While renovating a bathroom in a quite old house in germany, we removed the cover holding the tiles on the front side of the bathtub and could not clearly identify the material. It seems to be interwoven strands of wood(?) with a dark paint covering them.

One person was afraid it might be asbestos paint - If someone here knows what it is, please help us satiate our curiosity and hopefully put that worry at rest.

Here's some pictures, tell me in the comments if I can provide anything else to help!

overview, a mat of dark strands

closer view of the edge, with some strands having partially lost their paint

  • I have not seen asbestos look anything like that , is that some kind of wood or fiberglass fiber? I am in the U.S. and have worked with quite a few different forms of asbestos and do not think you have a problem but a test may be in order.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 7, 2020 at 7:07

1 Answer 1


It "could" be asbestos, but most likely it's Zementgebundene Holzwolle (cement-bound wood wool). It was used as a cheap, lightweight cover material. Heraklith was a popular brand across the German-speaking countries until well into the late 90s.

  • It looks nothing like any asbestos I have seen in the US. Not even somewhat similar to anything and the strand like texture points to a synthetic fiber or wood.
    – DMoore
    Apr 6, 2020 at 18:43
  • Only asbestos would be very fine threads of white material, but in Europe it was common to have asbestos mixed in wood fiber boards. Although that could contain asbestos, I doubt it. It would have been an odd choice to put around a tub.
    – FrK
    Apr 6, 2020 at 18:45
  • Yea I don't know - I would put money it isn't asbestos but I know the usage of asbestos differs by region. I have done work in France and have not seen asbestos used in that form or even coating it.
    – DMoore
    Apr 6, 2020 at 18:47
  • Agree, @DMoore, me too. I seriously doubt it contains asbestos, as it was way more expensive than regular Heraklith, and there was not need for it around a bath tub. I would remove it with regular breathing protection, as it releases a lot of dust anyhow.
    – FrK
    Apr 7, 2020 at 6:51
  • It does indeed look exactly like "Heraklith C"! Fairly sure this is it - I'll give it the usual 24 hours for other answers to appear, but I think you'll get that green checkmark. Here's a link to the shop I found googling "Heraklith": knaufinsulation.de/produkte/heraklith-c
    – Syndic
    Apr 7, 2020 at 7:15

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