Asbestos In Melbourne Bathrooms

August 12, 2020

If your bathroom was built before 1990 and you want to renovate it, you must consider one important safety factor: Asbestos.

In the mid-1980, asbestos products were widely used in construction before being phased out after its dangers were exposed. Their large scale use before this arose from the fact that they were fire-resistant, extremely strong, and non-corrosive.

The bathroom is one of the main areas of the home where asbestos can be found. This is because asbestos was contained in fibro cement in sheeting walls, floors, and ceiling among other things.

Asbestos material in the bathroom is harmless as long as it is intact and won’t be of danger to you or your family. It is only dangerous if it becomes friable, which can result from the cutting, drilling, sanding, or breaking that occurs during the demolition when renovating. This will put you at risk of being exposed to asbestos which has serious health problems.

For this reason, before you begin renovating, you need to identify asbestos products and have them safely removed first. This will ensure that none comes into contact with asbestos products during a renovation job.


How do You Identify Asbestos in Bathrooms?

It’s relatively easy to find some asbestos products in the bathroom of the homes built before 1990.

One of the products you need to look out for used to be sold under the brand name of Tilux. This used to be a fibrous asbestos cement sheet that was used for making ceramic tiles substitutes for kitchen, laundries, and bathroom use. The sheets were then attached to the walls where they acted as splashbacks mostly in bathroom shower recesses. One of the main pointers of the presence of Tilux is the availability of a stainless steel strip usually found between the sheets.

Other things to look for are geometric, floral, and speckled patterns and pastel shades of grey, blue, green, and pink that it used to be sold in.

Also, the same manufacturer sold other asbestos-containing products under trade names like ‘Villaboard’ and ‘Versilux’. These were wet-area sheeting items with recessed edges. They were plastered and then tiled.

In 2005, the Department of Health and Ageing released a comprehensive list of trade names that asbestos products used to be sold under that are still available in bathrooms of houses built before 1990. They include the following:

  • Hardiflex
  • Compressed
  • Super Six
  • Hardiplank
  • Villaboard
  • Harditherm
  • Versilux
  • Highline
  • Drain Pipe
  • Shadowline
  • Tilux
  • Pressure Pipe
  • Roofing Accessories
  • Coverline

Although the majority of these products are easily recognizable, others are a bit difficult to identify and are often found concealed in bathroom cement. Others are in backing for wall tiles and floor tiles, and also in hot water pipes. The best way to be certain that you are not exposed to asbestos products is to call in an asbestos removal expert to inspect your bathroom and before you can proceed with any renovation.


Do I Need to Test for Asbestos?

Anyone whose house was built before the 1980s most likely has asbestos products in their bathroom. However, most people are unaware that homes built in the 80s and 90s still contain asbestos products. Therefore, if you live in a house built pre-1990s, you most likely have asbestos in your bathroom. The best thing you can do is to have your house inspected by an Asbestos removal professional in Melbourne and be cleared that it is safe. Only then can you now proceed with demolition and consequent renovation? This is a must even if you are using professional bathroom renovations Melbourne experts.

If you are not sure that your bathroom contains asbestos products but you can see signs of deterioration such as broken tiles, crumbling concrete, or corroded pipes, chances are that you could be exposed to friable asbestos. Asbestos exposure is extremely dangerous therefore if you are not sure that it’s asbestos, you need to get in touch with an asbestos expert as soon as possible.

Also, you need to remember that even as many products containing asbestos were being eliminated from the 80s many products still get manufactured with a relatively lower content of asbestos, around 3-5%.

While these products are not as dangerous as earlier asbestos-containing products, the risk is still there. Therefore, if you have even the slightest chance of being exposed to asbestos, the best thing is to bring in an expert to identify the materials and remove any questionable one. It’s only then that you can now safely continue with your renovation.


How Do You Remove Asbestos From Your Bathroom?

Removing and safely disposing of asbestos is governed by very stringent rules. Workers are required to wear the right PPE (personal protective equipment) to prevent them from exhaling asbestos fibres while working. Also, there are strict guidelines about the amount of asbestos that can be removed within a certain period from one particular neighbourhood to protect nearby homes from potential exposure.

If you want to do a bathroom renovation yourself, you are free to remove asbestos products by yourself. But there are tough conditions you must meet. These include the asbestos not being friable, the area should be no more than 10m2, and the whole exercise should last 1 hour or less in one week. Also, when disposing of them, you must use thick, labelled, and double-wrapped plastic bags which must be dumped at a waste disposal facility that is approved. If these conditions are tough for you, the simple thing is to contract an approved asbestos removal professional. Failing to do that, you are not just putting your health at risk, but you can also be liable for legal liabilities and fines. Although technical you are allowed to remove asbestos in your bedroom before you renovate, no expert will recommend this to you. Even the government doesn’t advise you to remove it by yourself.


Call the Professionals to Inspect and Remove Asbestos

The only way you can guarantee that you will be safe is to use the asbestos testing technique that is approved preferably with a professional asbestos removal service. Thankfully, Victorian residents do not need to worry about having to remove the dangerous asbestos yourself. You don’t even need to deal with complicated regulations.

We are licensed and professionally trained asbestos removal experts that can handle even the most rigorous removal. As the most trusted asbestos removal company in Victoria, we are always ready to step in and safely remove and dispose of any asbestos-containing material. Call us today to speak to one of our customer representatives.

Leave a comment