On many homes throughout New Zealand you will find fibre cement soffits.
Many of these types of fibre cement soffits contain asbestos.
To be safe, we always recommend having them tested by a qualified asbestos sampler/testing company like Hazmat. (Find our link here on testing.)
There are an alarming amount of poorly maintained asbestos soffit homes in NZ and the problem is not going away…in fact it is getting worse as people neglect the maintenance of soffits.
So why was Asbestos soffits used on so many homes in NZ.
1. It was mass produced in several manufacturing plants in NZ and hence very cheap.
2. It was lightweight and very strong thanks to the asbestos fibres high tensile strength.
3. It was easy to cut and remodel on site and extremely versatile.
4. It requires very little preparation and was sometimes left unpainted.
5. If Painting was preferred there is very little preparation to be done prior.
6. Asbestos Fibre cement board was considered to have fire protection qualities
7. It was also used as an interior ceiling product on carports, garages, sheds and porches and even as packing.
These soffits, if kept in well maintained and sound condition are fine to be left in place undisturbed.
There are a number of reasons to have it removed
1. If paint is flaking from lack of maintenance
2. Breakage or cracking from general wear or tear
3. Earthquake damage
4. Water leaks leading to discolouration and damage
5. Rodent or bird damage
6. Renovation or Demolition
Types of Asbestos found in Asbestos soffits
In most cases white Chrysotile Asbestos may be found in these types of boards circa late eighties and earlier, however we have also found the more harmful Ampibole asbestos being Brown asbestos (Amosite) and also Blue asbestos (Crocidolite) in earlier examples.
For advice and testing in greater Wellington or Canterbury contact Hazmat here.