House with asbestos siding

51 Replies

A seller is offering to give me a house if I buy two of his other properties. The house he is offering to give me has asbestos siding. It is a large sturdy house and is about 1800 sq. Has anyone had any experience with asbestos siding? I heard it could cost $30,000+ to get the siding removed, is there anything else I should think about that would come with removing this siding? Would it be work removing if I am getting the house for free?

@Jordan Woolf check with your state to see if it’s legal for a non licensed person to handle asbestos. If so I recommend you Start from the top down, removing the nails to keep from breaking the asbestos siding. Do not throw or drop removed and use a 6-mil thick plastic sheeting to wrap it in and secure the plastic with duct tape. If you had to hire a company my guy would be that the cost may be around $10 square foot.

Hi @Jordan Woolf !  This sounds like a pretty sweet deal, provided the two houses you are "paying for" are being bought at a good price.  In my opinion (i.e. not fact) the biggest real risk associated with asbestos siding is the legal risk.  The EPA is the best source for remediation and CYA (which is one of the biggest perks about paying the exorbitant rates of the official remediation services is that you can show that you did the proper thing to remedy the problem.  There are lots of ways to deal with this siding that are more logical, and ALL of them less expensive, but in the end there is liability for improper disposal of asbestos that would stand against the owner, the seller, and any worker that rendered service.  So, if you are in the magic situation where you could get the house for free, you might have one of the only scenarios imaginable where the EPA's insane prices actually are plausible!

Good luck, and remember . . . don't breathe asbestos particles :)

There is no reason to remove asbestos siding. There is nothing unsafe about it. Asbestos is only an issue when it is broken up and the particles become airborne. Asbestos siding is incredibly resilient and will last much much longer than most sidings. When it is time to replace, merely install siding over it to encapsulate the asbestos.

@James Martin thanks for the insight. I don’t think I will be removing this stuff my self. 

@Will Fraser yea it is a pretty sweet deal. I accidentally sent direct mail to the owner of a different house I was initially interested in. This person ended up being an investor that has had all his properties for about 20 years and is looking to liquidate. I am getting the houses at a good rate plus the free house. 

I have been looking more into it and some people just cover the siding with vinyl. I’m not sure if that would do much for the value of the house though.

@Jordan Woolf

I second the 'leave it if you don't have to replace it'

We had a situation like this where multiple were damaged/cracked.  

Instead of going over the top, another option is to buy replacement panels that are made to match - they are pretty expensive so if you have a few that are in disrepair, this does work......

Asbestos siding is impervious to rot and insects and it's fire resistant. If it's not friable it's not considered a safety hazard. I'd jump on that deal like stink on sh*t.

I seriously doubt that any state would allow a non licensed person to remove and dispose of asbestos. Here in CA, the laws are very strict on it and only the licensed can handle it.

As others stated, sounds like you have a great opportunity here and no reason to remove the siding, though it should not cost $30k if you did.

@Heather Greene

My father in-law made it seem like that was the reason they were giving the property to me and that asbestos is bad. Now that I have done more research I am starting to understand it a bit more and I don’t think that is the case.

@Jordan Woolf

I’ve had two multifamilies with asbestos siding. One of them I just sided right over it. Keep in mind pieces will fall off and break when installing nails for the new siding (and windows I did as well). There was broken asbestos siding everywhere, but I did not get charged with a contaminated dumpster. My other building with asbestos siding is actually in good shape. So I just painted right over it. Asbestos siding is literally all over the place in my area. I would jump on that deal.

Interesting subject.  I'm all for leaving the asbestos on if feasible. My Father was a siding contractor. In the early 70's when I was a child, it was my job to remove the existing asbestos siding on jobs that required it. At the time it wasn't known that asbestos was a health risk. I probably stripped at least 20 homes and loaded onto the truck. As was pointed out earlier, asbestos siding isn't friable. The EPA is another issue. Good luck.

I usually approach asbestos as this: what’s it gonna cost for remediation (including replacing with non asbestos), deduct that from value of the house (I estimate remediation costs 20% higher than any quote) and that’s the offer... in your case, unless your inheriting a ton of problems (expenses) I’d say the deduction is more than paid for. And as above, where I’m at with local laws I would leave it, asbestos has excellent thermal retention qualities. If it ain’t airborne it’s actually a pretty useful product.

@John Morgan

Asbestos testing is quick. Anything before 1990 could have it. Drywall, texture, siding, pipe insulation, 9x9” tiles (these almost always have asbestos) all could have it, and that’s not even an exhaustive list! I cringe every time i see social media personalities “renovating” their 1945 houses with just a dust mask (or not even that) when you know they didn’t get a test done on that plaster or ceiling texture etc.

@Jordan Woolf I hate those "BOGO" sellers. Whenever they throw a bonus in there, that means some part of the package is something they've been hoping to get rid of for a while lol.

Falls into the same category as the "I'll only sell you A if you buy A & B both at the same time", where B is a freaking junker and they can't dump it lol. There's also the "I'll sell you my portfolio but I want to start with this one" seller. Ha!

I've dealt with asbestos siding before, inspectors in the markets I operate in tend to not be too concerned with it if the integrity of the siding isn't deteriorating heavily. 30k to replace it sounds insane, though. I'm sure you could get it done for way cheaper. 

@Elliott Elkhoury

I checked out the properties today. One of the tenants is a hoarder who occasionally gets behind on rent. The two properties I am paying for are actually in great shape and are already tenant proof. I am just going to have to get the hoarder out which may be troublesome. The “free” property just needs a lot of work. I think these three properties are their least profitable but for $65,000 and a total rent of $1450 a month it will be a great first investment for myself. I may end up selling one of the properties at market value to reduce pay off the seller financed down payment and may some profit right from the start.

aesbestos fibers lodge in the lungs. They stick in like barbs and never come out as long as you live. Every time I've worked it without protection, my lungs hurt.. I'd encapsulate with latex paint. Be sure to wear a full face respirator when doing this.