How to remove asbestos from your house

How to get rid of asbestos safely

You can not get rid of your asbestos waste any manner. The ideal is to burry it.

If asbestos is found, take precautions before removing and disposing of it. Asbestos is dangerous for your health and causes mesothelioma the lung cancer.

Asbestos is still present in many homes, schools, buildings. It is likely to fall on asbestos during renovation or demolition. Multifunctional and cheap, asbestos was very often used in construction as thermal and acoustic insulation.

It is therefore necessary to make the diagnosis and, above all, to take precautions before removing it and throwing it away. Once damaged, asbestos is a serious health hazard.

How to recognize materials containing asbestos

Friable asbestos (free) and non-friable asbestos (bound) are distinguished.

Friable asbestos (or free)

Free asbestos contains fibers that are not physically bound to another material. They are easily released into the air where they are breathed. Free asbestos is very dangerous for your health.

It can be found in insulation of heating or chimney pipes, underlays, attic wall plates, flame retardant plates in boilers and open fires, flat roofing ...

We find it more particularly in the form of flocking.

It is a coating of asbestos fiber sprayed. It was used to protect the metal structures, walls and ceilings of tall buildings from fire hazards. It is still found in many public buildings (schools, sports halls, entertainment, offices, shops ...) or collective (apartments, social housing ...). In private homes, it is more rare. Buildings built after 1979 should not contain flocking asbestos because a decree of 20 March 1978 prohibits the use of free asbestos fibers in this type of application.

It is recognizable by its soft, friable, cottony, white-gray, gray-brown or bluish-gray appearance. In general, its thickness does not exceed 2 to 6 cm.

Flocked asbestos can contain up to 92% of free fibers that can be dispersed in the air with wear and handling. in the form of heat insulation.

It was used to isolate heating elements (hot water pipes, boilers ...). It used asbestos cloths or fabrics, plasterboard and asbestos mixed, shells or asbestos-based cartons, fluffy asbestos ropes ...

Many domestic objects also used woven or spun asbestos: ironing board covers, kitchen gloves, clothes, fireproof aprons ... These objects are likely to release asbestos fibers by being manipulated , rubbed and folded. In the household appliances, until a few years ago, there were asbestos cartons as thermal and electrical insulators (toasters, hair dryers ...). The obligation to mention the presence of asbestos dates only from 1988. Sometimes it is only indicated on the packaging. In case of doubt and if these objects are damaged, we do not hesitate to separate.

Non-friable asbestos (or bound)

As the name implies, bound asbestos is physically linked to another material, often cement or glue. Asbestos cement or Fibrocement is best known under the trade name of the main Belgian manufacturer: Eternit.

It is found in the form of corrugated plate, slates of roof and facade, plates of under-roofing, wall panels, gutters and conduits of evacuation, imitations of marble, supports of windows, planters ... It is also found in certain floor coverings used in the 70s and early 80s: asbestos-based floor tiles, plastics (vinyl, polypropylene or nylon) and lime. The underside of these tiles is gray to light green.

Asbestos cement has been progressively banned since the 1970s and definitely in 1998. It is therefore not found in recent materials.

In asbestos cement, there are fewer asbestos fibers (eg 10% for Eternit plates) and they are strongly bonded. They do not present a danger to health, provided they do not damage them. Care is therefore taken not to break, saw, sand, plan or wash them with high-pressure cleaning (eg to defoil a roof). These unsafe manipulations are likely to release significant amounts of asbestos dust that can poison the handyman and his entourage.

Should we remove asbestos

It is not mandatory to remove asbestos at home. Asbestos is dangerous only if its fibers are released into the air.

If we find free asbestos

It is advisable to remove it, especially if it is damaged, not visible (unprotected) and / or is in a place where it is likely to be damaged (for example in case of passage or work). For that, it is strongly recommended for your health to call on an approved company.

If we find bound asbestos

The health risk is minimal as long as the materials remain intact. We can leave them in place if they are in good condition.

On the other hand, if renovation or demolition work is likely to damage asbestos products, they must be removed first. You can do it yourself, with certain precautions.


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