What You'll Learn
2. Asbestos Siding "Many contractors have misled homeowners by claiming that all asbestos-containing materials in homes must be removed," says Ken Giles, spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This may be true for loose or damaged materials, but the best way to handle asbestos siding is to leave it alone. Shingles contain nonfriable asbestos, which means that the fibers aren't released unless they're sawed, drilled, cut or broken. Other remedies include encapsulating or covering the siding. To encapsulate, paint the siding with a latex masonry primer and high-quality latex paint. But don't sand or scrape the shingles. To prepare the siding, just scrub with a soap-and-water solution, then rinse with a hose. To cover asbestos siding, install insulation board and vinyl siding over the shingles. Make sure screws penetrate at least 3/4 inch into the wall studs. Removal is the most expensive solution, and should be the last resort unless it's required by state or local regulations, or if you're considering a major exterior renovation, such as a large addition. Asbestos removal must be done by a certified contractor (look under "Asbestos" in the yellow pages). Improper removal is illegal and increases the health risks to you and your family.