Saturday, April 4, 2009

Yet another ridiculous project we are contemplating

This is the siding currently on our house (actually that's the garage, but you get the idea). It is known as cement-asbestos siding, and was used extensively in the 40s to 70s. It is kind of like an old version of Hardyplank, fake wood grain and all. It isn't bad, but it's not in character with the period of the house and, well, a little too frilly for my taste. As part of Kevin's birthday present, he was allowed to peak under the siding to see if the original clapboard was there and what the condition was like, as the current siding is more of an annoyance to him that it is to me.
It was there, and in pretty good condition. The paint was practically falling off. There were a lot of nail holes, but the wood looked good.

We HAVE to paint the trim this year, as it should have been done about five years ago. Theoretically, it would be a good time to do the siding removal. I say theoretically, because, a project like this comes with some risks. Following is a list of pros and cons to this project. I have included a poll on the side bar, and I encourage all to vote. Also, if you have experience with a project like this, or a strong opinion, please leave a comment.


1. The clapboard would be so pretty. See, here's Tom Silva from This Old House installing some:

2. I could paint the house the colors I want.
3. It would not be blah and white.
4. There is very little risk in handling asbestos siding as it is only about 5% asbestos, and that is embedded in concrete.
5. My parents own a truck and are gone frequently in the summer....what do you say, Dad?
6. The house would be back to its bungle-splendor on the outside.
7. We could buy this nifty tool:

8. We have nothing better to do.
9. It would not be blah and white and frilly.


1. The condition of the original siding is really unknown, but the stuff we found underneath seems like it's in good shape. (People generally installed it for the same reasons they install vinyl siding today: a salesman came to the door and told them it was maintenance-free; not because the siding was falling off the house)
2. It could get expensive if the condition of the siding is in bad shape.
3. The top of the house might be clad in cedar shingles, but for complicated reasons involving a scary wooden ladder that came with the house, we haven't checked yet. That could also get expensive.
4. Asbestos will be annoying to deal with: we would have to wear respirators and be very gentle with it, as it is only dangerous when broken.
5. It could be a lot of work (though see PRO reason #8)


Todd - Home Construction Improvement said...

I'd be very careful with this project. In fact, I'd be more inclined to install new siding right over the old siding. It's very common these days to leave a contaminated product in place and cover it with something safe. The money you will spend disposing of that stuff properly, along with testing and filling out reports, should put a dent in new siding!

bungled said...

Todd, this is our second asbestos abatement project. The landfill at my parent's hometown took over forty bags of linoleum for about $60. Also in Minnesota, homeowners are allowed to do a project like this themselves. So that part of the cost doesn't worry us. It's the condition of the original siding we are concerned about. We would really like to restore it if we can.

Anonymous said...

Take it off. You will be glad you did in the long run. You may discover water damage that needs repair, but better now than later. Applying siding over (!!!) this crap is just wrong. What would happen to the trim and windows? And trying to nail through this? uh uh


bungled said...

Marilyn, thank you for the vote of confidence!