Asbestos roofs are still in place on older houses throughout Australia and they are basically a ticking time bomb. While intact and undamaged, an asbestos roof won’t harm you but it can release potentially deadly fibres if it begins to crumble and degrade in any way. As such, getting your asbestos roof removed and replaced with a quality metal roof should be a priority.
The danger of having asbestos roofing is that if the roofing structure is somehow compromised, the asbestos dust particles can and will be released into the air, which could then be breathed in by you or your family.
Why You Should Worry About Asbestos
Exposure to asbestos fibres can result in the disease mesothelioma, which affects the lungs. Mesothelioma causes shortness of breath and pleural plaques on the lining of your lungs. This disease has led to many deaths in Australia and, so far as we know, is caused solely by exposure to asbestos. The period between exposure to asbestos and the onset of the disease varies, but it typically presents itself 15 – 25 years after the exposure.
The risks of Asbestos arise from breathing in the microscopic asbestos fibres released when they are “stirred up” from either mishandling or heavy wear and resulting deterioration. You see, these fibres are shaped like a hook. The hook end of the fibre can lodge itself in the wall of a lung and that is when you are infected.
Asbestos cement sheeting that was used in the past for roofing contains around 5 – 10% chrysotile (white asbestos). That’s enough to present a serious risk if the material is disturbed, which is why you should have it removed by qualified professionals.
What Professional Asbestos Roof Removal Involves
Professional asbestos roof removers will take a number of precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and your family during the removal, as well as containing the threat during transportation of the old roof.
- The roof is sprayed with PVA glue before any work commences – this holds the fibres together and stops them from becoming airborne during the work.
- After the sheets are removed, they will be wrapped in builders plastic and securely taped shut.
- These secure packages will then be removed from the site using an enclosed truck and taken to a special asbestos disposal facility.
- Professional teams will have all the necessary protective masks, gloves, suits and shoes to do the job safely.
- Your front yard will be “cordoned” off and a sign stating that it is an asbestos worksite will be erected at the front to warn passersby.
- Your ceiling will be thoroughly vacuumed to remove any fibres from the ceiling cavity.
- After removal, your yard will be scoured and any asbestos debris that managed to escape the glue or plastic will be removed. Make sure the team you choose for your job have a good reputation and follow all of these precautions.