Asbestos Siding: What You Need To Know

Posted on: 22 June 2015

Asbestos was once commonly used as a building material in the United States. Everything from pipe insulation and roofing to the siding on homes contained some asbestos. Today, it has been found that this material can be dangerous if inhaled, particularly for those who work around it. Many older homes today still have their original asbestos siding. If you are concerned that your home or a home you're interested in buying has asbestos siding, here is what you need to know.

How Do I Know if My Siding Has Asbestos?

It can be difficult to tell just by looking at your home if the siding contains asbestos. Since almost all asbestos siding is older, you probably won't know who manufactured it and won't be able to look up what it's mad eof. If in doubt, contact your local building codes inspector or an official asbestos removal company. They can come out and safely obtain a sample, which will be sent to a laboratory for testing. Once the testing is complete, they will notify you if your siding or the materials used to attach or paint the siding does, in fact, contain asbestos. 

What Should I Do if I Have Asbestos Siding?

There are two options you can choose from if you discover that your siding contains asbestos. The first option is to have it professionally removed and replaced. This can be costly since you'll have to hire a licensed contractor, such as Liberty Exteriors LLC,  who can remove the siding and dispose of it safely. The other option is to cover the existing siding with new siding, and many contractors recommend leaving the existing siding alone, since asbestos is only dangerous when it is disturbed and produces dust.

Does Asbestos Siding Pose a Threat?

In most instances, asbestos siding is safe as long as it's not disturbed. Most products containing asbestos that are dangerous are called "friable." This term simply means that something can be broken up just by using your hand. Siding is usually very durable and tough, and therefore is not easily damaged or broken down. However, over time as the siding becomes exposed to the elements, it can weaken in some spots and become friable, so this is something to consider. As the particles are released into the air, they can be breathed in, and this is what can cause a serious health hazard and risk of cancer.

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