Asbestos is made up of microscopic mineral fibers that when inhaled into the lungs can cause serious respiratory disease and cancer. Having asbestos in your home, and particularly an asbestos roof, isn’t necessarily a hazardous situation. Cement asbestos roofing have the fibers embedded in the cement reducing the health risk if the material is in good condition and not disturbed.
But if the roof deteriorates and the asbestos fibers loosen and become airborne, then problems will arise and health becomes a concern. Here is what you must know before you begin!
Why replace an asbestos roof?
If the roof is breaking down, your first concern should be your safety and health. That alone should be good enough for you to replace your roof.
If the roof is in good shape, you need to weigh the costs verses future issues that may arise. There are ways to contain the asbestos but in the long run you need to assess what is best for you and your family.
Also consider the value of replacing the roof if you plan to sell your home in the near future. You may discourage potential buyers. To get the best value for your home, a new roof may be the best option.
If you have an asbestos roof
When you suspect your roof may contain asbestos, it may not be easy to judge accurately by looking at it. Don’t touch it or disturb it. The roof needs to have a professional inspection.
A qualified asbestos abatement contractor can evaluate the damage and course of action for you. You may be able to repair the roof rather than replace if the roof is in good shape, With any type of repair, the asbestos remains in place.
Removal and replacement
Asbestos roofing can be easily and safely removed. First, seal or cover the asbestos material. This contains the fibers so they are not released into the air.
- Sealing (encapsulation) treats the material with a sealant that either binds the asbestos fibers together or coats the material.
- Covering (enclosure) involves placing a protective wrap or jacket around the material that contains asbestos to prevent release of fibers.
Only a professional trained to handle asbestos safely should undertake this work. Once the roof is contained through sealing or covering, it is now safe to remove the roof prior to replacing it.
Most states and some cities have rules about the removal of asbestos roof or siding. In Florida permits are a must and only certified asbestos abatement contractors and consultants can be hired to perform asbestos-related work. The asbestos abatement company starts the permitting process 10 days prior to beginning the work.
In order to remove the roof, roofers wet down each piece of asbestos roof material first. Roofers then bag and carry the material off the roof. This is to ensure no fibers are released. Once removed, the roofing contractor can now put a new asphalt shingle roof onto your home.
Although asbestos has its qualities, it also carries risks. It’s always best to seek professional help and consultation in order to evaluate, assess, and obtain the necessary information you need to decide what you should do.