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Asbestos safety in the home

If you think you’ve found asbestos in your home: 

  • remove people from the area 

  • put on PPE 

  • dampen area 

  • cover with tarp or plastic and seal so no dust can escape 

  • prevent access to area until an assessor can advise any other action 

  • get a licensed asbestos assessor to confirm asbestos and give you advice.

We recommend you don’t remove asbestos yourself.  

Stay safe managing asbestos in the home

Stay safe when dealing with asbestos.
Man  painting the eaves of a house

Asbestos can be managed safely in the home 

Between 1940 and 1990, asbestos was a popular construction material for Australian homes. If you’re starting a renovation, doing repairs or just redecorating in a home built before 1990, it’s important to know the asbestos risks. It isn’t just the big jobs that can disturb asbestos; maintenance or even drilling to hang a picture can expose asbestos.  Before you start work use the Asbestos Checker or have a licensed asbestos assessor inspect your property. It’s cheaper and easier to deal with asbestos if it isn’t a surprise.

Where could asbestos be found in the home?

Asbestos is found in many parts of older homes, including: 

  • roofing  
  • ceilings and internal walls 
  • eaves  
  • fencing 
  • flue and water pipes 
  • fireplaces 
  • behind tiles 
  • flooring underlay. 

Before you start work use the Asbestos Checker or have a licensed asbestos assessor inspect your property to find asbestos. It’s cheaper and easier to deal with asbestos if it isn’t a surprise.

Buying a home with asbestos 

If you’re buying a home built before 1990, it’s likely to contain asbestos.  If the home was renovated between 1990 and 2004, it may contain asbestos. 

Pre-purchase building reports don’t always include information about asbestos in your home. A licenced asbestos assessor can inspect the building before you complete the purchase, and help you plan for removal, or suggest ways to manage the risks. 

Make sure your assessment includes underfloor and roof spaces. Licenced assessors should also take samples and provide a report to show the location and condition of asbestos. 

Asbestos-containing materials that have no holes or broken, peeling or flaking areas, are in good condition are low risk. Materials may be painted or unpainted. Undamaged asbestos won’t release dangerous fibres. 

Get a licensed asbestos assessor to give you advice on asbestos testing, maintenance, removal, decontamination and disposal.

Renovating a home with asbestos 

If you’re renovating an older home, you may disturb some asbestos-containing materials. If you think something might be asbestos, treat it like it is. Do not sand, scrub, water-blast, cut or drill suspected asbestos.

Can I throw asbestos out?  

It is illegal to dump asbestos in Australia or put it in your kerbside bin.  

Licensed landfills can accept asbestos waste if it has been prepared properly for disposal

licensed asbestos removalist or your local council can help with advice on disposing of asbestos

Can I paint over asbestos?  

Asbestos in good condition is low risk. Sealing asbestos-containing materials – that are in good condition – with quality paint may help prevent the release of asbestos fibres.   

If there’s a chance you will disturb the asbestos while you paint, take safety precautions and use protective gear. Do not use a sander, wire brush, scraper, scrubber or water blaster to clean asbestos-containing materials.