Asbestos Roofing

Asbestos was widely used in the US in construction from the early 1900s through to the 1980s. One of the most common uses was in roofing products. This was because of its excellent resistance properties – it could provide a superior, waterproof, and fire-resistant roofing solution.

If your home was built before 1990, it is therefore advised to check out this guide. Below, we discuss what asbestos roofing is, how to identify it, and what to do if you find it. As you are probably aware, breathing in asbestos fibres can cause serious health complications including lung cancer so it’s not something to ignore.

What is Asbestos Roofing?

Asbestos fibres have brilliant properties for construction and thus they were added to multiple products including sidings, adhesive, and insulation. However, possibly the most common use was asbestos roofing. The following are some of the types of asbestos roofing:

Asbestos fibres have brilliant properties for construction and thus they were added to multiple products including sidings, adhesive, and insulation. However, possibly the most common use was asbestos roofing. The following are some of the types of asbestos roofing:

• Roof shingles
• Asbestos guttering
• Corrugated roof tiles
• Asbestos cement slates
• Asbestos board
• Asbestos lumber

For the most part, asbestos cement sheets were used to create these roofing products. The asbestos fibres made cement that was more durable than drywall, but easier to work with than typical concrete and other roofing materials.

Asbestos roofing was commonly used for housing, however it was also frequently used for standalone garages. Several large US companies including Celotex, GAF Corporation, and Johns Manville produced asbestos cement sheets for roofing.

What Does Asbestos Roofing Look Like?

As with most asbestos-based products, it can be incredibly difficult to identify. This is because asbestos was merely an additive – it only made-up part of the product. Furthermore, due to the wide variety of manufacturers, each of which had their own designs, there isn’t really a standardized appearance.

The two features to look for to determine if your roofing contains asbestos are:

• The installation date of the roof
• The surface of the roofing tiles / boards

Firstly, if your home or garage was built before 1990, there is a greater chance that it has an asbestos roof. Secondly, some asbestos roofing tiles do have a tell-tale cratered or dimpled surface. The surface is generally not smooth and this is due to how asbestos fibres were added into the products.

When Did They Stop Using Asbestos in Roofing?

Asbestos roofing is no longer manufactured in the USA today. Furthermore, there are no active asbestos mines in the USA – they have all been decommissioned. It is still imported, and although there are regulations, it has not been completely banned.

That being said, asbestos sheet production for roofing stopped in the US in the 1980s. There was some overlap when existing stocks were sold, however. Therefore, if your property was constructed before 1990, it could have an asbestos roof.

Furthermore, asbestos garage roofs were common too. As a result, you need to consider when your garage was built too.

How to Deal With Asbestos Roofing?

If your property or garage was constructed before 1990, there is a chance that it could have asbestos roofing. Indeed, although asbestos sheet production stopped in the 1980s, it is still imported today. Therefore, despite the age of your home, there is no guarantee that there isn’t any asbestos.

If you suspect the presence of asbestos, it is best practice to use a sampling kit to make sure. You can then decide what do to and we discuss both of these things below.

Use one of our sampling kits to confirm the presence of asbestos

If you have checked your roof and are worried it contains asbestos, it is advised to check and make sure. Luckily, there is a simple way of doing this – by ordering one of our sampling kits.

Our sampling kits offer a sure-fire, simple method of testing for asbestos. You do not need to seek professional assistance – anyone can use our sampling kits safely. Within the kit, you get PPE equipment for safe sample handling (gloves, coveralls, and a mask). Furthermore, everything is included to send the samples off to our testing lab.

You will usually get the results back within 24-hours of receipt at the lab, and there is the option to pay a little extra for a faster turnaround if you are concerned about the state of your ceiling. The results will be emailed to you in the form of a PDF certificate which can be kept for your records and given to specialist companies to help them with the removal process.

Keep or remove the asbestos roofing depending on the result

Once you have your results, there are two options. Firstly, you can opt to keep the asbestos roofing. This is possible, although we do not advise it. Due to the exposed nature of roofing, there is a greater risk of the asbestos fibres being disturbed and released into the air as dust.

However, if your roof is in a good condition, with no broken tiles or sheets, and there are no potential falling hazards, you could potentially keep it. If you choose to do this, keep the certificate for your records, and regularly monitor the condition of the roof. Anything like broken sheets or tiles need to be addressed immediately.

Secondly, you can get the asbestos roofing removed. This is the safest thing to do as it eliminate the potential danger. Even if you have experience with roofing, do not try and do this yourself. Instead, you must seek professional help.

There are companies that specialized in the removal of asbestos roofing. They have trained employees who know how to remove it safely. Furthermore, they will have the correct PPE and can dispose of the asbestos material in an environmentally-friendly manner.

If you are still unsure and want further help, feel free to contact us and we can help. Alternatively, as mentioned, you could simply order one of our asbestos sampling kits and test for the presence of asbestos yourself. If you do this, please take precautions when accessing the roof of your home or garage and anchor yourself if necessary. Also, take incredible care not to disturb any of the tiles or corrugated sheets more than is needed to obtain the sample.