If you're working on a renovation project in an older property, then you may come across materials that could contain asbestos. If you can't tell if asbestos is present in a material, you can send a sample off for testing.
While taking a sample requires some safety precautions, it isn't that complicated if you follow the testing company's instructions, and you may be happy to give this a go yourself. However, once you've taken the sample, you also need to think about what you do with the rest of the material.
Once you break or cut the material to take the sample, you open it up. If it does contain asbestos, this could leach out. What do you need to do to make this material safe until your results come back and you know what you're dealing with?
Seal up Sample Cuts and Breaks
When you took a sample of the suspect material, you left exposed edges around the sample site. If the material does contain asbestos, then these edges breach the protective covering that contained the asbestos in the first place. If there is asbestos in there, and it is loose, then it could get out of these edges once you break the material open. So, to be on the safe side, you need to seal these edges up again.
The easiest way to do this is to use PVA glue. Apply the glue to any open edge or cut you made when you removed the sample. The glue will dry and put a protective covering over the area. This will hold any asbestos that might be in the material in place.
If you don't have any glue handy, then paint will do the trick. Alternatively, sticking some duct tape over the area is also a suitable short-term fix.
Don't Move the Material Around
Once you've taken a sample, you should seal the material and then leave it where it is. Moving it around the property increases the risk that it will break or that you'll lose some of the sealants you've applied.
It's a good idea to keep the material in situ or, if you've already removed it from its original location, to prop it somewhere where it won't be disturbed. Make sure that everyone working on the property knows to leave the material alone.
If you aren't comfortable taking a sample or dealing with the material afterwards, then your asbestos testing company may be willing to come and take a sample for you. Some companies that do asbestos assessments will also remove materials safely for you if they test positive, which may be useful.