5 Things to Know About Asbestos Roof Repair

Asbestos roof repair in Mpumalanga and the rest of South Africa typically applies to any work done on roofs that contain asbestos. As this hazardous material has been banned in SA, only certified asbestos removal specialists are allowed to repair, remove or handle the substance. If you have an older property that is fitted with an asbestos roof, this means that is better to call in a professional to help you get your roof fixed safely and simply.

Once considered to be a miracle substance in the 19th Century, asbestos is comprised of a number of naturally occurring silicates. Originally, this material was popular for its economic advantages, along with its sound absorption, tensile strength and its fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage resistance. At one point, it was widely used in automotive, marine, construction and scientific industries, for a variety of purposes. Over time however, studies began to show that prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibres was linked to serious illnesses, which include lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.


It is this potentially deadly risk of exposure to the fibres that has led to the ban of the material all over the world. But, as many older buildings still have asbestos roofs, repairs are inevitable. Complete removal or replacement of the roof is not always a viable option, which is where specialist contractors come in to help.

What exactly is asbestos, and more importantly, what should you know about repairing a roof that contains this material? Keep reading to find out.

Everything You Should Know About Asbestos Roof Repair in Mpumalanga

Some of the most important things to note about this sort of roof repair include the following:

  1. Asbestos can some major health risks. Asbestos fibres that are inhaled into the lungs can cause major diseases, including asbestosis (scarring of the lung), lung cancer and mesothelioma (tumour growing on the lining of the lung). Early symptoms could include chest pain and shortness of breath, with respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and death becoming a risk at later stages. It may take anywhere from 15 to 50 years for symptoms to develop, from the very first contact with the fibre. No symptoms are experienced during this dormant period, and there is no cure for asbestos related illness.
  1. Illnesses are not always reported in SA. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates over 100 000 asbestos related deaths per year world-wide, with 125 million workers exposed to fibre around the world. In South Africa, some 200 mesothelioma cases are reported annually, but, due to the large size of the construction and mining sectors and the fact that SA was once a major exporter of the material, many more cases are believed to be unreported.
  1. It is not a good idea to handle asbestos without authorisation. Unless you are authorised to provide asbestos removal services, it is illegal and dangerous to attempt asbestos roof repair in Mpumalanga or anywhere else in South Africa. If you discover any signs that the roof may contain asbestos fibres, or you are not fully sure what the roof is made from, it is safer to call in a specialist to assist.
  1. Exposure is a risk when fibres are released into the air. If fibres are contained within the structure of the roof, the risk is minimised or even reduced completely. But due to the high risk nature of this material, repairs may not be conducted on any roof that contains asbestos – hammering, high pressure cleaning, drilling, cutting, patching and walking on roof tiles can all release fibres into the air.
  1. When in doubt, play it safe. If you have an older property and you are not certain whether asbestos is present in the roof or not, it is safer to proceed with caution. Contact an approved contractor who can safely repair your roof using the proper methods and equipment.
Asbestos Slate Roof Repairs
Waterproofing contractors at work on asbestos roof repairs

Wilcote is a fully authorised asbestos removal contractor in South Africa. To find out more about asbestos roof repair in Mpumalanga, contact us today to let us know how we can assist.

Port Elizabeth Asbestos Roof Refurbishment

Wilcote Port Elizabeth have been awarded the Phase II contract, (after the successful completion of phase I) for the Asbestos Roof Refurbishment at their bottling plant at Coca Cola Lakeside in Port Elizabeth.

 The process of refurbishing Asbestos Roofs involves firstly washing the roof down with an Eco Friendly Special Asbestos cleaning chemical in order to remove the algae and lichen growth. Because the process is a “wet process” the chances of releasing asbestos fibres into the air are minimal as we also fit asbestos filters to all rainwater downpipes. The Asbestos Regulations do however require the air to be monitored during this process of washing the roof down. The method of monitoring the air is by fitting air pumps at either end of the roof and one pump is fitted a staff member. The gauze grids on the inside of the pumps are sent to a laboratory for inspection and counting of the number of Asbestos Fibres contained therein.

 Once the roof has been thoroughly cleaned down and has dried an Asbestos Encapsulation is applied by Airless Sprayer onto the roof sheets. This process binds any loose Asbestos Fibres which may have been loosened during the cleaning process and then renders the the Roof 100% safe. The roof is then ready to be waterproofed.

 The waterproofing layer consists of the application of our Elastomeric Sealer which is applied by airless sprayer at the rate of one square metre per litre. This waterproofing layer effectively seals all hairline cracks, which tend to occur in older asbestos roof sheets and makes the roof waterproof. Because the product is designed to be elastic it expands and contracts with the roof sheets as they heat up and cool down by the ambient weather conditions. Immediately after this layer has been applied the roofing screws are sealed with Wilcote non-hardening Crack and Hole Filler. This product too has very good expansion and retraction properties and, very effectively, seals the roofing screws preventing ingress of any moisture.

 The final step of the refurbishment process is the application of the top coat. This top coat is part of our latest Technology Development in Solar Reflection where the infra red rays are reflected back up by the coating. This means that the roof sheets are kept at a cooler temperature than with normal roof coating which in turn means a saving in energy costs.

This whole process is cheaper than replacing the roof with one of the many types of metal roof sheets available and the real plus is that the refurbishment will not interfere with the day to day activities taking place on the inside. If clients were worried by the effects of Asbestos on the staff and businesses these can now be forgotten.

 Wilcote offers a guarantee on the above asbestos roof repair system of 12 Years but longer guarantees are available upon request.