Asbestos roofing – 5 common questions about the use of asbestos in roofing materials

As the concern for asbestos roofing increases it’s ever more important to ensure that you know what you are dealing with. As soon as asbestos is mentioned it usually strikes fear into people due to the known extreme health dangers associated with it.

We have published this article to help inform you about asbestos, how to deal with your roof and to stay safe when using asbestos.

1 – What is asbestos?

Asbestos roofing in FifeAsbestos was a very popular building material used from the 1950s through to the late 1990s. With regards to industrial roofing material, asbestos is most commonly found in corrugated garage roofs, outbuildings and warehouses. Typically it will be a mixture of asbestos and cement, as represented in the following image.

2 – Why was asbestos used?

It was popular due to it’s fire resistance, sound proofing and durability available at a relatively low cost.

3 – Why is asbestos dangerous?

The reason that asbestos was banned for use in 1999 was because it is linked to serious and fatal lung disease if the fibres are breathed in. Unfortunately for those affected, the damage is not detectable until many years later.

4 – How do you know if you are working with asbestos?

Asbestos is typically mixed with other materials and therefore it can be difficult to know if you are working with asbestos or not. However, if you own a building that hasn’t had a roof replacement since the year 2000, there is a good chance that some parts of the roofing material will contain asbestos.

Therefore, if your roof is 40, 50 or 60 years old, there’s a good chance that it will contain asbestos and also be in need of inspection and perhaps replacement.

5 – What should you do if you think your garage or commercial property roof contains asbestos?

Control of Asbestos regulations 2012 ensures that building owners and tenants are accountable for preventing any risk of exposure to asbestos fibres from their building.

If your roof is in good condition the best thing you can do is to leave it alone. Products like asbestos cement that you will find on garage roofs and industrial buildings are very durable and should only be tampered with when repair or replacement is required.

However, asbestos roofing materials can become brittle and start to break up over time, and it’s important to watch out for this if you are inspecting or cleaning your roof.

As mentioned, asbestos only becomes dangerous due to breathing the fibres in, and this will only happen if you disturb your roof – i.e. during a repair or replacement.

If your roof is in bad condition and you are unsure if your roofing material contains asbestos, we advise to initially schedule in a roof inspection to assess the extent of the damage and what is required to repair or replace your roof safely.

Also, if your roof is getting older then replacement will have to happen at some point.

The ideal solution for dealing with asbestos in roofing materials

Your industrial roofing contractor does not need to be licensed to remove asbestos roofing, and if you know what to do you can perform some minor repairs yourself. However, most repairs and replacements should be carried out by an experienced roofing contractor.

Industrial roofing Scotland is highly experienced, trained and aware of the strict guidelines associated with the removal and disposal of asbestos roofing.

Your turn

  1. Are you unsure if your roofing material contains asbestos?
  2. Is your roof in need of repair or replacement?
  3. Do you have any questions about the condition of your roof?
  4. Are you worried about asbestos?

Call Industrial Roofing Scotland today on 01592 372573 for a professional and experienced asbestos roofing service.

I hope you’ve found this introduction to asbestos helpful.

Jamie.