Learn about the importance of asbestos-cement roofing rehabilitation
Over several decades, asbestos-cement roofing has been widely used in the construction industry in several countries, and Portugal was no exception.
The use of this cement compound, which has a 10 to 20% percentage of asbestos fiber in its composition, was a widely explored option due to its durability and affordability. However, it has been discovered that physical aggression – when walking on roofs for maintenance, breaks, or cuts – can turn asbestos cement into a hazard, both for the people living in the buildings and for the environment. The aging of the exposed face of fiber cement, caused by the sun’s rays, temperature ranges, and humidity, though minor, can also pose a risk of fiber release over the years.
In this blog article, we will explore the importance of rehabilitating asbestos-cement roofing and addressing this issue as promptly as possible.
Cautions to be taken for our health and safety when dealing with fiber cement roofing
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used for several years in the composition of various building materials because of its fire-resistant and insulating properties. However, over time it has been discovered that exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to serious health problems such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and abestosis.
Asbestos-containing roofing is particularly dangerous as the fibers can be airborne, especially when the material is damaged through handling or in its removal, because of the difficulties involved in some of this work or by using improper methods in these actions.
Therefore, if you have asbestos cement roofing, you should ensure that it is regularly and professionally inspected so that you are aware of the risk of exposure, and if rehabilitation is necessary, you should make a timely decision to prevent prolonged exposure to the compound.
The environmental impact of asbestos on the planet
The removal represents, most of the time, the highest risk to human health. When this work is carried out, the fibers can be released more easily or accidentally, reaching a dispersion radius that can endanger the entire surrounding population, not just the workers.
In 2008 there were about 6 billion m² of fiber cement roofing in Portugal. Carrying out removal in all buildings likely to contain asbestos, in non-friable materials, is practically impossible and very costly.
We therefore strongly advocate the use of our method for all asbestos-cement roofing that, after risk assessment, concludes that encapsulation is the best decision to make, which is the case in numerous cases. The environment thanks you for avoiding illegal dumping, overloading landfills, or the risk of contamination.
Integrity of the building’s structure
If the fiber cement sheets are damaged, in addition to the health risk, they can also compromise the integrity and safety of the roof structure. In more serious cases, the roof can collapse, endangering the people who live or work on it, as well as their property. Regular inspection and rehabilitation of these roofs help ensure the safety of the building and everyone inside.
Choose prevention and avoid unpleasant surprises in the long run
Rehabilitation of fiber cement roofing can help you save money in the long run. If the roofing material begins to deteriorate, the damage can become extensive, requiring longer-lasting and more expensive repairs. By addressing this issue early, you ensure that your roof continues to protect your building for many years to come, without having to do a full roof replacement, which incurs major costs, risks, and discomfort during application. In addition, in most cases, removal can pose a greater risk of fiber release, so encapsulation of fiber cement is preferable.
Knowing the implications that asbestos cement removal represents for people’s health and safety, Prudêncio develops and applies an encapsulation system that confines and protects asbestos cement from the causes that lead to its degradation, responding to the weaknesses and risks presented by the roofing.
This solution includes PIR thermal insulation sheets and Köster TPO waterproofing membranes, which ensure thermal and waterproofing efficiency and protect asbestos cement boards from physical aggression.
If you have an asbestos cement roof and are looking for a professional solution to ensure its proper maintenance and safety of it, please contact us and get to know the solution that best fits your case.