While a full ban on asbestos entered into effect in Australia in 2003, lots of buildings and houses were renovated and built with asbestos before 1987. During that time, Australian homes were usually fond of asbestos as a roofing material. However, as those houses age and weathered, high exposure to asbestos can slowly harm the health of the people today.

Asbestos roofs begin to disintegrate after years of exposure to the sun, rain and also the hail storms that regularly highlights Sydney life. By the time you find out that your roofs are made or have asbestos, know that the dust particles accumulated in gutters are waiting to be blown by the wind to make them airborne.

Furthermore, asbestos roofing produces a higher asbestos concentration than other cement roof sheets. If asbestos in the roof spreads, this will lead to a health hazard, making people breath in the cancer-causing chemical that can result in lung cancer, mesothelioma, etc. 

It is only in scientific testing of a sample that determines asbestos in old roof sheets. However, there are also some signs that homeowners can look for in asbestos-made materials, particularly in the old roof sheets.

Get to Know Asbestos

To determine if your roof sheets have asbestos or cement, be knowledgeable first what asbestos is and what harm could it bring to you and your home. The term asbestos refers to six unique minerals. They are divided into two family groups which are the serpentine (chrysotile) and amphibole (tremolite, actinolite, anthophyllite, amosite, and crocidolite).

In serpentine asbestos, it is made of curly fibres that are within the sheets of crystals. Chrysotile is the only form of serpentine asbestos that accounts for around 95% of asbestos products around the world. On the other hand, amphibole asbestos is a needle-shaped fibre that can pose a far higher risk than serpentine asbestos according to research. However, both sources of asbestos are considered to be carcinogenic with no amount of safe exposure.

Recognising Asbestos

It’s not always easy to recognise asbestos. Identification of asbestos can be challenging without adequate training and experience. It is often not possible to say whether a material comprises asbestos by merely looking at it.

Asbestos fibres are so small to the naked eye that they are almost invisible. When you think a material contains asbestos, a specialist may have it analysed and checked. However, it is also possible to achieve accurate detection of asbestos in a few circumstances.

  • Check Labels And Manufacturer – Check the manufacturer and product name on the insulation label and do some research on the material to see if it contains asbestos. If the manufacturing label has a date between 1940 and 1980, there is a higher chance that it will contain asbestos. 
  • Asbestos Surface – Often, asbestos products may present a pattern on the surface of a product that looks like the surface like tiny dimples or smooth craters. This is not always a reliable technique for identifying asbestos; however, it may be an indicator of asbestos materials that have been used in your home.

Asbestos vs. Cement Old Roof Sheet

Traditionally, cement-based materials often contain asbestos to improve the product’s overall durability. They are usually used in sheeting for roofs of garages, residential houses, industrial buildings, and bungalows. But over time, people are now replacing asbestos sheets to asbestos-free alternatives because it’s safe.

One of the most common construction materials used in older buildings is the cement sheeting or fibro cladding. This has been used in buildings in the 1950s for residential and commercial buildings. During that time, asbestos is an excellent combination of cement to strengthen the durability of roofs. But it doesn’t mean that all fibro cement sheeting has asbestos. 

You may assume that asbestos and fibre-cement are almost the same. They are both resistant to fire, thermally stable and both not soluble in water, but they are different. As mentioned earlier, the asbestos roof sheet is harmful, and the cement roof sheet is safer. There are some facts that determine if an old roof sheet has pure cement or has asbestos mixed.

In the colour aspect, the difference between cement and asbestos in colour depends on age. The asbestos sheets are old and in muddy colour if you compare it to the fibre cement sheets today. If you don’t account colours, asbestos appears to be pretty much the same with golf ball depressions, although fibre cement sheets also have the same depression that is far less furrowed. However, if you don’t find any depressions and grooves in your roof sheets, this doesn’t assure that there’s no asbestos present. 

As the best option to determine if your old roof has cement or asbestos, you can have it checked by an asbestos expert. The specialists can examine your roofs in a mostly harmless way and promise you to get a precise analysis.


Asbestos and cement can be combined or can be different. As asbestos is known to be a health hazard, the emergence of replacing it is in demand. Due to the compliance of the local council’s protocol about removing asbestos today, it is essential to know what asbestos is, how harmful it is to the people and how you can determine if your old roof sheet has asbestos or cement.

At Paul’s Rubbish Removal, you will no longer be stressing yourself about asbestos at home. Our teams are expert in identifying asbestos in every corner of your house. For more information about our construction rubbish removal services, please call us at 0407 125 125.

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