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Asbestos house - considerations before buying


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#1 Hummingbird82

Posted 13 September 2019 - 05:09 PM

Hi everyone,

My DH and I are looking at buying a house the was built in the 1960s. It had asbestos walls and ceiling/roof but there was a fire two years ago and the ceiling and roof were replaced. The walls are still asbestos. My DH says it's not an issue, but he's a man who likes to tinker and do things to houses. For example, I would like a gas cooktop, so to connect the gas he would put a hole in the wall. He has had training in safe asbestos removal etc from his training and construction background.

It makes me nervous, but I'm not sure if I'm overreacting. Does anyone have any advice or information from their own experiences? Thank you.

#2 Lunafreya

Posted 13 September 2019 - 05:45 PM

You may be a bit as your DH is not a amateur and knows what he's doing.

He's not just some random with a sledgehammer.

#3 Appleaday

Posted 13 September 2019 - 06:03 PM

I wouldn't touch it

#4 Anon wife

Posted 13 September 2019 - 06:13 PM

I wouldn't go near it

#5 Future-self

Posted 13 September 2019 - 06:36 PM

I always laugh when people say “I wouldn’t go near it” etc.
There are whole suburbs built in the 40s  and 50s where every single house has asbestos to some degree.
These houses are safely renovated and ‘tinkered with’ all the time. As long as you know what you’re doing . Which it sounds like your DH does.

#6 Froyo

Posted 13 September 2019 - 06:38 PM

Given your DH's background I wouldn't have an issue with it.

#7 Bethlehem Babe

Posted 13 September 2019 - 06:40 PM

I’d probably get a good quality asbestos register of the place done. This will let you know exactly where it is and it’s condition. Given there’s been repairs, that will be the key thing- half a panel replaced here, a section there.

If it’s in good condition it would be ok.

#8 Lunafreya

Posted 13 September 2019 - 06:45 PM

View PostFuture-self, on 13 September 2019 - 06:36 PM, said:

I always laugh when people say “I wouldn’t go near it” etc.
There are whole suburbs built in the 40s  and 50s where every single house has asbestos to some degree.
These houses are safely renovated and ‘tinkered with’ all the time. As long as you know what you’re doing . Which it sounds like your DH does.
Yeah, you either leave asbestos alone or leave it to professionals.

#9 Avocado tree

Posted 13 September 2019 - 06:51 PM

Can’t understand why you would even consider it.  Sorry, but I come from an industrial area where so many died from mesothelioma.  Horrific way to go, I could never put my family at risk.  It takes one fibre as far as I know.

Edited by Avocado tree, 13 September 2019 - 06:52 PM.


#10 born.a.girl

Posted 13 September 2019 - 07:26 PM

View PostAvocado tree, on 13 September 2019 - 06:51 PM, said:

Can’t understand why you would even consider it.  Sorry, but I come from an industrial area where so many died from mesothelioma.  Horrific way to go, I could never put my family at risk.  It takes one fibre as far as I know.


It does take one, but the chance of one fibre doing that is breathtakingly remote. The people who've died from it have generally been people just about swimming in it.

Where are the people my age (mid sixties) dying from mesothelioma with no idea how an when it happened.

Before all of the warnings, I smashed up an asbestos garage and it went in the rubbish bin - unsealed, as everyone's did at that point.

I grew up with asbestos mats being used to keep the heat down on a saucepan - frequently starting to disintegrate.

I'm not downplaying the risk, just saying if people take precautions they're not at risk.

#11 27plus

Posted 13 September 2019 - 07:30 PM

We run an occupational hygiene company specialising in asbestos
We own a fibro house. I want to clad it. I will not let my husband do that although he is quite capable of doing it.  We will pay someone else to do it (fortunately we know the professional asbestos removalists that have the knowledge to do to safely)

#12 Holly298

Posted 13 September 2019 - 07:32 PM

If living in homes containing fibro/asbestos were dangerous half of Sydney would be homeless! I’ve been selling fibro houses in Sydney for 30 years, just about every home built in Sydney from the 1940.s to early 80,s (even the majority of brick ones from that era have fibro/ asbestos in the eaves/porches or in the insulation or even paint)  so as pp said for renovations where walls are to be knocked down you will find tons of asbestos Removalists experts who can do it or your husband seems to know what he is doing , I wouldn’t worry

Edited by Holly298, 13 September 2019 - 07:32 PM.


#13 .Jerry.

Posted 13 September 2019 - 07:38 PM

It is hard to avoid a house with asbestos in it, unless you buy a house built from 1990s onward, or one already fully renovated.

I would buy it, but as a PP said, get a full audit of the asbestos first and check the condition of it.

Every school I've worked in has asbestos in it.  

I take treatment of asbestos seriously, but know many people live safely alongside asbestos.

A family friend died of Mesothelioma.  It was awful.
He was the builder's apprentice back in the 1960s who had to saw all the fibro up.  His wife, who shook out his clothing and washed it daily has not developed the disease.
My dad was also in the building industry at the same time.  So far so good for him.

#14 BadCat

Posted 13 September 2019 - 08:35 PM

Personally I probably wouldn't do it, but that's because of my history with Mr Fluffy.  Which I know is not relevant as it's not the same kind of asbestos but it still freaks me the hell out.

But I recognise that asbestos sheeting in good condition is not a risk.  And as long as your partner agrees not to cut corners in dealing with it if he wants to tinker, then I think you're pretty safe to go for it.

#15 Romeo Void

Posted 13 September 2019 - 08:46 PM

OP you know your husband best, if you think he'll be sensible when it comes to doing renovations then I don't see a problem with it.  If you think he might be inclined to cut corners...don't risk it.

#16 *melrose*

Posted 13 September 2019 - 09:47 PM

No way!!!! I wouldn't go anywhere near it.

#17 Holly298

Posted 13 September 2019 - 09:53 PM

View Post*melrose*, on 13 September 2019 - 09:47 PM, said:

No way!!!! I wouldn't go anywhere near it.

Why?

#18 PhillipaCrawford

Posted 13 September 2019 - 09:56 PM

We are all surrounded by asbestos every day.
The houses in your neighbourhood being renovated or demolished, the rubbish trucks, the landfill.
Recently the telephone pits in the street being readied for the NBN were having asbestos removed

I would be cautious too but realistically the asbestos you know about is probably less damaging.

And I have had someone close to me die from mesothelioma so i am not ignorant of the danger

#19 BECZ

Posted 13 September 2019 - 10:16 PM

Like a PP said, I'd want a full report of where it is, how much etc.
If your not planing on doing anything too major, it's probably not an issue, but if you're planning major changes, I would think twice as not only does it add an element of risk every time you touch it, it will also add to your costs to remove it and dispose of it.

#20 Sunshine streaming

Posted 13 September 2019 - 10:33 PM

I would be checking the nature of the asbestos ie.Is it bonded or is it like that which was found in Mr Fluffy houses in Canberra (google this saga) and are also spread in parts of NSW.

Get a full assessment by an asbestos assessor. We sadly bought a house that later turned out to be Mr Fluffy and we renovated whilst living in the house. I now live in fear that we have been exposed to friable asbestos.

#21 annodam

Posted 13 September 2019 - 11:04 PM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 13 September 2019 - 07:26 PM, said:

It does take one, but the chance of one fibre doing that is breathtakingly remote. The people who've died from it have generally been people just about swimming in it.

Where are the people my age (mid sixties) dying from mesothelioma with no idea how an when it happened.

Before all of the warnings, I smashed up an asbestos garage and it went in the rubbish bin - unsealed, as everyone's did at that point.

I grew up with asbestos mats being used to keep the heat down on a saucepan - frequently starting to disintegrate.

I'm not downplaying the risk, just saying if people take precautions they're not at risk.





Yep, same as dad.
Was punching holes in walls & using drills.
He died in his sleep, his Autopsy Report just showed Ischaemic Heart Disease.

So, in all my years (mid 40s now) I have known 1 person that has died from mesothelioma & he was in mid 60s swimming in it as BAG says.
Even his family who were exposed to his clothes (wife doing the weekly washing etc.,) are all still alive & kicking with no symptoms...

#22 Cheesy Sanga

Posted 13 September 2019 - 11:49 PM

Get a building inspection/asbestos inspection and go from there. If the house is in good order, no panels disintegrating etc then it should be fine. Just be aware that there will be more time and money involved for future renovations. We bought a house with asbestos eaves and gutters, the roof had already been replaced. There was also an asbestos shed in the back. We had the shed removed but we still have the asbestos eaves and gutters.  My grandpa died from work related mesothelioma but his work place was swimming in it.

#23 jayskette

Posted 14 September 2019 - 01:18 AM

Solid is very different from loose fill.

#24 can'tstayaway

Posted 14 September 2019 - 07:11 AM

I have purchased homes with asbestos sheeting and factored that into my costs of the planned renovations.

I did not want to live with the asbestos in the house due to a ‘tinkering’ husband and rough kids. I like being able to hang pictures on the walls without thinking.  Our tvs are hung on the walls. Curtains and blinds. Kids bumping against the hallway as they jostle each other.

I had all the asbestos sheets removed and the house re-sheeted. In one of the houses, it was a complete gutting of the house back to bare studs and beams. It did allow for a minor rejig of layout and insulation being added everywhere. The cost of asbestos removal was quite reasonable, it was the resheeting and painting that was the main expense.

It wasn’t difficult and has given me peace of mind having it removed.

What I wouldn’t do is what my in-laws did which was to put a thin sheet over/under their asbestos ceiling. They still drilled holes for new lights each time they renovated and would have the exposed edges of the boards just sitting above them.

In one of the houses we purchased, the previous owners had drilled a hole in an asbestos board to run cables through. The asbestos testing person we had said that was terrible because each time the cables moved, it would be dislodging fibres. If they had to do that, they should have sealed the fresh hole with paint and used a cable guide to prevent the cables rubbing against the fibres. I assume the ignorant home renovator also didn’t use any safety precautions like sealing the space before work, wetting the board and using a negative air machine to filter any fibres that may become airborne.

#25 Hummingbird82

Posted 14 September 2019 - 03:46 PM

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and experiences. I think I'll get an asbestos report completed first and then go from there. We wouldn't be doing any major renovations, and DH would definitely put our safety first in how he did anything minor.

I appreciate all the input :-)




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