Asbestos Roofing Is More Common Than You Think

August 26, 2020

We’re the first people to call if you have any concerns over asbestos roofing. We can liaise with licenced contractors to deal with the situation. But during the first decades of the 20th century, asbestos roofing had a better reputation than it enjoys today. For example, roofing shingles containing asbestos were renowned for their durability, rigidity, and fire resistance. The shingles wouldn’t warp or rot and they were resistant to damage caused by insects. Back in the day, all those qualities were highly regarded and it is of little surprise that asbestos roofing was so widespread in New Zealand, and throughout the rest of the world. 

Many New Zealand buildings of a certain age still have asbestos shingles on their roofs. Fortunately, if they are in good condition and left undisturbed, they only pose a minimal health risk. In fact, the presence of asbestos in any building is not necessarily hazardous unless it has been damaged and becomes airborne, releasing the fibres into the atmosphere where they could be inhaled by anyone living or working within that area. 

So while the whole world seems to be on an anti-asbestos crusade, we have to accept that it is still very widespread in New Zealand given its previous popularity as a building material. This is certainly the case when it comes to roofing. You can take it as a given that any old fibrolite roof will contain asbestos, while there’s every chance that old decramastic roofs have the material in them too. Unfortunately, many of these roofs are a bit past their use-by date and need replacing. A painting company could encapsulate the roof for safety reasons, but as the roof would require a  hard water blast during preparation, there’s a chance small pieces of asbestos could end up all over your property, which defeats the purpose of painting in the first place. 

If you live or work in an older building which has a roof of a certain vintage - circa 1910 onwards -  there is a possibility it contains asbestos. Don’t panic! Instead, we recommend you take a safety-first approach. The best way to confirm the presence of asbestos in your roof is to call us first and we’ll get in touch with the best people to handle everything from sampling to lab testing. We don’t want to alarm you but with asbestos roofing still being so common throughout New Zealand, we think it’s better to play it safe if you have any concerns.