Living in an old home feels so majestic. It’s like living from another era. The craftsmanship, the ornaments and the exterior or interior design of the old house are all breathtaking. It makes you believe that this old home is definitely your dream home. Despite the warmth that you feel when you see an antique house, are you sure that it is safe for dwelling?
Since the start of the industrial revolution (around the 1790s), homes are built using asbestos. It is a popular home-building material until the 1980s because of its insulating properties. It became a very important home-building product during the housing revolution of the said era.
However, the use of asbestos has been banned in Australia since the 31st of December 2003 because of the health risks it poses. Despite its ban, up to this date, there are still existing old homes that are built out of this asbestos material. To make sure that you are not living in an old home built with this banned product, a building inspection is a must.
The important role of a building inspection
Though it’s now easy to test your old home for asbestos-containing products with an asbestos taking kit, a building inspection done by a professional would definitely be more accurate. Plus, they could give you appropriate measures that you need to take when your home becomes positive of asbestos-containing products.
Asbestos are made up of thin microscopic fibres. When dislodged in the air, these fibres could be inhaled and trapped into your lungs. When more and more of these fibres are accumulated inside your lungs, you could develop respiratory problems that may be deadly such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. As defined by WebMD, mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, chest cavity, or abdomen.
Other lung problems that you may encounter when exposed to asbestos are asbestosis (an inflammatory condition of the lungs), pleural plaques (thickening of the lung membranes) and pleural effusions (abnormal lung fluid collection).
Avoiding these health problems would be easier if you have a professional building inspector who would take a look at your old home.
DIY asbestos testing
Though this could be best done by a professional, it never hurts to do a quick asbestos testing to ensure the safety of your family. You could do this by observing the following steps:
First, determine when is your home constructed. If it’s built around on or before the 1980s, then it’s highly possible that your home consists of asbestos materials. Start testing parts of the house that have signs of degradation. Look for cracks around the areas of your house that might contain asbestos fibres.
Prepare your asbestos testing kit. Wear the appropriate gears such as face mask and plastic gloves since the process involves misting the area. Here are the quick steps of doing the actual asbestos testing:
– Lay down a plastic sheet at the area to be tested.
– Mist the area or spray it with water to prevent the loose fibres of lodging into the air.
– With a cutting tool, cut a piece of the suspected substance containing asbestos.
– Place the sample material inside a sealable container.
– Patch the asbestos-suspected area with plastic sheets or tape to prevent the fibres from spreading.
– Dispose your protective gears properly.
– Send the sample material to an EPA-certified laboratory.
If you don’t want to be doing all of these procedures, call a Melbourne-based building inspection service to protect you and your family.
Solutions for an asbestos-containing home
There are two categories of asbestos products: friable and non-friable. Friable ones are those that could turn into flakes and fibres that could be possibly dislodged in the air, while the non-friable one could not.
If the test results showed that your old home is positive with friable asbestos-containing products, your building inspector will suggest you to have them removed. If removal is not possible, another solution is to block the release of the asbestos fibres by painting special lacquers over them.
When dealing with the removal of asbestos inside your home, keep in mind that you need to have a special ventilating unit so that the fibres won’t continuously spread.
Now that you have learned the effects of asbestos into your health, purchasing a home should be more careful than ever. No matter how great is the appearance of your home, you could never be so sure that it is indeed safe for you and your family.
We have nothing against old homes. New or old, every home has its distinctive charm. But we also care for you and your family’s well-being. If you really want a splendid antique home, don’t forget to avail the services of a professional building inspection to meet every housing standard.