Asbestos Garage Roof Guide
Last Updated on 22 November 2023
Asbestos, a material that was once widely used in construction for its fire-resistant and long-lasting qualities, is now known to pose a significant risk to human health. In the UK, where numerous older buildings remain, the presence of asbestos in a garage roof is of significant cause for concern. There are also potential differences between external and internal garages.
This article explores the details of asbestos garage roofs in the UK, including the different types, health risks, ways to identify them, legal considerations, safe removal procedures, alternative options, and additional information.
A Quick Introduction to Asbestos
Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, was widely utilised in construction due to its exceptional heat and fire-resistant qualities. Nevertheless, extended contact with asbestos fibres can result in significant health problems.
Importance of Addressing Asbestos Concerns in Garages
It’s important not to overlook garages when discussing asbestos, as they can contain this hazardous material. It is important to understand if asbestos is present in a garage roof, to feel safer about the well-being of individuals who use these areas.
Different types of Asbestos Garage Roofs
A garage roof could potentially pose health risks when it contains asbestos. There are various kinds of asbestos fibres that could be present, each possessing unique characteristics.
External Garage Roofs
External garage roof’s (and sometimes the wall) are generally cement based and could typically have any combination of these types of asbestos fibre present. The most common being Chrysotile. It is important not to distinguish between the fibre types to any great extent and treat them all as equally dangerous.
This is where garages are built internally within a property. This could be below a bedroom, or the garage is part of the main structure of the dwelling. The ceiling is frequently lined with asbestos insulation board AIB. This material is much more dangerous than cement asbestos products and can only be handled by a contractor with a license from the HSE.
It is more prevalent in properties built from the 1950’s – 1970’s or even early 1980’s. Removal of this type of material can be considerably more expensive that cement asbestos as full decontamination facilities are required.
The following types of asbestos can be found in either an external or internal garage roof:-
Chrysotile, also referred to as white asbestos, is widely utilised as the most commonly used form of asbestos.
Adaptable and seamlessly integrated into textiles or blended with cement.
Durable and resilient, this material can withstand high temperatures and resist damage from chemicals, making it highly versatile.
Breathing in chrysotile fibres can lead to respiratory problems, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
Amosite, also known as brown asbestos, is frequently found in cement sheets, insulation, and pipe insulation.
Durable in high temperatures and frequently employed for safeguarding against fires.
Amosite fibres are fragile and, if they become airborne, they can be inhaled more easily.
Associated with respiratory issues, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
Crocidolite, also referred to as blue asbestos, possesses thin fibres that exhibit exceptional durability and resistance.
Discovered in cement products, spray-on coatings, and pipe insulation.
There is a significant correlation between exposure to certain substances and a higher likelihood of developing respiratory diseases and mesothelioma.
It’s important to highlight that a garage roof made of asbestos can contain a combination of different types of asbestos. Determining the exact type of asbestos present in a garage roof requires testing by professionals who can collect samples for analysis.
The potential health hazards linked to exposure to asbestos
When asbestos fibres are disturbed, they can become airborne and are easily inhaled. Over time, these tiny fibres can build up in the lungs, causing a range of respiratory problems. Typical signs consist of a lingering cough, difficulty breathing, and discomfort in the chest. Regular medical check-ups are crucial for individuals who have been exposed to asbestos in order to detect respiratory problems at an early stage.
Mesothelioma is an uncommon and highly aggressive form of cancer that mainly impacts the linings of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma, with its effects often not appearing until several decades later. Early detection poses a significant challenge, underscoring the importance of raising awareness and implementing preventive measures. Regular screenings are highly recommended for individuals who have been exposed to asbestos in the past. This can greatly improve the likelihood of detecting any potential health issues early on and ensuring that appropriate treatment is administered.
Asbestosis is a long-term lung condition that develops due to extended exposure to asbestos fibres. Inhaling the fibres results in scarring of the lung tissue, which ultimately leads to a decrease in lung function. Common symptoms include a lingering cough, tightness in the chest, and trouble breathing. Unlike certain other diseases caused by asbestos, asbestosis has a relatively shorter latency period, with symptoms typically emerging 10 to 20 years after the initial exposure. It is absolutely essential to seek medical attention promptly in order to effectively manage the condition.
How to Detect Asbestos in a Garage Roof
When conducting a visual inspection, homeowners should keep an eye out for certain indicators that may suggest the existence of asbestos in their garage roof. Some signs to look out for are a textured/corrugated surface, tiny fibres sticking out, or obvious signs of damage. It’s worth mentioning that most asbestos fibres are too small to be seen with the naked eye, so relying solely on a visual inspection will not necessarily give a definitive evaluation. Therefore, It is highly recommended to seek professional inspection and smaple testing for precise identification.
Thorough Inspection by Experts
Trained professionals who specialise in asbestos inspection utilise specialised equipment such as microscopes and laboratory analysis. Their analysis guarantees precise detection of asbestos in garage roofs. Additioanlly, experts are able to evaluate the state of the asbestos, assess the level of risk, and provide recommendations for either removing or encapsulating it. As a result, It is highly recommended that homeowners trust accredited asbestos professionals to ensure a thorough inspection of their garage roof.
Legal Implications and Regulations
Understanding UK Laws on Asbestos
The UK has strict regulations in place for the handling of asbestos. Property owners are required to adhere to regulations like the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. These regulations provide guidance on the identification of asbestos, assessment of associated risks, and the appropriate management or removal procedures. Failure to comply with these laws can result in financial penalties or legal consequences.
Property Owners’ Responsibilities
Ensuring the safety of their premises with regards to asbestos should be important for property owners and particularly landlords. In the domestic setting there is no legal requirement to ‘manage’ asbestos, unless it is within the ‘common areas’ of a rental property. However good practice would be as follows:-
Regular inspections for property owners to ensure the material is not becoming too weathered or damaged.
Keep records of asbestos inspections, testing, and any remedial actions that have been carried out. This documentation is also important when it comes to selling or letting the property
Property owners who let out property should inform occupants about the presence of asbestos and the safety measures in place to protect them.
Hiring Accredited Professionals
When it comes to the removal or testing of an asbestos garage roof, it is crucial for property owners to enlist the services of appropriately trained or licenced professionals who specialise in asbestos. This guarantees that the work is carried out in a secure manner and in accordance with regulations, reducing risks to both individuals and the surrounding environment.
Planning for emergencies
It is important for property owners to create emergency response plans in the event of an accidental release of asbestos. These procedures cover the potential evacuation of occupants, notifying the necessary authorities, and promptly addressing the situation to prevent any additional exposure.
Adherence to Legal Obligations
It is crucial to have a thorough understanding of and comply with the legal requirements surrounding asbestos. It is important for property owners to stay informed about any updates or changes in regulations in order to maintain compliance and avoid potential legal consequences.
Proper Disposal and Compliance with Regulations
It is of utmost importance to properly dispose of materials that contain asbestos. Property owners should ensure the proper removal and disposal of waste in order to comply with legal regulations and prevent any harm to the environment or potential health hazards.
Alternatives to Asbestos Garage Roofs
Contemporary Roofing Options
New roofing materials offer safe alternatives to asbestos. There is a wide selection of long-lasting and fire-resistant materials available for homeowners looking to replace an asbestos garage roof, such as metal roofing, asphalt shingles, or modern fibre-cement panels. These materials provide both safety benefits and enhance the energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal of the property.
Advantages of Opting for Non-Asbestos Alternatives
Choosing garage roof options that are free from asbestos not only ensures your safety but also brings you peace of mind. Materials that are not made of asbestos are frequently more affordable, demand less upkeep, and offer a wide range of styles and colours to cater to different architectural preferences. Homeowners have the opportunity to increase the value of their property by choosing a roofing solution that is both safe and long-lasting.
Asbestos garage roof removal costs
The price of removing an asbestos garage roof in the UK can fluctuate based on various factors, such as the roof’s size, the specific asbestos materials utilised, and the property’s location. Getting quotes from trained or licenced asbestos removal professionals is crucial for obtaining an accurate estimate. While removal costs can be significant, they are a necessary investment in ensuring a safe living environment.
However, on average, the costs for removal of an asbestos garage roof can vary from £800 to £2,500 or even higher. It’s important to note that these figures are general estimates and the actual cost for your specific project may vary. In addition, it’s important to note that these estimates may not cover any extra expenses that could arise, such as waste disposal, testing, and the cost of replacing roofing materials.
It is of utmost importance to engage the services of a licenced and skilled asbestos removal contractor who will adhere to all necessary safety protocols and regulations. They will assess the scope of the work, conduct necessary tests, and provide you with a detailed quote. All work with asbestos is governed by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and associated guidance documents.
Costs of Asbestos Garage Roof Replacement (Breakdown)
When thinking about replacing an asbestos garage roof with non-asbestos alternatives, there are several factors that affect the overall cost. It is crucial for homeowners to have a clear understanding of these factors in order to make well-informed decisions and effectively plan their budgets.
The selection of roofing material has a substantial effect on the total expense of replacement. There are several options available for non-asbestos alternatives, each with its own price range. Here are some commonly used materials:-
Metal roofing is an incredibly resilient and enduring choice. Although it may require a larger initial investment, its durability and minimal upkeep needs often make it a financially wise decision in the long term. Homeowners have the option to select from a variety of metals, including steel, aluminium, or copper, each with its own unique pricing.
Roofing made of asphalt
Asphalt based products are widely chosen for their popularity and cost-effectiveness. There is a wide range of styles and colours available, so homeowners can easily find an option that matches their aesthetic preferences. Installing asphalt shingles is a straightforward process, which helps keep labour costs down.
Fibre-cement panels are a great choice due to their exceptional durability and ability to withstand fire and pests. These often look very similar to asbestos sheets and may cause confusion. Although the upfront price may be higher than that of certain conventional materials, their durability and low maintenance needs make them a financially savvy choice in the long run.
The expenses of an asbestos garage roof replacement are greatly influenced by labour costs. There are various factors that can impact labour costs:-
Installation can be quite complex
The intricacy of the installation procedure can impact the expenses associated with labour. Roof designs that are steeper or more intricate may necessitate additional time and expertise, which can have an impact on the overall costs.
Size of the Roof
The size of the roof has a direct impact on the labour costs involved. Installing larger roofs requires additional time and effort, which in turn leads to increased labour costs.
Additional Costs to Consider
Asbestos Removal and Disposal Services
If the garage roof already has asbestos, the cost of safely removing and disposing of the asbestos-containing materials will increase the overall project expenses. Employing certified experts in asbestos removal guarantees adherence to regulations, but it does involve additional expenses.
Other roofing accessories, like underlay, flashing, rainwater goods and ventilation systems, play a role in determining the total cost of replacement.
DIY vs Professional Asbestos Garage Roof Removal
Risks of DIY Asbestos Garage Roof Removal
It is highly discouraged to attempt asbestos garage roof removal on your own due to the significant risks involved. Disturbing materials that contain asbestos without the necessary training and equipment can result in the release of dangerous fibres into the air, which can pose a significant risk to health. When individuals attempt to remove asbestos themselves, there is a higher chance of not fully removing it safely, which can result in leftover asbestos that still poses potential risks.
Advantages of Hiring a Professional for Asbestos Garage Roof Removal
Engaging the services of a professional asbestos removal company comes with a multitude of advantages, foremost among them being the guarantee of a secure and thorough removal of asbestos from your property. Trained professionals adhere to established protocols to minimise the chance of fibre release and potential exposure.
In addition, opting for professional removal ensures that homeowners are in compliance with legal regulations, safeguarding them from any potential legal repercussions that may arise from improper removal practises.
But do your homework, speak to previous customers and if convenient view their work at previous properties. Also make sure you get training and/ or licensing information from them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How common is asbestos in garage roofs?
It is extremely common to find asbestos in a garage roof, particularly in buildings constructed prior to the implementation of asbestos regulations (2000). It is possible that certain older buildings, including residential garages, utilised materials that contained asbestos during their construction.
How can I identify if my garage roof contains asbestos?
Get it tested by a qualified professional or surveyor.
What should I do if I suspect asbestos in my garage roof?
Again, get it tested by a qualified professional or surveyor.
Is it possible to encapsulate asbestos instead of removing it?
Yes. Encapsulation involves the process of sealing materials that contain asbestos in order to prevent the fibres from being released. Although encapsulation can be a valid choice in certain scenarios, it may not be appropriate for every situation.
It is important to take into account factors such as the condition of the asbestos, moss and lichen growth, its location, and the intended use of the space. Seek guidance from experts in asbestos to identify the best and safest approach for your unique circumstances.
How do I find appropriately trained or licensed asbestos removal professionals?
It is essential to find professionals who are licenced in asbestos removal to ensure a safe and compliant removal process of your garage roof. You can find information on licenced professionals in your area by searching for licensed contractors on the HSE website.
Visit the HSE Asbestos License Register at: HSE Asbestos License Register. Make sure the experts you employ possess the required certifications and experience in asbestos removal to ensure a safe and efficient procedure.
You can also check with reputable trade associations related to asbestos removal in the UK. Organisations such as ARCA (Asbestos Removal Contractors Association) maintain lists of licensed professionals.
Are there any government grants available for asbestos removal?
You probably guessed this one already. In most cases the answer is NO. Contact your local authorities, environmental agencies, or relevant government departments to inquire about potential grant programmes and assistance for asbestos removal. It can’t hurt to try.
Are there any other options available for garage roofs instead of using asbestos?
Contemporary roofing materials, like metal and synthetic options, offer secure and long-lasting alternatives to asbestos when it comes to replacing garage roofs.
Ultimately, dealing with asbestos in a garage roof is initially about testing. Once you have the information you can make an informed decision. Online asbestos testing kits are available. However, we only recommend these for certain situations, but not this one.
Need asbestos advice?
We hope you found our article on the topic of asbestos garage roofs both useful and informative. If you need any help or advice at all with any aspect of asbestos then we’ll be very happy to assist you. Give us a call and our experts will give you some advice and guidance on whatever if is you’re concerned about.
Our professional asbestos surveyors conduct asbestos inspections and asbestos surveys every day across the UK on all types of properties, both residential and commercial, for private home owners and commercial property Managers and owners. So when it comes to managing asbestos in your property, you’re in very safe hands with RB Asbestos Consultants.