September 2022 - Giromax Technology
Is it possible to repair an asbestos roof

Is it Possible to Repair Asbestos Roof?

The problem with asbestos

Asbestos was a popular construction material, commonly found in houses, hospitals, schools, offices and industrial buildings until it was banned in the year 2000. Unless disturbed, there is often no reason to remove asbestos. It is fire-resistant and works well as an insulation material, however, the removal of asbestos is highly problematic. It also requires buildings to be vacated, resulting in the costly relocation of staff and equipment.

As a roof is subject to the British weather, exposure to the elements can cause damage. Any risk of exposure to asbestos needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. If the fibres are released into the air and inhaled, they can cause lung damage and serious disease – asbestosis being one of the most common illnesses. Asbestos exposure has been linked to 5,000 deaths a year, which includes an average of 20 tradespeople per week.

Repairing an asbestos roof

In the first instance, you will need to assess the condition of the asbestos fibre cement roof, observing health and safety guidance. If the roofing system has been damaged to the extent that fibres are exposed, you will need to use a specialist asbestos removal service. It’s important to limit people’s exposure to the area, ideally, this would be covered and sealed off, but an asbestos specialist will advise accordingly.

If the damage is limited to washers, bolts and some types of seals, you might be able to replace these without disturbing the asbestos. If the areas of wear and tear are around rooflights, then you might also be able to repair these without any asbestos disturbance. Giromax Rooflight Repair is highly resistant to UV and extreme weather, including a tough elastometric coating, which allows for rooflight movement.

Over-cladding is another option, albeit a costlier solution. You will need to bear in mind the weight load cladding will add to the roof, in addition to potential snow load. Metal roofing sheets are usually placed over the affected asbestos cement roof, encapsulating the substrate within. Planning permission is required for over-cladding, and a structural survey is recommended to determine the roof strength and integrity before proceeding.

Recoating an asbestos roof

One cost-effective solution that does not require planning approval is to paint the asbestos fibre cement roof with a suitable coating. In many ways, this is the simplest solution, as you are less likely to disturb the asbestos or affect the roof integrity. It’s a popular option for health and safety inspectors, as there are fewer risks associated with the application of a coating, when compared with over-cladding. It’s important, however, to use the right product.

Our Giromax® Roofcoat system sticks to the asbestos and seals in the dangerous fibres while still wet. This product is a moisture tolerant and breathable formula, which ensures the topcoat has a uniform finish. Giromax® Roofcoat could extend the lifespan of the roof by another 20 years. Repainting asbestos fibre cement roofing systems also ensures business continuity, as employees won’t need to relocate while the work is being carried out.

For more information on asbestos and the application of our Giromax® Roofcoat system, please read our previous blog Repaint, Reclad or Remove Asbestos?

For technical guidance on the application of any of our product range, please speak to the Giromax team or call 01455 558969 today.

How can you limit or prevent metal from rusting?

The level of refurbishment required for a metal roof or cladding will depend on the amount of rust and corrosion. A pitched, profiled metal roofing system will need to be checked for damage and any areas where water could be pooling. A regular maintenance programme ensures the building is checked externally and internally for leaks and weak spots. Read our guide to pitched metal roof inspections, How often should a pitched steel roof be inspected?

What to put on metal to prevent rust?

As a metal roof is exposed to the British weather, it will inevitably face a range of extreme conditions, from heavy rainfall to ice to UV sun rays. When a metal sheet is cut to size, the protective factory installed coating is damaged and results in a weak point.

Over time, exposure to the elements will allow the protective zinc oxide element of the roof sheet to diminish, this will eventually allow the sheet to corrode. Once this starts to happen, the factory coating will eventually begin to peel away continuing up the sheets, exposing the metal and allowing corrosion to occur.

Where the metal sheet overlaps, corrosion is often accelerated due to trapped rainwater, which corrodes the sheet underneath. If the sheet has been damaged and the protective factory coating has been dented, rust patches may appear in these areas. At the very least, rust patches are unsightly, but if not repaired, this could lead to major problems.

In the first instance, any rust patches and cut edge corrosion must be treated. The key to a good final finish is preparation. All debris, dirt, dust and rust need to be removed. The surface must be cleaned back to the Swedish Standard ST3. Wipe away dirt, mould, oil and grease with the Giromax® Panel Wipe.

Then apply the Giromax® Edgecoat system to treat the cut edge corrosion. This consists of the anti-corrosive treatments, Giromax® Basecoat and Giromax® Sealant. You would then reinstate the weathering coat using Giromax® Edgecoat. – see our Giromax® Edgecoat Application Guide for more detailed advice. This treatment alone can extend the life of the roof sheet 15 years or more.

Metal coating to prevent rust

For profiled steel sheet roofs, you could also use the Giromax® Roofcoat system, an industrial protective roof coating. This is a one-coat system that also includes treatment to the cut-edge corrosion. This coating has a tough elastic coating and is highly resistant to extreme temperatures and UV.

Repainting a metal roofing system can extend its life by 25 years or more, protecting it from seasonal weather extremes. When you consider the cost of a roof replacement, it’s much cheaper to repair and repaint a damaged roof, wherever possible.

It’s important to aim for a professional finish when you repaint a roofing system. Poor application is the number one reason our team are called on to support our clients with remedial work. We have a comprehensive application guide for every product in our collection. View our product range and simply download the Safety Data Sheet & Specification.

Our expert technical team can advise you on the suitable application of our coatings. As well as being the original market leader, we still lead the way when it comes to technical product development.

If you need further advice about treating rust damage and cut-edge corrosion, please speak to the Giromax team or call 01455 558969 today.

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Giromax® Data sheets + Specifications, Girocote Data sheets.