In most homes in North America, there is a protective layer between the roof deck and the roof's shingles. This protective layer is commonly referred to as felt paper, felt underlayment, tar paper, and roll roofing. To be sure; all are the same. For several decades, it was a standard practice to utilize roofing felt for waterproofing purposes. In some areas, roofing felt was required by building codes.
There is no denying that roofing felt plays an important role in protecting roofs from water and moisture damage. Indeed, when roofs are waterproofed, and the materials have room to breathe, the roof stays in better shape for much longer. The problem with roofing felt is that, between the 1940s and 1980s, asbestos was used in roofing felt. Now, as these older materials deteriorate, they are becoming major health risks for home occupants across Canada. But as you will see, home occupants aren't the only ones in danger. But first, why was asbestos so widely used in homes for so many years?
Why is there Asbestos in Roofing Felt?
Comprised of chrysotile asbestos; roofing felt sheets were made on traditional papermaking machines and coated with heavy tar. Why did they add asbestos to felt paper? Because asbestos is a very stable product, and it prevents roofs from rotting. Asbestos also gave the roofing felt the ability to expand and contract with the natural movements of the structures that they are used on without cracking. When you factor in that asbestos is incredibly heat, fire, and moisture resistant, there is no wonder why so much asbestos roofing felt was used for so long.
Asbestos in Roofing Felt is Dangerous to Construction Workers
The good news for home occupants is that the asbestos in roofing felt is bound in the paper by its tar or asphalt coating. Still, asbestos fibers can easily be discharged from the felt during the installation process, as felt paper is often cut to conform to the surfaces they cover. Therefore, asbestos is a danger not only to individuals who occupy homes, but it is also a danger to the contractors and roofers who have installed it. Additionally, professionals who tear up these old built out roofs containing asbestos roofing felt are exposed as well.
Lung disease, cancer, and mesothelioma are common among individuals who have been exposed to asbestos. The frustrating part about asbestos is that it's a slow killer, usually killing those who have been exposed to it prematurely but decades later.
Call Asbestos Environmental of Canada for Safe and Fast Asbestos Removal
If your home's roof contains asbestos roofing felt, contact Asbestos Environmental of Canada. We have the knowledge, tools, equipment, processes, and experience to remove asbestos from any part of any home safely. Call us today for an in-home consultation. We'll evaluate your roofing felt and determine if it has asbestos in it and give you a proposal for what it will cost to remove it safely.