Asbestos siding was commonly used on homes before the hazards of asbestos were well-known, and is often found on houses built between 1930 and 1970. This type of siding has the advantage of being relatively lightweight, resistant to fire and insects, attractive and low-maintenance. If your home has asbestos siding on it, there are no laws requiring you to remove it, but you will be required to disclose the fact when you list your home for sale.
Discuss the presence of cement asbestos tiles with the real estate agent that is listing your home for sale. While every state has laws requiring you to disclose the presence of asbestos on your property, the specifics of these laws vary. An experienced real estate agent should be able to advise you regarding the details of the asbestos disclosure laws in your area.
Inspect the siding to determine whether or not it is a potential hazard. Siding that is not damaged presents little or no danger, but siding that has cracks or is crumbling becomes a health issue because damaged sections of the siding may release asbestos fibers.
Avoid sanding or scraping the siding in an attempt to prepare it for painting or refinishing. Sanding or blasting the siding is likely to release asbestos fibers into the area, making a previously safe home or yard into a hazardous one. Either paint the siding without treating the surface first or leave it alone and allow the new owner to deal with the situation.
Fill out the appropriate disclosure forms at the time you list your home for sale, so that you are making a full disclosure from the start. Trying to delay disclosure until you have a buyer or leaving it until the last minute can cause you to lose a sale and may even result in penalties or fines, depending on your state laws.
Answer questions honestly if you are asked about the presence of cement asbestos tiles. Be prepared to point out the advantages of the material, as well as the fact that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that cement asbestos siding is very unlikely to be a problem if it is in good repair and remains undisturbed.
Items you will need
- Home hazard disclosure forms
- Siding that has breaks in it can be caulked and then painted with latex house paint without creating a dangerous situation. Special paints are available that are designed to seal in loose asbestos fibers, but these are not normally necessary for cement asbestos tiles.
- If you decide to have the asbestos siding removed from your home, hire a professional crew to handle it. All stages of the process are dangerous and require properly equipped professionals. Proper disposal of the siding tiles is also essential and must be handled by licensed professionals.
- Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center: Asbestos Siding
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Where Can I Find Asbestos And When Can It Be A Problem?
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: What Should Be Done About Asbestos In The Home?
- Asbestos.com: Cement Siding
- Environment Health and Safety Online: Frequently Asked Questions about Asbestos
- This Old House: Top 10 Repair Questions: Asbestos Siding
- Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC: Asbestos Disclosure Laws
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images