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Impact of asbestos siding on home re-sales: this article explains the impact on home sales due to cement asbestos shingle siding - time on market and resale value might be impacted by asbestos in buildings.

This article series includes a photo guide and text that can help in identification of asbestos-containing wall siding products like asphalt shingles & asbestos-cement siding shingles.

This document assists building buyers, owners or inspectors who need to identify asbestos materials (or probable-asbestos) in buildings by simple visual inspection. In the website sections listed below, we provide photographs and descriptive text of asbestos insulation and other asbestos-containing products to permit identification of definite, probable, or possible asbestos materials in buildings.

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Environmental, Health, & Building Re-Sale Issues With Cement Asbestos Wall siding

New and old fiber cement and asbestos cement shingles side by side (C) Daniel FriedmanThe asbestos in cement asbestos siding products is not friable under normal conditions.

That is, it is not normally easily crushed into dust by hand. However very work asbestos cement shingles, or shingles that are mishandled during demolition (breaking into many small pieces, running power saws to cut the material) risks creating airborne asbestos-contaminated dust which could be a health and environmental hazard.

Also in some communities special measures and added costs are involved because of a requirement for air-testing during removal and possibly costs to dispose of the material in an appropriate landfill. (After all, originally this material came from the land.)

Will the owner of a home with cement asbestos siding have trouble selling the building because of this material? Our experience over the past 30 years suggests that this material has not been a major stumbling block in the re-sale of a home.

However, any home that happens to carry any material that has ever been the subject of consumer or environmental worry risks some potential market impact, because even when the facts show that the actual risk is low or even zero, there will remain some consumers who are still fearful about the substance. See Enviro-Scare for further explanation and for examples of the impact of various environmental controversies such as UFFI, radon, and asbestos in homes.

Some wear or damage signs to watch for on cement asbestos sided walls

Damaged asbestos cement wall shingles (C) Daniel FriedmanThe life expectancy of asbestos-cement wall shingles is almost indefinite. On a vertical building wall this cement-asbestos mix shingle does not receive the same degree of weather and sun exposure and wear as a cement-asbestos roof tile or shingle.

Where do we see damage or wear on an asbestos cement sided wall? Mechanical damage results in broken asbestos cement wall shingles, and sometimes close to ground level where rain splash-up has beaten the lower wall shingles we may see some wear.

The typical life expectancy of an cement asbestos shingle roof, a system that used very similar materials to cement asbestos wall shingles, was given as 30 years, but we've seen these roofs that were now 50 years old in good condition.


  • Broken cement asbestos siding shingles possibly leaving exposed openings or nails -wall leaks (temporarily patch with sheet metal if necessary) can lead to wet building insulation, rot, insect damage, and mold.
  • Freeze-thaw damage: some modern reinforced fiber cement wall shingles are not intended for use in freezing climates and may lack resistance to frost damage if the material was installed in ground-contact or exposed to lots of roof runoff and rain splash-up.
  • Missing asbestos cement wall shingles, probably leaving exposed wall sheathing and leaks
  • Mold and staining on cement asbestos wall shingles: (mildew does not grow on building walls) is a mostly cosmetic concern that can be addressed by light gentle spray cleaning with a mildewcide or deck cleaner; be careful not to cause roof damage by too-aggressive use of a power washer.

We consider asbestos cement wall shingles a durable and fire-resistant roof and an asset to the building provided that the siding is in good condition. But because the material is easily damaged by a heavy-handed worker unfamiliar with the materials involved, asbestos cement siding has to be repaired and maintained with care.

Replacement cementious wall shingle materials are now available that look almost exactly like the original materials, but that do not contain asbestos. That's the product we have used to repair the building shown in the photographs in this article.

Small temporary wall siding repairs to individual shingles can be made using copper or aluminum flashing material -- it can be painted color that looks a lot like the remaining cement asbestos shingles, and this approach minimizes the chances of breaking more shingles during the repair.

 

Continue reading at ASBESTOS CEMENT SIDING DAMAGE or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Or see FIBER CEMENT SIDING - (non-asbestos products)

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ASBESTOS CEMENT SIDED HOME RESALE at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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