Asbestos in your roof needs to be treated professionally

Asbestos in your roof needs removing

Many of us have asbestos lurking in our homes, but whether we’re aware of it is another matter. Asbestos has been used in building materials for the best part of half a decade, and it has gained a reputation for being dangerous, or even deadly.

But asbestos takes a few different forms, and it may not be cause for concern. What happens if you find asbestos in a roof?

Why asbestos is a risk to health

Certain types of asbestos trigger cancer, because the jagged fibres get wedged into the lining of the lung. In some cases, the fibres may be ingested, which causes the same problem, but in the abdomen.

Blue asbestos is the most deadly, and is the type responsible for hundreds of deaths in the Armley area of Leeds. Blue asbestos is also known as crocidolite, and it was common in the UK in the late 20th century because of our shipbuilding legacy.

The reason blue asbestos is so lethal is because it is fine, and easily inhaled. White asbestos – the type that is probably present in your roof – is solid, and therefore less dangerous. However, there are certain techniques that must be used to safely dispose of the asbestos.

Typical ways of dealing with the problem

It’s not unusual for asbestos to be present in the roof of a garage or shed, because it’s very good at keeping out wind and rain, and protecting against fire. The material was normally mixed with cement, so if your roof isn’t made of metal, it’s probably asbestos.

In most cases, you don’t need to be concerned about asbestos, providing it’s in good condition. However, you can expect asbestos cement to decay about 40-50 years after installation, so if your roof needs to be replaced anyway, deal with it sooner rather than later. Once it starts to decay, it’s dangerous, and there’s no way of slowing the process down.

You don’t need a specialist company to deal with asbestos roofs, and you can use a company like South Thames Roofing if you wish. Some contractors may refuse to deal with asbestos roof materials, but we are experts in this area and know how to handle and dispose of the waste.

Normally we’ll take the tiles down after soaking them in water, in order to ensure no fibres are allowed to escape and potentially be inhaled. We’ll then bag up and dispose of the asbestos at a proper waste sorting site. Beware of any company that doesn’t have a strategy for disposal, as crushed or broken tiles – and dry asbestos of any sort – can be enough to release fibres that are inhaled.

Managing the risk

Mesothelioma has killed thousands of people that have worked with asbestos, particularly in factories and mines.  It’s also been a hazard for people working on ships that have been constructed from asbestos products. For homeowners today, asbestos need not be a worry, since companies are used to disposing of it safely. Not all tradesmen are willing to handle it, so speak to us if you need further advice.