Asbestos roofing comes in a variety of forms. It can be in the felt or tar in a torchdown roof, in the shingles of a composition roof, the paint or caulk on a mobile home roof, the caulk around roof penetrations, or a variety of other materials. It may be covered with several layers of roofing material and should be tested by an accredited inspector.
You should have your roofing removed by an asbestos abatement company if it contains asbestos, and if it might be disturbed. If disturbed, the asbestos could enter your lungs, and cause diseases such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Asbestos removal can be done in different ways depending on the type of material, the location of the material, and the ability of workers to safely access the material. Asbestos roofing removal requires close work between asbestos workers, who remove the roof, and roofers, who install the new roof once the area is safe to enter. In general, during roofing removal, the abatement contractor sets up warning tape around the work area, establishes a decontamination area, and sets up access (ladders, fall protection, and lifts). The abatement workers enter the work area with respiratory protection and protective clothing. They wet down the roofing, lift it off, and seal it in doubled heavy plastic bags. They sample the air at a variety of places including inside and outside the work area, and send those to a lab for testing.
After the job is complete, you will generally need to install a new roof.