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How To Remove Asbestos Siding

Rutuja Jathar May 12, 2019
Before people became aware of the hazardous effects of asbestos, it was commonly used in construction. Asbestos siding was made by adding asbestos to Portland cement, which in turn was made by heating limestone and clay in a kiln and converted into a powdered form. This post provides instructions for the removal of asbestos siding.
Asbestos siding are commonly found in the old American and Canadian homes, usually the homes built before the 20s. Asbestos sidings are also called asbestos cement sidings as the asbestos was added to the cement and pressed into the siding shingles for providing strength and durability to them.
Later, research indicated that asbestos fibers can be carcinogenic, if they are airborne. The research suggested that exposure to the fibers can cause lung cancer, skin cancer, mesothelioma, and many other types of cancer.
As a result of this devastating research, use of asbestos was banned by the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) in the year 1989. Today different types of house siding are used.

Before the Removal of Sidings

Before you think of removing the siding as a part of a home improvement measure, make sure you take all the precautionary measures as asbestos siding is not at all like the ordinary house siding. To remove the siding on your own is not very difficult, provided you take all the precautionary measures that are required.

Seek Permission

Before removing the siding, you must take the most important precaution, which is the permission of the local authorities. The homeowner must take the permission of the zonal or the local building agencies and the health department of the state.
The safety codes regarding the usage of asbestos vary from state to state. Make sure that all the guidelines and the precautionary measures are followed.

Safety Measures

Asbestos siding removal by the homeowner is legal, yet it is very important to use the suitable tools and techniques to perform the job in a professional manner.
Make sure you wear protective clothing that has special safety add-ons like a respirator and safety glasses. You need to take additional safety measures to avoid the damage that can be caused to the home due to the use of the water while removing the siding.


First of all, send the sample of the siding to the testing laboratory, if the siding was built before the year 1989. Decide whether you really need to remove the siding. It is best to not to remove the siding if there is no damage done to the siding. Remember, asbestos creates problem only when it is exposed to the air or when the siding is damaged.

Materials Needed

  • Lifting nails
  • Nail head cutter
  • Polythene sheeting and a knife
  • Coded respirator
  • Disposable clothing, hand-gloves, and safety glasses
  • Containers to collect the debris
  • Disposal bag (asbestos waste bags) and a duct tape
  • Water and a garden hose
  • Liquid detergent

Instructions for the Removal

  • Place warning signs, when you will be working on such a siding. Make sure you warn the visitors and friends about the harmful effects of exposure to the fibers. The best way is to place a long strip of a plastic sheet around your house.
  • Hose 50 square feet of siding with a teaspoon full of liquid detergent, in a garden pump sprayer. Remove the siding pieces by cutting the nail heads, as that will cause minimum damage to the siding.
  • If the siding starts to crack, wet the cracks with the soap solution that you prepare earlier. Also, wet the backside of each of the removed piece of siding with the same solution.
  • Make it a point not to throw away any of the broken pieces of the siding. Always, collect all the pieces in a small plastic strip and wet that piece all the time. Place the siding into a cardboard box or any of the sturdy containers.
  • Wrap the loose pieces of asbestos with the plastic bag and seal it with a duct tape. Wrap this whole material in a bag which should be marked with warning labels like asbestos waste.
  • While removing the last piece of siding, do not forget to wet yourself, as it will protect the outsides of the respirator, as well as the hand gloves from asbestos exposure.
Remove the boots and then remove the disposable gloves and the clothing, by peeling it inside out. Place this contaminated clothing in a polythene bag for disposal. Also, dispose the filters of the respirators.
Make sure that you throw away all the remaining debris by doing a double-bag wrapping. All the debris from the asbestos siding must be handed over to the licensed agency that has the rights and permission to receive such materials.
On a concluding note, take all the additional safety measures before you start. It would be best to seek the services of a professional, in case you are not absolutely sure about the instructions that you need to follow.