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Is It Safe to Paint Over Asbestos Shingles?


If the roof on your Pensacola, FL home has asbestos shingles, there’s good reason to use both care and caution when repairing, replacing, or aesthetically improving this structure. Although asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, it’s still incredibly harmful to the health of humans and animals. Therefore, when painting over asbestos shingles, it’s important to use the right tools, products, and techniques. The following is everything you need to know about the safety of these projects.

Why Asbestos Is Dangerous in Any Building Application

At one time, asbestos was highly valued for its fire-resistant properties. The chemical properties of asbestos make it both non-combustible and non-flammable. In residential and commercial construction, this factor alone made asbestos seemingly ideal for applications in which building features might be exposed to high heat or even open flames. Unfortunately, despite this attribute, the drawbacks of asbestos far outweigh its benefits.

As asbestos ages and dries out, this fibrous mineral releases tiny particulates or fibers that float through the air. If these fibers are breathed in or swallowed, they can lodge themselves in the stomach lining or in the respiratory tract. Recognized by the body as foreign material, asbestos fibers are quickly surrounded by cells to wall them off from surrounding structures and systems.

These cell formations are frequently cancerous. Asbestos exposure is associated with the development of mesothelioma. It can also cause other fatal cancers of the lungs, larynx, and reproductive system.

When asbestos is present in roofing systems, there’s always the risk of having it dry out. Prolonged sun exposure, drought conditions, and local fires are just a few of the many factors that enhance this risk. Moreover, the use of asbestos in roofing was outlawed in 1989 with the federal Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule. As such, most roofs that have asbestos shingles are at least three decades old, and the integrity of the asbestos they contain is already highly diminished. If you still have asbestos shingles on your home, replacing them is far safer than simply painting over them.

How to Safely Paint Over Asbestos Shingles

The very first step in safely painting over asbestos shingles is to never do the work yourself. In fact, even before any prep or paint work is started, it’s important to have the age and integrity of your shingles professionally assessed. Although asbestos testing is frequently performed with the primary goal of determining whether or not this mineral is actually present, it can also be done to identify the magnitude of risk involved in disturbing it.

A professional roofing inspection will let you know whether or not your aging shingles are already releasing harmful particulates into the surrounding air and whether it’s safer to remove the offending shingles instead.

Whether testing your asbestos or painting over it, professionals will take extra precautions in tarping and protecting the work area. Their efforts will ensure that no asbestos fibers are released into the outdoor air where they might cause harm to neighbors, building residents, local wildlife, and more.

They will also choose paint products that effectively seal at-risk fibers in place so that ongoing degradation of your roof doesn’t cause serious hazards. By hiring this work out, you can establish clear and feasible goals for your project, get a better understanding of the short and long-term risks involved, and protect yourself from liability.

Assessing the Benefits and Drawbacks of Painting Over Asbestos Shingles

The question of whether or not it’s safe to paint over asbestos shingles is greatly outweighed by the question of whether or not homeowners should. Although certain paint products can limit the release of harmful asbestos fibers, no paint or painting technique is capable of minimizing the risks of asbestos entirely. Painting over these roofing features is only a short-term solution to a well-known danger with incredibly long-term repercussions.

If your goal in painting these features is to minimize the risk that this hazard presents, it may be in your best interests to simply replace your shingles. Shingle replacement doesn’t always have to include a total roof tear-down. If you’re looking for aesthetic improvements before placing your home on the market, it’s vital to consider the impact that mandatory asbestos disclosures might have on your sale.

Even when purchasing older, existing construction, savvy buyers are often turned off by the knowledge that houses include asbestos-containing materials. Rather than painting, a far better way to boost the value and marketability of your property is by upgrading your roof.

Although painting might seem like a much cheaper alternative to roof replacement, you have to account for the additional spending that you’ll do to streamline this project for safety. In addition to paying for asbestos testing, you may need to pay for a modest amount of asbestos removal.

If certain shingles are determined to be too degraded to retain, these will have to be removed by trained professionals so that newer and fully intact shingles can be put in. Given that every asbestos-containing roof was installed in 1989 or before, the likelihood of significant shingle degradation is always high.

Professional painters who take on these projects also charge a bit more than they normally do to account for the special risks that they’re taking on and to cover the costs of all necessary equipment and safety practices. With these things considered, you may find that you’ll pay less to have your roof replaced than you would to have it inspected, tested, improved upon, and painted by the proper parties.

Other Benefits of Paying for Roof Replacement Services Rather Than Painting

When you know that asbestos comprises a large portion of your roof, disclosures are something that you’ll have to make all of the time. This is information that you should share with everyone who works on or around your roof until the asbestos shingles have been removed.

This includes informing snow removal experts, gutter cleaners, gutter repair and replacement services, roof repair companies, prospective buyers, building inspectors, and more. Whether refinancing your home, maintaining it, or offloading it, conversations about asbestos will invariably abound.

Failure to make any required disclosures about your asbestos roofing can leave you liable for all damages that contracted parties sustain. After all, service providers cannot take the necessary precautions for protecting themselves if they don’t know the exact risks that they’re facing.

Replacing asbestos-containing features rather than concealing them behind a new coat of paint will make your life a lot easier. You’ll find it both easier and cheaper to hire licensed professionals for maintenance and repair work, and easier and quicker to find motivated and qualified investors when the time comes to sell.

You’ll also have greater peace of mind when you know that opening a bedroom or attic window is unlikely to expose you or anyone else in the area to free-floating asbestos fibers. Installing a new roof will add value to your property and eliminate this known hazard from your land once and for all.

We’re proud to serve residents of Pensacola, Florida and the surrounding area. We offer roof inspection, maintenance, replacement, and repair services. We also provide storm damage repairs and custom roof design. If you have questions about your asbestos shingle roof or need roof service, contact Quality Roofing now.

The post Is It Safe to Paint Over Asbestos Shingles? appeared first on Quality Roofing Solutions.

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