Contrary to popular belief, asphalt tile shingles are not made up entirely of asphalt. Most of the content of these shingles is mineral fiber and cement. The content, of course, will vary with each manufacturer. Some tests that have been made show that as little as 5% to as high as 35% of shingle content is actually asphalt. This material is commonly known as ACM which stands for “Asphalt Containing Material”. If the shingles become so old that they begin to decompose, they can become potentially dangerous material requiring proper care in removal.
Each state has its own guidelines for removal in the case that the shingles have or could become pulverized or crumbled. The EPA also has a set of guidelines to be followed.
Over the years, we have seen the roofing industry work to stop using this type of material altogether and have sought out alternative products simulating the look and appearance of asphalt shingles. The metal roof that appears to look like asphalt shingles is one of these examples of alternative products.
It’s important that a roofing contractor make a careful investigation before beginning a roof repair or replacement. Asbestos has always been a good choice for shingles due to the hardiness of the mineral – it weathers heat, moisture and wear and tear over the years. As time has gone on, the apparent dangers of asbestos had become evident and so the standards and requirements of handling this mateial have grown up in the roofing industry. Asbestos was first used as roofing material in Europe in the late 1800’s and the success of the material spread to the US and the first American shingles were produced in the USA in 1905. Most of the minerals are quarried in mines in Canada and Arizona.
Make sure your roofer understands and is willing to follow the safety requirements of the removal of deteriorating roof shingles.