Asbestos in Your Home

by | Jul 27, 2020

Asbestos in Your Home

Asbestos in your home is such an enormous topic for a simple blog but we share here relevant points and information sources. It goes without saying we are not experts in this area and can only share with you our experience. The only way to be 100% safe is to get an expert in to look at your house before you begin renovations.

Age of House

The Australian Department of Health gives the following guideline:
· before the mid-1980s it is highly likely that it has asbestos-containing products.
· between the mid-1980s and 1990 it is likely that it has asbestos containing products.
· after 1990 it is unlikely that it has asbestos-containing products.

Where could it be?

When people think of asbestos, most people think wall sheeting including eaves and soffits. In reality, manufacturers used asbestos in over 3000 products before Australia banned it in 2003. This includes adhesives, waterproofing, floors coverings, insulation, textured paints, wall vents, fencing, fuse boxes and window putty. By no means an exhaustive list, this gives you an idea of the diversity of products that used asbestos.
The QBCC have a good page on their website which shows where you may find asbestos – also have a products database –
Again, please don’t consider these to be exhaustive lists.

Hidden Asbestos

Don’t assume your home is asbestos free, even if it’s renovated. Sometimes people re purpose old asbestos sheets without realizing it. People put plasterboard directly over asbestos wall sheeting instead of removing it. We’ve seen renovated bathrooms where people only replaced the bottom half of the walls. The top half was still asbestos sheets. People also lay new flooring directly over the old floor coverings which contain asbestos. The other risk, of course, is that instead of taking the asbestos to the tip, it’s buried in the backyard.
The moral of the story is, don’t be complacent. If you are going to DIY, get an expert in to give you advise and test.
Before proceeding with your renovation, read of this guide for minor renovations.

Do you have to remove it?

No, you don’t have to remove it. If it is in good condition, there are products that seal it and you can paint it. But be aware you can’t sand it, cut it, drill into it or disturb it in any other way. And if you renovate to sell, be a decent human being and let the buyers know what you’ve done so they don’t put themselves in danger with future renovations.

Can an unlicensed person remove it?

To be safe, we don’t recommend it. In the ACT, you must use a licensed asbestos for all works. In other states and territories, a non-licensed person can remove non- friable asbestos if the area is under 10m2. However, the Australian Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency says the following:
• A non-licensed person undertaking non-friable asbestos removal work must be a competent person. This means the person must have training, have industry experience and have the right equipment for the task.
Just because a non-licensed person is allowed to carry out work at this scale, it can still be dangerous to human health.
• As a guide, 10m² is the size of one wall of an average sized bathroom (or four sheets of asbestos cement wall sheeting). Asbestos removal tasks usually involve larger areas, so in most cases you need a licensed asbestos removalist.
• Most of the common insurance policies will not take responsibility for any asbestos related work.  Be aware of this and remember that as a DIY renovator or non-licensed removalist, you could be liable to pay very expensive clean-up costs.


Our advice is educate yourself and always err on the side of safety. If in doubt, call in the experts. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.

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