asbestos shingles broken in my house

eli2009July 24, 2014

Based on the looks of our shingles outside we were told they were asbestos. We were told as long as they are not being sanded or drilled they are fine to be removed even if a few break because the asbestos fibers were baked into the shingle and are unlikely to be airborne.
I was OK with this since it was outdoors but now we are in the process of an addition and shingles were removed in the mostly-enclosed area of the addition and my contractor was deliberately breaking them to dispose of them in a bag! I'm worried about fibers being airborne "in" my house since this was within the already walled area that is soon to be finished and part of my house.
I'm looking into testing but does anyone know if this is something I should be worried about? I know breaking them is supposedly not a real issue but what if he was breaking a bunch of them?
and if it did cause asbestos to be airborne, how long till it settles? (at which point it will be covered by carpet tiles etc would it then not be a problem?)
I know there are guidelines for removing it and all, but I"m looking for actual knowledge on whether or not this poses a hazard. Thank you.

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Have you had them tested to be certain they are "asbestos"? They make a shingle in fiber cement that looks almost identical. How old are your shingles?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:19PM
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We did not have them tested. The shingles are from 1954. Was the fiber cement shingles used at that time?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:13PM
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Have never had a problem with friable asbestos(the term for airborne fibers) when working with asbestos shingles.

I supervised a crew of volunteers that removed all the asbestos shingles from a four bedroom, single story house.

We used gloves, masks(the inexpensive dust type) and plastic sheeting under where we were working. This was code compliant in my city. We did have to rent a 'special' dumpster and bundled section in the plastic to put in the dumpster.

Unless the contractor crushed the shingles, there should be no friable asbestos.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 6:19PM
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This post was edited by handymac on Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 18:25

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 6:22PM
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When removing cement/asbestos siding there are simple precautions that should be taken. Breaking the siding deliberately is plain stupid. The siding should be wetted with a water-detergent mixture while working with it. It should be removed intact if practical. If in an enclosed area, the area should be isolated from other indoor spaces an kept at negative pressure with a blower. Your contractor has done wrong. They should pay for testing and remediation.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 7:24PM
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it would be
nice if people had a practice..not paranoid understanding of the
I grew up using an asbestos plate for a soldering station..
yes the hazard is in the much dust is created in breaking it..
not sanding or sawing to..just breaking it in 2..not much..its not like its in PPB part per billion of dust that causes the per thousand over time..
lots of dust over time..its really bad..a little dust of a great period of time..maybe not so bad..
get real..smoke is far worse...all kinds of smoke..and be breath this all the time.
cars, cigarettes,

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 9:05PM
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thanks for all the responses so far! does anyone know if there were "asbestos-look-a-alike" shingles being used in the 1950s?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 9:56PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

just get the damn things tested, then you will know, how is anybody on an internet forum going to know for sure?????

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 5:10AM
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For the future, just so you know: inexpensive, dust-type masks are nearly worthless for protection from asbestos fibers. Not only do they come in all around the edges, but the fibers are so microscopic they can pass through the mask itself as those masks are only good to filter out much larger dust particles. Asbestos fibers easily pass through regular vacuum filters, which is why vacuuming asbestos debris is a good way of further dispersing asbestos, unless you are using a HEPA vac.

How those dust masks were code compliant in your city is beyond me...

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 2:30PM
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