Asbestos Siding Removal
Removing asbestos of any kind can be costly. However, removing asbestos siding is an expense that can unnecessarily end up costing thousands of dollars to the uneducated homeowner. With any home improvement project, costs can vary.
There are many factors that can cause contractors to raise prices for asbestos siding removal. Factors like your home’s location, the city the property is located in, the contractor or team you hire, the type and quality of materials used in the replacement and more.
If you aiming for a do-it-yourself removal job, calculating costs can be extremely difficult as you may not have a full grasp of the costs associated with the job. Things like disposal costs can vary significantly based on the state you live in. As well, if you inappropriately discard asbestos materials, you could face fines and additional costs not included in the price of removal. That is why it is best to hire a licensed and certified contractor with experience handling asbestos material.
The Average Cost of Asbestos Siding Removal
For the bare-bones cost of basic removal of asbestos siding, using a contractor, you are likely to face a price range from $1,000 to upwards of $10,000. This range is dependent upon several factors including the size of your home, the amount of siding you need replaced or removed, and the location of the home (city versus rural area, etc). One of the great things about this procedure is asbestos siding is pretty easy to remove and replace if necessary. Because it is located outside of the home’s structure, removal does not require the same type of costly equipment that is usually reserved for indoor asbestos removal jobs to do things like to collect fibers and purify the air.
If the thought of spending in excess of ten thousand dollars scares you, you are in luck as most removal job cost considerably lower than that. In addition to ensuring any contractor you hire is licensed to handle and properly dispose of the substance, be sure that any binding document or contract you sign contains an outline of how they plan to dispose of asbestos material. Remember, improper disposal can end up being a hidden cost to you if you live in a state that issues fines for careless removal of asbestos materials.
Average Cost for Do-It-Yourself Siding Removal
If you must insist on removing asbestos siding yourself, you can save on costs. One of the first things you will have to do is buy quality respirator that has been specially recommended for work with the hazardous dust that asbestos removal can cause. Also, special Tyvek suits are necessary, as are proper contractor bags designed to hold dangerous materials such as asbestos. Of course, for those higher and harder to reach areas outside, you will need need a ladder. And finally, tools such as a hammer and a pry bar are necessary to loosen the siding, priming it for removal.
It is best to remove shingles one by one in order to keep the potential for dust and other hazardous chemicals to a minimum. Some contractors prefer to remove shingles by hand, with the correct safety gloves, of course. Perhaps the most challenging part of the job is disposing of the material containing asbestos. Before attempting the job, make sure you exactly how you can transport the materials and where they are accepted, as not all landfills take hazardous substances and some of them that do, charge more.
Average Costs to Replace Siding
In many cases, this process is more than simple removal. A general estimate to replace asbestos siding can run anywhere from $5000 to $10,000. That figure is higher than removal because it incorporates removal and the supplies necessary for replacement as well. Because asbestos siding was not typically used in conjunction with other siding options, once it is removed, there is a big chance that your home will look like it’s been reduced to the studs. The easiest way to remedy that is with replacement siding.
Overall, the final cost of asbestos removal and replacement can vary, but it all depends on how large your home is and how many of the structure needs to be replaced. When in doubt, contacting a professional asbestos team is the best way to learn more and get your questions answered.
If you do a simple Google search of the term “asbestos siding”, a variety of results will show up. Everything from everyday people in forum groups discussing the risks of buying a home with that type of siding to articles detailing the dangers of doing so.
One thing you will not find much of is information on how to identify siding that may contain the hazardous substance. After all, it is pretty easy to spot building materials, such as natural stone and brick, that are not asbestos ridden. However, do you know the types of siding that can contain asbestos? And, what can you do if you do identify asbestos siding when you are thinking of purchasing a new home or remodeling an existing one?
Type of Asbestos Siding
How to Identify Each Type of Siding
You may be wondering, “what is real stucco?” Real stucco is comprised of a mixture of cement and other materials like sand and water. Once the mixture has reached a certain consistency, it is pasted directly a hard surface (like drywall or an exterior wall). Various grades of sand are often used to ensure a certain texture. Also, stucco can be tinted to achieve a certain hue and to cut down on the amount of paint necessary to finish the look of a home’s exterior.
Synthetic stucco has the appearance of real stucco but is made differently, and for less cost. It consists of a few (three) layers, which include an outer layer of textured finish coat; a middle that contains a cement base coat; and a glue to round out the third layer. That layer is the one that is reinforced with a fiberglass mesh to construct a insulation board.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether or not your home’s exterior is stucco is to observe for swelled areas. For example, if the trim is dramatically different in appearance after signs of normal wear and tear, you may have stucco siding. Also, if you can knock on the structure and it sounds hollow, it is more than likely synthetic stucco.
Wood siding is fairly easy to identify. Like wood flooring, wood siding is identified by...well, wood. Synthetic wood siding looks like natural wood siding, but it’s mainly comprised of wood fibers, flakes or chips that are bound by glue and other adhesives. The best way to know the type of wood siding you are dealing with is to visit an unaltered area in your home (like the attic), and find the wood siding “tag” containing manufacturer information.
With each type of siding, there is potential for the presence of asbestos. You might not have known that asbestos siding is a specific type of siding that has been used for years. It was introduced during the turn of the 20th century. To comprising the siding, the strong asbestos fibers were combined with substances such as cement and molded together to make asbestos siding. Like other forms of asbestos use, the siding was done away with during the late 1970s, early 1980s. Because the material is so toxic, the only way to determine that you have asbestos siding is to have it tested. Some of the characteristics that are unique to asbestos siding include shingle/shake form 12″x24″, with a few nail contained at the bottom portion of each panel.
There are many types of sidings and they each have their own risks for asbestos exposure. In any event, asbestos siding is harmless unless disturbed. If you are unsure if your home contains the substance, choose the safe route and call an asbestos removal professional for an assessment.
What is asbestos? The actual word “asbestos” comes from the Greek language and means “indestructible or impervious”. Before there was such a negative definition associated with asbestos because of its nasty health effects, the word was synonymous with the following terms: strong, pliable and, most importantly, resistant. Asbestos material is resistant to heat, which is a chiefly important factor in why it was the preferred building material in many industry from commercial building to automotive.
Asbestos is made up of a set of strong, durable fibers that are not just resistant to heat, but resistant to outside toxins and other chemicals as well. Those fibers are almost impossible to break, which is why the substance was so widely used before 1980. When mixed with other materials, asbestos can be strengthened, which is why it was the staple ingredient for use in hundreds of fields, including residential buildings, maritime (ships and other water vehicles) and automotive, and more.
After many decades, scientists began to understand the health risks associated with asbestos and its use was discontinued. That was not before asbestos had the chance to affect many industries. One of the industries that was heavily affected by asbestos overuse was the mining industry. There were many diseases and ailments associated with asbestos use, including mesothelioma. After years of exposure, thousands of asbestos miners developed debilitating health issues and diseases. For example, talc is a material that you might be familiar with and one that was made possible through mining. Because of their prolonged exposure to asbestos, talc miners were among those who suffered greatly with various asbestos-related health issues.
Asbestos was arguably the favored building material of many industries for decades. So, it goes without saying that traces of asbestos remain in many older structures. As a result, the asbestos removal industry has continued to boom even after the use of the substance was discontinued in the early 1980s. Some of the most common places asbestos was used include:
On an everyday level, asbestos has been used in a wide variety of home appliances including our beloved coffee pots and the toasters we use to make our perfectly golden bagels. There are other appliances you might be surprised to learn have traces of asbestos. Items such as portable heaters and dishwashers, irons, and even wood burning stoves can contain the harmful substance. Up until as recent as 1980, asbestos could be found in most handheld hair dryers. To think, people thought using AquaNet was the most harm they were doing to their hair back then!
Even though asbestos use was phased out in the early 1980s, the material can still be found in a number of products. And, it is not just old buildings that contain the largest amounts of the substance. In fact, it is not uncommon to find asbestos in outdated and old-fashioned appliances that can be considered antiques. The electrical cords are where most of the asbestos was contained in antique and discontinued appliances. If you have older appliances that you believe may contain asbestos, it is best to replace them. Trying to repair the suspected areas of contamination may result in disturbing the asbestos, which causes the toxins to be released into the air resulting in and increased risk of contracting asbestos-related health issues. So, do yourself a favor and skip the urge to "do-it-yourself". Replace all old appliances to ensure an asbestos free home.
While everyone has their own ideas about some of the world’s most dangerous jobs, most would agree that firefighting is on the list. Even though it is not as widely publicized as police deaths per year, there are over 100 casualties per year for firefighters. If you are like most people, you might attribute most of those deaths to things like smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning, and building accidents from collapsing debris and complete structural failures. However, in the line of duty firefighters often encounter toxic materials from old buildings on fire that can cause chronic diseases and even death. Among the many toxins they are exposed to, none may be as deadly as asbestos.
Asbestos can be a silent killer. Left untouched, the substance is not harmful. But, once it is disturbed and airborne, it weaponizes; damaging the lungs of anyone who breathes it in. When firefighters are in the midst of doing their heroic job, it is easy for asbestos to be one of the last things on their minds. However, even limited exposure to airborne asbestos can cause lung cancer, including a more aggressive form cancer known as mesothelioma. This slow-forming, but deadly type of cancer produces ambiguous symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain. Because of its all-too-common symptoms and long forming time (between 20-40 years in some cases), firefighters can be routinely exposed to asbestos before ever being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Asbestos can be found in various areas of a residence or commercial building. Insulation, drywall and other materials can contain the harmful material. It is an especially common substance found in older structures. During a fire, there is a real possibility for structural collapses, giving way to disturbed asbestos participles being released into the atmosphere. If there were any areas that needed repair before firefighters were called to the scene, there is a risk that any asbestos will become airborne.
So, how can firefighters stay safe while doing their job?
Most fire units outfit their fighters with the best suits on the market for fire safety. An SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) is a standard part of many firesuits. If the acronym looks like the word “scuba”, that is great because the function of it works in much the same way. In this suit, the firefighter is equipped with a breathing air source that resembles the ones worn by scuba divers. It is specifically designed to provide protection against toxic substances such as asbestos. Some SCBA suits even come with a high efficiency air filters (HEPA) to scrub the and purify the contained air of more than just toxins and chemicals.
A word of advice. When the smoke of a fire clears, some firefighters may decide that is the perfect time to take off the SCBA gear. Sure, sometimes the SCBA can get steamy, heavy, and cumbersome and you may think that because the fire risk has passed that it is safe to remove your gear. However, it is best to choose safety over comfort. As well, research has shown that that there is an elevated risk of high levels of toxins in the air such as PVC and asbestos even after the fire has abated.
Being a firefighter is definitely hard work, but is surely rewarding. Observing these few tips as well as having the correct safety gear can reduce asbestos exposure risk firefighters often face.