Asbestos Roof Removal

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is natural fibrous mineral that was commonly used as a building material during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, although any structure manufactured before the year 2000 may contain it.

There are three main types: Crocidolite (also known as blue asbestos) Amosite (also known as brown asbestos) and Chrysotile (also known as white asbestos).

Why and when asbestos was used in manufacturing roofs?

Asbestos was used as a building material in the UK from around 1940 to 1999, but most prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. The UK banned the use of asbestos in 1999 after its health-endangering properties emerged so the material is only of concern if your roof was built or installed before the year 2000.

Asbestos was used as a building material for roofs because it possesses many ‘idyllic’ qualities. Amongst others, asbestos is cheap, strong, incombustible, heat-resistant and sound-absorbent.

Asbestos cement roofs

These are mainly made up of large sheets of corrugated asbestos cement, they are often found on industrial or farmyard buildings, but can also be found as roofs on garages and sheds. They are often covered in moss and other growths as they’ve been there for many years.

Types of roofs that typically contain asbestos

All roofs built before the year 2000 may contain asbestos in their structure. This includes:

  • Garage roofs
  • Shed roofs
  • Asbestos cement roofs
  • Corrugated cement roofs
  • Roofing shingles
  • Roof tiles
  • Asphalt roofing
  • Roofing felt

What does it look like?

Asbestos cement is just ordinary cement mixed with asbestos, in some cases asbestos can make up over a third of the cement. It is a hard, grey material which was moulded and compressed to produce some of the materials listed above.

Why is asbestos dangerous?

  • Asbestos still kills around 5000 people each year, this is more than the number of people killed on the road.
  • Around 20 people die each week as a result of past exposure.

However, asbestos is not just a problem of the past. It can be present today in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000.

When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. This is why it is important that you protect yourself now.