Is my fence Asbestos? AARCO Explains

You want to remove your fence but are worried about whether it contains asbestos. Asbestos products look very similar to today’s fibre cement products. So how can you tell if what you are looking at is asbestos, or something else?

The original corrugated Super Six asbestos cement sheets were manufactured from the 1950′s until 1985. It was widely used for fencing and roof sheeting, and some is still in use on homes of this era today. From 1985, Super Six was replaced by a similar looking product known as Hardifence. This new product eliminated the deadly asbestos fibres and replaced them with a much safer cellulose fibre that is essentially made from wood pulp. Hardifence is still manufactured today.

Super Six and Hardifence look similar but need to be dealt with differently. Here’s a few tips that may help you tell the difference between Super Six and Hardifence.

 

Age of the house

It may come down to the age of your property. If the property was built prior to 1985 then asbestos is very likely to have been used in the construction of the home and the fences. Between 1985 and 1990 asbestos products were no longer made; but due to stockpiles there are some buildings that were built during this period that contain asbestos products. So if your property was built between 1985 and 1990, then there is still a chance it contains asbestos, and you should get it checked by a professional. Homes built after 1990 will generally not have asbestos fences.

If you aren’t sure of the exact age of your property and want to have it checked our, contact the team at AARCO and we will send an assessor out at a time convenient to you.

 

Check the ridges in the fence sheeting

You may be able to tell the difference between Super Six and Hardifence just by counting the ridges in the fence sheet – though this is not a perfect answer. Super Six was always manufactured with a standard seven ridges in the pattern on the sheet. The latest version of Hardifence has five ridges; so if your fence has just the five ridges, you can be sure it is the safe Hardifence that is asbestos-free.

However if your fence has seven ridges, it could actually be either! The early versions of Hardifence were made with the same profile as Super Six with the same seven ridges. Therefore if your fence has seven ridges, it’s best to contact an asbestos removalist such as AARCO to have it checked.

 

Markings on fence panels

Take a look at the fence to see whether you can find any markings on the sheets. Hardifence has “Hardifence” printed on the sheet along with a date of manufacture. Early styles of Hardifence have “Manufactured without asbestos” and a manufacturing date mark. If you can find these markings, it’s a sure sign that you have a Hardifence!

 

Fence Capping

If your fence has capping (which not all do), there is an easy way to tell if it is asbestos or not. Hardifence will always be fitted with metal capping as this is necessary to keep the sheets from separating at the top. Super Six fences were always fitted with fibre cement capping. So check your capping – if it’s metal then you don’t need to worry about the fence being asbestos. However if you do find that your fence capping is not metal and you think it may be asbestos, the best thing to do would be call AARCO to have it assessed. Any cracking or damage to a fence can cause asbestos fibres to be released, so it’s best to have it dealt with by a professional; as soon as you can.

 

Give it a scratch!

Use your fingernail to scratch the surface of the fence sheet. If you can gouge a mark in it, then this is a good indicator of being Hardifence rather than Super Six, as Hardifence is slightly softer than Super Six.

If you are still unsure, and especially if your fence has any broken sections, it’s best to have it professionally checked. For an inspection, or to find out more information on asbestos removal from your home, contact AARCO on (08) 6406 2020 or email sales@aarco.com.au