Throughout history asbestos has been used in various forms, with the most common being building construction. However, it was only in the 19th century that full-scale mining was established around the world, which opened up doors for construction companies to get their hands on the fibres readily.
Within the building industry, asbestos was most commonly used in roofing materials, due to its fire resistant nature.
Asbestos Roofing Tiles
While a tile that contains asbestos will be referenced as an asbestos tile, it should be noted that these tiles are not made up of solely asbestos. Asbestos roofing tiles are predominately comprised of cement. The asbestos content will vary on the manufacturer, but the content will typically be 15% or less.
The fire resistant properties of these roof tiles weren’t the only reason they were so popular, as asbestos is incredibly durable and strong. This meant that roofs that were made from these tiles had an incredibly long life expectancy, far surpassing that of their non-asbestos counterparts. These noticeable properties helped propel the use of asbestos in roofs.
Types Of Asbestos In Roofing Products
The UK’s building industry predominately used three different types of asbestos: chrysotile (white), amosite (brown), and crocidolite (blue). Each asbestos variant has a different risk level associated with it, with chrysotile being the safest, and crocidolite being the most dangerous. Asbestos cement tiles were most commonly composed of chrysotile, but it has been found that some do in fact contain amosite and crocidolite.
Are The Tiles Dangerous?
In most scenarios, the answer to this question is no. These tiles pose no immediate hazard to human health, as the potentially dangerous fibres are securely kept in place in the cement. However, the danger level significantly increases when the tiles begin to lose their integrity and show signs of aging or damage, which could allow the trapped fibres access to the air around them. Similarly to deterioration, any work that’s done adjacent to these tiles which could have a high chance of breaking or damaging them, will also potentially increase the threat level to human health.
If you own or are thinking of purchasing a property that has suspected or confirmed asbestos tiles, you don’t necessarily need to remove them. It is however advisable that you monitor the condition of these tiles on a regular basis.
If you are planning on conducting maintenance or renovation work on the roof, whether it’s due to damage or aesthetic reasons, it’s imperative that you hire professionals to remove and replace the tiles with non-asbestos alternatives.
If you have confirmed roof tiles on your property that you’d like removed, please feel free to enquire with our asbestos removals team, who will guide you through the whole process. However, if you’re uncertain whether or not your tiles are asbestos, we will be able to determine this for you by either you sending in a sample yourself, or by having one of our consultants come to your property and take a sample. This will then be analysed in our lab, to determine the composition of the taken sample.