The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire not made of asbestos.
We know this for certain because we’ve got a certificate with the English language’s most wonderful acronym on it: NADIS, for No Asbestos Detected In Sample. But how exactly did we get here?
Once the walls had come down, the next step was to pull the old ceiling panels down. These were compressed wood fibre tongue and groove panels which were just clipped to the battens so they came down easily, revealing a layer of rockwool and above that the curious shredded fibre insulation boards you see in the pictures. Any attempt to move these boards rained dust down into the boat, and given the age, budget and fireproofing requirements of the original conversion I thought it prudent to call a halt until we could confirm we weren’t working with asbestos.
Google turned up a company called All About Asbestos who were fabulous. I sent a query through their website on Sunday, and on Monday a very reassuring chap called me to talk through the options. He took great care to inform me that there’s “good” asbestos which is cheap to remove and “bad” asbestos which requires the whole ET-house plastic wrap deal. And of course, it was possible we had the “not” asbestos kind.
Their labs turned our sample round in 24 hours for a cost of £50 plus VAT and I have to say that’s some of the cheapest peace of mind I’ve ever had. By the next weekend we were ready for me to pull the boards out, which took about 90 minutes with the help of a crowbar and some sturdy gloves. Above the boards the back side of the deck looks pristine which means we can go straight to celotex there. And we will need to soon, because without the insulation in place the sun turns the hold into a sauna very quickly.
By coincidence skipper Stefan was around the moorings during the week and we took the opportunity to show off our progress (happily Stefan now talks to us like proper boat owners!). Of course when we showed off our NADIS certificate he looked at the sample and told us… “Oh yeah, the Dutch use that shredded stuff all the time. I could’ve told you it’s not asbestos.”