Q: We want to paint our cement asbestos siding, but different painters have told us conflicting stories. Some say that it cannot be power washed and must be scraped. Other painters say that the scraping must be kept to a minimum. Who's right? We are particularly interested in safety with this, as we have a new baby. – Jennifer, Urbana, Illinois

A: Steve Thomas replies: Asbestos is only dangerous only when fibers become detached and airborne. No method of preparing asbestos siding can involve disturbing the surface by sanding or scraping — even power washing. Ask yourself if it's time to replace the siding altogether — and never worry about asbestos problems again. We faced this problem on our Belmont House some years ago.
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