Help: Buying an asbestos sided house?

My wife and I are presently in escrow for our first house, but after the home inspection we're getting some serious cold feet. The house was built in the late '50s or early '60s, is structurally sound, has been upgraded inside in a variety of ways, BUT apparently has a cement-based asbestos sheet siding on two sides (the front and bedroom side). Now, I'm not worried too much about the health risks because the siding is in very good shape (not crumbling), but it ain't pretty.
First, it looks like it was nailed on -- you can see what look like nail heads under the paint. Second, it needs painting (it has been so long since its last painting that it looks like someone applied a light blue water-color paint to the house). Third, the windows look like they were trimmed with pieces of scrap wood, and they must go! But removing the siding is not presently an option.
So, a few questions if anyone can offer ideas/suggestions:
1) Is it the siding paintable with a paint that will retain its color for more than a short time?
2) If we take off the old trim, how can we attach some new trim? I can't see myself trying to pound nails into the asbestos siding. What other options are there?
3) Can it be drilled through safely and if so, how?
4) Will this have a significant effect the house's resale value? (We're having second thoughts, obviously future buyers will too.)
Thanks! --Tom Heaney
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Tell your sellers that you want the cost of the abatement deducted from the price of the house. To be safe and for future resale I would have the sidings taken off and new vinyl siding installed. Also, is there a problem with lead based paint in the home? My 2 cents worth.

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the
problem
Read this: http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA447.html
Thee is nothing to be abated. There is nothing dangerous in this situation. It is perfectly legal to have asbestos siding. Ed
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I think you should talk to an asbestos expert on this asap ! If he tells you to back out of the deal...do so immediately. Ill bet you that you will have a very hard time reselling that house if you buy it.
There are certain homes to stay very far away from.
Dave
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Why? I'd buy it with no hesitation. There is no danger from the siding, it can be safely removed by the homeowner if desired in the future. Educate yourself about the situation and you will be much more relaxed and sensible about the situation. Ed
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'Why? I'd buy it with no hesitation. There is no danger from the siding, it can be safely removed by the homeowner if desired in the future. Educate yourself about the situation and you will be much more relaxed and sensible about the situation. Ed'
ME: Because there is such a bad rap regarding asbestos of any kind that, a future prospective buyers decision would most likely be tainted by the asbestos scare of the past. Doesnt matter if this kind is safe or not....once bad press is started on something, it sticks. Plus...maybe everything hasnt been learned about this kind of asbestos... thereby having a safety issue after all. I wouldnt entertain the house -- theres plenty others out there for sale that are not asbestos related.
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unfortunately i think you hit the nail on the head. even if there is no danger (and lets be honest, in this case unless you decide to start snorting the stuff, you have a better chance crashing into it with your car and having it fall down and kill you than getting cancer from it...) , when you go to sell it the next buyer may balk.
as for 'maybe everything hasnt been learned' for all we know tomorrow someone will come up with a reason latex paint kills us all. or pvc plumbing is bad. you cant buy a house like that or it will drive you mad.
no house is perfect. not even new ones. if you like everything else and the price is decent, go for it. if you arent in love with the house, and dont mind looking for another house, and eating the cost of the inspection, dont buy it.
randy
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'unfortunately i think you hit the nail on the head. even if there is no danger (and lets be honest, in this case unless you decide to start snorting the stuff, you have a better chance crashing into it with your car and having it fall down and kill you than getting cancer from it...) , when you go to sell it the next buyer may balk. as for 'maybe everything hasnt been learned' for all we know tomorrow someone will come up with a reason latex paint kills us all. or pvc plumbing is bad. you cant buy a house like that or it will drive you mad. no house is perfect. not even new ones. if you like everything else and the price is decent, go for it. if you arent in love with the house, and dont mind looking for another house, and eating the cost of the inspection, dont buy it. randy'
ME: Even if its the kind of house i would love living in...if it had words like 'asbestos' or 'severe mold problem' or 'cockroach infestation' or 'high radon level' associated with it.....i would not compromise and buy the thing ; theres just too many others on the market that dont have these vices assoctiated with it. It would be simular to a man finding a beautiful looking woman that he falls in love with and wants to marry...only for her to tell you 2 weeks before the wedding that she has a couple of permanent STD's that just wont go away ! You could still go ahead and marry her, but, once your divorced, her 'resale value' wouldnt be too great :)
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Thomas M. Heaney wrote:

GOOGLE is your friend.
Do this search (or similar): http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=asbestos+siding+danger
Jim
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Just remember that re-sided house you might consider next may have asbestos shingles under the new siding.

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On Sat, 29 May 2004 15:55:26 GMT, "Art"

I highly doubt it. There is no way to drive a nail thru that stuff, and who in their right mind is going to drill all those holes to attach the new siding.
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My parents house has vinyl siding and previously it was asbestos. I doubt they removed the asbestos though I was not there.
wrote:

asbestos
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Yep, I second the below.
It's amazing how definitive some folks are without any experience.
Around here, vinyl siding is installed all the time directly over the asbestos siding. Legal or not, nails are simply driven thru. The few asbestos pieces that drop off are simply scooped up and thrown out.
If one installs the insulating foam backer board first over the asbestos siding, little falls down.
Doug
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Thomas M. Heaney wrote:

Yes, it is paintable and the paint is as durable as if it were on wood.

Don't drive nails thru asbestos siding - it is VERY brittle and will crack. It drills quite nicely, though. In its raw form it comes with nail holes.

Uh, with a drill. No, you don't need respirators, envior-suits, masks, goggles, gloves or anything else. If the thought bothers you, hire a neighbors child to do the drilling.

Maybe. It is hoped by the time you need to sell, the trial lawyers will all have been eradicated. Commercial products containing asbestos have never been shown to be a health hazard (including brake shoes, wrapped insulation, tiles, and, in your case, siding).
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wrote:

Run the hose next to it to avoid powder from entering the air. Of course I'd use a battery drill, or at least a GFCI protected electric one if you are running water next to the drill.
I once tried to pound a nail in this stuff. The siding shatters.DO NOT do it.
And, yes, paint will hold very well, probably better than on wood, and will seal the asbestos too. I can guarantee that siding will outlast that cheap vinyl crap 10 times over (unless you beat on it with a hammer, shoot it with your gun, or drive your car into it). It will probably outlast wood, and almost all siding other than brick.
If you replace windows, just find some sort of aluminum or painted steel that will overlap the siding and caulk well with silicone. You could get custom made windows with all this built right on them too, but that might be costly.
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snipped-for-privacy@teachingcollege.com (Thomas M. Heaney) wrote:

Generally holds paint very well, probably better than wood. It is actually a very low maintenance siding (no rot, holds paint well etc.).
Most of the risks are over emphasized. Asbestosis was a risk for people with high exposure. Ordinary precautions and any brief exposure you might have to install trim is in all likelihood a smaller risk than the risk you take in driving your car daily (auto accidents are probably one of the highest real risk factors). People love to freak out above small negligible risks they do not understand and take no steps to address real risk (like living closer to work so you do not drive so much).
It may or may not affect resale value (depending on your area). In my area, a house built in the 50 may be in the Central city which is a desireable area. A significant proportion of property value is in the land. People would buy the house because they want the location and deal with the house as appropriate. Ignore, install new siding , see if there is wood underneath that can be restored etc.....
I have masonite siding, and am ignoring it. At some point in the future I would replace with hardiplank siding if I remodelled extensively.
Roland
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Thomas M. Heaney wrote:

My first advice is, don't listen to people who hate trial lawyers more than they love life. They may not be thinking clearly.
Second, a reasonable conclusion is that asbestos is most dangerous in airborne fiber situations. Embedded in a product, it's reasonably safe by comparison. If the siding were in good, consisten condition, there might be no reason to disturb it; but it looks like not even all the sides of the house match, and the next owner will be stuck with fixing that *regardless*. Removal, if done by licensed contractors following the law, will be more expensive than simple demolition. So build it into the purchase price; why should you have to bear that extra cost?
(How do you outrun a grizzly bear? Be 1% faster than the guy you're in the woods with.)
So having it done, and done properly, and not paying for it yourself, are the ideal conditions you should be shooting for (short of buying a home without this encumbrance).
Should you be reckless enough with the safety of yourself and your family to pursue self-demolition, no matter whether this is legal or not, I'd follow the guidelines in your state for legal employer asbestos abatement conditions. It looks like in California (I'm guessing that's where you are based on your webpage) asbestos siding falls under the Class II (less stringent) removal guidelines.
http://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/1529.html
[search for "Methods of compliance"]
So, HEPA filters on yourself (not those cheap face masks!), and on any vacuum equipment; wetting of materials to eliminate dust; leak-tight waste containers. Plastic sheeting to protect any habitable areas, and negative pressure created by fans equipped with HEPA filters. No abrasive tools such as saws or drills, no cleanup with compressed air, no dry sweeping or shoveling. A bunny suit is probably helpful; certainly don't wear asbestos-dusted clothing into your house. Pretty basic and obvious.
Additionally, for siding, California requires:
(C) When removing cementitious asbestos-containing siding and shingles or transite panels containing ACM on building exteriors (other than roofs, where subsection (g)(8)(B) of this section applies) the employer shall ensure that the following work practices are followed:
1. Cutting, abrading or breaking siding, shingles, or transite panels, shall be prohibited unless the employer can demonstrate that methods less likely to result in asbestos fiber release cannot be used.
2. Each panel or shingle shall be sprayed with amended water prior to removal.
3. Unwrapped or unbagged panels or shingles shall be immediately lowered to the ground via covered dust-tight chute, crane or hoist, or placed in an impervious waste bag or wrapped in plastic sheeting and lowered to the ground no later than the end of the work shift.
4. Nails shall be cut with flat, sharp instruments.
Again, the risk may be small, but why add to your risk unnecessarily?
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Dan Hartung wrote:

Because there is no risk. Never has been. ALL studies show NO causal relationship between ANY commercial asbestos product and ANY health problem. This includes multiple studies of auto mechanics who worked on brake shoes for many years breathing asbestos dust by the yard.
Besides, asbestos is 100% natural; you'd think the environmental whackos would embrace the stuff.
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JerryMouse wrote:

You couldn't be wronger on this. The medical authorities are consistent in associating exposure to airborne asbestosis with an increased risk of serious disease.
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wrote:

Tell that to all the dead insulators who installed it 30-40 years ago. The ones who are still alive get annual cancer screenings looking for early evidence of lung cancer. My father-in-law has watched many of his friends drop dead one by one, including a brother, all from asbestos induced lung cancers.
I have plenty of relatives in the business and know exactly what the risks are. I actually would consider a home with asbestos shingles, or even insulation. It's not like the stuff gives off death rays. But saying the stuff can't be hazardous if mishandled is absolutely ridiculous troll like behavior.
Barry
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