White Pickup Truck Near a Garage with Roof Tiles

How to Tell if Your Garage Roof is Asbestos

White Pickup Truck Near a Garage with Roof Tiles

Asbestos, a once-popular building material known for its durability and fire-resistant properties, poses significant health risks if not properly managed. Asbestos in your garage is no joke.  Many homes, especially those built before the late 1990s, might unknowingly harbour asbestos materials in their garage roofs.

What is Asbestos

Asbestos refers to a group of six naturally occurring minerals that were extensively used in building materials for their remarkable properties. It was particularly favoured for garage roofs due to its affordability and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. However, the discovery of its health risks led to a ban in the UK in 1999, but many buildings still contain this hazardous material. 

Spotting Asbestos in Your Garage Roof

Identifying asbestos can be tricky, especially since it is often combined with other materials, making visual identification challenging. Here are some indicators that your garage roof might contain asbestos:

1. Corrugated Roofing Panels

Asbestos garage roofs often featured corrugated panels, similar in appearance to cement fibre panels. This design was chosen for its added strength, but it makes distinguishing between asbestos and non-asbestos materials difficult without a professional assessment.

2. Construction Date

The age of your garage can be a significant indicator. If it was built or renovated before 1999, there’s a considerable chance it might contain asbestos. The use of the material declined in the 1980s, with a total ban coming into effect by the end of 1999.

3. Condition of Roof Panels

The physical state of your garage roof can also offer clues. Asbestos panels are more likely to snap rather than crumble under pressure. Signs of wear, such as cracks or scaling, may indicate asbestos, but remember, disturbing these materials can release harmful fibres.

4. Batch Codes

Some asbestos roofing sheets were marked with batch codes like “AC” to denote asbestos content, contrasting with “CE” or “C” for cement fibres. However, this practice wasn’t universal, and time may have erased these marks.

The Risks and Proper Handling

The danger of asbestos lies in its tiny fibres, which, when inhaled, can lead to severe lung conditions, including cancer. This risk is heightened if the material is disturbed, releasing fibres into the air.

Steps to Take if You Suspect Asbestos

If there’s any suspicion that your garage roof might contain asbestos, it’s crucial to proceed with caution:

1. Seek Professional Help

Only trained professionals can safely and accurately identify asbestos. They have the tools and knowledge to take samples without releasing harmful fibres.

2. Do Not Disturb

Avoid any action that might disturb the material. Disturbing asbestos can release fibres into the air, posing a risk to anyone nearby.

3. Professional Removal

If asbestos is confirmed, it should be removed by licensed professionals who can ensure safe disposal, minimising the risk of fibre release during the process.

Key Takeaways

Asbestos in your garage is a serious matter that requires careful attention. Given its widespread use in the past, many garages may still have asbestos-containing materials. Recognising the potential signs of asbestos can help you take the necessary precautions to protect your health and that of your loved ones. However, due to the complexities and risks involved, professional assessment and removal are always recommended to ensure safety and compliance with health regulations.