Friday 25 November 2016

The Asbestos Hiding in my Home

As the colder weather is drawing in and the darker evenings are forcing us to spend more time indoors, I’ve been looking around the house for things to change. Perhaps it’s being home with a baby all day, but I’ve been noticing unfinished DIY jobs that need sorting. This will be our first Christmas in the new living room and that’s not massively exciting to the rest of the world, but I’m looking forward to being able to take some nice photos of Ebony opening presents on Christmas morning.

We didn’t really plan to decorate this room, we just sort of ended up half doing it whilst we were in the midst of lots of DIY earlier in the year. We stripped, sanded and varnished the floors, painted the walls and painted the fireplace. But we didn’t do the room properly. This whole house got intensively abused at some point during the 1980s and the living room seems to have suffered the most. There is an artex ceiling, fake arches in the alcoves and strip lighting hiding in the fake arches. It’s, erm, interesting.

I would have loved to have rid the room of archways. We did manage to take one out when we decorated the kitchen. They seem to be made of chicken wire (probably not the official jargon) and just moulded into an arch shape then plastered over. Lovely. The final two archways had to stay because the artex ceiling is attached to them. If we took the arches out, we’d also have to remove the ceiling and then get it all replastered. Obviously, this definitely needs doing but we didn’t have the budget to do it this year.

The artex ceiling has probably been in place for a while so I suspect there’s a chance it was made using asbestos. If it was, it’s not a diy job we can do ourselves. Asbestos is a nasty thing which can cause a cancer called mesothelioma. Asbestos particles released into the air are pretty much invisible to the naked eye but, if inhaled, can cause this deadly disease. For this reason, it’s important to have asbestos specialists handle any potentially risky jobs in the home. And that can be really expensive which is why we decided not to proceed with the removal of the ceiling at this time. We’d have to get the artex tested by a specialist and, if it was found to contain asbestos, it would be costly to get specialists in to remove it.

If you want to find out more about the risks of asbestos in your home, take a look at this guide produced by Slater & Gordon who specialise in mesothelioma claims. Asbestos was popular until the late 1990s, so it could be lurking in your house. It’s totally safe until disturbed, so you don’t need to get rid of it just because it’s there, but you do need to be mindful of it when embarking on DIY, especially if you live in an older house. This is one cost we didn’t really consider when moving into the house, but it’s something I would be wary of in the future.

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