Common asbestos materials in domestic properties

asbestos management survey

When people think about asbestos, they often associate it with larger buildings such as warehouses, schools, hospitals and factories. Often, people do not think about asbestos when it comes to homes, but asbestos was heavily used in parts of the domestic market and used on large scales within local authority homes.

In this blog, we will take you on a virtual tour of a typical three-bedroom ex-local authority property we recently worked on to help you learn what to look for.

This should be particularly useful if you are a homeowner looking to refurbish your property or an investor who wants to do up properties.

The Hallway

In this example, the hallway was quite small and had doors leading off to the living room, kitchen/diner, cupboards and toilet.

On the ceiling there was a stipple effect decorative coating – in the asbestos industry, we refer to this as textured coating. It has got asbestos in it and the content is generally around the 2-5%. If you are looking at ceilings in properties, always look for textured or decorative coatings as they could contain asbestos.

The doors leading to the other rooms had infill panels which were above the door but below the ceiling. In this particular property they were a mixture – there was cork covering one of the doors and the one leading into the kitchen/diner had an asbestos insulating board. The removal of an asbestos insulating board must be done by a licensed asbestos contractor because it has a higher asbestos content and therefore poses a higher risk. You need to be aware of this as it will generate an additional cost.

In the hallway, there were two cupboards. The gas meter cupboard had plastered walls and a textured coating to the ceiling. On the floor there were purple floor tiles made from a firm plastic type of material. These floor tiles have got quite a high asbestos content when it comes to flooring. They usually have around 20-25% asbestos content and, in this case, they were glued to the floor with an asbestos glue. This is a nuisance as it is hard to get up. To remove the material, you need a grinder to grind the surface.

The gas meter had pipes running off it and at the top, just where the valve is, there was an asbestos gasket, so the actual gasket holding the flange on the gas meter had asbestos content as well.

The second cupboard in the hallway was an old heater cupboard. These types of properties have old air heating systems which basically consists of a boiler that generates warm air which is channelled through the house through metal vents. On the back of the cupboard door was an asbestos insulating panel which would have been installed to give the door some fire protection.

The warm air heater had been removed from the cupboard, however, on one wall there was an asbestos insulating board panel which probably would have covered the wall where the heater rested against it.

Dining Room/Kitchen

This was a large room and the construction here was mostly similar to the rest of the property, however the ceiling had a new plaster finish effect. We had had an asbestos survey done and we knew above this finish was the asbestos coating that we had already found in the hallway. If I was doing works in here, such as electrical cabling or pipe works, I would have to take that into consideration.

There was a modern, non-asbestos floor covering, however we knew there were asbestos tiles beneath this which ran into the kitchen area. Some of the floor tiles had been removed and you could see the remnants of the black glue.

From experience, we would expect the wall cavity to be lined with asbestos, either in cement or insulating board.

Above the kitchen door, there was a header panel, which we knew contained asbestos.

In the kitchen area there was a new section of plaster board. To the untrained eye you would think there was no asbestos here because it was just plaster board ceiling, however it had only been three quarters boarded. The ceiling had a stippled circular pattern. It looked different to the stippled ceilng in the hallway but this one also contained asbestos. Remember, it doesn’t matter about the finish or the coating itself – what we are concerned with is what is within the product.

Finally, in the kitchen, there was a stainless steel sink. Underneath, it were two pads – one under the drainer and one under the sink itself. The pads were black and probably about 4-5 sq inches. They provide sound proofing so when you drop something into the sink it doesn’t make a clattering noise. Over time, when hot water gets poured into the sink, the pads generally deteriorate and start to fall apart and land in items within the cupboard. This is another area where there are asbestos containing materials.

Living Room

The living room had an asbestos textured coating, stipple effect ceiling. There was also a warm air heater with a vent lined with asbestos insulating board. Beneath the carpet were asbestos floor tiles.

The room contained the staircase and to the underside of the staircase there was an asbestos insulating board panel. That would have been installed to give the property some fire protection so that if a fire started in living room, the asbestos insulating board would protect the stairs.

Landing

The landing had asbestos textured coating and this was also present in the bedrooms and bathroom.

Inside the landing cupboards was asbestos textured coating too. The doors which led into the bedrooms and bathroom also had asbestos insulating boards and panels.

One of the landing cupboard doors had a vent for the warm air heating system and to the floor was a warm air vent which was surrounded by an asbestos insulating panel. At the back of the cupboard, protruding from the ceiling, was an asbestos down pipe.

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom had a plaster ceiling but we sampled it and it had remnants of the former asbestos texture coating.

Outside

At the front of the property there was an asbestos cement roof verge undercloak. This ran under the room tiles and is common on many roofs. On the entrance canopy there was an asbestos cement lining to the ceiling above the canopy.

There was a bin cupboard which had asbestos lining running across the ceiling. The canopy outside was painted, the inside wasn’t. Sometimes these cupboards have asbestos insulated boards. Low down, on the course of brickwork, there was an asbestos dampproof course which was sticking out by about 1cm.

At the rear of the property, there were asbestos soffit boards which ran underneath asbestos cement guttering.

In Summary

Hopefully, this tour will have given you a better understanding of the types of asbestos materials you can find in a domestic property, especially in an ex-local authority property.

We’re a professional asbestos consultancy helping businesses deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos testing, and asbestos removal management. Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or email info@acorn-as.com

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

RAAC and asbestos could be a problem in some buildings

The Ultimate Guide to Asbestos Surveyors: Why Your Safety Depends on It

Asbestos, once a ‘miracle material’, now poses severe health risks. Uncover the significance of asbestos surveys in the UK and why your safety depends on it.

Asbestos: Having the right consultancy in your corner has never been more important

‘Having the right consultancy to help you manage asbestos has never been more important’

A REPORT written by asbestos expert and director of Acorn Analytical Services, Ian Stone, has highlighted the worrying state of asbestos in the UK. The Annual Asbestos Industry Review provides a unique insight into the industry and a snapshot of the work being done by Acorn Analytical Services – one of the largest independent consultancies … Read more

Management of asbestos in schools

Management of Asbestos in Schools: A Comprehensive Analysis

In this blog post, we delve into the critical issue of asbestos management in UK schools, the recent HSE report, and the role of Acorn Analytical Services in ensuring safe learning environments.

Asbestos: Dispelling 3 common myths

Is your business fully compliant with the latest asbestos regulations?

HOW much do you really know about asbestos? If your building was built before 1999, have you ever had it checked? If you know it’s there, do you know for sure that you’re compliant with the latest rules and regulations around asbestos management? If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no’ it’s time … Read more

Asbestos in fire

Act Now: Uncover the Silent Perils of Asbestos in Fire-Damaged Buildings – A Deep Dive into the Brighton Hotel Incident

Asbestos in fire situations poses significant health risks. Understand the dangers, especially in textured coatings, and the need for expert remediation.

Acorn Analytical Services director Ian Stone has worked in the asbestos industry for 20 years.

#ActNowOnAsbestos: How our FREE training sessions will help raise awareness

ASBESTOS is firmly in the headlines once again and we’re delighted to see an open and very frank discussion finally taking place about the material itself, the risks around mesothelioma and the steps we should all be taking to protect ourselves. At Acorn Analytical Services it’s something we’ve been talking about for years and as … Read more

Asbestos: Having the right consultancy in your corner has never been more important

‘Supporting #ActNowOnAsbestos is the right thing for us to do’

Last weekend The Sunday Times launched #ActNowOnAsbestos, a hard-hitting campaign which urges the Government to take urgent action to protect people from the UK’s asbestos epidemic. The campaign makes important recommendations to help protect members of the public from the hidden dangers of asbestos, which poses a serious threat to our health and wellbeing more … Read more

Ian Stone, director of asbestos management consultancy, Acorn Analytical Services

‘We finally have hope – hope that those in authority will take notice, take action and save lives’

Media statement in response to the launch of the Sunday Times Campaign, Act Now on Asbestos: Ian Stone, Director of Acorn Analytical Services, said: “For ten years Acorn Analytical Services has been on the front line of the UK’s battle with asbestos, banging the drum for change and fighting to raise awareness of the sheer … Read more

Using our success to highlight the dangers of asbestos

How we’re using our success to drive home the dangers of asbestos

The whole team at asbestos consultancy Acorn Analytical Services was over the moon to walk away with not one, but two awards at the prestigious Northamptonshire SME Awards earlier this month. Directors Neil Munro, Paul Knights and Sam Savage were in Daventry for the event which celebrates the work of businesses across Northamptonshire and their … Read more

Men's Health Week: Focus on a hidden killer

Men’s Health Week: Mesothelioma is the killer few are talking about

FOR many men mesothelioma is a very real threat. Caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, it’s a cancer which affects 2,500 people every year in the UK. More than 80% of those are men. This Men’s Health Week, the team at Acorn Analytical Services is determined to shine a light on the dangers of asbestos … Read more