Dealing with asbestos

Asbestos is a material that was once used in buildings. It’s not harmful if it’s left alone. If asbestos becomes damaged or worn, licensed specialists should remove it so you do not breathe its fibres in.

How to know if there's asbestos in your home

Asbestos was banned in 1999. Any homes built after this will not contain asbestos.

Asbestos could still be in materials found in homes built between the 1950s and mid-1980s, including:

  • roof and floor tiles

  • wall panels

  • insulation panels in storage heaters

  • packing between floors and partition walls

  • cement fireplace surrounds and central heating flues

  • garage and shed roofs

  • gutters and drain pipes

  • textured paint and plastering

  • fuse boxes

You cannot tell if something is made of asbestos by looking at it. If something you think is made of asbestos becomes damaged or worn, an asbestos specialist should inspect it.

Dealing with asbestos

Unless it’s worn or damaged, asbestos should be left alone.

Do not try to remove asbestos yourself. This could release its fibres into the air.

If you rent your home

Your landlord is responsible for dealing with unsafe asbestos.

Follow our guidance on:

If you own your home

You can seal in asbestos with paint. This will prevent any fibres from escaping. Use emulsion paint on insulating boards and an alkali-resistant primer or coating on asbestos cement.

Do not disturb asbestos if you’re doing home improvements, and tell any workpeople if asbestos is present.

Finding an asbestos removal specialist

If asbestos fibres in your home are escaping, the materials must be removed safely.

Anyone you hire should be licensed to work with asbestos by the Health and Safety Executive.

Find an asbestos removal specialist

Last updated: 29 June 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England