Asbestos containing materials can still be found in residential properties. However for the most part, they are of the less dangerous asbestos cement type. Caution will still need to be exercised and where asbestos materials are suspected, further specialist inspection and advice may be necessary from a licensed asbestos removal contractor. It is common to find asbestos cement sheets being used for roofs and walls of garages, sheds and other outhouses. It will also be used on occasion for rainwater gutters/downpipes, for fascia/soffit boards and flues to old boilers. The material is often also used internally where some element of fire protection is deemed necessary, for example lining the doors of cupboards housing gas boilers or the underside of a staircase. Some older cold water storage tanks are made of asbestos cement also. The cement material normally binds the dangerous asbestos fibres together, thereby preventing them from being released. However where asbestos cement materials are cracked or damaged, dangerous fibres can be released and further specialist advice will be necessary. Artex type textured decorative finishes to walls and ceilings, if manufactured prior to 1980, may also contain small amounts of asbestos. For this reason, these finishes should not be sanded or disturbed. It is possible to post small samples (finger nail size) to suitable laboratories for testing, to confirm whether or not there is any asbestos content.
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