FAQ

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At Asbestos Kent , we are frequently asked questions about asbestos: What is asbestos? How to identify asbestos?  Why is asbestos dangerous? are just a few examples.  Please consult the list of FAQs below and click on one to find an answer to your enquiry.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre that takes millions of year to form. It was widely used in the UK construction industry between the 1950s and 1990s. It was routinely added to products such as cement, thermo plastics, insulation products and insulating board, so most houses and commercial properties built during this period are highly likely to contain some asbestos within the structure.

Asbestos was used because it was relatively low cost and had many beneficial properties, including:

  • Does not burn until 1000 degrees centigrade
  • Does not conduct heat
  • Not affected by chemicals or electricity
  • Has a very high tensile strength
  • Certain types are flexible

Materials containing asbestos are generally safe if they are in good condition.

However, if they are damaged or broken, they can release fibres and dust into the air. These fibres, can damage lungs and lead to serious diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

With so many products having been produced and so many non-asbestos products which may look similar it can be very difficult for the untrained eye to identify asbestos. Our surveyors have an expert knowledge of the uses of asbestos and the types of products it may be contained within, but even then, samples are taken in order to confirm if asbestos is present and identify the exact type of asbestos.

Materials containing asbestos are generally safe if they are in good condition. However, if they are damaged or broken they can release fibres and dust into the air. These fibres can then harm your lungs and lead to serious diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Asbestos was used because it was relatively low cost and had many beneficial properties, including:

  • Doesn’t burn until 1000 degrees centigrade
  • Doesn’t conduct heat
  • Not affected by chemicals or electricity
  • Has a very high tensile strength
  • Certain types are flexible

Asbestos was used in over 3000 products and materials – you’d be surprised what everyday items it can turn up in. Here are some examples:

  • Asbestos cement products include, garage roofs, sheds, guttering, down-pipes, wall panels, bath panels, flue pipes, water tanks, patio tiles, roofing tiles and soffit boards.
  • Asbestos insulation board has been used for things like fire protection panels on cupboards and doors, ceiling tiles, partition walls and soffit boards.
  • Asbestos lagging was used to insulate pipes and boilers. However, it is less common in homes, especially those built after the mid-1970s, but we still come across it fairly frequently in commercial premises.
  • Asbestos sprayed coatings were used to protect structural steel from fire, amongst other uses.
  • Other asbestos products include some decorative coatings (most commonly known as artex), plastic floor tiles, paper backed floor lino and even toilet cisterns.

Leave the affected areas alone and contact us. We can give you some further advice and we’ll only recommend a survey if we feel it is absolutely necessary. Avoid sanding, sawing, drilling or disturbing these materials. Do not attempt to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or large areas of insulation. These can only be safely removed by a licensed contractor.

Prior to carrying out any works involving asbestos, it is essential you talk to an expert. We don’t charge for advice over the phone and a simple conversation in most cases can ascertain whether or not you are permitted to deal with the type of asbestos you have, or whether you would be breaking the law if you did so.

No. Generally it is better to leave asbestos containing materials in place, especially if they are in good condition, so as to avoid unnecessary disturbance of asbestos fibres. In this situation, strategies to seal, encapsulate, repair, enclose and protect are preferred. A risk assessment will be carried out on all products, which will help in deciding the best course of action.

Asbestos Kent Specialists

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Lenvale House, Snodland ME6 5BA, United Kingdom

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Asbestos Kent

With over 40 years of experience in the asbestos survey industry, London-based asbestos specialists at Asbestos Kent are industry leaders.