Back in the early 1940s, asbestos was used extensively in homes. And being a inexpensive material, many homes were built with an asbestos roof.
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. Potential buyers may be turned off by having asbestos in the home. 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. Professional inspection is needed.
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. The first step is to either seal or cover the asbestos material to ensure the fibers 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 to replace it.
Most states and some cities have rules about the removal of asbestos roof or siding. In Massachusetts permits are a must. In Massachusetts, only certified asbestos abatement contractors and consultants may be hired to perform asbestos-related work. Permitting process is done by the asbestos abatement company 10 days prior to beginning the work.
Removing the roof is a process where each piece of asbestos roof material must be wet down first then bagged and carried off the roof 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.
In this podcast, you’ll hear about important information and point of view on repairing or replacing an asbestos roof and the importance.