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Transite/Ambler shingles?


Tim H
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This roof is on a 1913 farmhouse. Are these shingles properly called transite shingles? Ambler shingles? While there is a lot of moss on this roof, it shows no signs of leakage with the exception of the chimney flashings. I was concerned with the shingles breaking, so I did not walk the roof (and I really wanted to look at those flashings). Anyone have experience walking these roofs? While I know that a test is the only way to tell for certain if there is asbestos present, the client is aware that there very likely IS asbestos, and plans to replace the cover.

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They could be manufactured by the Ambler Asbestos Shingle & Sheathing Company (Est. 1905), but I've never heard them referred to as "Ambler shingles". Calling them Transite shingles would be appropriate, but I like to use the name that clearly defines what they are: cement asbestos shingles.

I walk a lot of roofs, but not these - and I'm a nimble little guy.

Some background: http://www.oldhouseweb.com/stories/Detailed/15063.shtml

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Originally posted by inspecthistoric

They could be manufactured by the Ambler Asbestos Shingle & Sheathing Company (Est. 1905), but I've never heard them referred to as "Ambler shingles". Calling them Transite shingles would be appropriate, but I like to use the name that clearly defines what they are: cement asbestos shingles.

I walk a lot of roofs, but not these - and I'm a nimble little guy.

Some background: http://www.oldhouseweb.com/stories/Detailed/15063.shtml

Thanks Bill,

Cement asbestos shingles it is. After reading your article I am relieved that I followed my instincts as to the brittleness of these shingles (and the danger of walking on them). I'm fairly nimble, but at 6'4" 215, I'm not so little.

Tim

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Hi,

I'm not sure I understand why they'd want to replace the cover. Those shingles likely pose less of a threat to them, or anyone else, than the millions of tons of asbestos dust spread out along the sides of every single roadway, sidewalk and alley in this country, or the miles and miles of asbestos containing tape that's lining the interior connections of duct-to-boot connections behind registers in older forced air systems and which an awful lot of folks have been exposed to for years.

What would be the advantage of tearing that cover off now if it is still serviceable? I've never had the opportunity to look at an asbestos roof, but I hear that they are extremely durable and usually last a very long time. If that roof is in relatively good shape, seems like replacing the cover now, just because it has asbestos fibers encapsulated with silica sand and concrete, is over reacting.

Besides, if folks need something containing asbestos fiber to be nervous about they should really look to all of those hair dryers that they aim at their face and hair that contain heating element insulator boards containing mica and asbestos fiber. Those put asbestos fiber into the air of homes every time they're used.

Don't want to freak anyone out, but unless I've been napping and missed it, asbestos is still being mined and used in an awful lot of products in this country. The ban lasted, I believe, from about 1978 to around 1984 and then some folks went back to doing business as usual.

I bet that, unless one actually works or had worked or lived in a place that was rife with asbestos fiber, that the odds of actually coming down with asbestosis or mesothelioma is somewhere up there with the odds of winning the lottery.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi,

I'm not sure I understand why they'd want to replace the cover. Those shingles likely pose less of a threat to them, or anyone else, than the millions of tons of asbestos dust spread out along the sides of every single roadway, sidewalk and alley in this country, or the miles and miles of asbestos containing tape that's lining the interior connections of duct-to-boot connections behind registers in older forced air systems and which an awful lot of folks have been exposed to for years.

What would be the advantage of tearing that cover off now if it is still serviceable? I've never had the opportunity to look at an asbestos roof, but I hear that they are extremely durable and usually last a very long time. If that roof is in relatively good shape, seems like replacing the cover now, just because it has asbestos fibers encapsulated with silica sand and concrete, is over reacting.

Besides, if folks need something containing asbestos fiber to be nervous about they should really look to all of those hair dryers that they aim at their face and hair that contain heating element insulator boards containing mica and asbestos fiber. Those put asbestos fiber into the air of homes every time they're used.

Don't want to freak anyone out, but unless I've been napping and missed it, asbestos is still being mined and used in an awful lot of products in this country. The ban lasted, I believe, from about 1978 to around 1984 and then some folks went back to doing business as usual.

I bet that, unless one actually works or had worked or lived in a place that was rife with asbestos fiber, that the odds of actually coming down with asbestosis or mesothelioma is somewhere up there with the odds of winning the lottery.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

I would agree with you on the asbestos, Mike.

The clients thinking on replacement has more to do with cosmetics than function or asbestos concerns. While there is a bunch of moss (common with this material as it ages, I have come to understand), the shingle are keeping water out of the structure. I would guesstimate that this cover has been in place better than 40 yrs. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know of a good way to get rid of the moss on a cover of this type without damaging the shingles?

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  • 2 months later...

Ah, ya gotta love this place when you need information to back up your report comments.

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=============

While the cement asbestos tile roof on the main house is old and needs a few tiles repaired I don't recommend replacing it. A roofing contractor, familiar with working with cement asbestos shingles, should be able to repair it and make it last a good long time.

Whoever conducts the necessary repairs needs to be familiar with these shingles as they can be easily damaged if the repair person doesn't know exactly how to work with these shingles.

For more information on cement asbestos tile roofs read this article from The Old House Journal website: http://www.oldhouseweb.com/stories/Detailed/15063.shtml

Also see the comments in section 2.1 regarding old, historic properties and section 2.3 regarding asbestos.

These shingles likely pose less of a threat than the millions of tons of asbestos dust spread out along the sides of every single roadway, sidewalk and alley in this country, or the miles and miles of asbestos containing tape that's lining the interior connections of duct-to-boot connections behind registers in older forced air systems and which an awful lot of folks have been exposed to for years.

Only you can chose what level of risk to live with.

===============

Sometimes it's hard to concentrate on what yer inspecting. (That's the termite guy in the background, not hubby.)

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