Shingle siding

I am inspecting a house on Friday with shingle siding, I think the client said it has asphalt shingle siding, she or I may be confused, but, are there any specific concerns with shingle siding on a 1950’s home (excluding wood shingles)? I am primarily inquiring about material composition.


Scott, should not be a problem, I own a old farm house and parts were sided with asphalt shingles. The big issue with them is like a roof, stripping and disposal.

During that era many homes were sided with asphalt shingles.

It may have been stamped to appear brick like…this was called ghetto brick.

Inspect it like the asphalt shingle that it is.

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Thanks guys. I just wanted to make sure before I saw it.

Ghetto Brick, they called it.

Some asphault siding also conatined asbestos.

Ya, one of my concerns is the asbestos. I had heard that some of this stuff does have asbestos.

Scott, I would not worry about it and since you can’t determine the exact make up the material I would be vague in my verbiage regarding it.

More than likely it’s asphalt shingles, very common in NH, helped block the wind in the winter before we started using insulation.

Ya, but isn’t/wasn’t as effective as real brick.


Some of the later stuff did, they added it I believe in an atempt to reduce the fire danger of wrapping your home in tar.

I renovated a home with aspalt siding a few years ago, took me forever, even after samples were sent for asbestos testing, to find a landfill that would take it even though it did not contain asbestos, if I ever do that again I will definitely add a BIG increase in my $$$$ estimations before taking the project on.

Why are you concerned about asbestos exterior siding? Educate & inform your clients so they can make up their own minds. Obviously its a old home, its gonna have old “stuff”.

I had a client ask me about the siding on the home he was buying,… “Do you think thats asbestos?” He asked. I said, probability is pretty good. He got this worried look on his face until I said. “Yup, probably one of the best sidings that were ever produced in terms of durability” He looked at me stunned. and I continued. "Mind you I wouldn’t chew on it, cut it or do any demolition without proper personal protective equipment if you had any of that in mind. If its left in place, and its still in good condition, its fine. As long as you know its potentially there.

Up here (Ontario) we refer to it as Insulbrick.

Be sure to tell your client to contact their home insurance company. Some insurers up here will not insure Insulbrick sided homes. It was very popular during the 50’s into the 60’s.

I see lots of this, there are probably a dozen homes still sided with this material withing a mile of my house, some selling for $500K or more - the big problem is mechanical damage, especially at the corners. One good thing about “Insulbrick” type materials is that each panel was usually attached with 4 small (6 penny) nails, and the siding usually comes off easily and without much damage to the material below. It also, BTW, takes and holds paint well.

Now, here’s a real winner: asbestos over Insulbrick:

There is no concern over cement asbestos as long as it is not cut or sanded which would release fibres.

I think what Scott was referring to was actually asphalt shingle that you would use on a roof. Many old houses, especially farms were sided with roofing shingles because 1, it was cheap and 2 it blocked the wind in the winter.