What does asbestos look like?

asbestos roof

What does asbestos look like is a question often asked in the construction business.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always obvious.

Asbestos is a mineral that was mixed with many other components to produce a variety of building materials. Therefore, you are most likely to find an asbestos-containing material rather than asbestos in its pure form. The three main colours of asbestos are white, brown and blue however you can’t always tell exactly what you have found as it usually mixed with other ingredients.


Large amounts of asbestos were used in new and refurbished buildings before it was completely banned in the year 2000.

Materials most likely to contain asbestos can be found inside and outside buildings, including:

  • Floor & ceiling tiles
  • Asbestos cement roofs
  • Old style fuse boxes and backing boards
  • Insulation boards
  • Gaskets and pipe insulation
  • Soffit and fascia boards
  • Textured coatings such as Artex
  • Loft insulation

Those most likely to come across asbestos-containing products work in the construction and maintenance trades. However, many homeowners can come into contact with it whilst carrying out refurbishments.

Why is it a problem?

Disturbing any asbestos-containing material can release invisible fibres which can be breathed in and cause lung diseases. For example, Asbestos loose fill insulation is common in lofts, and if discovered should not be disturbed under any circumstances. This type of insulation was also used to insulate floors and wall cavities in both domestic and commercial buildings. It is made from 100% asbestos fibres, therefore it becomes airborne very easily, even after minor disturbance.

What to do if you uncover materials that you think may contain asbestos?

  • Stop work immediately
  • Keep everyone out of the area
  • Inform all personnel and erect a sign advising ‘possible asbestos contamination’
  • Contact an HSE approved Asbestos removal company such as WeldLag as soon as possible

The only definitive way to determine if asbestos is present is to take a sample and have it analysed in an accredited laboratory.

WeldLag has a team of highly qualified, experienced specialists and surveyors who have been fully trained to do so. Confirmation as to whether any samples taken during surveys contain asbestos or not is then independently provided by a UKAS Accredited Laboratory.

Where asbestos is identified, we can work with you to ensure that it is safely encapsulated, managed or removed and disposed of in full compliance with the current and relevant health and safety and asbestos regulations.

Our asbestos survey reports are designed to be user-friendly and include information on the location and condition of asbestos materials. We can also provide you with a management plan to ensure that your project isn’t unduly delayed by the discovery of asbestos.

Contact WeldLag today on 01779 981239 or  enquiries@weldlag.co.uk