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Products containing asbestos were widely used in home building and renovations until the mid 1980s. One of the most common products was bonded asbestos sheeting, or fibro, which was used for external wall cladding, eave linings, roofing and many other applications.

The presence of asbestos in building materials can only be determined by scientific testing or professional assessment. If asbestos cement products are in sound condition and are not disturbed they do not pose a significant health risk. Removal of large areas of asbestos products should be undertaken by a professional. Current cost for removal of asbestos wall sheeting on an average home is approximately $3500-$4000.

Bonded asbestos home exteriors can easily be fully enclosed with many types of external wall cladding such as vinyl weatherboards or Slimbrick systems. This prevents the fibro sheeting becoming damaged and releasing harmful fibres as it ages. Most homes with fibro exteriors have little insulation so an external cladding system is ideal for improving the thermal efficiency of the home. Maintenance is also reduced with the installation of a cladding system which requires no painting.

Fibre cement sheets manufactured today contain no asbestos and are still widely used in the building industry.

For further useful information about asbestos in the home renovation industry, see www.thinkasbestos.com.au. The site also has useful links to government and building authority websites where regulations and cautions are outlined in more detail.

© Cladding Advisory Service 2010
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