What You Need to Know About Asbestos on Your Roof

Before 1976, nearly 98% of homes in Victoria were built with materials containing asbestos. In addition, 20% of residential roofs contained asbestos. Asbestos was commonly used for roofs in particular due to its fire-resistant and durable nature. Although asbestos isn’t used in building materials today, asbestos roofs and products weren’t banned until 2003.

Since asbestos roofing can last for over three decades, many houses that were originally built with asbestos roofing have the same roofs today. If your home was renovated or built before 1990, you may have some harmful asbestos products in your home.

While asbestos isn’t dangerous unless airborne, homeowners should never try to touch or attempt an asbestos replacement on their own. Only asbestos specialists should handle asbestos-containing materials because they can cause major health risks if not treated properly.

 

Because your roof plays such an important role in sheltering your home, and because it encompasses such a large area, any harmful materials released in the area will have a wide impact.

If you think you may have asbestos roofing, here are some things you need to know about asbestos roofing.

How Do Experts Identify Asbestos? 

Many homeowners won’t recognise asbestos when they see it. If you think the materials that make up your roof could potentially contain asbestos, such as building materials from the 1980s or earlier, never attempt to touch or remove them. If you know the manufacturer, you can contact them to learn what materials make up your roof, but the only way to know for sure that a material contains asbestos is to call an asbestos specialist.

The asbestos specialist will likely send a sample of the potential asbestos-containing materials to the National Association of Testing Authorities. This analytical laboratory will determine if the material contains asbestos. Common roofing materials that might contain asbestos include concrete, asphalt and gypsum.

If the material does contain asbestos, the asbestos specialist will assess whether the material should be removed or replaced. Until you’re certain that your home doesn’t contain asbestos, don’t perform any renovations, demolitions or maintenance.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Asbestos?

How you should deal with asbestos depends on where you find the asbestos and what condition the asbestos is in. Most households aren’t affected by asbestos unless it becomes airborne. If the material is friable, the asbestos could quickly become airborne and cause health risks. Non-friable asbestos won’t pose a health risk unless the material is cut, sanded or sawed.

If your roof is in a solid state, you may not need to remove it at all. Non-damaged asbestos material doesn’t pose a health hazard. However, you’ll have to monitor the materials for signs of deterioration or damage. If a material containing asbestos is damaged, call a removal specialist immediately.

Sometimes, you may not even need to remove damaged asbestos materials—you can often isolate or repair them. For instance, an asbestos specialist can likely repair a small tear in the flashing or underlayment. However, repairing or isolating asbestos are only temporary solutions. Natural weathering and aging will eventually cause damage to asbestos.

If the asbestos specialist determines that the roof poses too great a threat to those living in your home, they will likely recommend removing it. Once the asbestos specialist removes the asbestos from your property, he or she should take an air sample to ensure your home doesn’t contain airborne asbestos. You can then replace the roof with a modern version that doesn’t contain carcinogens.

If you’re worried about potential airborne asbestos in your roofing material, call an sbestos removal specialist. For more information regarding asbestos, check out our blog on health risks associated with asbestos or contact us today about asbestos replacement.

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