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Asbestos sheet substitute?

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Dennis Rayner10/02/2018 13:12:32
108 forum posts
10 photos

I'm looking for a sheet material (6mm thickish?) to go into the ground in front of fencing concrete gravel boards to bridge a bit of a gap to the ground. I've tried builders undercloak but it doesn't have any wet strength. I wondered if anyone had had any experience of such a material? I've tried Googling "asbestos sheet substitute" and haven't really got anywhere.

Robbo10/02/2018 14:07:06
1449 forum posts
126 photos

Try Googling "Corrugated cement sheets", "Fibre cement sheet", "Fibre cement board" - should get you plenty of hits

Dennis Rayner11/02/2018 11:27:53
108 forum posts
10 photos

Many thanks for that - lots of hits as you say.


Alan Waddington 211/02/2018 12:18:51
294 forum posts
71 photos

Tile backer board is waterproof cement based sheet. Any tile stockist or B&Q etc stock it. Trade names include ‘No more ply’’

Muzzer11/02/2018 13:59:27
2793 forum posts
441 photos

...Hardibacker, Knauf Aquapanel etc....fibre reinforced cement board. Available down to 6mm thickness. These are typically for tiling over in bathrooms etc.

But for finishing roofing tiles, there are undercloak soffits. You fill the gap between these and the tiles with mortar where the edge of the roof meets the wall - have a look on a gable end above the facia. I suspect these might be a better size for this application, rather than 4'x8' sheets etc.


Edited By Muzzer on 11/02/2018 14:00:48

KWIL11/02/2018 15:58:48
2993 forum posts
55 photos


That's the stuff Dennis says has no wet strength, it certainly does not have any dry strength!

Edited By KWIL on 11/02/2018 16:10:50

Dennis Rayner12/02/2018 08:13:40
108 forum posts
10 photos

The problem is that this material is going to be in contact with the ground all the time. Undercloak has failed and I suspect that the boards intended for tiling over are not intended to get wet once they have been tiled over and grouted. Many years ago I had a shed with a timber frame and flat sheet asbestos panels. I'm looking for the follow up product in an asbestos-free world. Most of the stuff I've found so far is corrugated.

JasonB12/02/2018 08:21:20
13074 forum posts
1188 photos

As you are only likely to need thin strips why not get the barge board trims used with corrugated Fibre cement roofing sheets and cut the short leg of the "L" off. The plain wide ones would be the best to go for.

Muzzer12/02/2018 08:57:27
2793 forum posts
441 photos

You seem to think you need an asbestos-free cement board which is what all these links and suggestions point to. Fact is, they are the default solution for roofing and wetroom use. The primary difference between them and asbestos is that they use glass fibre instead of asbestos, although the tile backing boards are less like asbestos sheets, having embedded glass fibre mesh rather than bulk mixed fibres like traditional asbestos cement sheets.

A shed won't have spent most of its time under the water line(?), so as a precedent it doesn't sound very convincing.

If it's largely underground, and cement board doesn't work, surely you should be looking at resin or plastic instead. Cement is cement, regardless of what it is mixed with and you seem to have convinced yourself it's no good.


Dennis Rayner12/02/2018 12:40:38
108 forum posts
10 photos

I think this analysis of the problem is spot-on. I started off with the hope that the construction industry had something off the shelf that I could use but it doesn't look promising. Some years ago I replaced the rotten tantalised 8 year old 4" x 1" timber which formed a barrier between my lawn and my ballasted track with similarly sized recycled plastic which looks like a permanent solution to that problem. The problem I have now is finding a suitable plastic material (6mm X 150mm x 1350mm (10 off) at an acceptable price. I'm on it!

Bazyle12/02/2018 18:34:25
4028 forum posts
166 photos

How about offcuts of plastic guttering often found in skips. It is heat formable so you can heat it up and flatten it out. Also Correx the plastic version of cardboard used for estate agent's signs. If you can find a cable laying company (BT, Virgin, Electricity boards) they use it to wrap up the cable drums and may be available at the local depot.

Michael Gilligan12/02/2018 18:55:36
11464 forum posts
492 photos
Posted by Dennis Rayner on 12/02/2018 12:40:38:

The problem I have now is finding a suitable plastic material (6mm X 150mm x 1350mm (10 off) at an acceptable price. I'm on it!


This, from our local stockist, should be a good indication of what's available.


[ 9mm seems to be a preferred thickness ]


Dennis Rayner15/02/2018 10:26:58
108 forum posts
10 photos

It seems as if soffit board may be the answer **LINK** but as it is foam filled I have concern about immersion in wet ground. I have ordered a sample to test by soaking in a bucket of water over a few days.

Samsaranda15/02/2018 11:57:01
461 forum posts
4 photos

Immersion in wet ground won’t harm it, there will be no absorption because the foam is a continuous series of sealed bubbles therefore nothing to contain any moisture, depending how wet your ground is it may well float away being extremely buoyant.

Dave W

Dennis Rayner17/02/2018 14:39:35
108 forum posts
10 photos

I received my sample and, as Samsaranda said, it is impervious to water. I have left it in a bucket of water however in order to ensure there is no delamination of the grey upvc from the foam core. All seems well so I will now order soffit boards for the whole job.

Many thanks for all the help and advice given in this matter.

Redsetter17/02/2018 21:51:56
72 forum posts

Excuse my ignorance of gardening matters, but why don't you fill the space with gravel, earth, or a row of bricks, none of which contain asbestos?

Dennis Rayner18/02/2018 15:39:24
108 forum posts
10 photos

Hope the picture will show the problem. The bottom of the concrete gravel board is about 3" too high. The track is very close to it. Soil or gravel will not allow me to infill the gap with track ballast without becoming messy i.e. a firm edge to the track ballast is needed. Bricks may be OK but may be too wide. I suppose slate would do the job. I only mentioned asbestos sheet at the beginning as the sort of thing I was looking for. Soffit board is in the lead at the moment.20180218_151945.jpg

Redsetter18/02/2018 16:52:29
72 forum posts

My friend, are you being serious? You should be thankful that you have space for a ground level track, and don't waste time worrying about things which don't matter. It would look quite realistic with a few weeds along the fence.

Dennis Rayner18/02/2018 17:11:11
108 forum posts
10 photos

Weeds!!! In our garden? You have obviously never met my wife!

Mark Rand18/02/2018 19:33:19
433 forum posts

Do you want my last four sheets of corrugated assy cement before I take them to the council recycling centre? smiley

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