How to Tell if a Roof Has Asbestos

Asbestos Explained

Asbestos is a term which describes a group of six naturally occurring minerals. These minerals are resistant to high temperatures and provide fire proofing, which would make them ideal for insulating – if they weren’t so dangerous. Asbestos is made up of microscopic fibres, and before its danger was known, it was used as insulation in the floor tiles and roof of many properties throughout Australia and the rest of the world.

The Danger of Asbestos

The small fibres of asbestos are easily inhaled, and can increase health risks. Smokers are more vulnerable to developing health issues as a consequence of breathing in asbestos.

The fibres are quite insidious, with the symptoms of asbestos exposure not usually displaying for 20 to 30 years after first breathing them in.

What do Asbestos Roof Tiles look like?

While asbestos was phased out in the 1980s, and completely banned in 2003, some may exist in old properties. You might already know your roof tiles come from before this period. If so, your tiles may contain asbestos. 

The Three Types of Asbestos

Chrysolite (White Asbestos)

Of the three, Chrysolite is the ‘least’ hazardous. It is still dangerous to breathe in, and should therefore be handled with the same cautious approach when being removed. This is one of the most common forms of asbestos found in roof tiles.

Amosite (Brown Asbestos)

Brown is believed to be one of the most hazardous of all asbestos fibres. You’re less likely to find this kind in your roof tiles (although it is possible), amosite was used a lot in cement sheeting, plumbing insulation and electrical wire insulation prior to the 1980s.

Crocidolite (Blue Asbestos)

Blue asbestos was used in ceiling tiles, insulation and fireproofing. These fibres are particularly thin, making them extremely hazardous as they are easy to inhale and get lodged within lung cavities. 

Identifying Asbestos Tiles

Asbestos in roof tiles isn’t too difficult to identify its raw form, usually the white and grey colour can give a clue. Once mixed into a roof tile however, it can be a bit trickier to identify, as some white and grey tiles exist with no asbestos at all. 
One tip for looking for asbestos tiles is that they might have an identifying mark, but it won’t be present on every tile. Only about one in every twenty tiles will be marked, if any at all.

If you’re unsure if your roof contains asbestos, it may be necessary for your tiles to be scientifically tested.

How To Safely Dispose of Asbestos Roof Tiles

If you’ve discovered, or suspect, you have asbestos tiles on your home or business roof, you should get in touch with a professional to conduct an inspection to test and remove any instances of asbestos tiles. 

Professionals will have the necessary Personal Protective Equipment to keep them safe during the removal process. Asbestos can’t just be dumped anywhere, it must be disposed of at licensed landfill properties. 

If you’re in Brisbane and suspect or know that you have asbestos in your roof or tiles, contact Nev’s Roof Restoration and we’ll be able to assist you with safe removal and correct disposal of asbestos roof materials.