Asbestos Roof and Walls Case Study

We carry out a lot of work in agricultural buildings, both new and old, and apply foam insulation to all sorts of roof and wall materials. Probably the most common type of roofing material we apply our spray foam insulation to is asbestos or fibre cement, probably as this was and still is one of the most popular materials used for this type of building.

The Property

This particular building was an older agricultural building, approximately 50 – 60 years old, and had an asbestos roof and asbestos clad walls coming down to meet with block walls at the bottom. As the building was relatively old, and was being altered to allow the building to be used for other purposes, the roof and walls needed to be insulated to keep the building warmer. Also, as there were quite large gaps at the junctions of the roof and walls and where the cladding met the block walls, this allowed draughts into and out of the building and needed to be sealed to prevent heat loss.

The Problems

With the building being relatively old, and also having a corrugated roof and walls, installing any other form of insulation would have been tricky and time-consuming. As the building had been used for years as a storage facility, the roof and walls were very dusty and there were draughts from the junctions of roof and walls. When installing other types of insulation, such as rigid boards, to a corrugated roof, there will always be areas of the roof which are prone to condensation issues. As the ‘troughs’ of the corrugation are not in contact with the insulation, yet the ‘peaks’ of the corrugation are, this can lead to thermal variations on the roof and could lead to condensation problems.

The Solution

Due to the unique nature of our spray foam insulation, and the fact that it will adhere to almost any surface, we were able to start installing insulation to this building with minimal preparation time spent removing dust or other contaminants from the cladding. Also, as the foam is spray applied, we are able to provide building owners with a written guarantee that the condensation problems often associated with this type of building will not happen with our sprayed foam.

Using foam spray insulation, we installed the foam to a depth of approximately 50mm to the whole of the roof and the cladded areas of the walls. Along with this insulation, we also sealed the junctions of the roof and walls as well as where the wall cladding met the block work. This building owner wanted to keep the natural daylight offered by the skylights in the roof – some owners prefer to insulate the roof as a whole including the skylights – these skylights were boxed off in timber before we applied the insulation. During the installation of foam spray, we sprayed right up to the timber boxing to seal the skylights off and then a polycarbonate sheet was used to create a double glazed effect. Doing the installation this way allowed the building owner to keep the natural daylight, while at the same time dramatically improve the insulation levels throughout the roof structure.

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