As the UK slowly recovers from recession but with still difficult economic times ahead, many home owners will decide to delay house moving plans until the markets improve. In the meanwhile, basic cosmetic decorating may suffice to maintain the property.

However, any kind of major renovation building work that may be carried out, may uncover a nightmare scenario as potentially hazardous as negotiating a fragile economy! Anyone living in a property built before the mid-1980’s will need to take all necessary precautions to avoid a possible exposure to asbestos material and the fatal consequences of contracting asbestosis.

Even those who have never worked in the traditional heavy industries such as  shipbuilding or on the railways, where asbestos was manufactured or worked with, can still be often exposed to asbestos during home renovations, especially if living in the traditional industrial regions of the Midlands, Northern England, Scotland or elsewhere.

Accidental disturbance, drilling or sanding down asbestos-containing construction materials such as roof insulation or ceiling tiles, are at considerable risk of breathing in dangerous levels of asbestos fibres, which can be released into the air. Even a short exposure could cause lung disease, pleural thickening or plaques, or the deadly malignant cancer, mesothelioma .

In properties known to have either been built or received previous extensive renovations before 1970s-80s, asbestos may still be found in the following building materials:

-Some roofing and siding shingles made of asbestos cement.
-Asbestos insulation.
-Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints.
-Gas-fired heating appliances, such as fireplaces, featuring artificial ashes and embers could contain asbestos.
-Any products manufactured before the 1980’s and used for either fireproofing or heat insulation, such as stove-top pads, may contain asbestos compounds.
-Asbestos was used in paper, millboard, and cement sheets as fireproofing and thermal insulation to protect walls and floors near and surrounding woodburning stoves.
-Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
-Older homes and buildings most likely have steam and hot water pipes that are covered with asbestos insulation, blanket or tape.
-Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets are also often insulated with asbestos.
-Asbestos may be present in sheetrock if originally installed prior to the early to mid 1970’s.

Immediate arrangements for professional asbestos removal must be made if the likelihood of an asbestos exposure is anticipated. Seeking asbestos advice is strongly recommended at the earliest opportunity if a past exposure is suspected, and which may help with a potential asbestos compensation claim.