Is it legal to Install Cladding Over Fibro ?
Many homeowners ask if they can install cladding over fibro and is it legal to install a new product directly over the top of the existing fibro or asbestos. The manufacturing and production of asbestos products are completely banned in Australia today because of the severe health hazard it poses. Although it takes inspection by certified professionals to identify whether asbestos grade material is present in your fibro cladding, chances are asbestos is present because it was one of the primary constituent. Now in Australia it’s completely illegal to remove or replace the existing Fibro cladding by yourself.
In Victoria, no law prohibits the installation of new cladding over asbestos for residential homes. As each scenario can vary, you need to consult with your local authority to be aware of the law in your state. Also, it requires proper training to handle and work with asbestos because asbestos particles can get into your lungs through the air if not handled properly. Some homeowners might prefer to have the existing asbestos sheet removed before a new cladding installation while others may seek the cost-effective option of just cladding over the asbestos if possible. The ability to clad over the asbestos will depend on its current condition. More can be read below regarding condition and installation.
In NSW, on the other hand, it is illegal to install cladding over any exterior material that contains asbestos. To comply with the NSW regulation, all previous asbestos material must be professionally removed and disposed of by a licensed asbestos removalist. You can find further information on the EPA NSW Website and the Safework NSW Website.
In the event that Asbestos will be removed by a licensed asbestos removalist prior to the installation of a new cladding product, it must be noted that asbestos cannot be disposed anywhere but only at government approved site.
The History of Asbestos & Fibro Cladding
WW2 had its ill effects on the construction sector in Australia. The scarcity of building materials led the Australian construction sector to readily opt for Fibre reinforced cement products, also known as Fibro that was invented by Ludwig Hatschek, an Austrian national. These products contained a mixture of cement and a low percentage of asbestos among other things.
In Australia, James Hardie worked on the technology of Fibro development and production. He along with his company processed Fibro sheets that were used for wall cladding and roofing and were highly suitable for Australian weather conditions. Fibro could be easily manufactured on a large scale to meet the rising demands of Australian homeowners. Its durability, lightweight and low cost made it a popular choice for wall cladding and roof sheeting.
However, in the mid-1900’s Fibro that was circulated and sold in Australia was an amalgamation of cement, sand, water and asbestos fibres. At present, the asbestos was replaced with cellulose fibres created from Radiata Pine trees. As we all know any Asbestos particles are severely bad for our health; so in 2003 the Australian Government banned Asbestos in all its forms. Unfortunately, most of the buildings that were built in the mid-1900’s have Asbestos in them. The remedy was found with the introduction of new more efficient cladding products such as vinyl weatherboards.
The Australian Government has more information available on the Asbestos Safety Website.
What is Fibro and Asbestos?
Fibro is a material that is used for cladding in homes and offices. It is composed of cellulose fibre, water, sand, cement as well as other approved chemicals. It is highly resistant to fire, water, moss and can withstand threats posed by termites. It’s lightweight in nature, but highly durable. Its thermal property helps to keep homes cool on hot days. At present no traces of asbestos could be found in Fibro because cellulose fibre from trees has replaced asbestos fibres.
Asbestos is a silicate mineral that occurs naturally in our planet. It can be developed into asbestos sheets that are used in buildings. Although there are a lot of good qualities in asbestos namely durability, flexibility, low manufacturing cost, easy maintenance; worst aspect is that asbestos dust cause Mesothelioma, a type of cancer that affects the lungs. This is the reason asbestos is banned in all of its forms in Australia and in several other countries around the world.
Installation of Vinyl Cladding Over Existing Fibro
For Victorian homes cladding over existing fibro is more cost effective than removing the entire asbestos lining or painting it periodically over time. A new cladding installation or recladding project should be carried out only when the asbestos is in good condition.
ProSide Select’s special installation process ensures their is no cutting or breaking of the asbestos sheet, and no dust or debris is created as the vinyl cladding will be screwed into the fibro sheet. This process does not create any harmful dust. Unfortunately the process of cladding over fibro cannot be undertaken in NSW due to rules and regulations. For other States please check with EPA and SafeWork on what the State regulation is. ProSide Select is a professional cladding installer in Victoria who is experienced at cladding over fibro and the removal of fibro and asbestos catering for both installation scenarios.
Certain areas of the home may need to be battened out prior to the installation of new pvc weatherboards. Only certified and trained professionals should carry out the cladding over fibro process with all the modern equipment. Vinyl cladding adds new life to the existing fibro cladding because it protects the fibro cladding from direct sunlight, rain and storm. The insulating properties of Vinyl cladding help to keep the house cooler. One of the most important properties of a Vinyl cladding is its style, look and feel. It comes in different texture and various colors. It’s lightweight in nature and thus does not overweight the framework of the house yet provides optimum protection as well as adding value to your property at a low price.
Professionally Removing Fibro before installation:
Removal of fibro sheets can cost the average Victorian homeowner around $4000 for the professional removal and disposal. Although it is an expensive procedure, it offers you a safe environment because the asbestos is removed altogether from your property.
ProSide Select can assist you with the removal of old asbestos sheeting or cladding as a part of your recladding project.
You should always hire a government certified professional or company to carry out the asbestos cement sheets removal procedure. Sometimes a special glue needs to be sprayed on the asbestos sheeting to keep it in a stable state. This glue needs to dry before the removal process begins. Contamination must be avoided at all cost.