The Risk of Having Asbestos Roof
One of the well-known asbestos materials in Australia is asbestos sheet. It was made of an asbestos cement. Asbestos cement is a mix of cement and asbestos. The amount of asbestos of the total product is usually about 10 to 15%. Asbestos cement contained white asbestos or chrysotile. When the asbestos is mixed into the cement, it provides endurance, fireproofing, and insulation.
Up to the 1980s, asbestos cement was widely used for roofing and siding material as well as drainpipes, flues, and water tanks. An asbestos sheet was used in commercial, residential, and industrial buildings. The most common form of asbestos cement is corrugated fibro product. Asbestos sheets can be found in different types, including:
- Asbestos corrugated sheet – used for roofing and siding for walls to give protection from fire or structural support.
- Asbestos sheathing – also known as corrugated asbestos-cement sheathing used for siding and roofing material. It was also used to decorate false bricks in residential housing.
- Asbestos flat sheet – it was made using asbestos cement and was commonly used for interior walls and ceilings.
Compared to corrugated iron, the corrugated asbestos roofing is much thicker, has a flat finish and over time, it gets wear and tear.
Sadly, wearing is a sign that there are some changes in the structure and the material. After some years of being exposed to the sun and rain, asbestos roofs will begin to disintegrate and cause the dust particles to gather in the gutter. It only needs a strong wind blows, for the fibre to be airborne.
Should the Product of Asbestos Cement be removed?
Actually, no. Asbestos cement products are quite durable and lasting, so it cannot easily be broken. However, if you need to remove it for the sake of the health of your family, you can use a professional removalist, or you can do it yourself (DIY). If you plan on doing the removal yourself, you must take care it really well to minimise the release of the fibre and remember that DIY for removal can only be performed for small scale only.
How to Minimise the Risk of Fibre Release
It is important for you to manage the risk of the fibre for it can cause a serious health risk. To minimise the risk, you should:
- Remove the sheet whole and avoid breaking them
- Wet the sheet by spraying them with water several times but not too excessively before removing. It is to avoid the fibre to release if accidently you break the sheet while working.
- Avoid the use of power tools as they will make the fibre to be airborne.
- Lower the sheet carefully to the ground. Do not drop it because it will cause the sheet to be broken.
Safety precautions for removal, including:
- Wearing a standard disposal dust mask
- Wearing disposal overall with a hood
- Use crawling boards for asbestos cement is a fragile material and it does not hold weight. The crawling boards will not be necessary for removing sheets.
- Use a sturdy ladder to help you during the removal process
When you have finished removing the asbestos-containing material, check for debris. Clean the debris using wet wipes or disposable cloths. Make sure the dust put into polythene sheet and DO NOT use a vacuum cleaner. Double bag the fragments of the sheet and seal up with tape. Do not forget to clean yourself and the tools used after the work.