4 Things to Watch Out for When Living in a Pre-’90s Home in Mt Gravatt or Other Suburbs

Living in an old home means that your property comes with a lot of history and its own unique set of idiosyncrasies and challenges. Property values have a lot to do with location, age, and condition, among other things. If you live in a home in Mt Gravatt that dates back to before the 1990s, you should be wary of issues such as the presence of dangerous asbestos and lead-based paints.

Here are four things to watch out for in pre-90s homes.

1. Asbestos in Mt Gravatt Homes

Structures built before 1990 in Mt Gravatt, and Queensland in general, are more than likely to have the presence of asbestos since this was widely used in house and building construction then.

asbestos Mt Gravatt old houses

Asbestos may be present in the following structures around your old house:

  • roof
  • ceiling tiles
  • floor and wall sheeting, such as linoleum or vinyl
  • carpet underlay
  • window caulking and glazing
  • pipe and electrical insulation
  • gutter and water tanks
  • ducts for smoke or gas
  • steelwork
  • paintwork and patching
Photo Credit: Worksafe Queensland

Asbestos may pose a serious danger to health once its fibres are exposed. Diseases linked to asbestos include lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Unfortunately, disturbances in the environment may easily expose asbestos in an old house.  

“Fibro, cladding, gutters, down pipes, ceiling liners, fences, wall linings are some of the most likely areas we check for clients. A common misconception is that when you buy a house, the building inspection or the conveyancing will identify issues like asbestos. But they don’t,” Rob Berry, an asbestos expert from BBM Contracts explains.

“Often, exposure can come as a result of some simple home DIY. Or rotted or disturbed ceiling matter. Or even drilling holes to hang a picture.”  he said.

2. Appearance of Moulds

Mould can live and spread in damp and humid conditions, especially when the house doesn’t have sufficient ventilation or air circulation, as is the case with the design of older houses. Studies from the World Health Organization found links to these spore-filled fungi against an increase in cases of asthma and allergies, sinus congestion, skin irritation, and even headaches.

The House of Parliament advised that residents in Queensland must frequently have their air conditioning and vents checked to prevent moulds. Additionally, it may be a good idea to hire professional cleaners to deal with this problem properly.

Another key to preventing mould formation is to mould-proof your old house. Does your property have a basement prone to flooding? Are there leaks in the windows or ceiling? Consider undertaking home repairs with the help of professionals as soon as possible.

3. Lead-based Paint

As with asbestos, lead-based paint, which was commonly used in home construction before the 1970s, may cause serious harm to health if it’s broken, damaged or disturbed. However, if the old paint is still intact then there is no reason to panic over lead exposure.

But what are the chances that old paint in an old house would still be in good condition? If you see paint chipping off your walls then a repaint should be in order but it might not be a good idea to do this DIY.

The Department of Environment and Energy said that this renovation project entails the proper handling, removal and disposal of old paint to minimize lead exposure. Thus, homeowners in Mount Gravatt have to ensure they hire experienced workers for this job.

Lead has been proven to be a toxic substance and lead poisoning is a global health concern that affects even unborn children of pregnant mums. A blood test will determine if a person has been exposed to lead so that they may receive the necessary treatment.

4. Infestation of Pests, Termites and Fire Ants

Pests, termites and fire ants can do costly damages to an old house. Unfortunately, structures built decades ago are prone to these infestations because of its age, natural settling, expansion and contraction as the weather changes, and its general deterioration.

You’ll need to have regular home inspections if you live in an old house. If you’re renting a property, it’s your responsibility as a tenant to check for termite and other pest activity and report this to your landlord as soon as possible.

Mt Gravatt, in particular, belongs to the list of suburbs under the Council’s Fire Ant Biosecurity Zone 2. Here are the top 5 places to check for the presence of fire ants in your property. Also, it is important that you are aware of your responsibilities when moving or storing materials that could carry fire ants.  Report any fire ant infestation here.

Contact Reputable Mt Gravatt Asbestos Removal Service Providers

It’s best to address these four issues as soon as you find them in your old house since delaying the repair work may lead to more problems that cost more money.

For asbestos testing, Rob Berry of BBM Contracts offers a free asbestos home testing service. To book a slot for free testing to check for asbestos in your home, contact Rob Berry at 1300 427 237.

The Queensland Government also has a Housing Service Centre resource page if you have no idea where to look for the right service providers for your needs.