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How to Remove Asbestos Roof

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    LESLIE: Now we have a roofing question from Utah.

    Elda, tell us your question.

    ELDA: I have an asbestos roof and I want the whole roof done. They want to just patch it up, you know?

    TOM: Usually it’s the other way around. Usually the contractor wants to replace the entire roof and the homeowner’s the one that wants it patched. So you want it to be completely replaced?

    ELDA: Yes, I want the whole roof replaced.

    TOM: Well the good news is that they’re not that hard to take off.

    LESLIE: Is there a safety issue you need to think about?

    TOM: Well the type of asbestos that a roof is made out of is what’s known as cementicious asbestos. It’s a hard tile. It’s like the old asbestos siding. If it’s taken off – first of all, you’re working outside, so the chance of exposure inside is nil. There is some worker exposure but if a worker wears a respirator then he or she will be fine with that. And the best way to take those shingles off is to start at the top and take them apart because you’re not really concerned about the tile breaking because you’re getting rid of them all. Disposal sometimes is an issue and that varies from state to state.

    But I don’t see any reason that that cannot be taken off pretty simply. You may be getting some push-back from roofers that don’t really want to deal with the disposal issues. But it certainly is a good idea and once you get that off, then you could use a regular asphalt fiberglass shingle that will be just fine. So I think you’re on the right track.

    ELDA: My roofing that is presently on, the asbestos is a lifetime roofing under my insurance clause.

    TOM: Right. OK.

    ELDA: So I need something that will correspond with that.

    TOM: Well (chuckles), you’re not going to get a lifetime guarantee on any roof these days, Elda. If you used any kind of a hard material like – well, asbestos is not available anymore but there is, for example, slate that’s available and there are manufactured slate products – you might get one that lasts 50 years that way but you’re not going to get a lifetime warranty on a roof that’s installed. So if you’re asking a contractor for a lifetime warranty, that’s why you’re not getting any cooperation. Typically, roofing shingles are going to last you about 20 to 25 years and that’s a good life for the investment of a new roof.

    Elda, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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