Asbestos Siding was commonly used in commercial and residential properties since the 1920s. Asbestos fibres were added during siding production to provide a limited amount of insulation, strengthen materials, to increase their durability and home fireproofing. Asbestos can be found in siding materials such as:
- Cement-asbestos board siding
- Wood shake vapor barriers
If you suspect that your siding may contain asbestos, you can check the markings on the packages of the siding material or contact the manufacturer directly. If there are no markings or the manufacturer has gone into liquidation (this may be a possibility if the sidings are very old), we recommend you employ the services of a reputable asbestos testing company. They will test for asbestos and then recommend the most effective way to proceed, whether that means leaving the siding intact or removing it altogether.
If your siding does contain asbestos it doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be removed. If asbestos remains undisturbed it isn’t dangerous to a person’s health. Asbestos containing material is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or fibres into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested. You can repair siding with asbestos by either sealing or covering it.
Sealing (encapsulation) involves treating the material with a sealant that either binds the asbestos fibres together or coats the material so fibres are not released. Sealing should be carried out by professionals who are trained to handle asbestos safely.
Covering (enclosure) involves placing something over or around the material that contains asbestos to prevent release of fibres.
Although repairing your siding by sealing or covering it may initially be more cost effective, after time it may need to be completely removed. Siding that contains asbestos needs to be regularly managed and monitored to make sure the fibres aren’t released into the air.
Any major or minor repairs on a building that contains asbestos should always be carried out by a qualified company who are specifically trained in dealing with asbestos. When dealing with asbestos yourself, there is always a risk of exposure. Breathing in fibres can cause serious effects on a person’s health as well risking the lives of others who come into contact with either the material directly or the person dealing with the substance. Whenever asbestos may be present, always seek advice from a reputable company.