Do you have Asbestos Siding in your home?
A Brief History of Asbestos
Without diving too deep into the history of asbestos, we should touch on a few key points. This will help you know if you have to worry about the carcinogenic material, or if it isn’t going to be present in your house.
Most people think that this mineral is a 20th-century discovery. In fact, it dates back much further than that. The material was actually being used as far back as 4000 BC in ancient Egypt. And even the discovery that it was harmful has been known for quite some time. In the first century Pliny, the Elder wrote about how slaves that worked closely with the substance would get sick and die prematurely.
Fast forward to the 20th century when the use of asbestos was really starting to pick up. People wanted to have insulated houses, and this mineral did a remarkably good job. It was strong, fire resistant, insulated well and was incredibly versatile. It also caused cancer.
About Asbestos Siding
Asbestos siding is composed of asbestos fibers mixed with Portland cement. It is very brittle and has a tendency to crack and break when nailed, which can release asbestos fibers into both the air and ground. Exposure to and breathing asbestos fibers can result in lung problems and cancer. If you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with stage 4 mesothelioma, seek out one of our specialists for help.
Applying a layer of sheathing or sheets of foam insulation over the asbestos, then covering it with vinyl siding is a common practice; but be sure to check your local building codes first to see if it is allowed in your area. However, removing the asbestos siding first – though more expensive – is the best alternative in the long run.
Hazards Associated with Asbestos Siding Products
Asbestos-contaminated transite siding is still present in thousands of older structures throughout the U.S. If the material is intact, it presents little in the way of hazard to renovators and demolition crews. When broken, cut or sawed, however, asbestos dust is released into the air (asbestos materials in this state are considered friable).
While it is possible to identify these asbestos-containing materials by sight in many cases, most state environmental regulations require that old buildings slated for renovation or demolition undergo a thorough inspection before work can begin.
Why Remove It?
Consider this carefully. If it’s your intention to reside your house, first speak to the siding company. Most siding companies are well-experienced at siding over existing siding.
Removing the asbestos cement siding, in addition to the health hazards, only adds more work to your project and will cost that much more. Removal of existing siding is not part of most siding companies’ estimates. Even if they do agree to do this, it will be an added cost and the company will most likely contract out the job to a demolition company. Asbestos siding can lead to exposure to this deadly material if agitated. Asbestos exposure can lead to various diseases such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with stage 4 mesothelioma or stage 3 mesothelioma, we can help them with information.
What to do with Asbestos Siding
Since there are so many different products that contain asbestos, we want to focus on siding. Popcorn ceilings, which often have asbestos, are a whole different ballgame. Asbestos siding, fortunately, is one of the easier asbestos products to take care of. In fact, the siding only contains about 1% asbestos (the rest is cement) so it is relatively safe to work with.
Cover It: The easiest way to deal with your old asbestos-sided house is to simply seal it off. Unless asbestos is disturbed, there is no way that it can harm you. So if your garage has asbestos siding, and it has been painted a couple of times, any particles are sealed within that paint.
Remove It: Asbestos abatement, the technical term for removal of asbestos products, is expensive. Unless you do it yourself. If you are to do it yourself, then you need to be extra careful.
Leave It: The last method for dealing with your asbestos siding is to just leave it as it is. Most of the time a simple coat of paint is all it takes to make it look good again, so don’t mess with it.
Asbestos becomes toxic when it is disturbed. For example, if you find out that your home has Asbestos siding and you pull it out without a professionals help, this poses more of a risk than if you had just left the Asbestos siding alone.
If you find out that your home has Asbestos siding, leave it alone. Consult a professional.