How to check for asbestos

Updated July 20, 2017

Taking samples of building materials to specialised laboratories for testing is the best way to kcheck for asbestos. The Asbestos Network website states, "Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) are two approved methods of analysis." Using a certified asbestos professional to collect samples from your building can protect you from direct contact with the potentially hazardous material.

Take a sample of insulation if the building was constructed between 1930 and 1950. During these years, insulation materials often contained asbestos.

Check artificial ashes and embers in a gas-fuelled fireplace.

Check vinyl flooring for asbestos. It also can be found in vinyl sheets and vinyl tiles.

Test coverings on water pipes in older houses. The pipes used to be covered with blankets or tape containing asbestos.


If the material that contains asbestos is not damaged or deteriorating, leave it alone. The material seldom releases asbestos fibres. Consider removal of the material if it is torn, deteriorating or damaged. Check the asbestos-filled material regularly for any damage or tears.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Face mask
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About the Author

Virginia Gaskin graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications. She has written articles for the Richmond Register newspaper and has also written articles and copy on websites since 1997.