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Asbestos Shingle Cutter | How to Cut Asbestos Shingles

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Peter in New York, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with?

    PETER: Yes, I have asbestos on the rear of my house. They’re about 12 inches high and about 24 inches wide.

    TOM: OK.

    PETER: And I can’t find, at any of the rental places, a cutter. I know there’s an asbestos cutter. I’ve never seen one but I know there’s one out there.

    TOM: Yeah.

    PETER: So, but I can’t locate one. So, they told me I can cut it with a circular saw with a plywood blade on it.

    TOM: Right.

    PETER: But I keep burning out the blade. I can’t make the corner cuts. And there’s a lot of smoke.

    TOM: Right.

    PETER: Dust, I should say.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, these are cement asbestos shingles, correct?

    PETER: Yes.

    TOM: Why do you need to cut them? What kind of a job are you doing?

    PETER: Oh, well we’re taking out the windows. In the rear, we’re changing the windows.

    TOM: OK.

    PETER: And then we want to put them back but naturally we have a different shape to the building now.

    TOM: Right.

    PETER: So, I want to put them back and naturally they were painted a few years ago and it all blends.

    TOM: Yeah, well you’re absolutely right. There is an asbestos tile shear that is used specifically to cut tiles.

    PETER: Yes.

    TOM: And it kind of, you know, kind of scores them and breaks them, I guess would be the best way to explain it. And it’s something that you typically do find at a rental house and if you can’t locate it your option would be probably …

    LESLIE: What about a stone blade?

    TOM: Well …

    LESLIE: Like a masonry blade? Since it’s encased in cement, essentially.

    TOM: Yeah, that probably would work but you need to use a full respirator …

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: … so you’re completely isolated from this because you’re going to be stirring up that dust and breathing and it’s really, really bad for you.

    PETER: I know, it’s happened already. Yes.

    TOM: OK?

    PETER: My only problem with the saw, I tried that saw. But unless you really hold this asbestos down, you’ll crack them. At least I cracked them, let’s put it that way.

    LESLIE: Oh, yeah.

    TOM: You might find that it’s easier to put a plywood blade or a stone blade on a table saw. If you had a table saw.


    TOM: You wouldn’t be holding on to a circular saw. Then you don’t have to worry about holding them down and …

    LESLIE: And then you know your cut’s straight.

    TOM: … the guard back. You can really have both hands to use to move the material.

    PETER: Oh, no. Very good. (Leslie chuckles) I’m glad I called.

    TOM: Alright.

    PETER: OK, thank you for your time.

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