How to Remove Asbestos Shingles
LESLIE: Jason in Kentucky is on the line with a shingle question. What can we do for you?
JASON: I got a house in Kentucky and it’s a pretty old house but it’s got those asbestos shingles on it and I’d like to know what the cost would be to remove those shingles. I’ve heard it was kind of expensive but I’m not really sure on it.
TOM: Well, first of all, the shingles are going to be contained – asbestos shingles are where it has asbestos contained in a cement binder. So it’s not very easy for that asbestos to be released to the air.
LESLIE: Unless you completely shatter them and crumble them.
TOM: Right. Now, in most jurisdictions, removal is not regulated but disposal is. So that means that anybody can really take them off the house but they have to be disposed of properly.
So, what kind of siding are you thinking about putting on, Jason?
JASON: I was wanting to put that vinyl siding on there and like you said, I know that you can’t really nail that stuff on there because once you crack it, it’s airborne and you can’t do that.
TOM: Well, that’s true and a lot of siding companies will do that: they’ll nail right through that stuff. And I always think that’s a very bad practice, so I would encourage you to take it off. I don’t think it should be terribly expensive. It’s all outside, it’s held inside of a cement binder. If you’re concerned about dust, sometimes you can wet it down; that will cut back on that. Wear the appropriate respiratory protection.
But you can get that off and then just have it properly disposed of and then you’ll be able to put the new vinyl right onto the sheathing.
LESLIE: And Tom, when you’ve removed this before, your trick was to sort of tap the nail completely through the shingle so that it …?
TOM: Well, that was only if I was pulling one shingle off, like to do a repair.
LESLIE: Not all of them.
TOM: If you’re pulling them all off, you’re going to use a big, flat-ended sort of pry bar and lift them all off. But you’ll find that they come off pretty easy.