For homeowners throughout the United States of America, asbestos siding can be a major hassle. Asbestos tiles were an extremely popular siding material for decades beginning in 1858, when the material was invented in New York City. The full hazards of asbestos — including a variety of health issues, including cancer — were not known until the 1980s, when most states banned the material for use in both residential and commercial construction.
However, this means that thousands upon thousands of North Carolina and South Carolina homes, particularly those in historic areas, were built using asbestos. If you don’t know for sure that your house has asbestos siding and you are thinking about doing an exterior renovation, it is extremely important to find out prior to starting any work on your remodel.
This is because asbestos becomes dangerous when the particles enter the air and, in turn, are inhaled –in fact, breathing in asbestos fibers over time is how the risk for cancer and other health issues dramatically increases. Different states, and even some cities, have specific rules and regulations about how asbestos tiles need to be removed.
If you live in an older home, your siding contractor will undoubtedly ask you whether or not your current cladding contains asbestos. This way, he or she can make sure his or her team is safe throughout the project. Here are some tips for determining whether or not your home currently has asbestos siding.
Look at your siding.
In some cases, it’s possible to tell that siding contains asbestos just from looking at it with the naked eye. Most cement siding shingles, for example, were produced by combining asbestos with the cement mixture in order to make the cement stronger and more fireproof. So, if you have cement tiles on your home, you can almost assuredly assume there is asbestos present.
Outside of that, however, it could be very challenging to tell. Particularly by mid-century, lots of asbestos cladding was designed to look like other materials, per the team at AsbestosSiding.org.
Have your siding tested.
The one and only foolproof way to determine whether or not your Carolina home actually has asbestos siding is to have it tested by professionals. There are companies that specifically collect samples of siding safely, then send it to qualified labs that know how to test for asbestos without exposing their technicians. You may want to check to see if your siding installer has a preferred testing company.
If it is determined that there is asbestos present in your siding, you and your siding installation crew will have to follow all state and local regulations regarding the removal of the siding. If you aren’t sure what the restrictions are in your area of North Carolina or South Carolina, you can begin by contacting your local City Hall and getting a copy of building codes. You can also do online research to find out more about your state’s asbestos policies.
The Hatch Homes team would love to work with you on your upcoming siding project. Contact us with any questions you may have.