Renovation Safety: A Guide to Asbestos

When a home was built between the years of 1920 in 1980, it would often contain asbestos as one of the building materials. If you live in a home that was manufactured during that time, any type of renovation work should be done very carefully as asbestos can be dangerous if treated incorrectly. In particular, the activity of asbestos removal can be fraught with danger.

Types of Asbestos

Many people don't realize that there are two different types of building materials made from asbestos. They are typically labeled as either being friable or non-friable. When building material contains asbestos, it is considered to be nonfriable asbestos. Of course, that wouldn't include friable asbestos. When nonfriable asbestos is dry, you cannot crumble or reduce the asbestos to a powder when using hand pressure on its own. Nonfriable asbestos was used in building for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons include cement sheets made from compressed or corrugated asbestos, in use with drainage, water, and flue pipes and it was also used in floor tiles as well. When the nonfriable asbestos material is damaged due to hail, fire, drilling or even water blasting, it could turn into friable asbestos. When asbestos is found inside of the material and is able to be crumbled or reduced to a powder with hand pressure when it is dry, it is considered friable asbestos material. This is also true if it is included in the building material as a powder. Most homes did not use friable asbestos. For the most part, it was used commercially in industrial areas, such as asbestos rope and cloth, sprayed limpet and pipe insulation. When friable asbestos exists in a home or business, only a licensed asbestos removal professional is able to handle the issue. They will carry a license that gives them clearance to remove the asbestos.

Is there a danger to asbestos?

When you are working or living in the building that contains asbestos but the asbestos is still in good condition, the evidence shows that it is not harmful to your health. In other words, when those asbestos fibers are tightly bound within cement or another compound, both medical and scientific evidence shows that it is safe. When you are in this type of the situation, it's best not to disturb the asbestos. The material should be inspected visually on occasion to see if it is deteriorating or if damage has occurred.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is more than just a building material, it is a mineral that occurs in nature and it can be mined. The fibers within asbestos are extremely strong and produce fire resistance, durability, and insulating properties for building purposes. When compared with the human hair, asbestos fibers may be as much as 200 times thinner, allowing it to become airborne for an extended amount of time. In addition, it is difficult if not impossible to see those fibers and they can easily enter the lungs when we breathe. There are many materials that used asbestos in the manufacturing process. In Australia, the building industry used asbestos starting in the 1940s and extending until the 1980s. As of December 31, 2003, there has been a national ban on any type of asbestos. That ban is for the use of asbestos in new construction but it does not mean that it must be removed from older construction projects.

7 things that need to be done prior to working

  1. Your local council should be contacted for any approval necessary to begin the work.There may be certain renovation activities that would need approval from the local council. In those cases, it may be necessary to receive a building approval or planning permit. Contacting the local council is always the best choice prior to starting work.
  2. Consider how the asbestos waste will be disposed ofSome people choose to dispose of the asbestos on their own. This shouldn't be a problem if it is a small quantity but if it is a larger quantity, then a waste contractor who is licensed should be consulted. Source: When choosing to dispose of the asbestos on your own, your local council should also be contacted for any requirements. They will let you know what the cost would be and where to take the asbestos for disposal. The asbestos will also need to be packaged in thick plastic and wet down to keep the asbestos fibers from going airborne.
  3. Check if a licensed asbestos removal specialist is neededIf the removal of a nonfriable material that contains asbestos is 10m2 or less, it does not require a certificate. It is still vitally important, however, to keep the asbestos fibers from going airborne by following the proper safety precautions.
  4. Consider others who may be affected by what you are doingIt is important to think beyond your own safety. There may be other people who work in the building, pets or perhaps even neighbors who could be affected. It is your responsibility under law to protect the health and welfare of others when dealing with asbestos. This would include keeping asbestos fibers from going airborne and leaving the asbestos dust on the job site after you are finished.
  5. Plan in advance and gather necessary equipmentPrior to working with asbestos, plan out the job carefully and purchase any equipment needed to get it done. The minimum equipment is outlined on the website and in this booklet. You can obtain the booklet at a hardware store or through safety equipment suppliers. Waste asbestos should be stored temporarily in a plastic-lined bin or on a layer of thick plastic to be wrapped at a later time. Any debris should be cleaned thoroughly and the entire area should be decontaminated prior to allowing outside access.
  6. Understand how to protect yourself from exposure to asbestosOne key factor for your safety is wearing the proper personal protective equipment, also known as PPE. It can safeguard your health when you are working around asbestos. Most hardware stores will carry PPE, as do safety equipment suppliers.
  7. Plan ahead for asbestos waste disposalAll asbestos waste should be cleaned up, properly packaged and disposed of quickly. This would include your PPE and surplus asbestos. It is illegal to store asbestos, sell it or give it away under NSW law.

Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen can provide additional living space and enables you to eat, cook and entertain without having to book a reservation. Many people out there associate outdoor kitchens with backyard BBQ’s and grilling in summer. However, outdoor kitchens go beyond the summer months as they can allow you to cook outside all year round. It may be a good idea to incorporate interior kitchen ideas into an outdoor kitchen as this will add value, versatility and fun to a home.

Weatherproof the Area

There's nothing worse than firing up the grill and you throw the meat on the BBQ, then all of a sudden a big gust of wind comes along and blows out the flames. This can get extremely frustrating. One solution is to use outdoor blinds to protect the outdoor kitchen area. Outdoor blinds come in a few different options with different levels of protection against the elements, one of the more popular styles of outdoor blinds at the moment is the zip screen blinds. This is a blind that is locked in to two channel guides on the sides of your awning. This style of blind comes in both motorised and crank style operation. [video width="400" height="222" mp4=""][/video] Zip screens have become extremely popular as you can completely seal off the patio area from bugs, wind and dust, and when you want to let the fresh air and sun in, just wind them up using the remote (for motorised) or the quick and easy manual crank.

Start from the ground up

Establishing the floor layout and material of an outdoor kitchen is key to building the foundation of that space. Therefore, it is good to consider the different weather climates that could occur and the overall weight of the appliances you want to install. Flooring such as marble and tile become slippery when wet and are unable to hold up to things such as food stains and grease. If your outdoor space is on a deck, restain or paint it to make it match the new renovations and ensure that the deck is in good condition.


When finding the location for your outdoor kitchen, you need to consider several factors. First of all, ensure that smoke from the grill will not waft back into your home. This is why it is good to consider the wind pattern in your yard so that you may orient the grill properly. Secondly, if you among those people who frequently entertain and you do not want to travel a long distance from the indoor kitchen to the outside, then it may be a good idea to place the grill and outdoor kitchen near the entrance to your inside kitchen. Keep in mind that outdoor cooking and entertaining on a regular basis means carrying heavy platters have to carry from one place to another.

Consider the size and number of your kitchen appliances

This is the first question that professional outdoor kitchen designers usually ask homeowners who want an outdoor kitchen. You may be planning to use refrigeration, several cooking appliances and also considering certain entertainment needs. Consider how your appliances will fit into the design plan, how much room each and every appliance will need and how they will work with each other. When it comes to cooking, consider your favourite outdoor cooking method. Do you like hamburgers cooked over charcoal barbecues or grilled fish? Do you like pizza cooked in a brick oven? A Smoker or Tandoor? An outdoor kitchen can have a gas, electric, propane or charcoal grill, various ovens and stoves. Do you like preparing foods such as fish outside? Or do you like preparing it indoors and bringing it outside to cook? Do you want to have a sink in your outdoor kitchen? It is also important to consider the number of people you will be cooking for. Design an outdoor kitchen that will be able to handle the preparation and cooking of your favourite meals and also accommodate your guests. From there, you can make necessary adjustments. Ensure that there is a place to put items on and also make sure that there is plenty of storage. Just like your indoor kitchen, you should ensure that you have a place to put items on and also ensure that there is plenty of storage. However, the major difference is that when it comes to outdoor kitchens, the places where you will put and store your items should be durable and waterproof because of temperature changes. Cabinets and countertops can provide space and help keep clutter away. You can customize this look by coordinating your flooring, countertops and cabinets in the same way you would with an indoor kitchen.

Buy reliable appliances

Most of the outdoor kitchens usually have a grill (both charcoal and gas), a small refrigerator and a sink. Some of the kitchens have speciality items such as a beer tap, smokers, warming drawers and hibachi grills. Look for durable appliances that cannot be easily damaged by the sun or rain. Ceramic and stainless steel appliances are durable and can make it through all weather conditions and also require low maintenance.

Add a touch of ambience

An outdoor kitchen is a place to cook and eat and also a place to entertain family and guests. It can enable you to enjoy the weather while experiencing indoor comfort. Therefore, it is a good idea to incorporate futures that will make your outdoor kitchen the centre of your summer. Tables, chairs, decorative objects and speciality lighting can complete the look.


All outdoor kitchens are exposed to elements and it is important for surfaces and appliances to be covered and maintained if the kitchen is not used on a regular basis. This is mainly because of the fact that they are outdoors. Consider the time and effort required to keep up a kitchen you build or install. Are you going to be the sole chef and cleaner or are you going to seek help? Make it easy on yourself; remember that sometimes simpler is better.

Create an Outdoor Space You Can Be Proud Of

Have you ever looked out at your backyard and started mentally planning how you want it to be different? Having a large backyard is great, particularly if you have pets or children (or both!). However, you are not making the most of your outdoor space unless you landscape the area. There is a lot more to landscaping than just putting down some grass seeds. There is even more to it than picking out nice outdoor furniture. If you really want to make a statement with your landscaping, use these tips and tricks to help your large outdoor space look its best.

1. Divide Your Backyard Into Zones

If your yard is very big, it is hard to get a design in place that works for such a massive space. To make the task easier, divide your backyard into zones. Think about what will be happening in each area, and use that information to help you figure out a design scheme. For example, if there is an area that will be a play space for your children, think about what you want to have there for them; a picnic table might be nice, and a play structure is always a good idea as well. You want to have clearly defined areas to make the best use of your space. If you want to have your own little oasis outside, think about creating a zone that will contain a water feature, a few chairs or a bench, and maybe even a fire pit. Remember that you don't necessarily want every square inch of space planned out. Your needs may change in a few years, and you want the flexibility to adapt to that.

2. Go With A Curvilinear Design

When you have a large outdoor space, you can choose from a variety of landscape styles. A curvilinear design, though, has a number of advantages. It looks natural because it has curved boundary lines that work with the way your yard is laid out. In addition, if you have a rolling terrain, this style still looks good and can make changes in grade fit right in. If you decide on a curvilinear design, you embrace the way your yard naturally flows rather than trying to make it fit a certain shape.

3. Carefully Place Your Plants

If you want to add texture to your yard, and make it visually appealing, you need to layer your plants. First, plant or grow tall plants by the boundary of your yard. You should choose vegetation that grows well in your climate. For example, the Golden Wattle thrives in South Eastern Australia. Eucalyptus trees are always a good choice as well, because they do not require a lot of care and will thrive just about anywhere. However, they do not do well in areas that frost, and fire is a threat to them as well. Next, plant vibrant shrubs with a lot of color in front of the taller plants. Bottlebrushes, honey myrtles and grevilleas are all great choices. Keep in mind that the smallest bushes should be in the front.