“Decramastic” roof tiles, also known as “Decrabond”, were a popular roofing material in the building industry in the 1970s and 1980s.
Made of galvanised steel or aluminium, with either a painted finish, or a bitumen coating, that allowed grit or small stones to stick to the pressed metal / aluminium sheets .
They became very popular because they were lightweight and attractive to look at and people believed they were a great mix of the look of concrete roof tile with the advantages of being light weight .The sheets came in all colours and also allowed for the roof construction to be lighter based on the fact that the roofing tiles were light. By now, most of them have been re- painted, so the only way to identify them is to inspect the roof to look carefully at the construction of the roof tile.
In some cases, the “Decramastic” or “Decrabond” Roofing Tile, looks like a concrete tile roof at first glance, but on a closer inspection, there are signs to identify them.
- The ridges and hips are really square as opposed to the rounded hips and ridges on tiled roofs.
- The way sheets are bent into the valleys with concrete roof tiles the tiles and usually they have a rough edge, not a clean bent edge.
- The surface of the metal tiles may be bent. Concrete tiles never bend. ( Usually they would crack or break )
- The surface of the tiles has what looks like a pebble or grit coating, concrete tiles are normally glazed and smooth.
- There may be Rust on the tiles, Depressions in the tile and in some cases Splits. As mentioned earlier, concrete tiles don’t rust.
- There may also be small stone chips or grit like flakes in the gutters.
One of the main issues with these styles of roof tiles, is within the bitumen coating used, they may also contain deadly asbestos.
When these roofs get older and the stones along with the asbestos fibers start to shed, it is really common for the small pieces of grit to be all through the guttering as well. These roofs are literally breaking down and becoming hazardous.
In some cases, these roofs are literally at the end of their lifespan and repairs will become more difficult, as many of them have years of abuse from foot traffic, people drilling into them for satellite dished, skylights, extensions that have been poorly planned and built on etc.
We see allot of this when people add on conservatories and outdoor seating areas.
it is also easy to damage a “Decramastic” style roof, if you don’t know where to position your feet and how to work on the roof, you can add to the problems that already exist.
By just walking on the roof area, can release asbestos fibres.
The only Safe way to know if your roof has asbestos or an Asbestos component, is to get it tested in a “NATA” lab.
What are the options if you even think you may have a “Decramastic” or “Decrabond” style of roof?
- Have it inspected by a reputable roofing company to see if it can be encapsulated safely. ( Encapsulated means sealed )
- You may need to have it removed, if it is beyond repair. This can only be done by a qualified asbestos removal company.
- Call the professionals to get it tested for asbestos.
- “Prevention” is much cheaper than having to cure a problem.
What should you never do if you have a “Decramastic” or “Decrabond” style roof.
- Have it water blasted. Even if it has mould etc, you need to make certain of what you are dealing with. This is not a DIY Job.
- Cut it with a grinder. It is illegal to grind or cause the base sheet to dust or break down, as Asbestos can Kill You!!.
- Sand it.
Some Information In Summary.
- “Decramastic” or “Decrabond” roofs have been installed since the 1970’s
- Some have the grit coating that has been asbestos mixed with it.
- You need to get it tested by a Nationally Accredited Laboratory that carries the NATA endorsement.
- This is not a DIY job to remove.
- Never water blast it, sand it, or cut it with a grinder , especially if you are not certain what the composite of the roof is.
- The tiles and panels came in a wide range of colours and many have been re painted and in some cases, more than once.
What Do We Do Know?
If you even suspect that you may have a “Decramastic” or a “Decrabond” roof, with the small pebble coating that may contain asbestos, the best thing to do is call our office and arrange a suitable time for us to view your roof in question. We will be able to give you some advice on how you can make your roof safe and how to maintain your roof into the future.
We can also supply you details to compare some additional options.
This could include the option of removing the roof.