Can I test for asbestos myself?
Under current health and safety laws residential homeowners can choose to test for asbestos themselves.
We recommend that you leave testing to the professionals, but if you want to do it, take the time to learn the risks and the right way to do it to keep you and your family safe.
The most important risk you have to consider is that by cutting or disturbing potential asbestos fibres to remove a segment for testing, you are potentially changing it from what is encapsulated, or safely contained non-friable asbestos, to friable asbestos. You can’t see the micro-particles of asbestos dust, so you can’t know whether or not you have exposed yourself to the deadly fibres.
This is especially the case for textured ceilings. Ceilings are also difficult to test because the overhead angle makes it difficult to contain any fibres that fall.
Also, if the suspected product is old and deteriorating, any disturbance could loosen the integrity of the surface even more.
You can read our suggested protocol for DIY testing here.
If in doubt, book us for professional asbestos testing and gain peace of mind that it is being done correctly and accurately.
As with most things, professional asbestos testers have experience and knowledge that a layman doesn’t. There is a correct testing protocol for spot testing ceilings that requires an expert eye to make sure the correct samples are taken on the day.
For example, when textured ceilings were originally plastered containing asbestos, the asbestos was added into the plaster at different ratios depending on the weather and the consistency of the plaster. So, some areas of the ceiling will have higher concentrations of asbestos than others. A good test to accurately assess for asbestos is not just about taking a single sample but about gathering the correct amount from the optimum area to confidently and accurately assess the substance.
Often you can’t tell just by looking what is and isn’t asbestos. Sometimes we are happy to say we can safely provide a negative result!
Once we have tested your home we send your sample to an independent laboratory. Results take from 2 to 3 working days.
We will then contact you with the results and advise you on a safe removal process.