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Asbestos: AIBU?

(12 Posts)
wigston Tue 18-Apr-17 16:26:34

I namechanged for this as don't want my DH to come across this post!

We've been in our house 9 years and have artex in the lounge. Our homebuyers' survey said we should get it tested if we were planning on doing any work on it because it could contain asbestos. It has never been tested but it is in quite good nick.

We also have an airing cupboard. Inside this (at the ceiling) is a piece of plasterboard with something that has been painted over it - not paint (too thick for that), but it looks a bit like artex, plaster or polyfilla. It is broken and rather crumbly. Someone made a hole in it to put some pipes through. Every now and then I find pieces of the plasterboard (which is grey) and the white stuff in the airing cupboard amongst our towels, bedding etc.

My friend recently had asbestos testing done on her house and they found some. Her house is a 1970s house so she wasn't surprised. Ours was built in the 1930s and this airing cupboard used to be a larder in the kitchen. I don't know when it was turned into an airing cupboard.

Our homebuyers' survey said no asbestos was visible in the house (with the caveat about the artex) but I don't know how closely they looked at this broken plasterboard. So I have started to worry about it. Today I called an asbestos sampling company (the same one my friend used) after emailing them photos. They said the plasterboard is plasterboard and won't contain asbestos but they are not sure about the coating on the top. I have arranged for them to come and take some samples to test, at a cost of £90 + VAT for the visit and first sample and then £20 + VAT for any other samples.

DH thinks I am worrying over nothing and has refused to contribute to the cost of this. I have said okay, because I am aware that I get quite anxious sometimes. However, I have also said that if they do find asbestos in the samples, I expect any remedial action to be paid jointly. I don't intend to do anything about the artex in the lounge (not immediately) because it is in good condition but I would want to sort the airing cupboard out. There is debris in all the nooks and crannies. If it's just plaster then I'm not bothered about it but if it is asbestos then I am.

DH refused to discuss this and after me explaining my reasons he eventually just hung up on me - I had called him at work, which was probably not the best idea, but once I get an idea in my head I can't get it out of my head!

I am now a bit concerned that if the samples come back positive and something needs to be done about the airing cupboard, it might cause a row because he doesn't think any work is necessary. But surely I am not being unreasonable to (a) want to get it fixed and (b) want us both to pay for any work that needs doing? I work part-time, he works full-time. For other house expenses we pay a proportionate amount depending on what we earn (I am self employed and earnings vary).

DancingLedge Tue 18-Apr-17 16:42:10

I think you've reached the point at which I would need to remind myself, hang on, one step at a time, cross your bridges when you come to them.

FanaticalFox Tue 18-Apr-17 16:46:04

You just plaster over artex, we had artex ceilings but we've had every room skimmed ceilings and walls so now all smooth, so i dont see why there would be asbestos in the artex and if there was its now sealed in anyway so I'm not worried. I would definitely agree with the above - calm down!! Get it tested then cross the next bridge as you come to it. Doesn't sound like it will be asbestos but at least you'll soon know and have peace of mind.

DancingLedge Tue 18-Apr-17 16:53:39

To be clear, I think you're absolutely right to get it tested.

I often plan ahead; there are plus points, but it does mean I can waste a lot of emotional energy on something that doesn't in the end happen as I feared it would.

wigston Tue 18-Apr-17 17:06:24

Thanks for the replies. I'm not really worried about the artex in the lounge as it's in good condition (I just figured I would get it sampled whilst the guy was there) - it's more the airing cupboard, where there is crumbly stuff.

I think what I'm worried about is the fact that (a) we've been using that dusty old cupboard for 8 years and (b) DH doesn't seem to agree that if there is asbestos in there it needs to be dealt with (that's the part I really can't understand, and if it's expensive I don't know how to broach that conversation). But yes, you are right, there may not be asbestos in there at all!

Wando1986 Tue 18-Apr-17 17:12:06

You can just coat it in PVA if it's creating any dust. The Asbestos company do that when they encapsulate it if it tests positive if you dont want to pay to remove it, and could do it for you for labour costs normally. Honestly the asbestos in artex and airing cupboards is zero risk unless you disturb it or it's not sealed.

It's the least scary of the asbestos types.

Wando1986 Tue 18-Apr-17 17:15:18

Fanaticalfox, most artex used to contain asbestos as standard before it was banned. That's why it's a major leverage point for reducing the buying price on houses that were 're-decorated' before the 80's. Also no, plaster doesn't 'seal it in'. If you had a leak or that plaster started to crumble or crack it would take the artex (and possible asbestos) with it on to your floors and furniture.

user1471558436 Tue 18-Apr-17 17:20:34

I think it's extreamly unlikely to be asbestos. You only need to discuss the matter again if it is. The company will give written reports and advice which you can follow.

It's a very very small area so cost wise wouldn't be too expensive to sort. We've had major revamp and quite a bit of asbestos removal. Cost 1.3k

wigston Tue 18-Apr-17 17:21:33

Thanks folks - unfortunately the artex/whatever it is in the airing cupboard is not sealed as someone made a big hole in it to put pipes in! So it's crumbling and peeling away. I've shut the cupboard door now and don't intend to open it until the man comes tomorrow. Been keeping DD's bedding in there; really worried now because I've only recently looked at it properly (I knew there was plasterboard in there, but didn't realise about the stuff on top of it!).

user1471558436 Tue 18-Apr-17 17:21:46

Our company told us that anything in tact was fine and not a danger - so your artex is fine.

user1471558436 Tue 18-Apr-17 17:24:19

There is nothing you can do right now. Try to be calm. You are thinking worst case

user1471558436 Tue 18-Apr-17 17:26:42

Also there are three different types of asbestos. The worst stuff is generally used in industrial places. Maybe read up on google

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