Composite Siding Shingles

The shingles that make up the siding are commonly found to contain asbestos. This type of siding tends to be durable, but is relatively brittle and can be easily damaged. Replacement shingles can also be difficult to locate. If you plan on repairing or disposing this siding, you should take special precautions, as there is a risk of asbestos particles becoming air-borne. If you anticipate doing substantial work, we recommend you engage a qualified asbestos removal specialist.

Health Canada and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) report that asbestos represents a health hazard if “friable” (damaged, crumbling, or in a state that allows the release of fibers into the air). However, the asbestos in asbestos cement siding is bonded in the cement and will only become friable if the material is altered, damaged, or exposed to fire. Typically, this type of siding is not a problem unless it is disturbed.

Recently some insurance companies have expressed concern over this issue. There have been instances where insurance companies have refused to insure homes with asbestos-cement siding. We recommend you contact your insurance company with regard to their policy on this siding prior to signing the home inspection waiver.

Determining the presence or absence of asbestos is beyond the scope of a visual home inspection, and can only be accomplished through laboratory testing. You should consult an environmental engineer or a qualified asbestos specialist if you wish to determine whether or not the siding contains asbestos.

Article by Brian Edwards M.A.A.T.O, B.C.Q, President of Westbrook Building Inspections Ltd. hope this helps and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Century Office Building Conversion

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