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How to Identify Asbestos Siding

It was standard practice to use asbestos in homes that were built back in the 19th and 20th centuries and while most people realize the risk of asbestos inside their older homes, what they may not realize is that it was also commonly used in home siding as well. It wasn’t until the 1980’s when the experts started to suspect that home siding could also pose a serious health risk to home owners.

If you suspect your older home may have asbestos in the siding here are some suggestions to help you identify any problems.

The deed to your home can provide valuable information on when the home was built. If your home was built before 1978 there is a good chance that asbestos was part of the original building materials used to build your home. If the outside of your home still has the original siding you will need to check for damage, if no damage is present it is recommended to leave it in place until you can contact an expert or you run the risk of asbestos exposure.

You should inspect your siding for manufacture information printing, if there is a manufacture code it is unlikely that your siding contains asbestos. It wasn’t until after 1980 when manufactures started coding their siding and asbestos was already removed from the manufacturing process. However if your siding has several layers of paint you will need to have a professional take a look at it to determine if the original paint to determine if it contains asbestos.

Siding that looks like roof shingles were common before 1980, and asbestos was often used in the manufacturing. Check the back of the siding for appearances of tar paper, or the front may have a sandy textured or grainy appearance which is an indicator of asbestos.

A lot of manufactures also produced a wood grain texture to simulate cedar. These shingles were usually about 12 to 24 inches and the bottom often had a wavy pattern, although it was just the most popular there were still other patterns produced.

After you have done your own inspection and determined that there is a possibility of asbestos or if you are unsure, you should consult a professional. Manufacturers used to make products from asbestos that actually resembled asbestos-free products which can be confusing to the armature eye.

There are several reputable labs that you can send a sample of your siding to, this is the best way to determine if asbestos is present. Even if you think your siding is OK you should have a sample tested if your home was built before 1980 to ensure your family’s health and well-being. Asbestos exposure is the direct cause of mesothelioma cancer.

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