Removing garage roof asbestos cost - A Stashbee Guide

How much it will cost to remove asbestos from your garage roof and more.

How much it will cost to remove asbestos from your garage roof and more.

Are you clearing out or doing up your garage? You might be wondering what the roof is made of and whether it contains the dreaded asbestos. Most of us know that asbestos is bad, but few of us really know what it is or how to deal with it.


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White Roller Shutter Garage

What is asbestos and what’s it doing in my garage roof?

Asbestos was a bit of a wonder material up to 1999 when it was banned in new buildings in the UK. Mixed with cement in sheets it’s durable, cheap, weather and fire-proof and was a popular choice for garage roofs, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. But inhaling asbestos fibres causes cancers including mesothelioma and lung cancer, which explains the UK ban and why you need to be aware of what your garage roof is made of before doing any work on it.

How to identify asbestos

Identifying asbestos – Age

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to identify asbestos in your garage (or shed) roof materials. If your garage was built in the 20th century it probably does have an asbestos roof; if it was built after 1999, it won’t. Garage roof tiles containing asbestos will have lichen growing on them (but so will cement fibre tiles). A lot of lichen is a clue as to how long your roof has been up though, so more lichen could mean an older, asbestos-containing roof.

Identifying asbestos – What can you see?

Garage roof tiles containing asbestos are often corrugated, wavy like the sea but less inviting. Unhelpfully, cement fibre tiles are usually corrugated too. If you’re lucky you’ll find a batch code printed on the underside of your roof panels; look for AC for asbestos and CE or C for cement fibre.

Not all manufacturers printed codes on the tiles though and it’s likely that any marks have faded over the years. Both asbestos and cement fibre roof tiles crack over time so cracks, dimples or craters on the roofing can be a clue that your roof contains asbestos. 



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Beware cracked roofing

If your garage roof tiles are cracked or breaking apart, protect yourself - be careful when using your garage as the asbestos has become more friable, meaning it’s more likely to break down and the fibres get into the air where you could breathe them in.

Testing for asbestos

If you think your garage roof contains asbestos, get it tested. If a piece has already broken off, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that you can take a sample yourself if there is no risk of spreading it or exposing yourself to dust. Dampen the sample, place it in a self-sealing polythene bag, put that bag in a second self-sealing bag and label it.

You can find a UKAS accredited asbestos-testing laboratory on the HSE website. If you can’t safely get a sample yourself, get a company to carry out an asbestos survey and collect a sample for analysis, they will sometimes charge a small fee to collect the sample. 

Crumbling Wall And Roof

What to do if you have asbestos?

You have three options: removing and replacing the roof; encapsulating (sealing) the roof so asbestos fibres can’t escape; or, if the roof is in good enough condition, leaving it be with an asbestos management plan. As asbestos is such a dangerous material, don’t DIY it if the tiles or sheeting are cracked or damaged as the asbestos fibres can escape. The HSE advises that you should not try to repair or remove any asbestos materials yourself if you have not had training for non-licensed asbestos work.

Cost of dealing with an asbestos garage roof

According to an asbestos survey will cost from £50 to £200. Encapsulation of an asbestos roof will set you back from £8 per square metre. Removal and replacement of asbestos roofing starts at £50 per square metre including materials and labour, so that’s around £380 to remove and replace a single garage roof or £750 for a double garage.



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Asbestos types

Not all asbestos is the same. There are six common types, three of which were used in roofing; blue asbestos (crocidolite), brown asbestos (amosite) and white asbestos (chrysotile). The good news is that the asbestos most commonly used in roofing sheets is also the least harmful - white asbestos. The most dangerous asbestos, blue, was banned in the UK in 1985 along with brown asbestos.

How worried should you be?

Cement asbestos roofing is around 10% asbestos fibres making asbestos garage roofs relatively low risk. Cement asbestos is also one of the most stable asbestos-containing materials and is less likely to release asbestos fibres according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The HSE advises - if asbestos materials are in good condition and in a place where they are unlikely to be disturbed, then they should not cause any harm. It is only when the materials are damaged and fibres are released that asbestos can become a danger.



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Roof in good condition?

Asbestos roofs are long-lasting and shouldn’t show any signs of wear for at least 50 years or even 80 years if you have thicker asbestos roofing sheets. If your asbestos cement roofing is in good condition you might be able to seal it and keep an eye on it - asbestos cement sheeting sealants are widely available, just be careful to follow the safety instructions and don’t rub down before painting or you’ll release fibres.

A sealing kit will cost around £150 and should protect your asbestos garage roof for 10 years.

White House With Grey Tiled Roof

What to do with the space

Once your garage roof is sorted, you could rent your garage for parking or storage and put that unused space to good use. 

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Updated 17th Apr 2023

Written 5th Dec 2022