Posted on: 21 March 2023
If your home has been around for more than a few decades, it may be harbouring a hidden danger in a place you'd least expect: right under your feet. Asbestos, a notorious and hazardous material, was once a staple in construction due to its incredible insulation and fire-resistant properties. However, it is now widely known that exposure to asbestos fibres is linked to severe health risks, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.
As such, it's crucial to be aware of the presence of asbestos in your home, including in your flooring. Let's take a look at three ways asbestos could be lurking in your floors and what you can do about it.
Asbestos in vinyl floor tiles
Asbestos-containing vinyl floor tiles were once popular for more reasons than you may think. Alongside its fireproof properties and durability, asbestos also gave vinyl tiles an attractive, artisanal stone-chip look.
If you have vinyI flooring with a stone-chip design, you may be at risk of asbestos exposure. You should also look out for old vinyl flooring in high-traffic areas, as its durability made it a popular choice for hallways and living spaces. Naturally, given its fire resistance, it's also commonly found in kitchens.
Unfortunately, it's also important to note that even if you can't see vinyl floor tiles in your home, they may still be there. In the past, it wasn't uncommon for homeowners to lay carpet or laminate directly on top of old vinyl tiles rather than remove them first. As a result, there may be vinyl tiles underneath your current flooring.
Asbestos in other flooring types
While vinyl tiles are the most common culprit for asbestos in flooring, they aren't the only one. Asbestos can also be found in sheet vinyl, linoleum tiles, and even some laminate flooring materials. As such, it's a good idea to be vigilant about any flooring installed before December 2003 – the date when asbestos was finally completely banned in Australia.
Asbestos in adhesives
Finally, even if your flooring material itself is asbestos-free, there's still another way asbestos could be hiding in your floors. Black mastic, a once popular adhesive for floor tiles, frequently contained asbestos fibres. Unfortunately, its durability and water resistance made it a common choice for securing various flooring types.
If you've removed your flooring and discovered anything black and sticky underneath, stop your renovation project and get professional advice as soon as possible.
What do you do if you suspect asbestos in your flooring?
The importance of identifying and safely removing asbestos from your home cannot be overstated. The potential health risks are too serious to ignore, so you'll want to act quickly and responsibly if you think you could have asbestos in your flooring.
Get in touch with an asbestos inspection company, who can home to your home and conduct a thorough inspection of your flooring and any other concerning areas. If they deem it necessary, they will collect samples of your flooring and send them to a lab for testing to confirm the presence of asbestos. With an asbestos inspection, you can keep your living environment safe and protect your family's health.Share