if i buy a home with asbestos siding is it dangerous? a lot of homes ive looked at have asbestos siding in our price range.

Asked by Maria Cameron, Salem, AL Fri Apr 1, 2011

asbestos siding

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James Deskins’ answer
James Deskins, Agent, Worthington, OH
Thu Jul 19, 2012
Asbestos siding is probably the best siding ever invented. After 50 years most asbestos siding looks brand new! Best advice? Just leave it alone....or side over it.

Yes, I know this is an old question.
5 votes
Sure was,never had health problems
Flag Fri Mar 31, 2017
Usually older homes have asbestos siding, and I agree that it really isn't dangerous. I would agree that you should just leave it alone. There are a lot of companies that can help you remove it however, if you decide that you don't want it. http://www.totalasbestos.com.au/domestic
Flag Tue Dec 9, 2014
Sam B, , Raleigh, NC
Tue Jul 22, 2014
When we install vinyl, we never remove asbestos - put backer insulation and then nail on vinyl. You can paint asbestos, but then what do you do with old peeling /chipping paint?

Basically, if you don't plan to change the siding or if you are ok with putting vinyl on at some time down the road, you are safe. Unless you touch asbestos - it is safe. These site has some info about asbestos and installing vinyl over it
11 votes
If you are going to enclose an outside area of the home that has asbestos siding (i.e. carport into garage, sunroom or enclosed porch), then removal is wise. Otherwise just replace broken or compromised tiles if they occur.
I also know this is an old question,
Flag Sat Apr 1, 2017
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Fri Apr 1, 2011
See link for helpful information...
8 votes
Jeff, Home Owner, Pittsburgh, PA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
Asbestos is a health risk if it is "friable" - meaning cracked, decomposing, etc. and you are exposed to breathing the fibers or dust that may break off and float in the air. If it is not cracked and is properly sealed, painted, etc. then it is a non-issue.

My wife and I live in a beautiful house with asbestos siding. We also have a 3 year old. It is well-painted and has some useful properties. It is a decent insulator - better than most vinyl - and it also probably saved our house when our neighbor's place caught fire next door.

It is very expensive to have it removed by a licensed professional.You can put vinyl siding over top of it, though I've heard mixed perspectives on that. Interior asbestos is a much bigger health concern than exterior asbestos. Still, my understanding is that most cases of asbestos-related lung cancer affect people who've worked with around it on a daily basis - people involved in concrete manufacturing, mining, and other industries, where you have lots of dust floating around in enclosed spaces.
5 votes
Vinyl has chemicals in it too
Flag Fri Mar 31, 2017
Woodward.cra…, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Fri Oct 2, 2015
I believe that the original asbestos cement siding was the best siding product ever produced (although I don't know if brands varied in quality or not...). I also believe that part of the false scare of this product possibly damaging health was a clever way to get homeowners to remove it.... the reason being that it lasts Forever.

My 1870's home first stood with vertical board and batten, later covered with a brown brick pattern asphalt siding. Asbestos cement siding was added probably in the 40's or 50's. The original color appears to be a shade of ivory; followed by a bright mint green; then by a coat of clay-color (taupe, more or less) paint that I added in 1990. The mint green had no peeling or damage, only a few areas where the paint seemed to be wearing off. The now 25 yr old clay color is also free of any chipping or peeling, but has faded some over the years. The only prep for the next paint job will be to wash the siding with a hose, and start painting when it is dry.

I got mighty tired of all the OMG's back in those days: Health hazard!! House un-salable!! Don't go near!! At least it has quieted down some. I think most people who have authentic old fiber cement siding appreciate it durability. Not to be confused with Masonite siding (made from wood fiber and chips) - which would rot and soak up water after a number of years...

In fiber cement , the fiber is encapsulated in cement and the siding subsequently painted, so unless you are grinding it up and breathing the dust, the entire fear factor was, and is, ridiculous.

Fiberglass is a bad thing to breathe in, too, and yet we freely purchase loose batts of it and wear thin dust masks. No over the top warnings, even if there should be. Just sayin'....

Want to bet that the new fiber cement siding is definitely not as good as the old? Some or all of it has Wood Particles in the mix. Why? Because it deteriorates. It won't last forever like the old fiber cement because it is designed not to. Ok - my speech is over...(ha).
4 votes
mjinar24, Home Owner, West Memphis, AR
Sat Jun 1, 2013
Old asbestos pipe insulation, usually found in older schools and old petro-chemical plants would deteriorate and the fine asbestos fibers will become airborne when disturbed. This is the type of asbestos one has to be aware of.
Many old buildings have flooring made with asbestos and the only time this would be an issue would be when the fllooring was taken up, the asbestos siding on my house is 60 years old and in perfect shape. This siding is only dangerous when it is cut with a dry power saw, or crushed into small pieces. If you have the house painted, be careful not to sand or scrape into the asbestos especially when using power tools. If some of the siding gets broken, it is simple to remove the boken piece and replace it with the new composite product that looks exactly like asbestos when painted. I have never seen the siding decompose......
Marvin Jones
4 votes
That is really relieving to know that it's not really dangerous if it is in your siding. My wife and I have been thinking about getting our asbestos completely removed from the siding in our house. This gives us more time to make our decision now that we know that it's not such a health hazard. http://www.classicremodeling-nj.com
Flag Thu Oct 23, 2014
What is the new composite product called? Where can you purchase it?
Flag Tue Apr 22, 2014
United Inspe…, Other Pro, Framingham, MA
Sat Apr 2, 2011
The danger level is dependent upon the condition of the asbestos, friable vs. non-friable. Non-friable is often referred to as safe asbestos and friable is referred to as dangerous asbestos. This condition may vary over time, thus you should have a plan of action for when the asbestos becomes friable.

The internet may be easy to search, yet be sure to check local regulations in 01970. Feel free to contact us if you have more concerns.
2 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Fri Apr 1, 2011
The problem with most of us answering this is we are not experts in Hazardous Materials. If I answer now, only to have new information come out tomorrow conflicting with that information you may hold me responsible for bad information.
One thought, if there is asbestos in the siding, there may well be asbestos in other sites as well such as old flooring, heating or plumbing systems.
My advice on these subjects is to become fully informed from the most reliable sources. While I've heard what others have said, about disturbing asbestos, I encourage you to research the subject from the EPA and other government agencies who claim expertise on this we as agents don't have. Best of luck.
2 votes
Your answer is more acceptable than any other I've read! Thank you for your honesty.
Flag Thu Feb 26, 2015
Agreed - research with experts just to be safe!!
Flag Wed Sep 17, 2014
Asbestos1978, Home Owner, Portsmouth County, VA
Mon Dec 5, 2011
People where I live at just put vinly siding on top of it. I would never do this as this is plain dump. I as a homeowner can remove it myself and pay 500 for someone to pick it up for me, this is what I would do. I would never take away from an old home, I would just paint it a really, really awsome colour. and as far as it being dangerous, do you know that baby powder is a relative of asbestos, thus baby powder made from talc is far worse (you can buy baby pwder made from corn starch
1 vote
I am trying to change homeowners insurance and the asbestos siding is an issue with Allstate. They will not insure the home based on that factor alone. The siding is in good shape and has been painted at least 3 times in the past 60 years. Sad state of affairs.
Flag Wed Jul 22, 2015
I know this is an old post, but you could remove it yourself...........but you'd be fined a lot more than cost of paying someone to remove it. You better believe it that when they see construction on a house they will check for permits and sock it to you
Flag Wed Apr 9, 2014
Corey Buck M…, Agent, Jacksonville, FL
Fri Apr 1, 2011
If you are finding that most of the homes you like or that are within your price range have asbestos siding your best approach would be to minimize the risks that are inherent with the product. Check the link provided by Anna and become familiar with the potential dangers, but also consider a solution. Asbestos siding is paintable. A possible solution would be to utilize a painting contractor in your area that is applying a "vinyl-esque" finish that is really a super thick coat of paint with some additives that help to seal the home. In my area, the product/company is called Rhino-Shield. It is supposed to be a lifetime paint solution on exterior homes. But, it will also encapsulate the asbestos and prohibit the dangerous particles from becoming an airborne threat. Have your Realtor get an idea on pricing so you can weigh your options within an offer and negotiate accordingly.

For every problem, there is a solution.
Web Reference:  http://www.coreybuckmann.com
1 vote
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Fri Apr 1, 2011
Asbestos is dangerous when it is disturbed and the small particles are breathed into the lungs. Left alone, as I understand it, there is no worry. Asbestos was very common prior to 1980's and with the siding on homes built in the early 1900's. Google asbestos for suggestions on what to do with it. Your local community may have rules as to how to handle it if you are to remove it.

All the best to you.
Web Reference:  http://terrivellios.com
1 vote
Left alone, there is no worry. The ratio of asbestos to concrete used in each tile shingle is very small in comparison to the amounts of concrete used to make each tile & yes this shingles are completely safe, they a solid and can not be inhaled in a solid state! so there for it is impossible to inhale!! A house sided with asbestos/concrete shingles is better protected against the elements & better insulates the home. Consider the home maintenance free, well insulated & will last for ever and it is totally safe to humans & animals period! Remember as long as the shingles are not crushed, sanded or cut with an electric saw indoors you should NOT have ant worries what so ever!
Flag Wed Dec 28, 2016
Carolynf649, Home Buyer, Salem, MA
Thu May 18, 2017
our house is very old I guest about early 1900 it has cedar and burch wood inside in out. the house has these white shingles siding and we had vinyl siding put over it , you can't put a nail through white shingles siding without breaking it into pieces.
0 votes
Susan McDoug…, Home Buyer, Suffield, CT
Mon May 8, 2017
I know this is really old, but I thought I'd chip in. I've lived in 2 older homes (circa 1900/late 1800's) with asbestos siding. While the siding concerned me, what I didn't realize when we moved in was there were worse issues. Like the old pipes in the basement ceiling wrapped in a canvas type material with a type of insulation, which was deteriorating (google this, and select images to see what it looks like). I later found out this was asbestos! I actually had already touched it, and did laundry down the basement, and when I discovered what it really was (yes, I freaked out), I informed my landlady, who denied knowing about it. Ha! She grew up in that house.
Also, check the ceiling tiles. They too were made at one time out of asbestos, and also old linoleum and floor tiles.
When buying an older house, do your homework, ask questions, google for information, and learn to recognize these things, so if you do own or buy a home with these items, you can be better prepared to protect yourself and your family when you decide to remove these products.
I can only hope that my exposure was minimal and over time will not show up as a health problem.
0 votes
Affordablepl…, Home Buyer, Salem, MA
Mon Apr 17, 2017
I'm a contractor & Asbestos siding is Not dangerous unless pulverized to allow dust being enhauled. Asbestos siding is very hard, stays in solid form, and not in powder form, which makes it pretty much harmless. Now, industrial use of asbestos, such as the type used to insulate pipes, for example, is dangerous because it turns into a cloud of dust like talcom powder. This form of powdered asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma and dangerous as hell. Asbestos siding has an extremely long life; therefore, it's worth more to have a house with siding that lasts 100 years, don't you think?
0 votes
Georgekeatin…, Home Buyer, Salem, MA
Sat Sep 19, 2015
I have read where people say remove it yourself, and it is not dangerous, this is a lie when you drill cut or break it becomes air born, it is no-longer encapsulated, if you live in a house where it was covered with siding they nailed thousands of nails in it where did all the dust go. if you love your child you should not even live on the same block as one of these houses.
0 votes
I dont really agree with this outside dust is not the same as inside dust. Also I have some of this and have made repairs on it by replacing and drilling through it. You get dust only when its cut or drilled I have seen NO dust when it broke.

I would say people are paranoid over it.

Also I see no reason to pay someone to remove this its encapsulated. I have removed it myself to replace tiles with no problems. The types have predrilled holes for the nails Just carefull remove the nails and they come off in one peice.
Flag Sun Oct 16, 2016
I dont really agree with this outside dust is not the same as inside dust. Also I have some of this and have made repairs on it by replacing and drilling through it. You get dust only when its cut or drilled I have seen NO dust when it broke.

I would say people are paranoid over it.
Flag Sun Oct 16, 2016
Sage advice. There are many irresponsible or uniformed opinions on this thread.
Flag Wed Mar 16, 2016
oh please
Flag Mon Jan 4, 2016
The asbestos fiber cement siding was installed beginning in about the 1920's and thru the1950's, some in '60's, etc. but by the late 1970's and into the 80's it was banned in many places. The likelihood of there being any significant dust from drilled holes drilled 50 to 90 years ago (and likely at the factory) should not be of much concern. Any holes drilled on site would most probably have been drilled in the driveway or work area, not against the house itself. But I agree with you, George - for anyone with concerns, hire someone to inspect it (not someone who hopes to sell you a new product, tho, and make a great show of removing the basically harmless asbestos fiber cement). And yes - care always needs to be taken when removing any previously applied materials.... they all have issues, whether fibers or mold or fiberglass or mineral wool, or century-old dust or rot, etc., etc.
Flag Fri Oct 2, 2015
Caleb Hart, Renter, Orem, UT
Mon May 11, 2015
There are a lot of things that you should check on your house before you buy it. Have you had somebody come and take a look at it? You should make some phone calls and look at some more siding materials. It's better to be safe than sorry. http://www.marshbuildingproducts.com/vinyl-siding.php
0 votes
Calvin James, Home Buyer, Orem, UT
Sat Dec 20, 2014
No, in fact stable asbestos isn't even an issue! What you definitely should do though is inform the buyer. If not they could potentially file a lawsuit later on. If they do want it removed before buying it's pretty easy to hire an asbestos removal company to come and take care of it. http://www.asbestop.com.au/
0 votes
Calvin James, Home Buyer, Orem, UT
Sat Dec 20, 2014
No, in fact stable asbestos isn't even an issue! What you definitely should do though is inform the buyer. If not they could potentially file a lawsuit later on. If they do want it removed before buying it's pretty easy to hire an asbestos removal company to come and take care of it. http://www.asbestop.com.au/
0 votes
Calvin James, Home Buyer, Orem, UT
Sat Dec 20, 2014
No, in fact stable asbestos isn't even an issue! What you definitely should do though is inform the buyer. If not they could potentially file a lawsuit later on. If they do want it removed before buying it's pretty easy to hire an asbestos removal company to come and take care of it. http://www.asbestop.com.au/
0 votes
Jackson Will…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Fri Dec 12, 2014
Anything with asbestos in it can be very dangerous. People are trying to get asbestos out of homes because it has been proven to cause multiple health problems. I think that you should look into all of the options that you have to avoid asbestos siding. I would suggest talking to a contractor about what the best replacement would be. They could also tell you how to remove the old siding to avoid health issues.
0 votes
Man Bun recommends spending $100K to remove siding. LOL.
Flag Sat Oct 7, 2017
No worse than the garbage you eat
Flag Fri Mar 31, 2017
Myersjulie31, Home Buyer, Blakeslee, PA
Fri Dec 12, 2014
If they have it listed and there have been previous tenants, I wouldn't think that it's dangerous. However, if it is sided with asbestos it is probably quite old. In this case, it would probably be a very good idea to get new siding. There are many kinds of siding that you can get, and I have heard that vinyl siding is really great because it is strong and it is easy to clean as well. http://wowofsyr.com/residential_services.html
0 votes
Chevy Jones, , Provo, UT
Fri Nov 21, 2014
Any time that asbestos is involved I would recommend replacing everything. I think it's best to start from scratch and have everything brand new put in. It might cost more than you want in the moment but it will pay off in the long run. http://idealnh.com/?page_id=21
0 votes
reynoldsc99, Renter, Tulsa, OK
Wed Aug 27, 2014
You can purchase one and not expect any problems. Asbestos only become dangerous once you mess with it. If you do decide to do anything with your siding, I would recommend getting professional services to do the work for you. Warn them that the siding is asbestos.

Claire Reynolds || http://www.weatherteknj.com/Handyman-Services-Dunellen-NJ.html
0 votes
karablader, Home Buyer, Utah County, UT
Mon Jul 28, 2014
A lot of homes still have asbestos siding. Asbestos is okay until it starts to flake or become air-borne in some way. Once that starts happening then it's very important that you get asbestos removal. Asbestos can be very harmful if it isn't taken care of properly.
Web Reference:  http://www.aplusbs.com.au
0 votes
George Barre…, , 40202
Tue Jun 10, 2014
Asbestos can be safe as long as it is not airborne, so don't agitate it. Many time encapsulating is much cheaper than mitigation. Ask a local professional for a free quote during your inspection period to lessen your risk.
0 votes
karablader, Home Buyer, Utah County, UT
Tue Jun 10, 2014
The danger of asbestos depends a lot on the quality of the siding. If it is getting old then it is much more dangerous. Only when it cracks does the asbestos become dangerous to health.
0 votes
M.J. Taglieri, Agent, Marblehead, MA
Fri Jan 24, 2014
I would consult with your local board of health and then hire a reputable asbestos remediation consultant to arrive at possible solutions. Many older homes contain some asbestos, do not let this deter you from purchasing the home of your dreams, however, do your homework and learn the best possible solution.
0 votes
victor.vidal, Home Owner, 64064
Thu Dec 5, 2013
This is a better resource for this specific type of question.

0 votes
Mary Mathis, Home Buyer, Bryson City, NC
Tue Oct 15, 2013
Yes I am looking to buy an older house. Nice except it has asbestos siding. App 1200sq feet to be removed. Could you tell app. cost of removal and proper disposal fees?
0 votes
Pojo49, Home Buyer, Salem, MA
Sun Oct 13, 2013


0 votes
ediechanmc, Home Buyer, Denham Springs, LA
Wed May 15, 2013
I am looking at a house that has asbestos siding. It is in my price range. I am very concerned about this situation. I have Multiple Sclerosis. I am wondering how this might affect my health, being I already have a chronic illness? I am going to look at this house tomorrow, May 16, 2013. Could somebody please advise me? I may just look at the house a find things I don't like about this house, besides the obvious. Please help me.
0 votes
Laura Cowper…, Agent, Denver, CO
Fri Apr 1, 2011
As I understand it, as long as its not disturbed, the siding is OK and won't be a hazard. If you decide that you'd like to do something with it you may need to hire a licensed haz-mat company to remove it. Asbestos is harmful when air-born so people dealing with it must wear protective gear and the shingles will need to be bagged and disposed of following federal guidelines. It may be possible to simply cover it up with new siding. You can find more info at: http://www.lni.wa.gov/tradeslicensing/licensingreq/asbestos/…
0 votes
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