If you live in a home that was built before the 1980s, there is a high likelihood that your walls may contain asbestos. Asbestos was once a popular choice for building materials, including wallpaper, due to its fire-resistant properties. However, it was later discovered that prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers can cause several dangerous ailments such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
In this article, we will discuss the steps needed to remove asbestos wallpaper from walls, ensuring resident safety and providing a safer living environment.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was often used in building materials for its strength, insulation, and heat-resistant properties. Asbestos fibers are beneficial for fireproofing and insulating purposes, making them popular in many construction products.
While asbestos was once a popular choice for building materials, it was discovered to be a health hazard. Asbestos fibers can release into the air when disturbed, and can cause several dangerous ailments such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Asbestos is often found in building materials from the 1980s or earlier.
As such, it is essential to be vigilant and cautious if you have an older home, especially if any renovations or repairs are needed.
Asbestos wallpaper is often difficult to identify, and it can be challenging to determine if a wall covering contains asbestos solely by its appearance. If the wallpaper was made or installed before the mid-1980s, it is highly likely to contain asbestos.
To check if the wallpaper contains asbestos, inspect the back of the wallpaper for the manufacturer's information. If the information is not available, contact an asbestos expert who can take a small sample for further testing.
Asbestos professionals are equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to safely remove and dispose of asbestos-containing materials.
Asbestos wallpaper removal is a hazardous undertaking that should be handled by experienced professionals only. As a homeowner, however, there are several steps you can take to ensure that you and your loved ones remain safe during the removal process.
Firstly, isolate the work area by sealing off any entrances, windows, or outlets leading to other parts of the house. This will prevent the spread of asbestos fibers throughout your home. Ensure that the work area is adequately ventilated by installing an air filtration unit.
Wear a full-face respirator designed to handle asbestos fibers, disposable coveralls, gloves, and protective eyewear. These protective items will protect you from inhaling asbestos fibers or coming into contact with them.
Lastly, establish a decontamination area where you can remove gear and shower before leaving the work area.
Asbestos removal should be executed by reputable asbestos removal experts to avoid contamination and remain safe. However, some homeowners opt to do it themselves, especially in small areas.
As the removal process is hazardous, it must be handled with the utmost care. Begin by wetting the wallpaper thoroughly with a water and detergent solution. Ensure that the backing is adequately saturated as well. This will prevent the asbestos fibers from becoming airborne.
Once the wallpaper has been thoroughly soaked, remove it by gently scraping it off the walls. Have a plastic bag nearby to place the wallpaper in as it is removed.
Once the wallpaper has been removed, use a HEPA (High-efficiency Particulate Arrestance) vacuum to clean the walls, ceilings, and other surfaces in the room. A HEPA vacuum is recommended because it will trap any asbestos fibers without releasing them back into the air.
After the surfaces have been thoroughly vacuumed, wash them again with a detergent solution. This helps ensure that any remaining asbestos fibers have been removed.
If, at any point during the removal process or after, you detect any asbestos fibers in the air, terminate the process immediately and contact asbestos removal experts.
After the asbestos wallpaper has been safely removed, it's time to repair the walls. Examine the walls to determine the level of damage.
If the plaster or drywall has been severely damaged or crumbling, it may need to be replaced entirely. It is crucial to have a professional inspect the walls and advise on the required repairs.
If the asbestos wallpaper has not caused severe harm to the walls, the repairing process should be relatively easy. Sand the walls gently to remove any remaining wallpaper paste or adhesive. Afterward, apply a skim coat of joint compound over the damaged areas, feathering the edges to blend with the surrounding plaster or drywall.
After the skim coat has dried, sand it lightly to smooth the surface before painting over it.
In summary, removing asbestos wallpaper is a tricky and hazardous process that should only be executed by expert asbestos removal professionals. When done correctly, removing asbestos wallpaper significantly improves the air quality in your home, protecting you and your loved ones from asbestos fibers that can cause severe illnesses such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
At Affordable Asbestos Removal Hampshire, we understand that asbestos removal can be a daunting task for many homeowners. That is why our expert team is on hand to guide you through the process and ensure your home environment is safe and free from asbestos.
If you suspect that your wallpaper contains asbestos or need help removing it safely, contact us at 01962 458066, and we will be happy to schedule an appointment to offer you expert advice. Alternatively, visit our website at affordable-asbestos-removal-hampshire.co.uk and check out our range of affordable asbestos removal services.