Do you recognise these patterns?
Artex, Marblecoat, Newtex, Pebblecoat were some of the trade names for what we, in the industry refer, to as a ‘textured coating’. These asbestos products were applied internally and externally to properties up until around 1984. They have also been used since that date but without the use of asbestos.
Generally applied in a decorative pattern, within domestic and commercial property, it was a versatile product. The asbestos would be present as a binding strengthening material within the textured coating with varying amounts up to 3%.
It is one of the products that historically has caused problems for testing laboratories in two areas. Firstly the sample(s) collected may not always be representative of the coating in situ. Textured coatings often came on site in powder form and were mixed on site. Depending on the mix the content of asbestos could vary across the product and samples may be collected in areas where the product contained less asbestos; this could result in the laboratory not picking up the fibres presence due to the low frequency of the fibre in the sample.
This appears to be a problem in sampling textured coatings around the edge of a ceiling or around light fittings, where decorators may have ‘washed’ out their brush to provide a cleaner line finish.
The second problem was the relative experience of the laboratory analysts and the sensitivity of equipment. As the fibres were present in ‘micron’ sizes they could be more easily missed than other asbestos products. However this appears to be less of a problem today. Experienced surveyors sampling these types of products should be aware of these issues and sample accordingly, with enough samples to compensate. As a company the latest we have found asbestos present in textured coatings in a property is 1985.
Most manufacturers stopped the use of asbestos (generally Chrysotile ‘white’ asbestos) within their products around 1983. There can be no guarantee however that other textured coating products were not left over from that time or imported from other countries. The only safe approach is to have the material tested. All asbestos use was banned in the UK in August 1999.
This type of product is generally considered ‘low risk’. However, particularly in the home, sanding or drilling the material can give rise to fibre release which may also be in a more confined space. Any exposure to asbestos fibre should be avoided, particularly in enclosed or confined spaces. It Is important that anyone working on this type of material is suitably trained or licensed. R B Asbestos Consultants provide asbestos testing for samples.
If you need advice about textured asbestos coatings or indeed any type of asbestos product call us on 0800 141 2676.