Asbestos Encapsulation

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What is asbestos encapsulation?

Asbestos encapsulation is a process which involves leaving the asbestos material in place and treating it with a flexible sealant that forms a protective layer between the material and the indoor environment.

This procedure ensures that any future wear and tear won’t cause any asbestos fibers to be released into the air.

Encapsulation of asbestos materials is normally done by trained contractors who have received the appropriate training on the handling of asbestos and who also hold a license.

Methods used to encapsulate asbestos vary depending on the type of material, but may involve a spray sealant, paint or boarding over the area.

Should I remove asbestos or encapsulate?

Most people think that asbestos must always be removed, but this isn’t always necessary if the asbestos material happens to be in good condition as it poses very little risk.

It is usually easier, safer and cheaper to leave asbestos that’s in good condition where it is and encapsulate it to prevent from any damage or wear and tear in the future.

However, if there is going to be extensive damage to a property caused through renovation, DIY or demolition, then the asbestos will have to be removed entirely BEFORE any structural work commences.

Removing asbestos is much more costly than encapsulation, but can’t be avoided in certain circumstances.

If in doubt on whether you need to remove asbestos or encapsulate it, then seek the advice of a professional who will be able to advise you on the best solution.

Remember that asbestos is only dangerous when it becomes damaged as that’s when the deadly fibers are released into the air that can cause asbestos diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma.

So encapsulation of asbestos materials will ensure that the asbestos remains in good condition and it cannot deteriorate over time.

asbestos encapsulation of ceilings and walls
asbestos encapsulation of ceilings and walls

How much does asbestos encapsulation cost?

Before you consider asbestos encapsulation, it is recommended that you get an asbestos surveyor to come and take a look at the suspected asbestos material to identify whether it is indeed asbestos or not.

This will usually involve them carrying out a full survey of the area, taking a sample and having it tested in a laboratory.

An asbestos surveyor will be able to correctly advise on the best way forward if the material does test positive for asbestos, which will all be dependent on the location and condition of the asbestos.

If asbestos encapsulation is advised as the best option, then you will be looking at around £8+ per square metre as opposed to £50+ per metre to remove the asbestos.

Are there any disadvantages to encapsulation?

Although the option to encapsulate asbestos is often the preferred solution for various reasons, unfortunately, it also has it’s drawbacks too.

For instance, it may be necessary to reapply the asbestos encapsulation substance after a few years to ensure the asbestos material underneath remains safe.

Another disadvantage of asbestos encapsulation is that if the asbestos material should be either deliberately disturbed through demolition or accidentally through drilling for instance, then it can’t prevent the asbestos fibers from spreading.


Did you find this article interesting?  Then check out our other interesting articles below.

Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their properties, carrying out an asbestos survey in their building so as not to put employees at risk.

So make sure you contact our Armco office to arrange asbestos testing or an asbestos survey, before it’s too late! 

Whether you need an asbestos management survey, or a refurbishment/ demolition survey, contact us on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/

Finally, for all your asbestos training needs call 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/to book an asbestos awareness training course.

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Published Sep 16, 2019
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