We’ve recently had several samples of Supalux board come into the Vintec laboratory. Supalux board is known to have a low prevalence for containing asbestos fibres, however, although seemingly rare, samples on occasion do test positive for asbestos. These particular Supalux samples piqued our interest as they did in fact test positive with Amosite asbestos fibres present (a big well done and thank you to our Lab Analysts for identifying these – credit to their experience and keen eye for detail).
Supalux is the trade name for a lightweight, fire-resistant insulation board and can often be mistaken for asbestos insulation board (AIB). Supalux was meant to be an asbestos free alternative to Asbestolux (a soft asbestos fibre board that can look similar to asbestos cement sheeting or plaster board). It is believed that in early production, Supalux was manufactured alongside Asbestolux, making cross contamination of asbestos possible. As you can see by the photos, the samples we recently analysed contain reasonable proportions of asbestos fibres unlikely to have occurred from contamination, more likely purposefully added when produced.
Supalux contains Mica, which shines/glitters when it catches the light. Visually there are other insulation boards that look very similar to Supalux, however it’s important to note that not all Mica containing boards will be Supalux. It is often a mis-conception that if a board glitters (as it contains Mica) it is Supalux and will likely be asbestos free. Amosite fibres have been found in a range of Supalux-like looking products, so Vintec would always recommend testing samples of Supalux and other insulation board to provide our clients with a definitive result.
Due to the low asbestos prevalence, the asbestos industry tends to be divided on whether to bother sampling and testing Supalux. Vintec Surveyors would always advise to analyse samples of Supalux or AIB, even if to rule it out as an asbestos containing material. Still unsure about sampling Supalux and other insulation boards? Read on!
About 12 months ago, we conducted a survey and sampled a Supalux door lining panel which we found to contain Amosite. The homeowner contacted a licensed asbestos removal company who turned up to remove the panel with their own Analyst in tow. The Analyst and contractor decided to overrule our survey and informed the client it was a non-asbestos board and aborted the job.
Rightly so, our client contacted us and asked for an explanation. We dispatched a Surveyor to take another sample. This sample also tested positive for Amosite. It’s important to never trust a visual assessment alone, especially when different brands of insulation board can look so similar. Without proper laboratory analysis you are always guessing. Sampling will always provide a conclusive result and lead to an informed course of action.
Vintec’s UKAS accredited, in-house laboratory offer asbestos testing services for asbestos bulk sampling and analysis. We can provide you with a rapid turnaround of asbestos testing results, including same day for when you need an immediate answer. Give us a call today to arrange an appointment for one of our surveyors to take a sample for you.
Vintec Laboratories Ltd.
Building 26, Building Research Establishment