The Handyman’s Special: Older Properties, Lead Paint, Asbestos and Why You Should Be Concerned
House overhauls and remodels can be a very rewarding adventure. You can now finally turn the old house you bought for close to nothing into a dream family home. However, the cold hard truth is that such old homes were built at a time when lead-based paint was a conversation-starting visual interest and asbestos was still considered a miracle fibre.
Even though lead-based paints and asbestos are no longer used today, they can be found in numerous construction products used in homes built before the 1970s. Left undisturbed, lead-based paint and asbestos components are not hazardous. However, people are often exposed to hazardous fibre when repairing or remodeling older homes, with devastating effects well documented throughout Australia.
Asbestos made the perfect construction material as it was durable, heat resistant and most of all highly affordable. However, exposure to this miracle fibre can lead to respiratory problems, allergies, lung cancer and a myriad of other illnesses.
What's even more dangerous is that asbestos could be lurking in random spots throughout your home, and used materials come in all shapes and sizes. It is thus hard to determine where exactly this culprit could be hiding, and you could run into the risk of exposure if you disturb such materials when tearing down walls, floors or roofing materials.
Lead-based paint is a cause of concern when dealing with an older home. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are especially susceptible to lead poisoning, which can lead to abdominal pain, fatigue, seizures and high blood pressure, among other ailments. The dangers occur when they ingest paint chips or dust containing lead embedded in walls or floors. Hence, it's important to get your homes tested for lead-based paints before remodeling and ensure safe removal.
Time to call the experts
While you've got some great DIY ideas for your remodeling, it might be time to call in the experts to take on your project. If you've bought a home built before the 1970s, it's best to assume that lead-based paint and asbestos is present and require safe removal and disposal. Analysis and testing should be done before the remodeling project — hence the need to hire asbestos removal contractors who can easily identify the presence of materials containing asbestos and guarantee safe removal.
Largely for peace of mind, make sure you have asbestos and lead-based paint tested to save you and your family from a lifetime of illness.