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All You Need to Know About Asbestos Roofs

June 28, 2021

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of small fibres. These fibres are strong and highly resistant to water, heat, fire, and chemicals. Asbestos was imported and used widely across New Zealand in various aspects of construction, particularly in areas of residential and commercial roofing.

Once the health risks associated with the material were established, the industry gradually stopped using it in construction. However, despite the relatively recent ban, asbestos is still prevalent in New Zealand infrastructure, particularly those properties built, refurbished, and altered between the 1940s and 1980s. Let’s go into greater detail about asbestos roofing and what to do if you have one attached to your home.

Why is asbestos in so many NZ roofs?

Amazingly, asbestos has been found in approximately 50% of metal roof tiles (Decramastic) in New Zealand. At its peak usage, asbestos seemed like the perfect product to add to many different types of roofing solutions. Not only was it lightweight and low cost, but it also had lots of other perceivable advantages, such as:

  • The particles made asphalt-based roofing durable and long-lasting.
  • It didn’t rot, rust, conduct electricity, or react to heat.
  • Very easy to work with and widely sourced.
  • Solved structural issues for heavy roof loads.

Builders across the country endorsed asbestos until a connection was made between the exposure of asbestos and various health conditions. Soon after that, it became illegal to import asbestos-containing products into New Zealand.

What are the Health Risks?

Asbestos itself is proven to be a human carcinogen and can cause health issues like cancer and scarring of the lungs. The higher exposure a person has to the material, the greater their risk for developing asbestos-related illnesses. While it is recommended to keep asbestos exposure at a minimum, it is not simply the presence of asbestos that causes the issues. Let us explain. It’s not until asbestos fibres are released into the air and subsequently inhaled that they pose a risk to humans. Therefore, if your asbestos roof is in good condition, the risk may be relatively low.

What Should I Do If I Find Asbestos in My Roof?

As we mentioned above, if your asbestos roof is in good condition, it will probably not be releasing the fibres into the air. The risk mainly begins once your roof undergoes structural damage due to weather conditions or general wear and tear. If you notice tiles have become dislodged or damaged on your roof, this is the time to call in a professional asbestos specialist. Your asbestos specialist can inspect your roof and discuss the various solutions, including:

  • Removing it.
  • Sealing, Encapsulating and Enclosing it.

If you choose to remove your asbestos roof, that is where we can come in. We offer an expert roof repair and roof replacement service across all residential and commercial properties in Auckland.

Should I Have My Asbestos Roof Removed?

Of course, you will need to consider the cost of removal and roof replacement but there are several factors that favour having your asbestos roof removed.

  • The longer you leave your roof, the more risk of deterioration.
  • Properties with asbestos roofs can be more challenging to sell.
  • Homes with asbestos roofs are usually more expensive to insure.
  • Replacing the roof is inevitable; doing it sooner will minimise risk and complications to your health and property later.

Reach Out to Us

If you are living in Auckland and have asbestos or suspect you have asbestos in your roof, we are happy to provide a quote for re-roofing. We can also recommend an NZ work safe accredited asbestos removal company to remove any asbestos-containing material from your home. Our recommended removalist will carry out a roof inspection under good work practices and figure out a suitable solution for your roof. Feel free to check out the rest of our expert roofing services.

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