Asbestos as a chemical product has been around for thousands of years. There is evidence of it being used in Roman times. It has been a very popular and versatile product and was used in many ways over this time. From suits of armour to table cloths, this product was popular because of its properties: indestructible and fire resistant. The word “asbestos” is actually Greek meaning “inextinguishable”. It is no wonder that it began to be used as a component of building materials.
After the Second World War, there was a housing boom and asbestos was being used more and more as a component of buildings. Right up until the 1970’s asbestos was popular as a component of roofs and insulation. However, the health risks associated with using it began to emerge (asbestos fibres can cause fatal lung disease) and it was eventually banned from use in the 1980’s.
There are three different types of asbestos that have been commercially used in buildings: Crocidolite which is known as blue asbestos, Amosite which is known as brown asbestos and Chrysotile which is known as white asbestos. Blue asbestos is considered to be the most dangerous.
Due to its robust characteristics, many garages built using asbestos in the 1960’s and 1970’s are still in use. The product used in garage roofs is asbestos cement which contains about 10-15% asbestos. Asbestos cement is weatherproof which is why it was being used in roofing materials. If the garage roof is not deteriorating then the asbestos will not be harmful. However, if it begins to degrade then harmful fibres could be released with the potential of being breathed in.
With such a dangerous chemical, it is imperative that home owners who have a leaky and deteriorating garage roof get a competent specialist in to remove it if they are concerned that it may contain asbestos. Not only is removing the garage roof safely important, it is also essential that the asbestos is disposed of safely too for the sake of the environment. That is why it is important to use licensed contractors who have been specially trained to deal with this chemical.
Of course removal of a garage roof containing asbestos will be more expensive to do than a regular roof, but it is not worth trying to “do it on the cheap” by using an unskilled contractor.