Asbestos in Artex ceiling

Hi everyone
So...I have a 1930's semi detatched, needs a lot of modernising, a lot more than i realised when i bought it 5 years ago.
One of the downstairs rooms which i have started renovating, has a very old tatty artex ceiling which I planned to overboard.
I started this job 2 years ago but then other more urgent things cropped up in the house which took priority. When I decided to overboard it 2 years ago, I had the floorboards up in the room above, sussing out the electrics and water pipes etc, In a moment of extreme naivety and stupidity I thought it a good idea to push a screwdriver through the ceiling from above along the joists so I could mark out the joists positions and see where to screw the boards, which resulted in small pieces of the artex flaking off.
At the time i did this, I was pretty clueless about the chances of it containing asbestos, so since realising this I've had a few panic attacks about what I've done, and that I've put mine and my family's health at risk!
So I sent some samples off to be tested and its come back positive for Chrysotile!
I've spent the last 3 days frantically searching for advice on what to do next, and what I've read is so conflicting, ranging from, my grandad used to chew asbestos pipes on his lunch break and its harmless, to you're screwed and you need to bulldoze your house!! Slight exaggerations there but you get my point.
So I desperately need some advice on my next step, I still want to overboard it but is that even possible without further exposure to the asbestos (I was gonna batten it first as its pretty uneven) surely screwing into it will set more fibres loose?
Can I dampen it in patches where the screws will go? will that contain it?

Any advice very gratefully recieved!
Thanks.

Comments

  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,465
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    edited 12 January at 7:36PM
    Brizzol said:

    I've spent the last 3 days frantically searching for advice on what to do next, and what I've read is so conflicting, ranging from, my grandad used to chew asbestos pipes on his lunch break and its harmless, to you're screwed and you need to bulldoze your house!! Slight exaggerations there but you get my point.
    So I desperately need some advice on my next step, I still want to overboard it but is that even possible without further exposure to the asbestos (I was gonna batten it first as its pretty uneven) surely screwing into it will set more fibres loose?
    Can I dampen it in patches where the screws will go? will that contain it?

    Any advice very gratefully recieved!


    I'm not a fan of covering asbestos-containing artex over, it just leaves the problem for someone else to discover without any warning.  If this is a house you'll be living in for a while and doing further work on then the one with the problem may be you at a later date.

    I would get some quotes from reputable asbestos removal companies for removal of the artex with or without the plasterboard/lath.  Check with your local council to see whether they have a list of 'approved' asbestos removal companies as there are a lot of cowboys out there.

    You may be pleasantly surprised how little they charge.

    If not, and you feel Ok doing the work yourself, then read up on the HSE website about safe methods of work for the different options.

    If the existing ceilings are original then give serious thought to pulling them out rather than just overboarding.  After nearly 100 years the fixings may be end of life - the overboarding should be fixed to the joists not the existing ceiling material.  So also consider the risk of puting a nail/screw through a pipe or wire in the void above the ceiling - which you won't be able to see if you are just overboarding rather than doing a full ceiling replacement.

    Edit: ignore suggestions that any form of asbestos is 'safe'. They tend to be made by people who don't understand the risk.  The truth is there are different risks involved with different types of asbestos-containing materials and with different operations.  None of them are "safe".
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,224
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    Section62 said: If the existing ceilings are original then give serious thought to pulling them out rather than just overboarding.  After nearly 100 years the fixings may be end of life - the overboarding should be fixed to the joists not the existing ceiling material.  So also consider the risk of puting a nail/screw through a pipe or wire in the void above the ceiling - which you won't be able to see if you are just overboarding rather than doing a full ceiling replacement.
    Also have a similar age property (late 1920s build), and have pulled some ceilings down and replastered. Despite the mess it produces, it is my favoured option. Some of the nails holding the laths in place had rusted away, and it was just wishful thinking holding them in place. In other areas, the nibs had become detached, and there was (and still is) a real risk that large chunks of plaster will fall down.
    Taking the ceilings down gives you opportunity to check on the state of wiring & plumbing and make any changes relatively easily. You also end up with a big pile of very dry sticks that make excellent kindling.
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  • Brizzol
    Brizzol Posts: 2
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    Thanks for the replies Section62/Freebear.
    I made a few phone calls when i became aware of the asbestos issue, and while i didnt get an offical quote, I was given a quote based on the measurements i gave over the phone and £1500 seems to be the figure I'd be looking at!
    I'm still weighing up my options but at this stage im leaning towards overboarding still.
    I have the joists already marked out on the ceiling so would only be securing into them, also as I've had the floor up in the room above i know where any pipes/cables are running.
    For any future projects I will be better prepared I will look into having ceilings removed, this project has caught me on the backfoot a bit so time and finance arnt gonna allow the added time/cost of removal.
    Thanks again.
  • mexican_dave
    mexican_dave Posts: 231
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    Here is a link to Health & Safety Executive https://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/index.htm
    I believe you can overboard safely if you follow the advice, but if you intend to strip the asbestos containg material, then reckon that's for the professionals!
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,231
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    The act of poking a single hole with a screwdriver is highly unlikely to have caused a health risk so stop worrying about that aspect of it.
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