Asbestos siding

Asbestos siding was very commonly used in homes from around the 1920s until the 1970s, and can still be found in many older homes. Asbestos siding was typically made by adding asbestos (which is a natural fibrous mineral) to Portland cement, which was then pressed into siding shingles that came in a variety of sizes.


Asbestos was added to the cement because of its fire-retardant properties, as well as it would add strength and durability to the siding shingles, as well as insulating capacity. Asbestos siding was cheap to manufacture and was very durable and resistant to the elements; it was also easy to clean and paint adhered to it very easily, making maintenance and upkeep costs low.


There was a lurking problem with asbestos that took decades to confirm: those same asbestos fibers that were being added could cause cancer if they became airborne and were inhaled. Once that fact was confirmed, asbestos obviously ceased to be used in building materials, although decades of its use in building materials meant that it was still present in many, many homes.


One thing that should be noted is that when asbestos fibers are inert, intact, and encapsulated in cement siding (as is most often the case), it poses absolutely no health risk. Asbestos only poses a health risk when the fibers are become airborne, which in the case of asbestos siding only occurs if the siding is actively sawed or broken into many smaller pieces. Intact asbestos siding on your home poses no health risk as long as it is undisturbed.

Submitted by GeraldGoforth on Sat, 01/30/2010 - 21:29.

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