DIY or Hire a Pro?

Rate this post

When it comes to asbestos removal, one of the first questions homeowners ask is, “Can I remove asbestos myself or should I hire a professional?” After all, why pay to do something when you can do it yourself?

Well, here’s the thing. As with anything, you can implement a DIY asbestos removal if you wish.

But, it is very important to know that asbestos is a toxic chemical and removing it is not easy. Few homeowners have the technical knowledge or equipment to safely remove and dispose of asbestos from their homes or commercial spaces.

Asbestos hazard warning sign
Photo credit: Alpha / Flickr

If DIY asbestos removal is done poorly, the result could be extremely dangerous, even downright deadly if there are pets, small children, or people with illnesses in the building.

The Medical Reality of DIY Asbestos Removal

To understand why you shouldn’t even consider removing asbestos yourself, we need to explore the medical realities of coming into contact with asbestos.

Asbestos refers to a complex compound of different minerals, which ultimately form a hydrated combination of magnesium silicate. This asbestos occurs naturally in the building, after various building chemicals react with each other. Depending on the minerals that make up the asbestos compound, you can get any of 6 types of asbestos in your property:

  • Anthophyllite – This is generally found in building materials and insulation products. It is usually white or gray or dull green. Exposure can cause aggressive cancer in the membranes of the abdomen, lungs and heart.
  • chrysotile – This is the type of asbestos most commonly seen in properties. It can be found on the walls, roof, ceilings and floors of the property. It is white in color and can cause gastrointestinal cancer, laryngeal cancer and malignant mesothelioma through direct and prolonged exposure.
  • crocidolite – This mineral is also called blue asbestos. It can be found in pipe insulation, coatings, cement constructions and plastics used in the building. It can cause severe scarring of the lungs, along with mild to severe pulmonary fibrosis. In very severe exposure to crocidolite, there is also a high risk of lung cancer. In fact, of all types of asbestos, this is the most dangerous and has the highest death rate because its fibers are very thin and easily lodge in the lungs.
  • Amosite – This asbestos can be found in ceiling tiles, building insulation and cement sheets. It is brown in color and, like other forms of asbestos, can cause both benign and malignant cancers of the lungs, heart and gastrointestinal tract. Colorectal and stomach cancers are rare with this asbestos, but possible.
  • Actinolite and tremolite – Both tremolite and actinolite are asbestos not often found in construction. But in the rare case that they are observed, they can usually be found as contaminants in chrysotile asbestos. You can even Actinolite and Tremolite in other types of materials such as:
    • Talc – It is a very soft material and is often used in construction in paint and ceramics.
    • vermiculite – It is often used as an insulation material and packaging material.

Both of these types of asbestos are very dangerous and can make residents susceptible to asbestosis. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Wheezing
  • Severe cough that persists.
  • Chest pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Swollen fingertips.
  • fatigue

If asbestosis is not treated quickly, it can lead to more serious medical conditions such as pleural disease, lung cancer, and cancer of the lining of the heart, testicles, abdomen, and lungs (mesothelioma).

The truth is that you will need knowledge to identify asbestos and determine the risk it is to the people using the premises. You will then need special equipment, such as the right protective clothing and equipment, to remove asbestos from your property and stay safe. Third, you’ll need to know how to remove asbestos safely and sustainably, so that it doesn’t negatively affect someone else.

This experience and knowledge is difficult to obtain and, if lost, can lead to unsafe asbestos removal practices. This, in turn, can put you and your loved ones or staff at risk for the medical conditions described above.

Asbestos removal service
Photo credit: Michael Coghlan / Flickr

Do-it-yourself asbestos removal is not legal throughout Australia

Aside from the medical threats of asbestos removal, it’s also important to remember that not all states or territories legalize do-it-yourself asbestos removal.

Some places in Australia actively discourage do-it-yourself asbestos removal unless you meet specific criteria. For example, everywhere except the Australian Capital Territory, building owners can remove any non-friable asbestos less than 10m² themselves. This means that the asbestos must not be crumbled or dispersed in any way while it is being removed. If the asbestos is not friable but is more than 10m², you need to contact a professional asbestos removal company.

In the Australian Capital Territory, on the other hand, there is a complete and total ban on do-it-yourself asbestos removal. All asbestos removal work should only be performed by a trained and qualified professional.

If in these cases, you are found to have removed the asbestos yourself without professional help, you could be subject to a fine or punishment from your local authorities.

Insurance companies will not support do-it-yourself removal

What if you are legally allowed to do DIY asbestos removal? Well, you better think it through, because of the insurance.

Most insurance companies do not offer coverage for do-it-yourself asbestos removal, simply because of the high risks involved in the job. This includes both building related insurance and health insurance.

A qualified asbestos removal company will have the right business insurance policies that provide adequate coverage for the variety of risks involved in professional asbestos removal. You don’t have to worry about high removal fees, cleanup and disposal costs, and any other damage that can occur during asbestos removal.

Asbestos removal
Photo credit: NAFVAC / Flickr

Hire an experienced asbestos removal professional and reduce your risks

Ultimately, the best choice between DIY asbestos removal and professional asbestos removal will always be the latter: hire a professional.

Professional asbestos removal companies like have the necessary equipment and gear to carry out asbestos removal and removal safely and quickly. They will have adequate insurance coverage, reducing their liability and risk. Finally, the removalists will be trained to carry out the risky task of asbestos removal, without compromising their own safety and that of others. More importantly, they will have the knowledge of how to handle different types of asbestos and what to do if particular sections seem very friable and at risk of cracking.

You can trust the team of asbestos removal professionals at NWS Asbestos Removal to come to your property, perform a thorough inspection and perform asbestos removal. We are recognized for our quality of work and safety measures at the site. Contact us for more information.

Source link

Leave a Comment