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Question DetailsAsked on 3/20/2012

I have a large house with asbestos siding. Looking to insulate and to put on vinyl siding. Should I have the siding removed, What to expect

Is it costly? Special dumping requirements?

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2 Answers


Asbestos is a problem word. There are a lot of Codes, both local and State that must be followed when dealing with Asbestos; working with it, disposing of it, etc. This equates to expensive and time consuming work with governmental oversite.

It is best to refer to your siding by the type it is, not as "asbestos siding". Asbestos is a material in your siding, it isn't the siding. You could have cement tile, cement board, masonic tile, etc. Unless you have had the siding tested for asbestos, you are best to opperate under the assumption it contains asbestos, but not declare it as hazardous. You would disclose to your builder / contractor that you suspect asbestos and leave it at that. If you have had the siding tested, then you would give those results to your builder.

That said, removing the siding will be expensive. In VA they require tents to be put up when working with asbestos and lead now. So the contractor would have to put up scaffolding, put up approved tarps or plastic around these scaffolds, provide filtered ventilation, and remove the siding while under tents. Where it is disposed of is also specified, so there will be disposal fees (based upon amount), travel fees (not all dumps will take hazardous buidling materials), etc. The workers will also have clothes covers and face maskes, etc. with filters to be replaced, etc.

Asbestos materials are pretty harmless until disturbed. So the dust from breaking them, drilling, nailing through them, etc is what is dangerous. So when putting up the insulation or siding (you can get insulated vinyl siding BTW), there is a risk when the new material is nailed or screwed through the material. This is why you must let the builder know of your tests if you know it exists (most experienced ones will recognize the age and material and operate as if it is hazardous).

So my recommendation is to cover the existing siding and leave it intact. This will be a faster, cheaper and safer method of dealing with your existing siding.

Good luck!

Answered 8 years ago by Kenny Johnson


Bear in mind, if you do NOT remove it, when you go to sell it may be a substantial detriment. It generally does not affect resale price much, but DOES dramatically affect the number of buyers, because if it has asbestos you HAVE to disclose that. The last house I moved out of was in an area with a lot of asbestos sided houses (fortunately ours was not), and our realtor said tht would cut the number of potential buyers by 50-60% - many homeowners just did not want to assume the liability.

Talk to a couple of siding contractors about it - in a few states they make a big deal of it, but asbestos siding releases much less dust on removal if done right, so normally the removal and disposal cost is only on the order of $1000-2000 more than with regular sidings, and that gets away from the resale issue, plus opens up the walls to properly insulate them INSIDE the housewrap, where the insulation belongs.

All in all, except in states that make a big fuss about a minor issue (mostly in the northeast plus California and Oregon), by the time you conpanre insulation hassles and the costs of insulated versus uninsulated siding, it may not end up costing any more to take it out, and you have the advantage of having the entire wall cavity available for easy insulation installation.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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