Does Your House Have Asbestos Siding?

By Cristina M. in Construction

The presence of asbestos in houses has become a very concerning matter for owners of older homes. While this toxic mineral is mainly found inside buildings, people might be shocked to learn that it can also be found in siding.

The use of asbestos started being regulated in 1980, when exposure to airborne fibers has given rise to great health concerns. Since then, most siding containing the fibrous mineral has been removed from homes and public buildings, but it can still lurk around older houses.

Identifying asbestos-containing siding

Having a sample of your house siding tested by a certified laboratory is highly recommended if you want to find out whether it contains asbestos or not, as this is the only way to know for sure how safe your home actually is. However, there are some characteristics you can look for while trying to spot asbestos siding on your own.

As it was meant to resemble various materials, the identifying process can be quite challenging. A key indicator is the manufacturing code, which is usually stamped on the back of the newer, asbestos-free siding shingles. In contrast, this code is missing from the back of older asbestos-containing siding, which was generally manufactured in 12 by 24 inches shingles, similar to those used for roofs. These are brittle and the surface of the board can either be smooth or have a wood-grain texture. A wavy pattern can sometimes be distinguished at the bottom of the shingles.

The original siding of the houses built prior to 1980 is very likely to contain asbestos, especially if it was dyed upon production and has a cement-like composition. A dense aspect and efflorescence may also be signs of asbestos-containing siding.

Asbestos testing

If the description above fits the siding around your house, having it tested by professionals should be taken into consideration. Determining whether a product contains asbestos just by looking at it is nearly impossible, particularly if it is in good condition.

Therefore, the best course of action is to have a certified asbestos inspector take a look at your siding and help you send a sample to a laboratory. If the test confirms the presence of this dangerous mineral, a removal company can advise you with regard to how you can ensure the safety of your home. Well-maintained asbestos-containing siding might not be threatening to your health and might actually be safer if left undisturbed.

Why Should I Test Products in My Home for Asbestos?

It is often impossible to tell whether asbestos is embedded in a material, as the fibers are too small to be observed with the naked eye. Exposure to asbestos is responsible for serious respiratory conditions, so thorough testing is required to ensure your home is asbestos-free.