Published on August 17th, 2013 | by Henri


Covering asbestos siding cheaper than removing it

Q.    My wife and I purchased a 2600-square-foot duplex home and just completed four years of indoor restoration. Now it is time for the outside of the home, but we have a problem; we have asbestos shingles (12×18 inches each) on the outside of the home.

We would like to restore the outside of the home now but are unsure of our options. How expensive might it be to eliminate the shingles and replace and/or restore the clapboard siding below? Someone told us that we could use strapping around the house and attach vinyl siding that is high quality and very realistic instead, while leaving the asbestos on the home. Is this possible to save money?

One concern is the windows will look too recessed, so is there a way to add framing to make them less recessed? We are open to options and have even dreamed of going with cedar shingles, two different types of vinyl siding for the first and second floor for architectural effect, or just plain grey vinyl siding.

A.    If you decide to remove the asbestos shingles, it should be done by contractors trained in the removal and disposal of this material according to local laws — an expensive option.

However, the clapboards beneath the asbestos shingles are sure to be full of holes and may even be split or cracked.

You do not have to remove the asbestos shingles. They can be encapsulated by covering them with vinyl siding; this is best done by strapping the walls every 12 to 16 inches.

There is very realistic cedar-looking vinyl siding called Cedar Impressions by CertainTeed. The recessed-look on windows is actually quite attractive and helps conserve energy by protecting the surface air film from the wind. (That may seem confusing but it is too long to explain here.) It all depends on who does the job, how experienced they are and how sensitive they are to aesthetics.

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