I've got this little building in my garden that needs to be completely removed to make room for building a real house. To keep costs down, I'll be doing most of the tear-down myself but I'm unsure about the roof because I am worried that the material might be hazardous.

I don't know what material the roof is made of. It's shaped like corrugated metal but it's not metal. It feels like a kind of hardened fiber material, and is hard as stone or shingles. It's approximately 5 millimeters thick, and there are a few slabs more lying around in the back of the garden.

How can I determine whether the material is safe for me to handle? The building is roughly 60 years old and I can't ask the previous owner and builder.

I don't know English product names for this kind of material but I know that in Denmark many years ago there used to be roofs like this that contained asbestos. That material was prohibited and replaced by "eternit" (the Danish word for it) which turned out to be dangerous too, so it was also prohibited and replaced by "masonit" (Danish again) which is safe.

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1 Answer 1


That looks like asbestos - the age would be about right. I'd get your local authority to have a look. They'll be able to advise on what you can and cannot do.

Asbestos is "safe" as long is at remains in one piece. It's the dust generated when it breaks up that's dangerous. If (and it's a very big if) you could remove it without it breaking then you'd be safe. However, that's unlikely to happen.

It will depend on your location but it can be expensive to have asbestos safely removed and the usual approach is to leave it in place if there's no danger of it breaking up.

  • I was afraid of that. I agree it's impossible to remove without dust. And it can't stay in place either; the hut must be removed. Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 21:43
  • Which part of it looks like asbestos?
    – JaredPar
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 22:03
  • @JaredPar - the corrugated roof.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 22:45
  • a) get it tested first and b) it's outside--if you wear a decent mask and wet it down, the bit of dust it will create is hardly worth worrying about.
    – DA01
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 16:14

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