Asbestos is a hazardous material that was frequently used in roofing construction in the past. While asbestos roof repair and replacement can be a daunting task, it is essential for protecting the health and safety of those working on the project.

This guide will provide information about asbestos roof repair and replacement safety.

Risks Associated with Asbestos Roofing

Asbestos is a group of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals that possess excellent heat, fire, and electrical resistance properties. These characteristics made asbestos a popular choice in various construction materials, including roofing products such as shingles, tiles, and felts.

Health Risks and Diseases Caused:

The three most significant diseases caused by asbestos exposure are mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. These conditions can take decades to manifest, making early detection and prevention vital.

  • Asbestosis: A chronic lung condition caused by inhaling asbestos fibres, resulting in scarring of lung tissue and breathing difficulties.
  • Lung Cancer: Asbestos exposure increases the risk of lung cancer, particularly among smokers.
  • Mesothelioma: A rare form of cancer affecting the lining of the chest or abdominal cavity, almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure.
  • Pleural Thickening: A condition where the lining of the lungs becomes thick and less flexible, causing breathing difficulties and chest pain.
  • Pleural Plaques: Areas of fibrous thickening on the pleura (lung lining), which can cause discomfort and breathing difficulties.

Repairing or replacing an asbestos roof involves handling asbestos-containing materials, which can release fibres into the air if not managed correctly. Preventive measures are crucial in minimising the risk of asbestos-related diseases. These include using trained professionals, wearing proper protective equipment, and following safety guidelines.

Identification of Asbestos in Roofing

Identifying asbestos-containing materials can be challenging, as they often look similar to non-asbestos products. The safest approach is to engage a professional asbestos surveyor to assess the roofing materials and test for asbestos presence. Common asbestos-containing roofing materials include:

  • Asbestos Cement Sheets: These are rigid panels made from a mixture of cement and asbestos fibres that are used for roofing and cladding applications due to their durability and resistance to fire.
  • Asbestos Shingles and Tiles: Often used as a roofing material, these shingles and tiles consist of asbestos fibres mixed with cement, providing strength and fire resistance.
  • Roofing Felts: These are rolls of roofing material made from a blend of asphalt and asbestos fibres. They are an underlayment for shingles and tiles to provide water resistance and insulation.
  • Roof Flashings and Sealants: Asbestos-containing flashings and sealants were used to seal joints, prevent water penetration, and provide fire resistance around roof penetrations, such as chimneys, vents, and pipes.

Undertaking DIY testing and handling asbestos-containing materials can pose significant risks due to a lack of proper training and equipment. In addition, asbestos fibres are hazardous when inhaled, and improper handling can release these fibres into the air, posing serious health risks to businessse and their workforce.

  • One of the primary concerns with DIY asbestos testing and handling is the potential for inadequate protection. Businesses may not have access to the appropriate protective gear necessary to prevent asbestos exposure, such as respirators and coveralls. Individuals risk inhaling asbestos fibres without proper protection, which can cause severe long-term health issues.
  • Improper handling of asbestos-containing materials is another significant risk associated with DIY testing and removal. Untrained individuals may accidentally disturb asbestos materials during the testing or removal process, releasing harmful fibres into the air. Once airborne, these fibres can spread throughout your workplace, putting your workers at risk of exposure and contamination.
  • Inaccurate results from DIY test kits can also pose a threat, as they may not be as reliable as professional testing methods. False negatives can lead to a false sense of security, causing businesses to neglect necessary precautions and safety measures. As a result, individuals might continue to live with dangerous asbestos materials unknowingly, putting their health and well-being at risk.
  • Lastly, legal consequences can arise from improper handling or disposal of asbestos-containing materials. Violating local regulations can result in fines or penalties, as well as potential liability for any harm caused to others due to negligence.

For these reasons, it is strongly advised to seek the services of a professional asbestos surveyor and abatement specialist to ensure the safe and legal management of asbestos-containing materials in roofing.

Asbestos Roof Repair

Asbestos roof repair is a critical process for maintaining the structural integrity and safety of buildings with asbestos-containing materials. However, it is a delicate task that requires careful planning, expertise, and adherence to safety measures to ensure that it does not inadvertently release asbestos fibres into the air, posing health risks to workers and building occupants.

Before undertaking asbestos roof repair, it is crucial to assess the condition of the roofing materials. If the materials are significantly damaged or deteriorated, it may be necessary to consider a full roof replacement instead of a repair. A professional asbestos surveyor should conduct this assessment to determine the appropriate course of action.


  • Weather conditions play a vital role in asbestos roof repair projects. It is recommended to carry out the work on dry, calm days to minimise the risk of asbestos fibre release and dispersion. Windy or wet conditions can increase the likelihood of asbestos fibres becoming airborne or being spread to other areas.
  • Training and expertise are paramount in safely handling asbestos-containing materials. Workers should be adequately trained in asbestos abatement procedures and equipped with the knowledge to identify potential hazards and take the necessary precautions.
  • Licensing is another critical factor to consider when selecting a contractor for asbestos roof repair. The contractor should hold the necessary licences and certifications to work with asbestos, ensuring compliance with local regulations and industry standards.
  • The use of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for all workers involved in asbestos roof repair. This includes respirators, coveralls, gloves, and safety goggles to minimise the risk of asbestos exposure.
  • Containment measures should be implemented to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres beyond the work area. This may involve sealing off the area with plastic sheeting, using negative air pressure machines, or establishing decontamination units for workers.
  • Waste disposal is a critical aspect of asbestos roof repair. All asbestos-containing waste should be properly disposed of according to local regulations, ensuring the safe containment and transport of hazardous materials.
  • Finally, maintaining documentation of asbestos work conducted is essential for future reference. This includes records of asbestos surveys, abatement procedures, and waste disposal, providing a comprehensive account of the repair process and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Approaches, Safe Practices, and Tools Required:

Hiring a licensed and certified professional is essential to ensure safe asbestos roof repair. Depending on the project requirements. They should follow best practices, such as encapsulation or removal of asbestos-containing materials, depending on the project requirements.

Encapsulation involves sealing the asbestos materials to prevent fibre release, while removal involves completely taking out the materials from the roof structure. Safe practices and tools during asbestos roof repair include:

  • Wetting the Materials: Dampening the asbestos-containing materials to reduce the risk of airborne fibres.
  • Using HEPA-filtered Vacuum Cleaners: Ensuring proper dust control and preventing the spread of asbestos fibres.
  • Hand Tools: Using hand tools instead of power tools to minimise the disturbance of asbestos-containing materials.
  • Encapsulation Products: Applying sealants or coatings to contain asbestos fibres within the roofing materials.

Asbestos Roof Replacement

Asbestos roof replacement is a crucial process for ensuring the safety and health of building occupants and workers. Asbestos-containing roofing materials pose a significant health risk when fibres are released into the air. Over time, these materials may degrade or become damaged, increasing the likelihood of fibre release. Consequently, the decision to replace an asbestos roof is vital to creating a safe environment and promoting long-term well-being.

Asbestos roof replacement involves the careful removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials, followed by the installation of non-asbestos alternatives. This process necessitates thorough planning, expert knowledge, and adherence to strict safety guidelines. By choosing to replace your asbestos roof, you are not only protecting the health of those who interact with the building but also investing in the property’s overall value and performance.

Before embarking on an asbestos roof replacement project, several factors must be considered:

  • Type of Replacement Materials: When selecting non-asbestos roofing materials, it is essential to choose products that meet building codes and requirements. Modern roofing materials provide improved performance, durability, and aesthetics while ensuring a safe environment.
  • Project Timeline: Asbestos roof replacement is a complex process that requires additional time for the safe removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials. Planning your project timeline accordingly ensures minimal disruption to occupants and allows for a smooth transition to the new roofing system.
  • Budget: The costs associated with asbestos abatement and waste disposal must be factored into the project budget. Asbestos roof replacement can be more expensive than a standard roof replacement due to the specialised handling and disposal procedures involved.
  • Legal Requirements: Compliance with local regulations and guidelines for asbestos removal and disposal is essential. Failure to adhere to these requirements can result in fines, penalties, and potential harm to the public’s health.

Approaches, Safe Practices, and Tools Required:

Hiring a licensed and certified professional is crucial for safe asbestos roof replacement. They should follow safety guidelines and use appropriate tools and equipment throughout the process. Safe practices and tools during asbestos roof replacement include the following:

  • Decontamination Units: Providing facilities for workers to remove and dispose of contaminated PPE
  • Encapsulation of Waste: Wrapping asbestos-containing materials in thick plastic sheets to contain fibres during transport and disposal
  • Proper Signage: Displaying warning signs to inform workers and the public of asbestos-related hazards
  • Air Monitoring: Regularly testing the air quality to ensure asbestos fibre concentrations remain within acceptable limits

Top Benefits of Asbestos Roof Replacement:

Asbestos roof replacement offers numerous benefits that contribute to a safer, more valuable and more efficient building. Property owners can enjoy long-term rewards and peace of mind by investing in this process.

The top 6 benefits of full-scale asbestos roof replacement include:

  1. Improved Safety: Eliminating the risk of asbestos exposure for building occupants and workers safeguards their health and well-being.
  2. Enhanced Durability: Modern roofing materials offer better longevity and performance compared to asbestos-containing products, reducing the need for frequent repairs and replacements.
  3. Increased Property Value: Removing asbestos can make the property more appealing to potential buyers or tenants, as it demonstrates a commitment to safety and environmental responsibility.
  4. Lower Maintenance Costs: Non-asbestos roofing materials typically require less maintenance and repair, saving property owners time and money in the long run.
  5. Compliance with Regulations: Meeting current building codes and environmental standards ensures legal compliance and reduces the risk of penalties or fines.
  6. Peace of Mind: Knowing that the building is free from asbestos-related health hazards allows property owners and occupants to enjoy a safe and healthy environment.

Safety Measures During Asbestos Roof Repair or Replacement

Implementing safety measures during asbestos roof repair and replacement is essential to protect workers and the surrounding environment from asbestos exposure. The following expanded points outline the critical aspects of safety measures:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Wearing proper protective clothing and equipment is crucial to minimising the risk of asbestos exposure. PPE includes:

  • Respirators: Choose a suitable respirator with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to prevent the inhalation of asbestos fibres.
  • Coveralls: Disposable, full-body coveralls made of a non-woven material can prevent asbestos fibres from sticking to clothing and being carried outside the work area.
  • Gloves: Use durable, disposable gloves to protect hands from asbestos contamination.
  • Safety Goggles: Wear safety goggles with side shields or a full-face shield to protect the eyes from asbestos dust.
  • Protective Footwear: Use shoe covers or dedicated work boots that can be easily cleaned or disposed of after use.

Wetting Asbestos-Containing Materials

Wetting down asbestos-containing materials during work is essential to reduce the likelihood of fibres becoming airborne. Follow these steps:

  • Use a low-pressure water sprayer to dampen the asbestos materials before and during the work process.
  • Add a wetting agent, such as a detergent, to the water to improve its penetration into the materials.
  • Regularly check the work area to ensure the materials remain damp throughout the work process.
  • Avoid over-wetting, as it may cause damage to the underlying structure or increase the risk of slips and falls.

Controlling Asbestos, Dust, and Debris

Measures to control asbestos dust and debris include the following:

  • Using HEPA-filtered Vacuum Cleaners: A vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter can effectively capture asbestos dust and fibres, preventing their spread in the work area and beyond.
  • Sealing Off The Work Area: Isolate the work area by using plastic sheeting and duct tape to create an enclosure that prevents the spread of asbestos dust and debris to adjacent areas.
  • Ventilation Control: Ensure the work area has adequate ventilation while preventing the spread of asbestos fibres to other parts of the building. Use air filtration devices with HEPA filters to capture airborne fibres.
  • Regular Cleaning: Conduct frequent cleaning of the work area, tools, and equipment with wet wiping methods or HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaners. Avoid using dry sweeping or compressed air, as these methods can disperse asbestos fibres.

Proper Disposal of Asbestos-Containing Materials

Proper disposal of asbestos-containing materials is vital to prevent environmental contamination and comply with local regulations. Follow these guidelines:

  • Double-Bagging: Place asbestos waste, including disposable PPE and cleaning materials, in two layers of thick, leak-proof plastic bags. Seal each bag with duct tape.
  • Labelling: Clearly label the bags with an asbestos warning sign to alert waste handlers of the hazardous contents.
  • Transport: Use a licensed asbestos waste carrier to transport the waste bags to an approved disposal site.
  • Recordkeeping: Maintain accurate records of the asbestos waste disposal process, including the location, date, and disposal facility.
  • Compliance: Familiarise yourself with local regulations and guidelines to ensure proper disposal of asbestos-containing materials and avoid legal consequences.

By diligently following these safety measures during asbestos roof repair and replacement, you can minimise the risks associated with asbestos exposure and create a safer working environment.

Cost of Asbestos Roof Repair and Replacement

In the UK, the average cost of asbestos roof repair and replacement can range from £50 to £100 per square metre, depending on various factors. It is essential to understand that these costs can fluctuate based on the project’s scope, the condition of the existing roofing materials, and any additional work required.

Things to Consider:

Factors that affect the cost of asbestos roof repair and replacement include:

  • Types of Roofing Materials: The cost of non-asbestos replacement materials can vary widely. There are numerous alternatives to asbestos roofing, such as metal, slate, or composite materials, each with its price range and performance characteristics.
  • Size of the Roof: Larger roofs require more materials and labour, increasing costs. The total square footage of the roof will significantly impact the overall price, as more extensive projects require more time and resources.
  • Location: Prices may differ based on regional labour rates and disposal fees. In areas with higher labour costs or stricter regulations for asbestos waste disposal, the project’s overall cost might be higher.
  • Accessibility: Difficult access to the roof may require special equipment or additional time, impacting the overall cost. For example, if the roof is on a multi-story building or has challenging access points, it may take longer to complete the project and require specialist equipment, which can increase expenses.
  • Asbestos Abatement and Disposal: Proper handling and disposal of asbestos-containing materials contribute to the overall cost. Licensed professionals must carry out this process, and the cost of their services, along with any fees associated with the disposal of asbestos waste, should be factored into the project’s total cost.


Investing in asbestos roof repair and replacement offers several benefits, such as:

  • Enhanced Safety: Protecting building occupants and workers from asbestos-related health risks. The removal of asbestos-containing materials significantly reduces the chances of exposure and associated health problems.
  • Improved Property Value: Increasing the appeal of the property to buyers and tenants. Properties with asbestos-free roofing can command higher prices in the market due to the reduced risk and increased safety.
  • Reduced Maintenance Costs: Lowering expenses associated with ongoing repairs and upkeep of asbestos-containing materials. Modern, non-asbestos roofing materials typically have longer lifespans and require less maintenance, saving property owners money in the long run.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Ensuring the building meets current codes and environmental standards. Proper asbestos abatement and disposal demonstrate a commitment to adhering to regulations and maintaining a safe environment.

Selecting a reputable contractor is essential for a successful asbestos roof repair or replacement project. A qualified professional will ensure that all procedures are conducted safely and in compliance with local regulations, providing peace of mind and a safer environment for building occupants.

By investing in asbestos roof repair and replacement, property owners can enjoy the numerous benefits that come with a modern, safe roofing system.


Asbestos roof repair and replacement is a complex process, but it’s essential for protecting the health and safety of those working on the project and the building’s occupants.

Many factors must be considered before beginning work, from identifying asbestos in your roofing material to taking all necessary safety measures during repairs or replacements. Investing in professional services can help you ensure that all procedures are conducted safely and correctly, saving you time, money, and stress in the long run.

By selecting a reputable contractor and adhering to best practices, you can effectively remove asbestos from your property and enjoy the numerous benefits of a modern, safe roofing system.

If you have questions about asbestos roof repair or replacement or want to start your next industrial roofing project with Industrial Roofing Services NE Ltd., contact us today! We look forward to helping ensure your new (or old) commercial building meets industry standards while keeping everyone safe from hazardous materials like asbestos.