Owning a historic home in Atlanta is a mixed bag of excitement and anxiety. On one hand, you have the superior craftsmanship, artful details, and uniqueness that only comes from purchasing a historic property. On the other hand, you have outdated building codes to deal with. If your home was built before the early 1970s, it was likely built using asbestos-containing materials. One of the most common areas to find asbestos in a historic home is in the siding.
Does Your Home Have Asbestos Siding?
Asbestos siding has been around since 1905. As you can imagine, its reputation for being fireproof, rot-proof, and termite-resistant made it the top recommended siding material from the 1940s to the 1960s. Even once the dangers of asbestos exposure became known, asbestos-cement siding was used regularly because it was believed that the mixing process neutralized the asbestos fibers. That belief was disproved by the early ‘70s, but many historic homes in Atlanta still have asbestos siding. Even siding materials that seem harmless, such as natural wood, may have been treated with asbestos-containing materials to make it fireproof or termite-resistant.
Common types of asbestos siding:
- Real and synthetic stucco
- Natural and synthetic wood
- Vinyl siding
- Asbestos-cement siding
Asbestos siding is easily chipped, cracked, or otherwise damaged. Although undisturbed asbestos poses no health risks, broken asbestos siding can lead to a variety of serious health problems, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. The only sure way to determine whether your home’s siding contains asbestos is to have it tested by a licensed professional.
What to Do If Your Home Has Asbestos Siding
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about what to do about asbestos siding on your home. Contractors recommend everything from “cover it up” to “remove it immediately.” So what’s the truth?
Cover It Up
If asbestos is only dangerous when disturbed, isn’t the most logical solution to cover it up? It may be logical, but it’s not practical. Nailing vinyl to asbestos-cement siding kicks up dangerous asbestos dust. Some contractors add a buffer layer of foam insulation between the asbestos siding and the new siding to prevent damage, but many building codes don’t allow this method. In the long run, it’s safer to remove asbestos siding entirely than to cover up the problem.
Remove It Immediately
While it’s true that removing asbestos siding is the safest option, there’s no need to panic. Unless the asbestos siding has been damaged, there’s no immediate danger. Moving too quickly can lead to dangerous mistakes like using an asbestos abatement company that’s not fully vetted or, worse, attempting DIY asbestos removal. Take your time to research the extent of your asbestos problem and contact an Atlanta asbestos removal company that’s highly trained and certified to follow the EPA’s asbestos abatement regulations.
At Clean Environmental Group, we’re a licensed and insured asbestos abatement company. When you contact us, you can be confident that we’ll remove your asbestos siding safely and efficiently. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.