Cement asbestos & fiber cement roof shingle maintenance, repair or replacement: here we provide a photo guide and text that can identify the condition of cement asbestos roofing products like asbestos-cement roof shingles. Our photo (page top) shows that someone tried to secure breaking pieces of cement asbestos roof shingles by using a roofing stapler - not a proper repair.
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Asbestos cement roof shingles were in popular use in the U.S. from the 1920's (est) through the 1960's (est) and were sold in the U.S. into the 1970's and according to some sources even in the 1980's.
The typical life expectancy of an cement asbestos shingle roof was given as 30 years, But we have seen these roofs that were now 50 years old in good condition. Typical roof wear or failure patterns are either failure of the shingle fasteners or broken and falling shingles.
But because asbestos cement roofing is easily damaged by a heavy-footed worker unfamiliar with the materials involved, asbestos cement roofs have to be repaired and maintained with the same care and expertise as slate roofs.
This means that roof repairs may cost more even though the materials should also last longer than some competing roof systems.
Work by an inexperienced contractor can ruin a cement asbestos shingle roof and lead to complete roof failure. Our photo at page top shows the use of a roofing stapler to secure sliding cement asbestos shingles - a foolish repair that causes further leaks and damage. This photo (above-left) shows thin, worn, fragile cement asbestos roof shingles that are very broken up. If you see this condition over 25% of the roof surface, repair is probably not economical and a complete re-roofing or roof-over is needed.
Small roof repairs to individual shingles can be made using copper or aluminum flashing material -- it will often weather to a color that looks a lot like the remaining cement asbestos shingles, and this approach minimizes the chances of breaking more shingles during the repair. Follow our slate roof repair advice at SLATE ROOF INSPECTION & REPAIR.
As we discuss at Power Washing Roofs we do not recommend power-washing asbestos-cement nor any other roofing. See Black Stain Removal & Prevention for advice on diagnosing, cleaning, and preventing stains on roofing.
One manufacturer of cement-asbestos shingles was Ruberoid Co., who made 8" x 16" tapered singles with a surface pattern resembling wood and called "Ru-Ber-Oid-Eternit Tapered Timbertex Asbestos-Cement Shingles." 260 singles/525 lbs/square, were available in a wide range of colors.
Contemporary roofing product manufacturers make reinforced fiber-cement roofing shingles and other roofing products which look like, perform similarly to, and need to be installed similarly to the original asbestos-cement shingles - but these new products are free of asbestos.
The replacements for asbestos cement roofing products are reinforced with a variety of fibers including fiberglass. Other replacements for asbestos-cement roofing use both different fibers and a different aggregate (perlite) to replace the asbestos. Some of the substitute products have been in use for more than 30 years (2008).
For maintenance or replacement of asbestos-cement roof shingles (or wall siding) contact Supradur Manufacturing Corporation, PO Box 908, Rye NY 10580 800-223-1948, or from within New York State, call 914-967-8230. Ask about their Supradur(R) mineral fiber shingles.
For handling and disposal guidance concerning old roofing material contact the US EPA, your state Department of Environmental Protection/Conservation, or your local building and health departments.
Also see our articles at ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR
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