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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:24 pm 
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Hi all

I recently moved into a new (to me) house. It’s over 200 years old, but has been extended more than once (in 70s, then again around the turn of the century). There are a few areas which I think need to be tested for asbestos. There are a few others which might need to be tested but I’m not so sure…

There are companies which will test my samples for around £20 each, and if only a few things need testing that’s the road I’d go down. To have someone come out and do a full survey and take samples, I’d be looking at around £400. OUCH. I’d be happy to do that if *everything* needs testing. But I really can’t tell! So that’s where you guys come in :) Now, I know that with some things - like artex - it is impossible to tell from a photo. But with some of the other stuff it might be more obvious to people who know what they’re talking about (I don’t).

So if anyone can help but saying yay or nay on any of the photos below, that would be a great help. Sorry there’re so many photos! And sorry if I’m being paranoid! OK, here goes:

01. “Vermiculite” loft insulation (not sure it is definitely vermiculite, but it is that kind of thing):

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01 Vermiculite.JPG
01 Vermiculite.JPG [ 241.89 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


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01a Vermiculite Close Up.JPG
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02. Loft Felt Insulation. This is bonded to the roof felt and would have apparently been done so in manufacturing:

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02 Felt Insulation.JPG
02 Felt Insulation.JPG [ 182.94 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


03. Plastered wall, probably done in the 70s (does old plaster ever have asbestos?):

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03 Spare Bedroom Plaster.JPG
03 Spare Bedroom Plaster.JPG [ 133.77 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


04. Bathroom plaster and tile adhesive… We recently removed the tiles. No idea how old they were. Does that kind of adhesive every have asbestos? What about the plaster beneath?

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04 Bathroom Plaster and Adhesive.JPG
04 Bathroom Plaster and Adhesive.JPG [ 167.99 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


05. Bathroom ceiling artex. Seems a different type to the artex on the other ceilings (see below):

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05 Bathroom Ceiling Artex.JPG
05 Bathroom Ceiling Artex.JPG [ 160.6 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


06. Ceiling Patch Up – where there had obviously been a leak or some kind of damage in the past:

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06 Spare Bedroom Ceiling Patch Up.JPG
06 Spare Bedroom Ceiling Patch Up.JPG [ 131.19 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


07. Another plastered wall, but this is in the old section of the house. We’ve recently removed the wallpaper:

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07 Landing Plaster.JPG
07 Landing Plaster.JPG [ 113.49 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


08. Artex in another bedroom:

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08 Bedroom Ceiling Artex.JPG
08 Bedroom Ceiling Artex.JPG [ 174.1 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


09. Artex on plasterboard panels. The section between each beam is a separate panel (see second photo). Would the artex AND the plasterboard (or whatever) behind it need testing?

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09 Living Ceiling Artex Panels.JPG
09 Living Ceiling Artex Panels.JPG [ 157.58 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


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09a Living Ceiling Artex Panels Close Up.JPG
09a Living Ceiling Artex Panels Close Up.JPG [ 201.46 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


10. Is this stucco? The previous owners covered he fireplace wall in this white stuff and – I’m guessing – ran a finger around it to make it look like old stone work. We weren’t keen and started to hack away at it. Hence why it looks like it does now! So really hoping that this one is not asbestos :( And I guess I’m asking about the “stucco” stuff and the plaster beneath

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10 Fireplace Wall Stucco and Plaster.JPG
10 Fireplace Wall Stucco and Plaster.JPG [ 140.32 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


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10a Fireplace Wall Stucco and Plaster Close Up.JPG
10a Fireplace Wall Stucco and Plaster Close Up.JPG [ 139.13 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


11. Living room floor tiles (was carpeted when we moved in). Aside from the asbestos question, curious to know if anyone knows what they are?

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11 Living Room Floor Tiles.JPG
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11a Living Room Floor Tiles Back Side.JPG
11a Living Room Floor Tiles Back Side.JPG [ 204.54 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


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11b Living Room Floor Tiles Profile Close Up.JPG
11b Living Room Floor Tiles Profile Close Up.JPG [ 89.3 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


12. Plasterboard ceiling in the semi-converted cowshed:

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12 Cow Shed Ceiling.JPG
12 Cow Shed Ceiling.JPG [ 139.55 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


13. Some crumbling (but very dry) wall in the semi-converted cowshed:

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13 Cowshed Wall - Fireplace.JPG
13 Cowshed Wall - Fireplace.JPG [ 119.03 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


14. Roof undercloak:

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14 Undercloak.JPG
14 Undercloak.JPG [ 126.88 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


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14a Undercloak Close Up.JPG
14a Undercloak Close Up.JPG [ 161.62 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


15. Concrete tiles:

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15 Concrete Roof Tiles.JPG
15 Concrete Roof Tiles.JPG [ 267.92 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


16. Coving. It’s a lot smaller than the coving I’ve seen in the past. Guessing it might be older too…

Attachment:
16 Coving.JPG
16 Coving.JPG [ 132.94 KiB | Viewed 737 times ]


17. No photos for the last one… But I’ve had to pull a few boards up upstairs and so have seen the plasterboard ceiling from the back end. Some simply have Gypsum written on them. Some have LaFarge and then a a bunch of codes, etc. One of them says: “Lafarge Plasterboard 1352 Part 1 1985 Natural Gypsum (02:59 : B…”. Couldn’t see it all! Any chance either of these might have asbestos?


If you got this far you deserve a medal and a big huge thanks! I wish I could buy a virtual pint :)

Cheers.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:42 pm 
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PS - I know it's a long thread and a big ask to post for help on this, so even a reply to a few of the questions would be a massive help.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:12 pm 
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:dunno: (But I am interested in the replies)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:25 pm 
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The problem with asbestos is that the fibres are so fine ( 0.1–1 µm diameter - human hairs are 17 to 180 µm diameter or 0.017 to 0.18mm ) that they cannot be resolved by the naked human eye. So just looking at a material won't give you any answers. Either way I'd recommend that anyone concerned about asbestos in their home has a read of the Where You Can Find Asbestos page on the HSE website, plus the "Members of the Public" section of the Asbestos FAQs page on the same web site, and maybe takes a look at the "About Asbestos" page on the UKATA website. I'd also like to emphasise that as a tradesman I am far more likely than the average householder to be affected by asbestos, especially if you deal with it sensibly

So, I've gone through your list and I'll give you an opinion based on what is known about the normal usages of asbestos. I've made notes with links for each of your 17 points (please follow the links for more detail) but I will emphasise that I've not visited the premises, and that whilst I have received (current) asbestos awareness training, I am not an asbestos surveyor, I'm just a tradesman. Also note that a blanket ban came at the end of 1999 so any construction work done from 2000 onwards should not contain asbestos. It can therefore be useful to get an accurate date on any works to gauge the chances of them having been done with asbestos-containing materials that way as well:

1. Loose-fill insulation can sometimes contain asbestos, but the asbestos stuff is fluffy, like candy floss (as shown on the HSE site). Which vermiculite filler isn't (looks more like cat litter to my eye)

2. The "loft felt insulation" looks a lot like either fibreglass or possibly mineral wool, neither of which contains asbestos. Wear a mask, long sleeves, goggles and gloves when dealing with stuff like that as it really can be unpleasant to get a lung full of the dust and if you don't cover your skin it'll itch like hell. Getting the fibres in an eye will possibly require a trip to A&E to deal with

3. / 6. / 7. / 12. / 13. Plaster doesn't have asbestos in it as a rule

4. Neither does tile adhesive

5. / 8. / 9. Artex or textured decorative coating can contain asbestos, depending on the age. Pre-1990 it's a lot more likely to have some asbestos in it. The general approach is to note the location and board over or encapsulate in some way. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SCRAPE IT OFF

10. Stucco? or whitewash? If it is stucco, and it's modern it'll be made of Portland cement, sand and water with maybe some line or glass fibre added. Glass fibre reflects the light, so you may see little glints of light from any broken edges. The material may feel slightly gritty and you can see the grains of sand under x x5 Lupe magnifier. Traditional stucco is made of lime, sand and water without additives and goes on in multiple layers (often three coats)

11. Some tiles and tile underlay boards were indeed made with small quantities of asbestos, the most famous being the old Marley floor tiles. Whether or not they might contain asbestos would depend on when they were installed - and those look to be old enough

14. Soffits were commonly made with either asbestos insulating board (AIB) or asbestos cement. Again, it depends on when stuff was installed whether or not it has possibly got asbestos in it

15. Sorry, can't help you there as I'm no roofer, but whilst you get corrugate cemented roof sheeting I really don't know if it was used in roof tiles

16. Coving is often just plaster with a cotton scrim or hessian backing, but equally can be timber, gutta percha (in small section), compressed fibre (brown papier maché), etc

17. Plasterboard. Neither British Gypsum or LaFarge have made plasterbord with asbestos in it.

Fortunately if the items in the listed above as possibles (5, 8, 9, 11, 14) turn out to have asbestos it will be white asbestos, or chrysotile, which is both the most common variety as well as the least harmful.

Hope that helps - and if anyone more knowledgeable would like to correct my scribblings, please do so. This subject is one where I think it's important to be right

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:54 am 
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That's so incredibly helpful; thanks a billion.

I've got to shoot off to work now but will have another read when I get back and maybe a question or two if that's ok?

Thanks again :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:46 pm 
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Hi

Just returning to say thanks again.

10. To be honest, I said stucco without really knowing what it means! And from you description, I don't think that's what it is. Rather, in places it came off in quite large but thin sections using a chisel. In other places it seemed a lot thicker/deeper and had to be hacked away at. Not sure if that helps! I'm sure someone in the know would be able to tell instantly if they were here.

16. The coving is strange. Or maybe not, but I've never come across anything like it. It seems to be almost like a foam material. Or lightweight polystyrene. Very light and if you press with a fingernail it leaves a mark.

Great to hear that most the stuff seems ok though :)

Cheers


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:30 pm 
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udaman wrote:
10. To be honest, I said stucco without really knowing what it means! And from you description, I don't think that's what it is. Rather, in places it came off in quite large but thin sections using a chisel. In other places it seemed a lot thicker/deeper and had to be hacked away at. Not sure if that helps! I'm sure someone in the know would be able to tell instantly if they were here.

Could be anything, even Artex used instead of stucco. Without physically handling it it's probably impossible to say for certain

udaman wrote:
16. The coving is strange. Or maybe not, but I've never come across anything like it. It seems to be almost like a foam material. Or lightweight polystyrene. Very light and if you press with a fingernail it leaves a mark.

There were covings sold (still are sold) made from expanded polystyrene foam. They are very light and really easy to install because they'll conform to dips and rises in the ceiling/wall joint. When painted you can't really tell what they are made from

Hope the reading wasn't too much for you (at least it's there for any future browsers as well), but the HSE site is full of useful information about safety/risks in construction-related areas and can be well worth dig around in.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:06 am 
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RE 10. I've just heard back from the previous owner. She said the wall used to be clad in slate fragments, which she didn't like, so she removed the slate and underneath was just cement rendering. Does cement rendering ever contain asbestos?

After getting it back to the render, she used a poly cell plaster and created the stone effect from that. I'm not sure how long ago. Any chance of that having asbestos?

Big thanks again and the reading wasn't too much at all. In fact it was an absolute pleasure and very much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:10 am 
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Any further thoughts on the cement render and or polycell plaster as per my last post?

Also, we are going to look to take the samples ourselves and send them off for testing. Any recommendations on good cost effective companies for the testing? I guess they don't have to be local if we're going to be sending by post....

Cheers

UPDATE: Just got off the phone to polycell. They said that NONE of their products from that era (95/96) contained asbestos. In fact, nothing post 60s/70s.


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udaman wrote:
Does cement rendering ever contain asbestos?

Highly unlikely - cement asbestos sheet obviously does, but as most cement renders were mixed on site it's not that likely that they would have incorporated asbestos fibres

udaman wrote:
After getting it back to the render, she used a poly cell plaster and created the stone effect from that. I'm not sure how long ago. Any chance of that having asbestos?

The clue is in the name - Polycell, which is actually mainly cellulose (not asbestos). Glsd that you did your own research on this, though

In terms pf testing just make sure that your lab is in the UK - American labs may well be working to different standards than those used here (they do in other fields)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:16 pm 
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Nothing to add to J&K's answer it was spot on :thumbright:

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