Guide To Asbestos Overcladding Commercial Roofs

What is Asbestos Overcladding?

Before we dive further, it is crucial to understand the basics of over-cladding. It is one of the simplest and cost-effective ways by which you can transform your building structures. Besides, over-cladding works with any building materials. Following are some essential benefits of over-cladding your building:

  • Over-cladding is significantly cheaper compared to full roof replacement.
  • It greatly enhances the appearance of the building.
  • There are several designs and finishes that you can select based on your preference.
  • It improves the insulation system by keeping your building warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • It provides better ventilation.
  • It increases the lifespan of the building structures.
  • It minimizes maintenance costs.

Asbestos-containing materials are a significant threat to human health, for frequent exposure can lead to various lung diseases in the long run. It is where over-cladding becomes the best solution. Instead of replacing your asbestos-containing materials, you can opt for an over-cladding approach. In this way, you can ensure safety and reduce costs.

Asbestos over-cladding is also the most suitable option if you want to make your roof waterproof without disturbing the existing structures. In other words, asbestos overcladding is the ultimate roof refurbishment process not only in terms of cost but also aesthetic appealing.

Things to consider before overcladding the roof

  • The asbestos will still be present within the building
  • You may need planning permission from your local authority before you can carry out the overcladding process
  • Structural calculations may apply due to the added weight of an overcladding system

What are the advantages?

Cost effective

One of the main benefits of asbestos overcladding is that it is a cost-effective refurbishment process. If you are planning to opt for full roof replacement, then the cost will be significantly high. Remember, you cannot discard those asbestos-containing materials anywhere; instead, you need to find a licensed landfill. So the disposal cost is another expense.

However, with asbestos overcladding, you do not need to worry about any additional cost. So for asbestos-related problems, the best solution will be the over-cladding approach.

Thermal efficiency

The overcladding process will bring the roof up to date with current warm roof regulations and make the building thermally efficient.

A stronger surface

Overcladding a roof will make it more resistant to damage. The need for maintenance will be reduced and there will be less reason to go up onto the roof. If maintenance does need to be carried out, then the roof will be able to bear more weight.

Overcladding the roof won’t remove the asbestos, but displaying yellow warning signs inside the building will make it clear to the public to keep their distance.

Low Maintenance

Low maintenance is another essential benefit of asbestos overcladding. If you are a business owner, then this aspect will be a great help to you.  

Thermal efficiency

Over-cladding the asbestos-containing materials will also improve the insulation. Your building will be able to keep cool in summer or retain warmth in winter, thereby allowing the building to be thermally efficient. Besides, it will reduce the cost of energy consumption used for cooling or heating the building. 

Asbestos is composed of elongated and tiny fibres that make it a robust thermal insulator. People have been making use of this heat-insulant, stable and resilient material for a long time.

What are the Benefits of Asbestos Overcladding for Roofs?

The characteristic inflammable properties of asbestos make it suitable for thermal insulation and roofing purposes. Because a house has to be fire-resistant, many choose to use asbestos overcladding Manchester.

  • Asbestos content does not ignite, so you should not place the mineral near electronic units.
  • Contrarily, since you mix asbestos with cement, the substance’s lifetime dramatically increases.
  • As far as roof shingles are concerned, they should last for around half a century.
  • Asbestos is probably the first compared to plastic and wood when it comes to durability.

Economic conditions play a crucial role when it comes to designing homes, offices and land. 

  • One can acquire the mineral at a cheaper value because it’s natural. This feature is the fundamental reason why many people use asbestos on their roofs.
  • Asbestos is an excellent cement filler that increases material strength. It’s cheaper but has the same durability as alternative cement supplements. The roof of the asbestos will make your home and property look more beautiful and aesthetic.

Disadvantages of Overcladding Your Roof with Asbestos

One of the factors that make Asbestos Overcladding for roofs very inefficient and harmful is its impact on health and the environment.

Asbestos can be dangerous, like any other substance, without taking proper measures. In case a reckless building with asbestos is in the locality, the fibres of asbestos may get airborne. Although it might not seem like it, asbestos fibres pose a significant danger to one’s health.

Many people who contact asbestos, such as labourers and traders, may be affected by many respiratory illnesses. The mineral causes a unique type of cancer which impacts the linings of the respiratory organs and abdomen lining. 

Asbestos-related infections are never diagnosed. They are labelled as merely breathing illnesses.

  • While the No. 1 killer is workplace radiation, secondhand contamination is becoming more widespread. Secondary infection also occurs through employees who unintentionally carry home asbestos fibres.
  • Asbestos materials are not very hazardous when they are new, and the threads are enclosed. Still, as they mature or become disrupted during construction, refurbishment or burning, microscopic fibres become airborne. 

These fibres can unknowingly be inhaled or swallowed and trapped in the thin membrane covering the lungs. Over time, they cause inflammation and scarring, leading to severe complications.

In conclusion, to avoid the blending and exposure of asbestos fibres, you must preserve and clean it properly. If you have been using the asbestos roof for many years, it might be a good idea to alter or restore them. 



Most houses built before the nineties are likely to contain some asbestos. It is a building material used widely back then because it is durable, fireproof and a good insulator. Now, of course, it is banned from use.

The asbestos fibres are a known health risk but not something where you’ll see an immediate effect. But do not worry! As long as it is well-preserved and coated with paint or a sealant, Asbestos is not likely to be of any concern. Because the fibres are mostly tightly bound together in cement or some other substance.

It is when you disturb Asbestos through sanding, cutting, water blasting, drilling, or removing asbestos sheets, the fibres are at the risk of becoming airborne.

Impact on Health

Trader and Workers

The people who are most likely to contract an asbestos-related illness would be Tradesmen or Merchants. The electricians, carpenters, builders who are working on-site may or may not recognize Asbestos’ presence and might get exposed to the toxic substance.

Diseases Caused by Asbestos

Even though Asbestos is commercially useful, it is equally damaging to human health. These fine fibres, when inhaled, do not break down and continue to remain in the lining of the lungs.

Inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to diseases such as lung cancer and other illnesses.

The statistics prove that the mineral kills almost five thousand labourers each year. These stats exclude the number of tradespeople who die every week due to past exposure. Asbestos is a threat not just to the workers but also to the people in and around the locality.

Asbestos and Smoking

There is ample data that people who smoke and are exposed to Asbestos daily are most likely to develop lung cancer. Smoking acts as a catalyst to the further development of the disease. The fine fibres of Asbestos give the harmful chemicals present in cigarette tobacco direct access to the bloodstream, which further magnifies the cancer-causing agents.

The Environmental Impact 

The effect of Asbestos goes far and beyond cancer and other health-related issues. The dust particles of Asbestos can pass through the air and seep into the water supply. It can also settle on the soil surface rather than being absorbed by it. 

The main problem with regards to Asbestos is the tiny size of its fibres. They are so small that the naked eyes cannot detect them. The small size turns out to be especially dangerous for miners who directly contact the mineral.


Asbestos is a natural fibrous material, which in the past was widely used thanks to its fire and corrosion-resistant properties. However, it’s also one of the most dangerous materials that you can find in any commercial roofing or industrial roofing system. Due to its links with fatal lung diseases, the material was outright banned in 2000. However, it can still be found in many older buildings, particularly in the lining of walls and roofs.

You’re priority should always be to keep your employees, visitors and customers safe. So, if you come across asbestos in your commercial roof, then you should take steps to have it removed as possible in line with the Control of Asbestos Regulation, set up by the UK Government in 2012. However, if completely replacing your roofing system isn’t an option, then another option is asbestos overcladding.

Always use professionals

Before we get into asbestos overcladding, it’s important to remember that you should never attempt to undertake a visual inspection for asbestos yourself. If you do notice something that could indicate the presence of asbestos then under no circumstances should you attempt to disturb it. You should always use the services of trained roofing contractors, and PASMA specialists to conduct any investigation.

What is asbestos overcladding?

At Roofing Consultants, the safety and wellbeing of everyone who comes into contact with your working environment is always a number one priority for us. If we find a commercial roofing or industrial roofing system with an asbestos roof in particularly bad condition; such as one with a lot of exposed fibres, for example, we may recommend a complete removal as the best solution.

However, asbestos removal can be quite costly to undertake, so if no significant damage has been detected, opting to overclad the roofing system can be the most functional and cost effective solution.

Overcladding essentially involves trained roofing contractors, placing a new layer of metal or plastic sheets over your existing roof, to avoid having to replace it.

What benefits can asbestos overcladding offer?

As well as obviously eliminating any of the issues related to asbestos, opting for overcladding can bring with it a number of other benefits too, including:

  • It’s a far cheaper method than choosing to replace the whole roofing system and dispose of the asbestos.
  • Overcladding can be carried out by roofing contractors with minimal disruption to the day to day goings on in your building.
  • Your heating costs can be reduced as your roofing system will be brought up to date with current warm roof regulations.
  • The roof will be made more resistant to damage thanks to the stronger surface. It will also reduce the need for maintenance, and the roof will be able to bear more weight

What to consider before opting for overcladding

Before you decide whether asbestos overcladding could work for you, it’s important to remember that any asbestos will still remain within the building. You’ll likely need to obtain planning permission from your local authority before any work can be carried out by roofing contractors. And due to the added weight of an overcladding system, additional structural calculations may apply.

At Roofing Consultants Group, we specialise in a swift and un-intrusive method of commercial asbestos testing; and we can draw on our decades of experience to provide asbestos overcladding for your commercial or industrial roof.