Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that has been in use for a long time due to its unique properties. One such application was in the manufacture of asbestos siding for homes and commercial buildings. Although asbestos has been banned in several countries due to health-related issues, it remains a health hazard to many, living in older buildings or those planning a renovation of houses built before 1980.

Understanding Asbestos Siding

Asbestos siding was a common construction material in the mid-20th century. It was considered inexpensive, fire-resistant, and durable, an ideal choice for many. The asbestos fibers were mixed with cement to form a composite material that was extremely durable and weather-resistant.

The Health Concerns Associated With Asbestos Siding

The Risk of Asbestos Exposure

The primary risk associated with asbestos siding comes from friable asbestos. This term refers to any asbestos-containing material which, when dry, can be crumbled to a powder by hand. These small particles can get into the air and be inhaled. Long-term exposure can lead to several health issues such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

Is Asbestos Siding Always Dangerous?

As long as the asbestos siding remains in good condition and is not disturbed, it does not pose a significant health risk. The problem arises when the material starts to deteriorate, or it is disturbed during remodeling, renovation, or demolition activities.

Identifying Asbestos Siding

identifying asbestos siding

It can be challenging to identify asbestos siding quickly because it resembles other siding materials. Here are a few indicative characteristics of asbestos siding:

  • The pattern of tiny dimples or beads on the shingles
  • The presence of a wavy backside
  • The unnatural hardness of the shingles which is more than that of organic shingles

Managing asbestos siding requires careful attention to safety procedures to prevent exposure to asbestos fibers, which can be harmful to health. Here's an expanded guide on how to manage asbestos siding effectively:

Inspection by Professionals

  • Identifying Asbestos Siding: Asbestos siding was commonly used in homes built before the 1980s. If your home dates from this period, it might contain asbestos materials.
  • Professional Inspection: Engage a certified asbestos inspector to conduct a thorough examination. These professionals have the expertise and equipment to safely identify and assess the condition of asbestos-containing materials.
  • Sampling and Analysis: The inspector will take a small sample of the siding material in a controlled manner to minimize the release of asbestos fibers. This sample will then be sent to a laboratory specializing in asbestos analysis to confirm its presence.

Safe Handling and Disposal

  • Avoid Disturbance: If the asbestos siding is in good condition, it may be best to leave it undisturbed, as intact asbestos materials often pose no immediate risk.
  • Handling Damaged Siding: If the siding is damaged or needs to be removed, it's essential to proceed with caution. Disturbing asbestos-containing materials can release harmful fibers into the air.
  • Wet Methods: Keep the asbestos material wet during removal. This technique helps reduce the release of asbestos fibers.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Wear appropriate PPE, including a respirator with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, disposable coveralls, gloves, and eye protection, to prevent asbestos fiber inhalation and skin contact.
  • Disposal Protocols: Asbestos waste should be double-bagged in thick plastic bags, sealed, and labeled as asbestos waste. Dispose of this waste at a landfill or facility licensed to accept asbestos materials.

Legal and Safety Considerations

  • Regulatory Compliance: Adhere to local, state, and federal regulations regarding asbestos handling and disposal. These regulations are designed to protect public health and the environment from asbestos exposure.
  • Professional Removal Services: Consider hiring a licensed asbestos abatement contractor for the removal and disposal of asbestos materials. These professionals are trained in safe asbestos handling and disposal practices, ensuring that the process is conducted safely and in compliance with legal requirements.

By following these guidelines, you can manage asbestos siding in your home safely and effectively, minimizing the risk of asbestos exposure and ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations.

Steps For Asbestos Siding Replacement


The process of replacing asbestos siding begins with a meticulous assessment conducted by the experienced team at GVD Renovations. This initial step is crucial for understanding the current state of the siding and for developing a comprehensive plan for its safe removal.

Preparation is comprehensive, involving not just the physical readiness of the site, but also the acquisition of all necessary legal permits. This ensures that the project adheres to all local and federal regulations concerning asbestos handling and disposal. Safety measures are paramount during this phase, with protocols established to protect the workers, residents, and the surrounding environment from potential asbestos exposure.

Asbestos Removal

removing asbestso siding

The removal of asbestos siding is a highly specialized process that demands a combination of expertise, precision, and safety. GVD Renovations employs a team of professionals trained in the latest asbestos removal techniques. Our team is equipped with specialized tools and protective gear designed to prevent the release of asbestos fibers into the air during the removal process. Containment methods are also employed, such as sealing off the work area and using HEPA filtration systems to capture airborne particles, ensuring a safe environment for both the workers and the home's inhabitants.

Installation of New Siding

installing new siding

Once the asbestos siding has been safely removed and disposed of according to all regulatory guidelines, the focus shifts to preparing the home's exterior for the installation of new siding. GVD Renovations offers a wide array of siding materials, including modern vinyl, eco-friendly fiber cement, and classic wood siding, among others. This variety allows homeowners to select the option that best suits their home's architectural style and their personal aesthetic preferences, as well as their budget. The installation process is handled with the same attention to detail and commitment to quality, ensuring a seamless transition to a safer and more visually appealing home exterior.

Replacing asbestos siding with modern materials can drastically improve your home's safety, efficiency, and appearance. Beyond the critical aspect of eliminating health risks associated with asbestos, upgrading your siding offers several benefits:

  • Enhanced Curb Appeal and Value: New siding can significantly boost your home's aesthetic appeal and market value.
  • Energy Efficiency: Modern siding materials are designed to be more energy-efficient, potentially saving you money on heating and cooling costs.
  • Durability and Low Maintenance: Advances in siding technology mean newer materials are more durable and require less maintenance than asbestos siding.
  • Customization: With a broad selection of styles, colors, and textures, you can personalize your home's exterior to match your unique style.

Good Alternatives for Asbestos Siding

When considering alternatives to asbestos siding, there are several excellent options that cater to different needs, preferences, and budgets:

  1. Fiber Cement Siding: Fiber Cement Siding mimics the look of wood, brick, or stone but is more durable and fire-resistant. It's a popular choice for those looking for a balance between cost, appearance, and longevity.

  2. Vinyl Siding: Vinyl Siding offers great versatility in colors and styles, is cost-effective, and requires minimal maintenance. It's also easy to install and can improve energy efficiency with insulated options.

  3. Wood Siding: Wood Siding provides a classic and natural look. It's available in various styles, including clapboard, shingles, and shakes. Wood siding requires more maintenance but can offer superior aesthetics and natural insulation properties.

  4. Metal Siding: Often made from aluminum or steel, metal siding is durable, fire-resistant, and low-maintenance. It's an excellent choice for modern, industrial, or contemporary home designs.

  5. Stucco Siding: Offers a unique and customizable appearance with excellent durability and fire resistance. Stucco is ideal for homes in warmer climates and provides a timeless look.

  6. Brick Veneer Siding: Gives the appearance of solid brick but at a lower cost and with easier installation. It's extremely durable and offers a classic aesthetic.

  7. Stone Veneer Siding: Like brick veneer, stone veneer provides the look of natural stone at a fraction of the cost. It's perfect for creating a high-end look without the high-end price tag.

  8. Composite Siding: Made from various materials, including wood fibers and resins, composite siding offers the look of natural wood but with increased durability and less maintenance.

Each of these alternatives has its unique advantages, allowing homeowners to choose the best fit for their style, budget, and environmental conditions. Upgrading from asbestos siding not only makes your home safer but also allows for a significant improvement in its overall aesthetics and performance.

Frequently Asked Questions about Asbestos Siding

How do you handle asbestos siding during home renovations?

During home renovations, if you suspect that there's asbestos siding in your home, avoid disturbing it if possible. It's recommended to get your home tested for asbestos and, if confirmed, hire a professional removal firm. Disturbing asbestos during renovation work can release harmful asbestos fibers into the air, posing a risk to both you and others in the vicinity.

Does homeowner's insurance cover asbestos siding removal?

In most cases, homeowner's insurance policies do not cover asbestos siding removal because it's often regarded as a maintenance issue. However, some policies might offer coverage if the asbestos was disturbed due to an event like a storm or fire. It's imperative to review your policy details or contact your insurance provider to understand your coverage fully.

Can you paint over asbestos siding?

Yes, you can paint over asbestos siding. In fact, painting can help seal in the asbestos fibers, reducing the likelihood of them becoming airborne. This is a safer and cheaper option than removal. However, make sure to use a thick, latex-based exterior paint and avoid scraping or sanding the siding as you prepare it for painting.

Does all old siding contain asbestos?

Not all old siding contains asbestos. While asbestos siding was popular from the early 1920s to the 1980s, other materials were also used, including wood, metal, and vinyl. However, the possibility of asbestos being present in older homes is higher, especially those built before the 1980s.

Are there laws about asbestos siding removal?

Yes, many states have laws governing the removal and disposal of asbestos siding. These regulations are intended to protect people from the health risks associated with asbestos. They often require professional removal and safe disposal of the asbestos to a certified landfill. Always check with the local health or building departments before starting any asbestos siding removal work.

Pros and Cons of Asbestos Siding

Pros of Asbestos Siding


One of the main advantages of asbestos siding is its durability. The fact that many homes from the mid-20th century still have their original asbestos siding is a testament to its longevity. Some key aspects include:

  • Fire Resistance: Asbestos is known for its fireproof properties. This makes asbestos siding highly resistant to heat and combustion, which can provide extra protection for homes in case of fires.
  • Weather Resistant: Asbestos siding is resistant to extreme cold and hot weather conditions. It does not degrade or deteriorate easily under these conditions.
  • Insect Resistance: Unlike wood and other siding materials, insects and pests do not damage asbestos siding.


Asbestos siding is also relatively inexpensive compared to other materials like brick or stone. This made it a popular choice for budget-conscious homeowners and builders in the past.

Cons of Asbestos Siding

Despite the benefits, there are downsides to asbestos siding that are critical to consider:

Health Risks

Major health risks are associated with the use of asbestos siding. The tiny asbestos fibers can become airborne when the material is cut, disturbed, or degrades over time. When inhaled, these fibers can cause serious health conditions such as:

  • Asbestosis: a chronic lung disease that causes shortness of breath and can lead to heart failure.
  • Lung Cancer: Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and exposure can significantly increase the risk of lung cancer.
  • Mesothelioma: a rare form of cancer that can affect the lining of the lungs and abdomen, and is almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure.

Cost of Removal or Replacement

The high cost associated with removing or replacing asbestos siding is a major disadvantage. This is due to the stringent safety precautions and regulations that need to be followed. Some of the costs include:

  • Inspection: Professional inspection is necessary to confirm the presence and condition of asbestos.
  • Removal: Specialist contractors with the correct training and equipment are required due to the hazardous nature of asbestos.
  • Disposal: Asbestos waste needs to be disposed of at licensed facilities to prevent environmental contamination.

Difficulty in Repair and Maintenance

Repairing damaged asbestos siding can be challenging, as the material is brittle and can release harmful fibers when disturbed. Additionally, due to its phased-out production, it can be tough to find matching replacement tiles.

Aesthetical Considerations of Asbestos Siding

Asbestos siding often has a very distinctive and dated appearance, which may not be desirable for homeowners wanting a modern aesthetic. Transforming this look without disturbing the asbestos can prove challenging and could require substantial covering or coating, adding yet more cost.

Environmental Impacts

Last but not least, the use of asbestos siding has potential adverse environmental impacts. Improper disposal can lead to contamination of soil and water. Also, asbestos is a non-renewable resource, the mining of which creates substantial waste and could contribute to environmental degradation.


Historically, asbestos siding was viewed as a perfect solution to home insulation and protection. It was fire-resistant, durable, and easy to maintain. Over time though, the harmful health effects associated with asbestos became undeniable. Hence, while it may still be present in older homes, its use has been largely discontinued.

If your property has asbestos siding, it's essential to take precautions. Leaving it undisturbed is the safest approach as long as it's in good condition. However, if you're planning for renovation, hire a licensed specialist to handle the removal safely to prevent the asbestos fibers from becoming airborne.

Although asbestos siding was once popular, safer alternatives are now available. For those who appreciate the aesthetic of their home's current asbestos siding, fiber cement siding is a practically identical and far healthier option. So, while asbestos siding was effective for what it was intended for, it's clear that its damaging impacts to health outweigh any benefits.

About GVD Renovations

Welcome to GVD Renovations, a premier home remodeling company based out of Sacramento, CA. We specialize in a variety of renovation services, delivering quality craftsmanship and exceptional attention to detail. Our team of professionals are seasoned experts in exterior and interior remodeling, dedicated to bringing your vision to life. Whether you're interested in updating your kitchen, giving your bathroom a makeover, or enhancing your home's exterior, GVD Renovations is your go-to destination for all your remodeling needs. Join the countless satisfied homeowners we've helped throughout Sacramento and embark on your renovation journey with us today.

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