Can asbestos be a deal-breaker for a house purchase?

The thought of asbestos in our home strikes fear into the hearts of those of us who remember how dangerous it can be but is it really that serious? Should it stop you from buying a house that you find it in? According to the British Lung Foundation, if it’s intact, it’s not something to worry about.

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What is asbestos?

Humans have been using asbestos for about 4,000 years because it is fire and heat resistant, and sound-absorbing as well as being fairly inexpensive. Asbestos is the collective name for six natural fibrous materials. The ones most of us will have heard of are blue, brown and white asbestos. The fibres can easily be inhaled and are carcinogenic.

Where will I find it?

It was most commonly mixed with other materials, such as cement or corrugated roofs, even Artex but has also been found in gas pipes, lagging, insulation materials, floor and ceiling tiles, to name but a few. It’s more likely to be found in older houses so make sure you have a full home buyers survey to ensure that any asbestos can be identified and then dealt with in the appropriate way by an Essex Asbestos Removal company.

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What do I do if I find it?

The Independent says it’s best to take independent, specialist advice if you find asbestos inside your house. If it’s outside in a garage or on a shed roof, and it’s in good condition, you can probably leave it.

Will my house have it?

Quite possibly as it was used extensively until 1999, so anything older than that may do. It probably won’t show up directly in a survey, but if you use a local company they will know the types of houses where it might be present and can advise accordingly.

How much does it cost to remove it?

Getting rid of asbestos can be costly but if you are lucky, you may be able to get a grant to help pay for it. Contact your local authority in the first instance and make sure that the company you use is licensed. They will test before removing to check exactly what you’ve got. Asbestos, once removed, has to be disposed of properly and your local council will want to be assured that this has been done. Handled properly, all will be well.