Vinyl Siding vs Asbestos for Mansard Victorian

new_homeowner1August 19, 2014

I'm trying to decide what to do with the asbestos siding on my house. Wood siding is not an option for me. Aside from a couple broken pieces, the asbestos siding should paint well, according to the painters I've spoken with. However, the siding also has these nails that are loose and slightly proud of the shingle. I wonder if these nails will look bad if I decide to just repaint.

Another option would be to encapsulate the asbestos in some kind of higher quality vinyl. I've look at the CertainTeed and Premium Pointe 360 websites, but I haven't seen any of these in person yet. I have seen some vinyl shakes on a neighbor's house that look incredibly realistic.

What do you think would maximize curb appeal? Paint the asbestos? Encapsulate with vinyl?

Do these nails look bad to you? They all stick out by a little bit and are loose enough to be removed by hand...

People are always saying that vinyl looks cheap...but have these people familiar with the more premium brands? They look great to me, but I am new to this and don't have much experience. I live in a town with many beautifully preserved Victorian homes, but unlike my neighbors, I cannot afford to hire a team of interior designers, historic preservation consultants, and architects.

The following photos are of vinyl siding. To my untrained eye, they look nice:

don't like the stone foundation in this one, but the vinyl looks nice

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I like your siding, and painting would be the most economical solution.

Consider re-doing the nails that are sticking a bit out ...

Try tugging on one gently with a pair of pliers or a nail puller - if it slides out easily you need to replace the loose nails with something slightly bigger and longer that will resist pulling out.

If it's firmly in there, you can get a nail set and tap them back down. The nail set lets you push just on the nail, and you don't risk whacking a brittle shingle.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 5:26PM
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Many older houses in our neighborhood have been resided in vinyl. They seem to loose a lot of detail when that happens. Also, the trim often becomes flush with the new surface, it just doesn't look right. I vote for a high quality paint.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:53AM
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My observations of vinyl is similar to Mary's, that vinyl usually ends up covering up the details and trim doesn't look right when it's added over the current layer.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 9:11AM
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I agree with keeping the siding and painting. The nails seem to be uniformly placed, which is good, and you can set any ones that need it if you are careful. Resist the urge to clad your house in plastic.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 11:49AM
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Do you guys prefer the look of asbestos to skillfully installed vinyl siding that looks almost identical to wood? I decided early on in my project that I would repaint the asbestos because I assumed that vinyl would look cheap. But this week, I took the time to drive around and look at houses in my area, and I noticed many tastefully restored Victorian homes with vinyl siding.

Asbestos homes:

What do you think of these asbestos homes? Does the siding look too "flat" or "fake"? On the third photo, having elaborate trim and roof detail definitely helps draw the eyes away from the siding. I've also noticed that some houses have flatter (and cheaper) looking asbestos than others. I wonder if my house's asbestos can be considered attractive asbestos.

The follow houses have either wood or vinyl siding. Can you tell which is which? Are you sure you prefer the look of asbestos over vinyl?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:10PM
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RULE ONE of having an old house is to not replace what you don't have to. I understand the urge to fix it ALL up ... but squelch that urge!

You have what were high-grade asbestos shingles, and they appear to have been well installed and still sound. Seriously ... repainting is the cost-effective and cosmetically best option.

But until the interior is all fixed up, restrain the urge to do any exterior work you don't have to. Because budgets do run short. If, five years from now, you decide you want vinyl, and you have the budget for it, do it. You can do it without messing with the interior.

You are seeing a less-than-optimal paint job and comparing it to just-completed renovations. I think your place would look great in pale yellow, with a couple of shades of grey on the trim to enhance the roof.

Keep in mind that your house is a 1-story mini-me of the houses you are showing us, so you see less of the siding. The bay windows are prominent, the roof is closer to the viewer, and the front door area is a large proportion of the front.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 12:45PM
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Ok, I will forget about the vinyl! I didn't know that asbestos siding came in lower and higher grades. I've been looking at too many unattractive houses with very flat, thin asbestos siding, and I thought my asbestos would look the same.

This 1-story also has asbestos and looks great:

This post was edited by new_homeowner1 on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 15:03

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 2:33PM
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That one is SUPER CUTE ...

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 7:36PM
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I've been noticing that vinyl siding and fencing tends to crack and develop holes after being exposed to weather and minor impacts. I also worry that it
can hold moisture behind it. I just purchased a 1905 house that has vinyl siding. It looks OK from a distance but not up close.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 7:01PM
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I'm going to be the odd man out, but I prefer the look of the lap siding over the asbestos shingles. However, your house will look great after a new paint job and architectural details are added. Have you thought about removing the asbestos shingles and any old siding underneath before you put new siding on?? That way you don't have to lose any details as another poster pointed out.
I understand your dilemma. I have ugly asbestos shingles on my home also. And I have a tall two story home. I have every intention of removing the asbestos shingles and the old wood siding underneath before I put new siding up. What kind of siding I will do has not been decided since that project is a couple of years away. But it will be either hardi board lap siding or one of the higher end vinyl brands. The higher end vinyls look really good, and are made much better than the cheaper stuff. Hold up much better also. I don't know about you, but the idea of having to paint a home every 5 to 10 years sounds less and less appealing the older I get. Vinyl starts sounding better and better.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 7:46PM
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Having had to deal with the disposal of the asbestos siding we had and seeing how it held paint for the neighbor I would do one of 2 things.

Just bite the bullet and have it removed, personally I like the hardie siding much better than plastic. But the Hardie siding is pricey. And after bagging, boxing,re- bagging, getting permits, hauling and dumping the stack of siding some one left behind in the garage, it was a joke and rather cheap to get rid of (like under $40 for 500lb) And the neighbors did not pay too much to have it removed from their house. My concern with hiding it under the plastic is you still have a house with asbestos that might have to be removed at some point.

Painting is the option I would pick. It holds well and will encapuslate the exterior for you. And if you do choose to remove in the future, you have not wasted a ton of money on plastic.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 7:57PM
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