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FIbro asbestos built beach shack cottage - what are the potential issues?

Growing in Experience

FIbro asbestos built beach shack cottage - what are the potential issues?

Hey there

I am looking at properties at the moment. I spoke to an agent about an older beach shack one and when I asked about he building material he said:

Concrete and brick foundation (sounds good)

Hard wood frame (sure sounds normal)

Cladding (not wood but some other material needs changing - seems normal)

Fibro asbestos board under cladding (doesn't sound so good)


Is this Asbestos board pretty common and I'm potentially worried about nothing; or could this cause issues in the future with recladding; any future renovations; even just hammering a picture frame into the wall (walls are gyprock)

Thank you!



Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: FIbro asbestos built beach shack cottage - what are the potential issues?

Hi @wendalls,


Apologies for the delay in responding. How exciting for you to be contemplating a beach property! I understand that coastal property markets are booming at the moment given people can't holiday overseas and even interstate holidays can be problematic. 


Although it is common. I'm sure our members will all agree that whenever asbestos is concerned, it never hurts to seek professional advice. That said, let me tag some helpful members to see if they can share their thoughts about potential issues: @2Belindas@Adam_W@Peggers@Brad@TedBear@tom_builds


I will also ask our resident Bunnings D.I.Y. expert @EricL to assist you.


Thanks for your patience. 




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Kind of a Big Deal

Re: FIbro asbestos built beach shack cottage - what are the potential issues?

Hi @wendalls 

I lived in an asbestos clad house for about 12years as a child and again in one (near the beach too) as an adult for about 5 years. That one had been clad in some plastic lap-board look alike. What's worse (I found out when renovating the kitchen) was that the internal walls and ceilings were also asbestos sheeting.

The Gyprock will be OK to work with on the inside, so that's one relief.

If the outer cladding needs replacing, how serious (& therefore also expensive) it will be, depends on whether the outer cladding was attached to a framework over the asbestos or just nailed/glued straight to it.

Asbestos sheeting is ok if in good condition and not tampered with. It's when the fibres are freed into the air that they become a health issue.

If the asbestos sheeting needs to handled in order to reclad, you may want to rethink buying, or get an estimate from an expert as to how much it would cost (which will include local council involvement and permits) to remove it entirely and reclad the house.

This would give you the opportunity to install insulation in the walls too.  It all depends on what your love of the idea of living there, your budget and your intentions for the house add up to. Presumably other potential buyers will consider the same issues, so if you really want it, it could be a good reason to make a lower offer and be willing to put the saved purchase money (including lower Stamp Duty) into the renovation costs.




Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: FIbro asbestos built beach shack cottage - what are the potential issues?

Hello @wendalls


It's great that you've received fantastic advice from @TedBear. I totally agree with his recommendation of making a lower offer citing the removal of the asbestos and having to reclad the walls. 


There are many issues both seen and unseen in buying a house with asbestos walls. Removing the asbestos is the safer alternative to covering it with new cladding. You won't have to worry about putting new hooks into your wall, you won't hesitate to add new shelves. If this is the house you wish to stay in long term, then perhaps it's worth investigating the going rate for asbestos removal in your area.


Once you're armed with this information, you will be in a better position to gauge if it fits into your budget.


If you need more information, please let us know.




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Making a Splash

Re: FIbro asbestos built beach shack cottage - what are the potential issues?

Hi @wendalls,


Unfortunately asbestos is a pretty common material in homes built before the 90s, with peak use in the 70s and 80s when it could be found nearly everywhere in a house; cladding, eaves, tile and lino adhesives, even as loose fill insulation. 


The ideal situation would always be to have the asbestos removed and replaced with safer materials, however due to the nature of asbestos removal this could be quite expensive and keep you away from the property for some time while the work is completed. 


As @TedBear has pointed out if the outer cladding is attached to a frame on top of the asbestos you could be in luck, and one way to check this is to have a peek under the roof where the roof meets the wall. It should be fairly easy to spot whether the asbestos is separated from the cladding or if they have been glued/nailed together.


Hope we have been able to provide some insight for you, and keep us updated if you pursue the purchase of this shack.


Good luck 😃


Workshop Legend

Re: FIbro asbestos built beach shack cottage - what are the potential issues?

Hey @wendalls 
Our last place was asbestos clad &, as has been mentioned in other posts, only when renovating did we find that beneath gyprock areas like kitchen & old laundry that it had asbestos board there too.
It is a common material pre-mid '80s so don't let it's presence put you off. Just fyi... other areas it may be present are in lagging around hot water pipes (old school insulation, often looks like hessian/jute strips), in lino sheets or tiles, in lining or mortar in a fireplace, flue pipes or structures from a fireplace, in drainage (storm-water) pipes.
What it does mean however is that every reno task, even just hanging a picture or a soap-dish, has to be approached with caution.
When we sold our last place the buyers insisted (at the last minute...) on knocking $20k off the price as that was the estimate for removal & disposal by a licensed contractor and recladding.

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