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When asbestos was first used as a fire safety construction material it was hailed as a miracle material.  However, as time has passed the dangers of asbestos dust have become more and more prevalent and its use has been prohibited. However, up until 1999 asbestos was a widely used product in building construction. 

Asbestos in your home

But for many of us now undertaking DIY in homes built before 1999 or working in older office buildings, how would we be able to recognise asbestos?

Ultimately, the presence of asbestos can only be determined by taking samples and testing.  However, asbestos was frequently used as a building material and therefore may be found in the following situations.

Lagged pipes

Due to its heat insulation properties asbestos was widely used as a pipe lagging material.  There are different types of asbestos pipe lagging including asbestos paste which was frequently used with chicken wire and preformed sectional pieces of asbestos lagging.

Existing asbestos lagging can be found in many buildings and it should always be carefully checked to ensure that it is in a good, undisturbed condition.

Asbestos ceiling tiles

Again, due to its heat resistant properties asbestos was frequently used as ceiling tiles in a number of different office blocks. It can only be determined whether the ceiling tiles contain asbestos by careful sampling by professionals. Any damaged office ceiling tiles in buildings built before 1999 should be reported to the company’s health and safety team.

 It should at all times be remembered that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos dust.

Corrugated asbestos roofing

One familiar product which many people will easily recognise is corrugated asbestos roofing.

This is a cement based asbestos product and was frequently used for shed roofs, garage roofs and other outbuildings. Indeed, a number of military buildings had corrugated asbestos roofs.


Another common use of asbestos was within artex ceilings.  Many homes and properties built before the 1980s may have artex within the ceiling.  Although it potentially would only be small quantities of asbestos within the artex ceilings, great care should be taken when undertaking DIY on home artex ceilings.

Boyes Turner has successfully made claims for compensation where exposure to asbestos dust has occurred when working with the above materials.

Whilst asbestos is no longer used, there are still many locations where it can be found on buildings built before 1999. Asbestos went from being known as a miracle material to a deadly killer dust.