Asbestos Siding

Written by Jill Morrison
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In previous years, asbestos was commonly added to siding materials to provide them with additional strength, insulation, and durability. Asbestos was also known as a great fireproofing material for homes and buildings in the past. Since the early 1980s, use of asbestos in siding materials has declined drastically. Health risks associated with asbestos are the main reason for the decline.

Dealing with Asbestos Siding

Asbestos can be found in a number of siding and roofing materials, including asphalt roofing felt, asphalt shingles, cement shingles, wood shake vapor retardants, adhesives, coatings, mastics, sealants, and roof underlayment. Asbestos can only be seen under a microscope, so individuals cannot determine whether or not materials include asbestos just by looking at them. Looking for asbestos label markings on siding materials or on their packages can help to determine if asbestos is present in these materials.

Those who are using asbestos siding materials must be cautious. When these materials are kept intact and in good condition, they are generally considered to be non-hazardous. However, asbestos materials that can be easily cracked, scraped, or sanded can pose a serious health threat to those who are in contact with these materials. When dust from asbestos materials becomes airborne, health problems associated with the lungs and breathing may occur. Inhaling asbestos fibers can invite serious diseases as well, such as asbestosis and cancer.

Asbestos siding can weaken over time from exposure to heat, water, general aging, and varying weather conditions. At this point the siding may be considered hazardous to health because it could be reduced to harmful asbestos dust particles. Working with asbestos siding that has aged could be dangerous. It is always a wise choice to seek information, advice, and/or help from asbestos abatement contractors when considering the repair or removal of asbestos siding.

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