Name: What to do if you have asbestos
Description: Facts about asbestos - where it may be used and what to do if you find it

What to do if you have asbestos

Asbestos in Your Home

Asbestos can be found in any house or building built or refurbished before 2000 as it was widely used in a variety of building materials such as

  • asbestos cement products (pipes, flues, roofs etc)
  • lagging (on pipes and boilers etc)
  • water tanks and toilet cisterns
  • asbestos insulating board (AIB – which closely resembles typical plasterboard)
  • loose asbestos in ceiling and wall cavities
  • sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls and beams / columns
  • textured decorative coatings (commonly referred to as Artex)
  • floor tiles
  • textiles and composites

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced an interactive diagram which illustrates where asbestos may be found. The asbestos image gallery also provides real photographs of typical asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).

If asbestos materials are in good condition, and in a place where they are unlikely to be disturbed, then they should not cause any harm.

It is only when the materials are damaged or disturbed, so that fibres are released, that asbestos can become a danger.

If you think you may have asbestos in your home  

  • Do not try to repair or remove any asbestos materials yourself if you have not had any training for non-licensed asbestos work
  • It is often best to leave asbestos containing materials where they are – especially if they are in good condition and unlikely to get damaged. You should check the condition of the materials from time to time to make sure they haven't been damaged or started to deteriorate
  • Slightly damaged asbestos-containing materials can sometimes be repaired by sealing or enclosing them. However, you should only attempt to do this if you have had the necessary training
  • Badly-damaged asbestos material that is likely to become further damaged should be removed if it cannot be protected. Some materials (sprayed asbestos coatings, asbestos lagging / insulation or asbestos insulating board) should only be removed by a contractor licensed by HSE
  • If you are planning any DIY home improvements, repairs or maintenance – and intend to bring in builders maintenance workers or contractors – you should inform them of any asbestos materials in your home before they start work. This will help reduce the risks of any ACMs being disturbed. The use of trained professionals to repair or remove ACMs is strongly encouraged
  • If you choose to carry out DIY repairs or remove damaged asbestos materials yourself, make sure you wear the right protective equipment and follow safe working methods. For advice on doing this, see: Asbestos essentials task sheets
  • ACMs need to be legally disposed of as hazardous waste
  • The Council does not provide a service for the identification or removal of asbestos

How should I dispose of asbestos?

Do not put ACMs in your normal household waste.

Residents of the Borough can take asbestos waste to the Household Waste Depots at Old Rochester Way, Dartford Heath and Pepper Hill. There is a limit on the amount of asbestos waste that is accepted and it must be kept damp and double bagged or wrapped.  Wear protective gloves and a face mask when handling the waste and do not break or cut it. Further details can be found on the Kent County Council website.

For large quantities, or if you need someone to collect the asbestos, contact the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association for a company near you.

If you live in a council home and want more advice or information on asbestos in your home, please contact Housing Repairs on (01322 343800).

Further information

Asbestos image gallery
Where you can find asbestos in industrial and residential properties
Why is asbestos dangerous?
Licensable work with asbestos

Last Updated: 20th October 2020