Given the prevalence of asbestos use in a wide-range of Australian buildings prior to its ban in December 2003, it can be difficult to know the full extent of products in which it was used. In order to ensure that all residents are better informed, this aims to better equip people to successfully identify where asbestos might be present.

The most common form of asbestos to be found in homes is bonded asbestos. As a general rule, if the asbestos remains in good condition and left undisturbed, it does not pose a health risk. Thus, as a guide, houses that were built:

  • Before the mid-1980s are highly likely to have asbestos-containing products
  • Between the mid-1980s and 1990 may have asbestos-containing products
  • After 1990 are unlikely to have asbestos-containing products.

Common Locations to Find Asbestos within Residential Areas

This list is not exhaustive but is instead supposed to act as an overall guide in helping identify asbestos:

Bathroom, Toilet, Laundry

  • Asbestos cement sheet walls
  • Floors
  • Backing to tiles
  • If solid brick, hot water pipes in the wall may have asbestos lagging insulation around them


  • Vinyl floor tiles/sheets and the backing to cushion vinyl flooring
  • Underlay sheeting for ceramic tiles
  • If solid brick, hot water pipes in the wall may have asbestos lagging insulation around them

Living Areas/Bedrooms

  • Insulation in wood heaters/asbestos cement sheeting beneath wood heater hearths and between layers of the flue
  • Asbestos cement sheeting in walls
  • Inside of cupboards


  • Flat, patterned and corrugated wall
  • Corrugated roof sheeting (‘super six sheeting’)
  • Imitation tiles/imitation brick cladding
  • Lining under eaves
  • Garden sheds
  • Garages/carports
  • Dog kennels
  • Pools
  • Letter boxes
  • Ponds


  • Electrical meter boards
  • Old ironing board covers
  • Heatproof mats
  • Brake and clutch linings
  • Some adhesive products
  • Insulation to hot water pipes set into masonry walls

Some of these locations are depicted in the infographic below.

Given the variety of generic products that were previously produced using asbestos fibres, it can be difficult to visually tell whether a product or material contains asbestos. Regardless, the most accurate way to detect if asbestos is present is to have a professional asbestos assessor inspect and test the product or material. Attempting to sample the material or product yourself, can be more hazardous than leaving it alone. If you’re not sure whether a product or material contains asbestos, it’s safest to treat it as though it does and take the necessary precautions.

Common Location of Materials Containing Asbestos

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ADE Head Office – NSW
Unit 6/7 Millennium Ct.,
Silverwater, NSW, 2128, Australia
(02) 8541 7214
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Sydney Laboratory Services
4/10-11 Millennium Ct.,
Silverwater, NSW, 2128, Australia
(02) 9648 6669
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Upper Coomera LPO, QLD, 4209
(07) 5519 4610
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Unit 4/95 Salmon Street
Port Melbourne, 3207
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Unit 9 / 103 Glenwood Drive
Thornton, NSW
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