Asbestos siding had been commonly used from 1920s to 1970s, and is still found in old homes in USA and Canada. It is a form of siding which was discovered more than 100 years ago in 1905 by Johns-Manville Company. Asbestos-cement is a mixture of Portland cement, which was compressed in the form of siding shingles, in varied textures, profiles and sizes. There are various types of asbestos siding materials like asphalt roofing, shingles etc. The main reasons of adding asbestos to cement were its durability, cost effectiveness, fire retarding properties and easy to maintain characteristic. Also the fact that paint adhered to asbestos easily made it an inevitable choice for siding. It was used in places where the temperatures were relatively high like chimneys, dormer windows etc.
However as decades pass by, a major trouble came into reckoning with asbestos. Uses of asbestos fibers in siding become cancerous when inhaled or are air-borne or were inhaled. Although one thing should be kept in mind that asbestos siding is hazard free if they are inert and intact. It causes hassles only when it is disturbed or breaks to small pieces.
Asbestos siding removal is a difficult and a costly process. Homeowners who want to remove their siding have to hire certified asbestos abatement contractors to do the cumbersome and dangerous task. These people have special equipments and protective clothing to perform the task. The use of water in removal may cause hazards to the electrical lines in the house. Compliance of the rules and regulations in the removal of asbestos is a must by the owner.
Asbestos siding has had a long history and also had its share of difficulty in terms of the health hazards caused by it. One must understand though that asbestos when kept properly in its place and maintained does not pose any threat to the owners of the house. Only a wrecked or disturbed asbestos siding can cause diseases such as cancer. The owners of house having asbestos must take all the precautions possible and also comply to rules if they want to remove it with the help of professionals.