Signs Your Roof Is Affected By Asbestos

There are hundreds of thousands of asbestos roofs in Sydney, and even more sources of asbestos in wall, eaves linings and other not so obvious products. Asbestos is made up of very fine fibres, but the most dangerous are those naked to the eye, which penetrate the deepest areas of the lungs causing irreversible damage. Asbestos needs to be removed or sealed as soon as possible, but how do you know if this silent killer is in your roof? Some major signs that your roof is affected by asbestos are listed here.

Asbestos Roof Shingles, Sheeting and Insulation

Where Is Asbestos Found?

The mere presence of asbestos in a home or a building is not hazardous. The danger is that asbestos materials may become damaged over time. Damaged asbestos may release asbestos fibres and become a health hazard. The most likely form is the flat sheet fibro, often used for outside cladding of houses, sheds and garages, as well as in backrooms, toilets and games rooms. It was especially popular for renovations and additions. Special wet area versions designed for bathrooms and laundries are quite common in older wooden framed houses also.

Weathered Roofs

Over time, asbestos cement roofs will deteriorate. The cement slowly breaks down and asbestos fibres are washed and blown away. Even if an asbestos cement roof is in poor condition, it is not likely to pose an increased risk to your health. Any released fibres rapidly disperse into the air and their concentration reduces within a short distance of the roof. Air testing near the ground has shown the concentration of fibres is very low, the same as if the asbestos cement roof was not there.

Asbestos cement roofs can be left in place until they are no longer watertight. However, they can pose an increased risk to your health when they are disturbed or being worked on or when the roof gutters are being cleaned. Public health laws must be complied with and safety precautions need to be taken at such times.

Cracked or Damaged Asbestos Sheeting

At the time asbestos cement sheeting is cracked or damaged, some respirable asbestos fibres can be released into the air. However, the number of released fibres is likely to be very low because the material is not 100% asbestos — the asbestos fibres in the sheeting are predominantly large and bound into the cement. If you are close to the material when it cracks or is damaged, it poses a very low health risk.

Asbestos Roof Insulation

Loose-fill asbestos roof insulation is raw asbestos crushed into a fine state and installed in ceiling spaces. During the 1960s and 1970s loose-fill asbestos insulation was installed in some residential and commercial premises in Australia. A number of properties in New South Wales have been identified as containing loose-fill asbestos insulation.

If you suspect or are aware that your roof is affected by asbestos, leave the rest to an expert. Contact Black Cat Commercial Roofing in Sydney today for an appointment or a quote.