More to Buying and Selling Homes Than Meets the Eye

Corrugated Asbestos Sheets

The internet has made the once-daunting task of looking for a new home simple and easy thanks to digital photography and virtual video tours.

It is now possible to view entire properties from the comfort of our own home and pretty much decide which home we would like to purchase without needing to step over the threshold.

But there are aspects of a home that can’t be seen on a computer or smartphone screen.

The one vital thing every prospective homebuyer should do before making an offer on a property is to ask the owner when the house was built. If it’s before the 1980s, it might be worth considering other options.

Why? Because properties built prior to 1980 are highly likely to contain deadly asbestos, the cause of mesothelioma and other diseases.

Many older homes still contain a number of asbestos-laden building products. These can’t be seen when viewing homes online and may even go unnoticed when touring a property in person.

The truth is, asbestos can be hiding just about anywhere in these older homes and in places you would not have imagined.

Where Asbestos Can Be Found in Older Homes

One of the most common asbestos products used by the construction industry was fibro asbestos sheeting. Formed by a matrix of cement and asbestos fibers, the sheeting was used in many areas of the house and property, including:

  • Exterior walls
  • Electric meter boards
  • Garages
  • Garden sheds
  • Fences
  • Dog Kennels

Although it is generally considered safe to live in a house constructed of fibro asbestos sheeting — provided the sheets are in good condition and adequately painted — this type of asbestos product can be particularly hazardous to human health if damaged.

Hidden Dangers in Homes

Unlike fibro asbestos sheeting that can easily be seen on the outside of older homes, the asbestos-containing building products used within the properties are not always visible.

These products are found in many areas of the home, including:

  • Carpet underlays
  • Cladding in internal walls and ceilings
  • Vents
  • Chimneys and fireplaces
  • Hot water piping and sheeting under floor tiles
  • Lagging on hot water pipes
  • Vinyl floor tiles and backings
  • Asbestos-containing adhesive used to secure floor tiles
  • Textured paint
  • Insulation
  • Flexible building boards
  • Imitation brick cladding
  • Window putty
  • Expansion joints
  • Packing under beams

Third Wave of Asbestos Victims

An alarming report published by the Public Health Research and Practice Journal in 2016 estimated that six out of every 10 people diagnosed with mesothelioma today have undertaken major home renovations involving asbestos.

Unlike the first and second waves of asbestos victims, this wave involves the whole family.

Mesothelioma is now affecting men and women in their 40s. The asbestos-related cancer, caused by inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers, has no known cure.

The safest and most efficient way to remove asbestos from your property is to hire an asbestos abatement company who has the necessary equipment to do the job.

Though this can prove to be expensive, attempting to do it yourself in order to save money could end up costing you your life.

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Writer

Lorraine Kember is the author of "Lean on Me," an inspirational personal account of her husband's courageous battle with mesothelioma. She is an accomplished public speaker in Australia and is passionate about sharing her journey with cancer. Her website can be found at www.lorrainekember.com.au.

2 Cited Article Sources

  1. Klerk, N. (2017, November). Hazards of residential exposure to household asbestos.
    Retrieved from: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(17)30200-1/fulltext
  2. Asbestos Wise. (n.d.). Home renovation can expose you to the dangers of asbestos. Retrieved from: http://www.asbestoswise.com.au/index.php/information-and-resources/asbestos-in-the-home/

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