Asbestos is a term referring to a series of naturally occurring silicate minerals. These fibrous materials were used in cement for many products, including roofing shingles and siding. The material was first introduced in Europe in the late 1890s and began being used in the U.S. shortly thereafter to great fanfare.
It was easy to see why. Shingles made from asbestos were rigid, lightweight, and were fire-resistant. The tiles were very durable (lasting up to 30 years), withstood insect damage, and never warped. Because of its cheap price, and the ability to add color to the tiles, it didn’t take long for these roofing products to dominate the market in the early- to mid-twentieth century.
Negative Health Effects Emerged
However, over the next few decades, health problems began to present themselves in and around the plants making the asbestos materials. Mesothelioma and lung cancer were common diseases, but while there was a clear health hazard, the tiles and shingles continued to be produced.
Even as asbestos use declined between 1940 and 1945 in Europe, it wasn’t until 1989 that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted the asbestos ban and phase out rule. Although asbestos roof shingles are rare today, it is common to see homes built in the 50s, 60s, and 70s with asbestos siding even today.
However, if the tiles are in good condition, the siding isn’t dangerous. It’s when the tiles are broken, releasing the fibrous material, that it becomes a concern. When removing asbestos, there are specific steps that need to be taken. Respirators, protective clothing, and a fine misting hose to keep the asbestos fibers from floating away.
Asbestos Removal Today
As a homeowner, you can remove the asbestos on your own if you follow the proper protocols. However, if you work out of your home, you may be required to hire a certified asbestos contractor to remove asbestos roofing and siding shingles.
Click here for more information about the removal of asbestos from your home. Warner Roofing and Construction does not work with asbestos at all. However, we will hire a mitigation company to handle tear-off and removal of the asbestos shingles.
Warner Roofing and Construction has been serving the Vancouver area since 1992, providing roof tear-offs, re-roofing, new roof construction, and repairs. In addition to roofing, we also install gutter systems to take rainwater away from the home and skylights and solar tubes to allow more natural light into your home.
If you have any questions about your roofing material, we are a licensed, bonded, and insured roofing contractor. Contact us and see how we can help.