This historical remodel is one for the books. What do you do with a fiber cement asbestos roof? This was the question asked by the Capuchin Franciscan Friars when they needed to select a new roof for their facility, the St. Anthony Retreat Center. Built in 1919, and located in Marathon, Wisconsin, the Center had a failing fiber cement roof. Made of asbestos, the fiber cement tile is a now known health hazard when removed. The EPA and OSHA have strict guidelines that must be followed when any product with asbestos is removed.
This posed a problem for the Friars who wanted to remove the cement tiles and reroof with asphalt shingles; asbestos removal is not only time intensive, but expensive. When quoted, the removal, handling and dumping of the asbestos shingles negated the cost savings of the asphalt shingle product and installation. It became apparent that the asbestos tile would have to stay. Weighing 500 pounds per square, the fiber cement tiles were heavy and any additional weight added to the roof structure had to be minimal. In order for the cement tile to stay in place, the product chosen would have to be lightweight, able to be used in a roof-over situation, and cost less to install than the asphalt shingle.
Bob Kulp, owner of Kulp’s of Stratford had a solution for the Friars: install a lightweight, but durable, steel shingle. Kulp knew that by using a metal shingle, the asbestos would be encapsulated, making the roof-over more affordable and acceptable by the EPA. Having worked with DECRA stone coated steel roofing previously, Kulp suggested DECRA Shingle for the project. Weighing only 125 pounds per square, the added weight of the product was minimal and did not compromise the roof structure.
While not required, Kulp chose to use an ice and water shield over the cement tile as an added safety measure for his installers. Once the ice and water shield was installed, screws were used to secure the DECRA Shingle to the deck through the cement tiles. Screw length was determined by the thickness of the tile and what would be needed to penetrate the deck.
This is not the first job with asbestos that Kulp has roofed over; he has used it on 10 other projects, mostly churches. It is an affordable and safe solution to what can be an expensive, but necessary, undertaking.