Asbestos was commonly used in construction during the second half of the 20th century due to its high tensile strength. The fibrous mineral was usually woven into other materials to reinforce the structural durability of buildings and act as a layer of insulation. Because of this, many homes and commercial properties in New Zealand likely contain asbestos.
Unfortunately, the material is now known to cause serious respiratory difficulties in high doses or over a prolonged period of time, making fixing asbestos contaminations a priority for Kiwi businesses and homeowners.
When finding a contractor to treat asbestos, consider the solution isn’t always as easy as simply removing the material - this could compromise the structural integrity of your property or lead to escalating costs. Instead, asbestos encapsulation is a reliable way of helping the problem and ensuring your health isn’t compromised in the long-term.
If you’re looking to fix an asbestos problem in your building, read on for Chemcare’s guide to asbestos encapsulation and how it works.
What is asbestos encapsulation?
While most people think removing the material is the most obvious way to deal with the problem, asbestos encapsulation is a safe alternative. This procedure involves treating the asbestos with a sealant that forms a protective layer between the material and indoor environment. This requires only minor structural alterations, and ensures wear-and-tear won’t cause microfibres to be released into the air.
It’s important to note that treating asbestos by applying a sealant should be done with the help of professionals - they will be able to analyse any materials present and make recommendations on the best method for fixing asbestos in your building. It’s also vital to note that you shouldn’t try to apply a sealant - such as paint - by yourself. While paint can seal asbestos fibres temporarily, flaking will ultimately increase asbestos deterioration over time.
Asbestos encapsulation requires a specialist team of experts working within New Zealand asbestos guidelines, using only approved sealants and other materials.
Why choose asbestos encapsulation over removal?
Asbestos isn’t dangerous if in good condition; it’s only once the material becomes damaged and its fibres are released into the air that the risk of respiratory problems such as lung cancer and mesothelioma begin to develop. While this is good news, it’s very unlikely that an older home or commercial property won’t be damaged over time through wear-and-tear. It’s also nearly impossible to perform any renovations or construction without damaging asbestos, meaning it’s better to treat the contamination before it becomes a health risk.
Significant structural damage requires you to remove the asbestos entirely. However, if the material is in good shape, encapsulation is an easier, safer, and more cost-effective solution.
Easier - Removing asbestos entirely can be a time-consuming project which may render your house unliveable or present significant downtime for your business. A simple encapsulation treatment would have the same safety result in less time.
Safer - If you’re renovating and discover a significant amount of asbestos in your roof, trying to replace the entire structure could be unnecessarily risky, both to builders and the integrity of your building. Asbestos encapsulation is a safer alternative to treating the problem.
Cost-effective - Complex asbestos-removal projects, especially for historical buildings, can significantly eat into your capital. Asbestos encapsulation is a far more cost-effective treatment, delivering a safer building environment without the need for expensive renovations.
How do I identify if my building has asbestos?
It can be difficult identifying whether the material is present in your building or not, and it’s normally left to experts in treating asbestos to assess your property’s risk. Here are some tips you should follow to identify where asbestos may be an issue and how to treat it:
Consult with designers, builders, or other parties that may have been involved in construction. See if there are any architectural plans mentioning the materials used, or look for past asbestos sampling or treatment certificates from professionals.
Take a sample from your building and send it for a professional check. While this may be fine in newer buildings, it’s risky in older structures as you may increase the rate of asbestos deterioration.
Seek the help of asbestos professionals to assess the state of your property. Chemcare experts have decades of experience in identifying and treating asbestos, and can recommend the right solution to ensure air quality isn’t compromised.
When can I get an asbestos encapsulation treatment started?
If you’re keen to start fixing any asbestos issues in your building, make seeing the Chemcare team your first priority. Our dedicated team will work with you to identify any problem areas and offer advice on the next steps you should take. You’re only one call away from discovering if asbestos encapsulation is right for your building, and reducing the health risks of asbestos deterioration for years to come - so pick up your phone today!
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