What is Asbestos Sprayed Coating?

Asbestos sprayed coating is one of the easiest forms of asbestos to detect; this is asbestos that has been sprayed onto or into certain places and is highly visible.

The asbestos could be sprayed onto steelwork such as piping or ceiling insulation, usually in an effort to prevent the build-up of moisture. It is also one of the most dangerous forms of asbestos as it could be sitting in plain sight or behind panels.

If you suspect your pipework or other materials are covered in the sprayed coating, don’t approach it. Instead, contact qualified asbestos experts for advice. 

What does Asbestos Sprayed Coating look like?

It often appears to look like a lumpy white/grey concrete-like substance, visibly sprayed onto certain surfaces. It may be intact, covering the majority of the area, or it could have frayed over time and may be falling off in clumps.

This is when it’s most dangerous, as the microscopic fibres may already be airborne. Walking around near it could disturb the material further, as some of it will also be on the ground. Always avoid sprayed coating asbestos if you recognise it – and consider calling the experts for removal. 

When was Asbestos Sprayed Coating used?

At the turn of the millennium, asbestos was made officially illegal, so it has not been used since as a sprayed coating. However, it was used extensively throughout the 20th century. This includes the 1970s - a time when many UK homes were built.

The use of asbestos declined during the 1980s as more information about the risks it posed came to light. But a significant amount of asbestos had already been used.

Today asbestos still exists in this form - and in high amounts. This means it can still be found in buildings which were constructed or renovated prior to the 1980s – this represents a great many of them. 

Why was Asbestos Sprayed Coating used?

Asbestos was used in many building projects throughout the UK and in lots of different ways, which has made it challenging to track down to this day. For a long time, asbestos was referred to as the 'magic material’ by many in the construction trade. As a result, it was used liberally and in high volumes.

Asbestos sprayed coating is a highly effective form of insulation; that’s why it was used on piping and other industrial materials – it kept the area dry and well maintained. It was also inexpensive and simple to use/produce, leading to its continued usage - at least until the health risk was discovered. 

How to take a sample of Asbestos Sprayed Coating

Our asbestos testing kits come with full instructions and personal protective equipment. This way, you’ll be able to take a sample safely. But if you need some support or would like us to walk you through the process, we’d be happy to do so.

Once your sample has been retrieved, you can send it to us for testing. We’ll aim to test it on the same day we receive it, to not keep you waiting. We’ll contact you soon after with the results.

If your sample tests positive for asbestos, we’ll advise you of what your next steps should be. Of course, what you do next is your choice, but we’ll make sure you know how to arrange for the safe removal of the asbestos.

Sprayed coating that is already in poor condition – and clearly is asbestos, should not be approached. Instead, removal should be arranged instead. This may be a safer option than using a testing kit.

Is Asbestos Sprayed Coating dangerous?

Asbestos sprayed coating is only dangerous when the material is disturbed and the asbestos particles escape into the air. This is why it’s so important to avoid it if the material is visibly frayed or patchy. Once this happens, the particles can be inhaled and cause a range of nasty respiratory disorders over time. This includes lung cancer.

Asbestos sprayed coating that is in good condition and undisturbed poses little risk. But a lot of it is not in good condition and should be avoided. If you suspect an area is covered in asbestos sprayed coating, you can find out for sure by using one of our asbestos testing kits. 

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The content on this page/article was last updated on the 5th December 2023 by our team and was reviewed and fact checked by William Wright, DipNEBOSH on the 5th December 2023.

William is a qualified health & safety consultant who holds NEBOSH & IOSH certifications.

Asbestos Testing Kits

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