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Asbestos and How to survive a dusty kitchen renovation?

It doesn’t matter whether it is big or small, a kitchen is always the center of every home. It’s a place for all family members to gather and share everything. It’s where food experiments are carried out; it’s where many culinary adventures occur.

Renovation roulette: The preparation

The desire to have a more beautiful and comfortable kitchen sometimes tempts you to have your kitchen renovated. But do you know that renovating your kitchen, without doing some checking, may cause serious risks to you and your family?

You must be wondering what can be so dangerous about renovating your kitchen?

Well, the fact shows that kitchen can be one of the sources of your health problem. Based on the publication of, houses built before 1990 are likely to contain notorious fibrous cement materials, particularly in the eaves, walls, ceilings (especially in wet places such as bathrooms and laundries) and also fences.

To raise your awareness on these harmful fibres at home, check the links below:
Location of Dangerous Fibre in Residential Buildings
Department of Health

Although several areas in a kitchen may contain this dangerous material, you are still safe. No harm can affect your health.

How so?

Only when it’s damaged and deteriorated, will the friability of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) increase. Any continual vibration, water damage, ageing, and physical effect, for example, grinding, drilling, cutting, buffing, sawing, or striking can separate the materials making fibre discharge more probable.

Where are they hiding?

Here are the places where you can find asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in your kitchen:

  • Walls
  • Splashbacks
  • Ceilings
  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Backing of vinyl sheet flooring
  • Underlay sheeting ceramic tiles

Thinking of doing some inspection yourself? It’s too bad. You cannot detect these harmful fibres with naked eyes. Why are they not visible to the eye? It is simply because generally ACMs are too small in size. So, expecting to see them without any tools is nearly impossible. You will need an assessor to detect these dangerous materials for some testing.

Identifying ACMs in your kitchen

1. Wall

To be 100% sure that your wall contains this dangerous fibre is by having it tested. The material needs to be taken to a NATA accredited lab. Samples will be taken to the lab and qualified personnel will put them under a microscope to identify the dangerous material. They will deliver a report that will help you to know whether your kitchen is free from ACMs.

To check, you can go to your kitchen and do a quick inspection.

  • Do you find lines of a repair patch inserted?
  • Do you see any cover straps over the joins?
  • Do you identify any chair rail or picture rail separating the lower wall from the upper sections?
  • Do you see any moldings in the corner?

2. Splashbacks

As wet area is a dominant location for this dangerous fibre, make sure you check the splashbacks behind your sink. It can be where the material you are looking for is hiding. Another place to check will be cement sheet behind splashback. In most cases, a splashback of this sort is only Lamipanel and it doesn’t contain fibre. If it is Tilux, then it contains harmful fibres.

3. Ceilings

There is a possibility that ceiling contains this deadly fibrous cement sheet. If there are cover straps, then it could be the harmful fibrous cement. The patches and vent covers may also be shaped from molded ACM cement.

4. Vinyl Floor Tiles and Backing of Vinyl Sheet Flooring

Have a look at floor coverings there. Check if your old covering was directly under the new one. There could be a dangerous fibrous cement sheet or other products between the layers of vinyl.

On another occasion, you may have your old floor coverings loose in the bottom of a shelving lining or cupboard.

Maybe you can check the backing of vinyl tiles or sheet. The backing usually has paper or black adhesive that glue the items to the floor. Sometimes vinyl sheet flooring has a friable deadly fibrous product at the back, and it is potentially very hazardous because this harmful fibre is likely to become airborne quite easily.

5. Underlay

Floor coverings or underlay containing toxic fibrous material are generally located in areas that are wet like kitchens, bathroom, etc.

clear asbestos removal Melbourne - identifying


  • Tilux is an ACM cement sheet with a coating plastic that is quite thin. Commonly, it is not shiny.
  • Lamipanel is a timber material that is laminated. Mostly, it is shiny and more like a huge sheet of plastic.
  • Friable is a material that can be crumbled, pulverised, or reduced to powder by hand when it is dry.
  • Non-friable is or bonded ACM is harmful fibrous materials are bond firmly in a matrix of the material.

DIY for Renovating

A renovating project often involves demolition, removal, disposal and installment of kitchen cabinetry and bench tops. Removal activities often include removing and replacing of wall sheeting and floor covering.

Although DIY is popular these days, you still have to consider the regulations. Think first before you rip all your walls or floor coverings as they may contain dangerous fibre. A wrong action will cause serious health dangers.

The regulations in Victoria allow homeowners to do asbestos removal themselves. An unlicensed individual is authorised to remove non-friable ACM materials only if the materials are less than 10m2 and the total time of the process is not more than one hour per 7 days. However, if your renovation project is large, you are required to do an audit and inform the Victoria Work safe Authority.

If you plan to manage ACM at your house, here are the preventive measures:

  • Cover all the air ventilation for preventing any respirable fibres from dispersing out of the contaminated area.
  • Use P3 grade Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). You will need some kits, such as goggles, gloves, overall suit, respirator, shoe covering, plastic bags (it has to be thick), and other supporting tools.
  • Moisten the ACM that is planned to be removed. Water will help the fibre from being floating on air and momentarily bonded to the material.
  • Use a double-layered plastic bag to wrap the ACM, seal it, and collect it carefully.

Renovate your kitchen safely

Clear Asbestos Removal Melbourne will help you in getting in touch with trusted B-class removalists in Melbourne and neighbouring areas. They are trusted members who have been carefully selected to perform safe asbestos removal and testing jobs. Our endorsed contractors have qualified expertise in handling asbestos removal and testing projects for residential, commercial or industrial premises at a value cost. The prices offered are based on the treatments required.

Each ACM issue is different, thus, requires special treatment, such as:

  • Demolition
  • Emergency repair
  • Asbestos air monitoring
  • Asbestos soil remediation
  • Consultant

However, the members of our endorsed removalists are generally focusing on these following services:

  • Asbestos removal in Melbourne
  • Asbestos testing
  • Asbestos management plan
  • Roof removal

Don’t hesitate to contact our endorsed removalists to help you with asbestos removal and testing in your kitchen. Our members will provide a good control plan and an asbestos register that will help you listing ACMs in your house. Why risking yourself? Get a safe asbestos removal and testing by contacting our members today.

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