbestos management plan
- Asbestos roof removal
If you want to have your contaminated tiles removed or you wish to make a good control plan for your contaminated property, seeking for an expert’s help would be the wisest thing to do. Keep your family safe from ACM by leaving your problem to the right hand.