Asbestos Siding

Email question from a prospective client reads,

*"When hired to do an average home inspection could you tell the client if the cement or slate siding contains asbestos.

Would I have to hire an environmental specialist.
Would it cost extra."*

The house has 4 layers of different siding materials, wood, tar paper siding, slate, aluminum.

Does anyone have a formatted answer? or dealt with asbestos remediation relating to siding? Thanks!

Some issues to think about with other material over asbstos:

The answer could be YES to both. It would be difficult to guarantee the material unless tested - but testing will cost $$$

There may be additional costs and issues surrounding legal disposal of such materials - “if asbestos based” - in landfill. Many renovators tend to build right over top of it - however that would not be my choice.

Again it really depends on the clients intentions and the “condition” or health of the actual siding itself.

This is an an additional service that you can add to your business. You can offer your clients this service take samples and send them off to the lab. Check with the lab for proper sampling techniques before undertaking sampling. I use Pro-Lab for this service and the cost is approximately $50 per sample. you can easily charge $225 per sample.

You can’t tell your client that “It is” asbestos without actual lab testing( I agree with Claude).However you can tell your client that you suspect this material as ACM.

You’re going to get that car, aren’t you???

If the house is over a certain age, you can be darn sure that its asbestos if its cement siding.

Slate does not contain asbestos.

And to be able to ascertain if it is abestos, you would have to be able to access the material. May be difficult to do if cement siding is behind several layers.

…and let’s not forget that good old ‘Insulbrick’ siding, which was very popular in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s also contained a significant amount of asbestos as well as hundreds of other nasty things. I understand it’s still the veneer of choice in Alton Ontario. :twisted:

Bill Mullen

I think he was referring to asbestos siding which in many areas is referred to Asbestos Slate.

Never heard of asbestos slate.

Now I do. :wink:

I guess some call it slate.

We just bought a home built in 1900 that has Slate Siding on it and need to know how to repair ir or find a suitable replacement to match. I have pictures of the damage to the house after a new roof was put on (if anyone wants to see). We’ve been told that you can score the pieces below the lap or remove the nails underneath the lap with a hack saw so as not to break anymore pieces. Can anyone tell me how to do this, or where to find an appropriate replacement?

Marcel :slight_smile:

The hacksaw blade sounds like the best option.


I think that’s a fair price. This is what I charged previous customers and they had no problem with my fee.

I’m past the age of wanting nice cars my thing now is to retire early!!


I agree that older homes are more likely to have asbestos but don’t you think that it would be wise to verify with lab results before positively identifying ACM by looking at it.

"When hired to do an average home inspection could you tell the client if the cement or slate siding contains asbestos.
Educated guess only. Lab testing to be sure

Would I have to hire an environmental specialist.
Would it cost extra."

The big missing question here is “Does it matter if has asbestos or not?” The answer is NO. Even if it does contain asbestos is only hazardos if its friable and if it gets into your lungs. Being on the outside of the house it unlikley that a momment in time when a piece breaks, a brease takes those few loose fibers and carries them in the direction you are standing, at the height of your nose, at the exact moment you are inhailing.

The only thing I would be certain of is that if its cemment siding, from that era its likely to contacin 15-20% asbestos. But what is the point of having it tested if its not a health concern if removed properly?

Sure they have the option to test, but do they need it or its it just CYA and fear mongering taking over the real facts? :wink:

Thanks to everyone on their thoughts and advice. As usual, NACHI inspectors offering fellow inspectors a helping hand without prejudice.

Client has not agreed to incur additional costs for testing of suspect materials, both the slate siding and tar paper siding (insulbrick), to verify if these materials contain any levels of asbestos, thus, no home inspection.

Anyone know of a database of materials containing asbestos used in the residential construction industry? As building materials come and go, it would be beneficial if a database was constructed or available for reference.

Products containng asbestos


This is the first time I’ve heard about asbestos in that product. can you elaborate or do you have a reference source?