asbestos siding

angel123July 8, 2005

Does anybody know how to replace or repair cracked absestos siding? I haven't found any retailers who sell it and I'm not sure how to repair the ones that have cracked on my house. I'd be interested in hearing what other people have done.

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I am also interested in hearing others' reponses as I also have asbestos siding and there is one small area that need to be replaced. From my understanding, this kind of siding is no longer made for obvious reason.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 9:09PM
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For many years now, the replacement shingles have not had asbestos in them. Try some of the independent lumber yards in your area. Some of them still have the shingles, perhaps old stock from years ago. If the shingle has no asbestos, the package will probably say so. Be sure to tell them if you want the wavy edge or straight edge.

1 Like    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 9:23PM
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We have asbestos siding and had a few pieces replaced when we painted the house last year. Bus Driver is right - you can get replacement shingles but they do not contain asbestos. We were unable to find the same pattern (on the shingle itself, not the edge) but our contractor got one that was similar enough that it blended just fine once they were all painted the same color.

As an aside, when we bought our house I considered the asbestos shingles as the one "injustice" done to our older home and always planned to remove them. I still sort of have a love/hate relationship with them, but have come to appreciate their virtues - practically indestructable, paint job lasts forever on them, easy to repair/replace, and low maintenance. However, I'll always wonder why a previous owner covered the original German siding and daydream about seeing it uncovered! But that's not a Pandora's box I'm willing to open right now....


    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 10:58AM
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In this area, the volunteer fire departments sometimes burn for practice houses that are scheduled for demolition. Such siding shingles must be removed first. Owners are permitted to do the removal, no special crews required. If you could find such a situation, they might let you remove what you need. Otherwise, they probably will break most of them.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 1:00PM
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Little OT - I am curious if any of you notice a small difference in your homeowner insurance payments? I noticed that mine is little lower due to the siding which can be considered by some to low rate of fire spreading as I was told?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 2:02PM
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Tina, think about doing it as a homeowner before required professional removal becomes cost prohibitive. We do not have asbestos, but I'm sure we have lead paint and are doing one side of the house at a time while it is still legal for us to do it ourselves. We will have 8 more windows completed by the end of summer with 8 left to complete. The Pandora's box seems so much deeper before you begin. We have lived here only 3 years and the job becomes so much more cumbersome as we age.

BTY, I lived through lead abatement on our quarters on a military post. The workers had minimal protection and the residents had none! Imagine the cost of that contract? I wear a respirator, vacuum all waste and shower at the end of each session.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 3:40PM
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I removed mine myself. There was beautiful lead-painted clapboard underneath, so even though I did it mostly myself, it was quite a task. I, too, had problems matching places where the siding had chipped, and finally did a kitchen addition, which required matching what I had. I chose to go with matching the underlying clapboard and later removing the asboestos siding myself.

In Portland at the time (a few yrs ago) I had to take a 4-hr class to remove it as a homeowner and pull a permit. It wasn't too bad, just a respirator and instructions on how to wrap it for disposal. It's pretty low-friable stuff, until you break it or drill it. There are only a couple of dumps here that take it, and it has to be wrapped just so and no more than x number of broken pieces per package (not that I expect that they anted to open the packages to inspect for broken boards--kinda defeats the purpose).

After restoring the window trim that had been butchered by the asbestos installer I stripped and repainted. A friend told me as I fumed about what they had done to the beautiful window trim--""don't worry, the people who did this to your house are all long dead". Just remember all of you who are considering vinyl siding... this WAS the vinyl siding of the time. We just haven't found out HOW bad encasing your home in plastic is for you yet.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 9:18PM
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corgilvr -

Yes, I am concerned that by the time I'm ready to remove the asbestos there will be stricter policies, but it's the chance I have to take. A neighboring state already has tougher restrictions. However, there's only so much time and money to go toward the endless parade of house restoration projects. We had to pick our battles, and the interior has been our priority during the past 9 years. But, it's still on the master list!

Sonya -

Were there a million nail holes in the clapboarding when you removed the asbestos siding? Also, I'm concerned that there were real reasons the owner wanted to cover the wood siding - rotting or deterioration, layers of alligator-textured paint, etc. I know that aluminum/vinyl siding can be harmful to clapboarding, since it creates an area where moisture can build up and cause the wood underneath to rot. Did you notice whether the asbestos siding had a similar effect?


    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 11:12AM
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Yes, there were a million nailholes in the siding, and the paint was in really tough shape. It was a BIG job to prep for painting the siding. I didn't find any rot, and I'm in Portland, OR (think rain). Just the sawed-off window trim... apparently the asbestos was hard to cut, so they just hacked off things like the "ears" on the sills to minimize cutting. But now that it's all done, it looks spectacular!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 11:33AM
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How did you restore the trim? Did you have to reframe the windows?


    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 12:20PM
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Yes, I reframed the windows. But that's partially because we weren't sure what they looked like when I did the kitchen addition a year before, so we had guessed based on similar houses and the interior trim, and we guessed wrong. I then wanted it all to match, since that had been the whole point to begin with...having the addition match the rest of the house... and not being able to match the asbestos. The only part that HAD to be replaced was the exterior sill, because trying to marry in an extra chunk of wood on either side would've been difficult and a spot for potential failure in future, I thought.

Tina-- FWIW, the GC and the architect had origianlly spec'd out Hardiboard for the kitchen addition to match the texture and reveal of the asbestos. It was only once we got started and saw the original siding that the idea came to pull the rest of the asbestos later. You might check out hardiboard and see how it matches your asbestos (there are many styles of asbestos tile siding.)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 4:45PM
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Sonya, I'm with you. If I were building an addition, I'd match the original siding over the asbestos any day. And my asbestos is just so sturdy I'm not thinking about it for now. (There ain't no addition happening ever to push this issue either!) Perhaps angel123, the original poster asking about an asbestos match, would be interested in Hardiboard? What is it exactly?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 1:26AM
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We're using Hariboard to match our old asbestos siding. Right now, we don't want to strip the outside (too much going on inside), but there are several places where the siding is cracked or broken.

We are using hariboard the same width as our old siding, then cutting it to match the length.

Hardiboard is a cement-based siding material...and it's not cheap, but for a few patches, it's sort of worth it.

Until we can strip off the old siding, and restore the clapboard, it's the easiest, cheapest choice.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 1:30PM
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We are looking at reframing a lot of the windows over the years to restore the place, so I was just curious if you did something less drastic. We've got some chopped up trim too, some sliders where windows should be and who knows what else. We are about to acquire the original plans for the house, so we'll know better then. We've also got over 60 windows, so this will be a very long process.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 1:52PM
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I have the same issue. Talked with some contractors and heard there used to be a non-asbestos concrete/cement siding that is similar in pattern and thickness to asbestos siding that people have used to replace it with, but I have not been able to locate this siding. Also learned that most people, at least where I live, don't like to mess with repairing asbestos siding as it tends to be fragile and can crack even more if you get into it too much. I'm at a loss as to what to do....if you know where I can obtain this concrete/cement siding please let me know. I live in Portland OR so maybe they don't have that stuff in this region? Any ideas?


    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 9:46PM
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Asbestos siding is dangerous but its also got a few things to consider before everyone decides to remove it.
It is VERY durable. It is way fireproof, chemical resistant, and high tensil strength.
THATs why it was used as a siding in the first place, however, now, years later. After all the installers of it are dead from Mesothelioma or lung cancer, we wonder how to get it off or out of our homes without getting sick or having to pay lots of money. Be careful if you decide to do yourself. You cant smell it, taste it or even see it for the most part, but when you save a few bucks, you infect your kids and family. Look up Mesothelioma, its not even a dose related disease. It doesnt take much, and also, some of the asbestos types are worse than others. I have seen some infected people. Not trying to scare anyone, just look into it before its a category 5 because you started the project and scattered the waste everywhere.

Here is a link that might be useful: paradiseenvironmental

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 1:06AM
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"Asbestos siding is dangerous..."


It does not meet the EPA definition of friable (capable of being crushed with bare hands).

"I have seen some infected people."

Since mesothelioma takes a good 30-40 years to show up, there is usually no way to nail down an exact source except long term industrial exposure (boiler makers, ship yard workers, plumbers).

Despite claims from the plaintiffs bar, the sky is not falling.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 3:19PM
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I have a wonderful builder as a near neighbor who just built his house...he's a real craftsman and does work for millionaires building their interriors etc. He used hardy board on his new home, it looks exactly like old clapboard...only new and in beautiful condition of course. He said it will hold paint better than wood as well...since it does not breath as much as wood in different temps. Anyway...thought anyone thinking of putting up new siding on an old house might look into it. It could be found to match clapboard for an addtion too I'd think. It is going to be more expensive than vinyl I'm pretty sure...and gets' painted as well I think...but much better than so many cheaply done vinyl jobs I've seen!
And contractors love putting vinyl up...they can do it in a few days...even though you essentially paid for much more work than that...that of siding a house. Think of it as plastic wrap! If vinyl is all you can some homework...there are some companies that at least make better quality 'plastic wrap' than others...for a much nicer overall look.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 1:14PM
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I'm always interested in these discussions because six years ago I bought an 1875ish house with asbestos siding. I knew I would remove it cuz to me it just looks sad. Paying someone to do it is prohibitive, and homeowners in my state are allowed to remove it and dispose of it properly a little at a time. So I have done two sides, and have three shingles left on the third side as of right now. It can be done; I'll be 53 next Friday and am a single female. I climb up a 40-foot ladder so I think anyone can do it! Underneath my siding most of the paint was gone with just a chalkiness left on top. There are nail holes but once you put wood putty on and sand it, you can't tell. The big problem for me has been the holes left by what I think was blown-in insulation. It shocked me to see that because my house is cold in the winter.

I have yet to repair the sawed off bottom trim on the windows. I'll get to it eventually, but for now I've just painted, and from a distance it's not that noticeable.

I think it's a 100% improvement from the asbestos siding. Although, my neighbor had hers painted and repaired and it looks much better. But I guess I'm a snob, and just prefer the original look. My clapboards were in great shape, just a couple were split. I get a lot of compliments on it.

As for danger, I disagree with those who are terrified of asbestos siding. I remember someone on the Houseblogs website saying that she had one of her shingles analyzed and it was mostly cement. My doctor says that a one-time exposure is not an issue, only continued exposure. At my age, I'm guessing I'll die of something other than mesothelioma.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 10:00PM
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9/23/2011 I know the original post question is old but I thought I'd add some info here. I also have Asbestos siding shingles in textured design wavy edge. The replacement that matches the best is made/sold by GAF and is fiber cement. The product is GAF Elk, Weatherside, Purity Fiber Cement siding. The bundle has 18 pieces and it comes in straight & wavy edge and other finishes. This can be purchased thru Home under fiber cement siding and the GAF website and accessories are available. Some HD stores have the straight edge bundles in stock. Good idea to buy extra to have on hand for future replacement of broken pieces and if the new ones break.Also, you may be able to get free shipping on Home or have delivered to the store for pick-up free.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 5:08PM
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