FAQs about Removing Asbestos from Bathrooms

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Bathrooms are one of the most renovated areas of the home, and unfortunately for any home built in Australia before 1987, there is a very real risk that building materials containing asbestos have been used. Because of their insulation and water resistant properties, asbestos behind tiles, in fibro sheeting, and in the cement flooring of many bathrooms must be removed if these areas are to be renovated.

Due to the risk of inhalation of tiny airborne asbestos fibres resulting in a range of fatal lung diseases, it's essential that the hazardous material is always removed using the right approach. Below are some common questions regarding how to remove asbestos in an approved and safe manner. 

How can you know if the bathroom has asbestos?

Depending on the extent of the renovation, the best way to know for sure if asbestos is present is to have a licensed hygienist visit and obtain a sample. Unless the area in question is being renovated or the asbestos is damaged or exposed, not all asbestos will need to be removed. After the material sample has been tested in a laboratory, a report will detail the type and character of the asbestos present. Most builders, plumbers and other contractors will not be able to begin renovation work until the areas in question have been tested and any asbestos has been removed.

Can you remove asbestos yourself?

It's recommended for those renovating their bathrooms to factor in the cost of professional removal of asbestos, however in most homeowners are permitted to remove up to 10 square metres of bonded asbestos products. Friable asbestos, (i.e. asbestos that crumbles or can be easily reduced to powder) must be removed by a licensed contractor.

It's recommended that those who work with asbestos themselves undertake training courses to avoid exposure when handling asbestos materials. If asbestos is removed by individual homeowners, they should always wear old clothing that can be dispose as well as a mask.

How should you dispose of asbestos?

If you are removing asbestos yourself, be aware that asbestos needs to be wrapped in plastic sheeting and taped before being safely secured in a vehicle. Keep your protective clothing on while disposing or transporting.

Call your local council to find which landfill sites accept asbestos disposal as not all facilities are equipped to handle asbestos. Be aware that higher costs are associated with dumping asbestos than regular waste disposal.

How much does professional asbestos removal cost?

This is a labour-intensive job and doesn't come cheap, so it's important that the cost is factored into the cost an any  extensive bathroom renovations. A small bathroom may be between $1500-3000 and a larger bathroom between $2500-3500. The ease of accessing the material, the number and size of asbestos sheets, and the distance to the disposal facility and the costs of disposal, are all factors that influence the cost of asbestos removal.

Remember when obtaining quotes over the phone, the most accurate price can be given with the more information that is provided, including the size of the bathroom and what materials need to be removed. For more tips or assistance, contact companies like Suncoast Skips.