How To Check For And Safely Remove Asbestos-Containing Materials From Your Home's Exterior

Beginning in the early 1900s, asbestos was used in many types of products until scientists discovered the adverse health affects caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Although the U.S. Federal Government has several types of bans on products containing asbestos, roofing felt is not one of them. And asbestos siding was installed on homes up until 1980. It is important to know if either of these asbestos-containing materials were used in the building of your home, so when they become old and in need of replacement, you can make sure they are properly removed to prevent a health hazard. Here are some instructions to help you to check for and remove any asbestos siding or roofing felt that may be present on your home's exterior.

Check for the Presence of Asbestos

With the current use of asbestos-containing roofing felt in the construction industry, there is a chance you have asbestos-containing roofing felt installed on your home, and a certified asbestos test can confirm it. Then, most states will allow you to remove and dispose of any asbestos roofing felt from your primary residence by yourself, as long as you follow certain precautions. 

If your home was built before 1980, there is a chance siding installed on your home was manufactured containing asbestos. If you are not sure if the siding on your home contains asbestos, you can also have it tested. Asbestos siding removal is not recommended for a do-it-yourself job and should be left to a professional asbestos removal company. The reason for this is because asbestos siding can become crumbly and break apart when it ages, causing the dust to easily become airborne and inhaled, where it becomes a health danger. 

You can hire a certified asbestos professional to collect and test a sample of the siding and roofing felt. The price for asbestos testing can be anywhere from $250 to $500. Then, once you have confirmed the presence of asbestos, you can remove the roofing felt following these instructions, or hire a professional team to remove the asbestos siding.

Prepare Yourself and Your Work Site

After you remove any non-asbestos shingles from your roof, make preparations for the asbestos felt removal. Spread plastic sheeting all around the edges of your roof to catch all the materials as you remove it. Then, dress in protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, shoe covers, and gloves that you can dispose of with the asbestos materials when the removal is complete. Also wear goggles and a HE or N100 respirator to prevent inhalation of any asbestos fibers.

It is also important to keep the roofing felt wet during its removal. To do this, add liquid dish soap and water to a manual garden pump sprayer and cover your roof with the mixture. The water will moisten the asbestos felt and the soap helps the water adhere onto the material to keep fibers from becoming airborne.

Remove and Dispose of Roofing Felt

Use a roof scraper, flat-edged shovel, or crowbar to lift and scrape the roofing felt from your roof. Begin at the top of the roof and work your way down, pushing the wet roofing felt over the side of the roof and onto the plastic sheeting below. If the roofing felt dries out during the removal process, spray its again with the garden pump sprayer to re-wet it.

Then, once the asbestos felt has been removed from your roof, spray to re-wet the removed asbestos felt lying on the plastic sheeting. It is necessary to keep the materials wet until they are safely bagged up for disposal. 

Place all the roofing felt into plastic bags at least six millimeters thick and seal them with duct tape. Also bag up your clothing, shoe covers, and gloves into another six millimeter-thick bag, sealing it with duct tape. Label all the bags to indicate they contain toxic waste and locate a local waste facility where you can dispose of the bags.

Use this information to help you take care of any asbestos siding and roofing felt on your home. If you're unsure about taking care of the roofing felt yourself, contact a local asbestos removal company.