Why You Should Test For Asbestos Before Buying A House

Thinking of buying a new house? You might have found the perfect home for you and your family. It could be close to work and your children’s schools, in a great neighborhood, and within your budget. However, if it has asbestos, it might not be the perfect home for you. Here’s why you should get asbestos testing in Auckland done on a potential house in Auckland before you buy it.

About Asbestos

Due to its exceptional building and insulation properties, asbestos was used as a building material for many homes and buildings between the 1940s and 1980s. It’s a dangerous substance, which causes fatal illnesses to those who’ve been exposed to it, which is why it was banned in 1990. However, this could mean that if the house you want to buy was built before the year 1990, it will contain asbestos.

Where Can Asbestos Be Found?

Asbestos was used in various parts of the construction process to build a house – from the insulation in the roof, down to the vinyl flooring in the kitchen. It’s a natural substance, which means that it had to be mined out of the ground, but it was manufactured into whatever it was needed for – from concrete cladding to tile adhesive. Due to its natural properties, it made an effective material to build with that was affordable and fire retardant. If it weren’t for the health risks, asbestos would still be in use today!

Asbestos can be found in the following areas in a house – although it’s not uncommon to find it outside of here, too:

  •         Roof insulation
  •         Vinyl floor tiles and floor adhesives
  •         Pressed concrete ceilings
  •         Ceiling tiles with soundproofing properties
  •         Wall and concrete cladding
  •         Garages, fencing, and sheds
  •       Boiler insulation
  •       Furnace insulation
  •         Popcorn ceilings

What Happens If You Want To Buy A Property With Asbestos Present In It?

If you’ve found the house that you want to buy, you don’t want to make the purchase and then regret it. To be safe, it’s always recommended that a property you’re interested in is tested for asbestos by a licensed and experienced asbestos removal specialist in Auckland. The last thing you want to do is spend a fortune on a house that needs further, expensive, investment in a few years because you found the asbestos too late.

When you get an asbestos removal company to perform testing on your home, they should follow a strict testing protocol that’s enforced and regulated throughout the industry. They should survey the property, and inspect areas where asbestos would most likely be found in its construction. They should also take as many samples as possible so that the test results are conclusive. When the results come in, the current owner of the house will have a choice to make about having it removed – or not.

What Should A Seller Do If They Find Asbestos?

As a property owner, you want to have a clear conscience when you try to sell the property. There are two options available to you when you find asbestos. However, it depends on what kind of asbestos is found.

If the asbestos found is non-friable, it means that it’s still intact, and therefore, safe to live with. If the asbestos found is friable, it then poses a health and safety risk and needs to be removed immediately. As long as the non-friable asbestos is stipulated to prospective buyers, you can leave it alone and sell the house as it is.

However, what happens when the asbestos is exposed? Then you have two options. Either you get asbestos removal specialists in immediately to remove the asbestos before the house is sold, at your expense. Alternatively, you provide a significant discount to prospective buyers. The reason for this is because asbestos will reduce the value of a home, and a buyer won’t want to pay the full price if they need to invest more money into the house to remove the asbestos.

How Is Asbestos Testing Performed?

If you’re interested in buying a home, the first step you should take is to have it tested for asbestos. If you call an asbestos testing company in Auckland, they’ll be able to locate it in the most common areas that it can be found and identify it. Then, samples will be taken, and it will be tested.

There are a few methods used to test asbestos samples, and they should all be done by a professional. If you attempt to collect samples yourself, you could risk damaging the asbestos further. Spreading the fibres around more poses a bigger problem than you had before. An expert will take samples safely and responsibly before sending them away for testing.

Taking Samples For Testing

If the asbestos is airborne, air samples are taken. The most commonly used method for air testing is called Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM), which measures how concentrated the air sample is with asbestos fibres. This method is quick and affordable, but only provides an overall analysis of how many fibres and types are present in an air sample. If the fibres are too small to see, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) is used. The TEM method is sophisticated and is now used as the standard practice for all asbestos testing.

Asbestos testing companies will also inspect building materials, as well as the soil and water on the property, using variations of TEM, PCM, and Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) testing methods. The danger with asbestos comes from the airborne fibres, which means that air sample testing will be the most prevalent test performed, especially around areas in the house that could have been built with asbestos. However, asbestos dust can settle anywhere and everywhere – even on clothes, skin, animal fur, and furniture. That’s why soil and water samples are taken as well.


When it comes to asbestos in a home, you want to take the necessary precautions, so that you can keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe from contracting asbestos-related illnesses. For this reason, when you’re in the market to buy a new house, you should insist on getting the home tested by asbestos testing professionals in Auckland. Before you get buyer’s remorse, contact an asbestos testing and removal company in Auckland, to put your mind at ease.