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Asbestos in Roofs: How to Detect and Safely Replace It

Nowadays, we have all heard at some point about asbestos, fiber cement, or fibrocement fibers. Many of you ask us if the asbestos in old roofs is really harmful and if it still affects us today.

At Panel Sandwich Group, we answer all your questions and offer you your best ally against asbestos: the Tile-Look Sandwich Panel.

What is Asbestos and Where is it Found? Materials with Asbestos

Also known as asbestos, amianto is a material belonging to the group of fibrous metamorphic minerals, which are characterized by their long, flexible fibers and resistance to high temperatures. For this reason, it has excellent thermal insulation levels. The most popular is chrysotile, also known as "white asbestos" due to its color before being mixed.

In US, asbestos has been frequently used for the manufacture of multiple manufactured products because it was a very cost-effective material for companies due to its properties and low price. As a result, it has been used in numerous construction elements in various projects: nuclear power plants, power plants, the navy, cooling towers, city metros, shipyards, sugar factories, among others. The use of asbestos in the roofs and roofs of houses and buildings is due to its use as electrical insulation.

Asbestos Extraction MineAged Clay Tile-Look Sandwich Panel on De-Asbestos Roof

Fibrocement is a material composed of a binder such as cement reinforced with organic, mineral, or synthetic inorganic fibers, which initially were asbestos. Its main use was for waterproofing, cladding, or insulation of numerous constructions. When the harmful effects on health were evidenced, fiberglass began to be used.

Uralita is an element composed of cement and asbestos used to manufacture the sheets for building roofs, as well as for other construction uses.

Hazards of Asbestos

The danger of asbestos lies in the fact that it is a friable material. That is, it has an excessive ease of breaking into small pieces with contact or friction. In this way, asbestos fibers are released and remain suspended in the air for years.

When inhaled, they lodge in the lungs, with the nanofibers embedding in the pulmonary alveoli, causing small scars inside. The retroactive effect and late latency period (the time that passes from exposure to something that can cause a disease and the appearance of symptoms) make it an invisible killer.

Although prolonged exposure over time increases the chances of suffering from these pathologies, even causing death, not everyone who has been exposed to or handled asbestos is likely to develop the disease. But the risk exists from the moment there is contact with asbestos.

What Diseases Does Asbestos Cause?

According to a study conducted by the pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb on the level of awareness of Spaniards about asbestos and the diseases it causes, 60% of Americans do not know if there is asbestos in their home installations, despite 70% knowing this mineral and 40% being aware of the risks it poses.

Asbestos poisoning or prolonged exposure to it can cause serious health diseases. Among the most common are:

  • Asbestosis or Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Pleural Mesothelioma

This last pathology is exclusively caused by direct or indirect exposure to asbestos.

Why Replace Roofs with Asbestos?

Roof with Asbestos SheetsRoof with Asbestos

Asbestos is present in the roofing, ceilings, or coverings, in the tiles, in cement products, in automotive tools, in fireproof suits, in house structures, and in downspouts.

It is evident that the outdoor exposure of these architectural or construction elements increases the danger, harming both the neighbors living under these constructions and those passing near them.

In the United States, many buildings constructed between 1960 and 1980 contain asbestos in their construction materials or installations. Therefore, today, the roofs of old buildings over 40 years old are usually made of this material. Although the useful life of asbestos cement is between 30 and 35 years, nothing prevents it from breaking down into small fibers that are dangerous to health and the environment. Asbestos particles do not evaporate or dissolve in water, but they can remain suspended in the air for a long time, posing a significant risk to air quality and public health.

Solutions for Roofs with Asbestos: Roof Tile Sandwich Panel and Roof Sandwich Panel

An alternative for those roofs with asbestos is to cover the roof with other materials. If you know or suspect the existence of asbestos, asbestos cement, or uralite in the roof of your house, porch, garage, shed, or even the barn or livestock shed, you should contact a specialist asbestos removal company, which entails a high economic cost.

The Roof Tile Sandwich Panel and the Insulated Roof Panel, with their different types and models, are the natural, quality, and economical alternative for replacing the roof after asbestos removal. It is the perfect solution to replace your old roof, ceiling, or covering, guaranteeing first-hand that we subject all our panels to rigorous technical examinations to ensure excellent performance and a long useful life.

At Panel Sandwich Group, we offer all our clients the possibility to replace their roof with any model. We have different types of sandwich panels suitable for different types of roofs or ceilings:

  • The Roof Tile Sandwich Panel is the most used for residential use, in rural estates and single-family homes. We also have three different models: Red Tile, Aged Clay Tile, and Slate Gray Tile.
  • On the other hand, the Roof Sandwich Panel is the most demanded option for all types of roofs and roofs, from industrial buildings to residential roofs. We have three types of Roof Sandwich Panel: Cover-joints Sandwich Panel, Sandwich Panel 3 Frets, and Sandwich Panel 5 Ribs.

So, if you are thinking of removing asbestos from your roof, Panel Sandwich Group offers you multiple solutions. If you want to learn more, we recommend checking the article on removing asbestos cement from the roof.


If you want to learn more about our materials or have any questions about removing asbestos from your roof, do not hesitate to contact us through the form on our website or by calling +1 904 512-3122. A sales representative will be happy to assist you and answer all your questions.