Period Home Renovation? Why You Need to Exercise Caution

Posted on: 26 June 2018

After World War I and World War II, the Australian building industry enjoyed a boom and a vast number of new homes popped up around the country. Of course, standards were not what they are today, and builders were not aware of the risks posed by some of the materials at the time. Consequently, a large number of these older homes contain asbestos in one form or another. Fast forward to today and you may be the proud new owner of one of those 'period' properties and you're rolling up your sleeves for a new renovation project. It's important for you to pause for a second and understand where you may encounter asbestos and its associated risks.

Where to Look

You may think that asbestos is only found in ceiling panels or those famous 'popcorn' finishes. However, you'd be surprised by just how extensive its use was as a building material; it has also found its way into domestic products and even cars.

Uncovering the Risks

If your property has not been renovated in a considerable period of time, then one of the first jobs will be to get rid of that awful carpet in the living room. If this is particularly old, however, be careful, as asbestos may be present in the underlay. Even if it isn't, when you do pull it up be careful not to disturb the cement floor underneath, just in case.

You may see tiles underneath the old carpet, believe that these are okay and start to take them up. Caution should be exercised here, as well, as asbestos may have been used to fix them to the floor in the first place. And yes, there is a risk that you could uncover some of this nasty substance under an old linoleum floor covering, as well.

If you plan to knock down some internal walls, once again proceed with caution. Within these walls you may also come across copper piping, which had been insulated by the original builder. You guessed it, asbestos alert.


Do you have an old garden shed that has seen better days? You will undoubtedly want to knock that down and replace it with something more modern. First, however, add it to your list so that you can get a professional inspection completed before you begin.

What Else?

The list goes on. All types of insulation, substitute brick cladding, plaster, paint, fence coverings and so on. You may find it easier to focus on areas that are not suspect, rather than those which are.

Getting Professional Help

Always bring in an asbestos removal professional before you begin a project on a house like this. They will be able to test and advise you about any risk.


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