Tinsel, Trees and Textured Asbestos Coatings

With Christmas fast approaching, it is time to get the decorations up and the halls and walls decked with holly. It may also be a good idea to find out what you are pinning them to.

Does that textured ceiling you are about to pin your Christmas decorations contain asbestos?

What Was It Used For?

Asbestos textured ceilings are commonplace in a huge range of residential and commercial properties. Gaining height of popularity in the 1970’s and 1980’s the decorative coatings became a firm favourite. It was excellent for covering cracks and disguising imperfections. Coatings were used extensively during this period in council houses and private residences as well as office areas.

What Does It Look Like?

Textured coatings are displayed in a wide variety of different patterns and textures. They were most commonly applied in a stipple finish or swirls. The patterns can often be found in any design depending on how the coating was applied.

What They Contain

These coatings often contained anywhere from 3 to 5% chrysotile asbestos. Whilst non-asbestos versions were available from the 1970’s, some products added chrysotile up until 1984. Most are familiar with ‘Artex’ but other common names for textured coatings include Wondertex, Sure Tex, New Tex, Pebblecoat and Marble Coat.

Do They Pose A Risk?

Textured Coatings containing asbestos are considered low risk if they are in good condition and are to remain in situ. However, if they are in bad condition, for example flaking or water damaged, the matrix binding the fibres may be damaged, and therefore will need to removed. Textured coatings also need to removed prior to refurbishment work. Sanding down or scraping off coatings without proper precautions can release fibres in to the air and present a risk to health. Other asbestos products that were used to form ceilings include asbestos insulation board (AIB) and asbestos cement.

What To Do Next

It is impossible to tell if your textured wall covering or ceiling contains asbestos, without taking a small sample from the area and sending off to a licensed laboratory for testing. Every effort will be taken by your asbestos surveyor to ensure minimal disturbance and inconvenience to you, during the sampling process.

If you are decorating your place of work, your employer should, by law, have an asbestos survey for the premises. Consult this to ensure it is safe, before you begin pinning up the tinsel.

Make sure you know what your ceilings are walls are made from, before attaching your Christmas decorations to them. EMS are here to advise you on your textured ceiling. Please contact us for further details, we are happy to help.

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