Asbestos Encapsulation Spray Foam Insulation
What is asbestos?
Asbestos meaning unquenchable or inextinguishable is a natural occurring material which was widely used in insulation and fire protection in the 20th century. Once seen as a miracle material it is now viewed as a serious heath risk that causes lung cancer and mesothelioma (a fatal cancer which effects the respiratory system).
Asbestos Dust escaping from roof sheet and viewed under a microscope
There are six types of asbestos, broken into 2 classes serpentine class and amphibole class, asbestos is resistant to fire, heat and numerous chemicals. Asbestos contains fine fibres that when inhaled cause fatal cancer. Asbestos was wildly used in all types of construction starting in the 1930's and was finally banned in Ireland in 2000.
- Chrysotile: The most common form of asbestos used in roofs, walls, pipes, residential homes and business. Not seen as harmful as other forms of asbestos. Chrostile asbestos is the only member of the Serpentine class of asbestos.
- Amosite: Amosite asbestos is the most cancerous form of asbestos, exposure can lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. used mainly in commercial and industrial products, it was used because of its strong tensile strength and fire resistance. Used in thermal insulation, chemical insulation, insulation boards, electrical and plumbing insulation, tiles for roofs, floors and ceilings. Its the second most used asbestos world wide.
- Crocidolite: Responsible for the most asbestos related deaths, crocidolite asbestos was used in commercial and industrial products, similar to Amosite asbestos it was used for insulation and fire protection.. Its fibres are finer and although it is very flexible, when crocidolite asbestos products were broken the fine fibres were more easily ingested.
- Tremolite: Used in commercial and industrial products themolite asbestos can be spun into cloth and was actually used in talc power until the early 1970's.
- Anthophylite: All thought anthophylite asbestos can cause cancer exposure is know to present much less risk than other types of asbestos. Anthophylite asbestos is the rarest type of asbestos and was used in talc and vermiclite, some traces were know to be in talcum powder.
- Actinolite: Used in actinolite and vermiculite for gardening, fire proofing, concrete for construction and some insulation materials. Also found in paints, drywall, children's toys and sealants.
Death related to asbestos have been increasing steadily since 2000, with 20 reported cases in 2005 and 34 in 2014 by 2020 this figure is expected to rise to 64 deaths. By way of comparison there were 139 road deaths in Ireland is 2016 making the increased risk from asbestos a more pressing concern.
Where do we find asbestos in buildings?
- Asbestos was widely used as a spray coating on concrete walls, steel work, ceilings for insulation and fire protection.
- Asbestos was mixed with cement to create sheeting for roofs and walls, for gutters, water tanks and piping.
- Asbestos was used in insulation boards and as partitions ceiling tiles and partitions.
- Many commercial and industrial building used insulation lagging to insulate pipework and ducts.
Asbestos Encapsulation vs Asbestos Removal
Asbestos encapsulation is becoming the most cost effective way to deal with asbestos, prolonging the life of asbestos roofs, walls and pipework. Asbestos removal may be require when the material has degraded and the fibres have become airborne. Removal of asbestos roofs and walls is expensive and renders your property unusable while the material is being removed not to mention the cost of replacing your roof or walls with a new product. There is no asbestos disposal in Ireland so all material has to be shipped to abroad for disposal normally Germany at a cost of €400 - €500 per ton.
- Closed cell polyurethane spray foam insulation is ideal for asbestos encapsulation. The foam expands into every gap seeping deep into the asbestos forming a dense ridged seal which prevents the cancerous fibres from escaping.
- First tested and used by the US Navy, closed cell spray foam insulation has proven to be a safe and cost effective of method of asbestos encapsulation.
- Spray foam insulation also repairs any damage to roofs or walls creating a airtight seal which lowers your energy bills producing a healthy fibre free environment.
- Removing asbestos is not only expensive it also can be very disruptive to you business. Using spray foam to encapsulate the asbestos is quick and efficient making minimal disturbance to your business saving you time and money.
- Normally between 35mm - 50mm of foam is applied to the outside of your roof, then a polyura membrane is sprayed on top finally a protective coating is applied protecting your roof from sun and weather damage.
- On the inside of the roof a 25mm layer of foam is sprayed to totally seal in the asbestos, this had the added advantage of creating a airtight seal reducing condensation building and lowering your heating bills.