Tearing Up Old Lino? Call Us First

November 25, 2020

We have spoken a lot about the presence of asbestos in New Zealand homes, businesses and industrial buildings. It was used so widely and had so many applications and benefits (or so was thought at the time), that it remains a common material right throughout the country. It’s found in all sorts of places but, if left untouched, it doesn’t pose an immediate risk. We just need to be sensible in the way we treat it, and that’s what our range of asbestos services in Auckland and Waikato is all about.  

Asbestos is particularly common in walls, roofs and ceilings, with a lot of attention paid to the safe removal of asbestos in these areas. But did you know that asbestos was also used in different types of floor covering? This was particularly true in the 1960s, 1970s, and the 1980s.  

The most common use of asbestos was in the lining for vinyl sheets and floor tiles, which we commonly call “linoleum” or “lino”. The asbestos was added to make the lino a more durable flooring surface, particularly in high traffic areas. Unfortunately, it is highly concentrated when used in lino e.g. the lining is 100% chrysotile asbestos. 

With many people now renovating their own homes and looking to replace old-fashioned lino with more fashionable flooring surfaces, the issue of dealing with asbestos lino is becoming a big one. Many people see ripping up lino as an easy (and fun) thing that they can do themselves. However, in all their excitement they can forget that the lino may contain asbestos, and in the process of ripping it up, they may release asbestos fibres into the air and breathe them in.  

Caution should also be applied when tearing up old carpet, as the underlay might also contain asbestos. But, as we repeatedly say, there should be no panic if you’re renovating a home and want to get rid of the old lino or carpet. If left as it is, it is highly unlikely to be dangerous. The most sensible and prudent approach to take if you want to dispose of it is to call us first. We can arrange for testing, or for removal by fully licenced professionals. While ripping up old lino or carpet is a very easy thing to do, it becomes a bit of a problem if asbestos is present. So play it safe and let us handle it