Asbestos Roof Removal

Asbestos roof removal must be performed following very specific procedures because of health dangers presented by damaged asbestos. Asbestos roof shingles were commonly used in residential construction between the 1920s to the 1970s. Another asbestos-laden roofing material, which is thicker, was used on barns, sheds and low income residential housing during the same period. Asbestos was very popular because the fiber is mixed with Portland cement and creates a roofing material that is not only fire resistant, but very durable.


Asbestos roofing materials were commonly used for many decades.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) are the federal agencies responsible for administering laws related to asbestos. States and local municipalities also have laws pertaining to asbestos removal. In some areas, you may be required to obtain a building permit for asbestos roof removal that exceeds a certain amount. Check with the local building code department to find out what the requirements are for your project. Even if you are a homeowner who is exempt from certain requirements, you should familiarize yourself with local, state and federal laws related to asbestos removal and employ the procedures during your project.

Removal Guidelines

In most cases, asbestos roof coverings must be handled by an asbestos contractor who is certified and licensed. The workers must be supervised. The supervisor and workers must also be trained and certified by an EPA-recognized training program. Workers must be quipped with the proper gear, including overalls, hoods, goggles, boots, gloves and a special regulator. The contractor must also have a change area where workers can clean up at the end of the day.

The best way to proceed with asbestos roof removal is to make sure that the material remains in non-friable condition. Non-friable means that the material cannot be easily pulverized or crumbled by hand. Most roofing material has binders, such as pitch, tar and asphalt. These binders hold the materials together and make it difficult to release the dangerous fibers. Asbestos roofing material that is friable, or can be crushed by hand, releases asbestos fibers into the air. These fibers can be inhaled and cause significant health consequences.

Water down asbestos roofing material at all times during the removal process. Wet asbestos roofing materials prevents minute particles from becoming airborne. Do not use abrasive removal methods, such as cutting or grinding to remove asbestos roofing. Employ hand tools like chisels, hammers or shovels to remove asbestos roof materials from the roof surface.

Do not allow the asbestos material to accumulate once it is extricated from the roof. Carefully place the asbestos-containing roofing material in two 6 mm plastic bags immediately after removal. Make sure that the bags are not breached with holes or debris protruding from the containers. Seal the bags with duct tape and put the waste in a dumpster specially designated for asbestos. The containers must be properly labeled and the waste dispose of a facility designated to accept such materials. Many states have specific requirements for labeling asbestos waste containers.