• April 19, 2004

Asbestos Shingles Bye-Bye!

Asbestos Abatement

Restoration Diary,

Today is the big day. The asbestos siding is coming off the house right now. The abatement guys are in their haz-mat suits and there is yellow caution tape all around our house.

Getting into their haz-mat suits

The noise of them taking off the asbestos shingles is louder than I expected, lots of banging. I can’t go outside yet (obviously) to see what condition the original wood siding underneath is in. I am just hoping that the original wood is fine and it won’t need to be replaced. Fingers crossed!

The cost of disposing of large quantities of asbestos in Los Angeles is so expensive that we actually saved money by having the siding removed and disposed of by a professional company. We went with Fresh Air Environmental Services Inc. out of Commerce, CA.

Read how everything turned out Asbestos Shingles…Cry, Cry!

Comments { 14 }
  1. Bill


    One of the best accounts of old home restoration was a forum post by a fellow (whose name now long forgotten) who had stripped the asbestos shingles off of his old (1790′s) house. Of course, that revealed was much worse looking than the dreaded asbestos.

    He and significant other resolved to do one side of the house a year, repairing/replacing the wood siding, prepping and painting. Now some 11 years later, they’ve been around the house twice, each summer only doing one side. This last time, the second lap, the only work being nail re-seating and painting.

    It was an inspiring way to eat a very big, ugly elephant. Do the front first if you want curb appeal, or do the back first if you want to perfect your technique.

    In any case, the elephant isn’t leaving anytime soon so you have a while to eat it.

  2. heather

    Thanks for the last comment. It made me laugh.

  3. Cheryll

    Heather, if it will make you feel any better…My house looked alot worse in 1992 after it was hit by a tornado. The house came out looking great after we replaced the roof, the siding and half the windows. Doesn’t make you feel any better? I am sorry. I really am. I know you are getting worn out with all the work and expense. Just don’t lose sight of how great you know it will look when it is all done. The inside of your home looks fantastic and so will the outside! Someday… Our 1912 Aladdin Bungalow still has the original clapboard siding and I was feeling stressed because it is time to paint it!?! I should kick myself in the butt! (Is that possible?) You have alot worse problems than we do! Okay… This will make you feel better… We have termits under the front door and front floor joist, and because of this, the front dormer has dropped about 5 inches. It can’t be fixed tho until the front porch is tore off and a new one built. Or atleast the roof propped up! See we have calamity in our lives also. And we have just begun! You and David give us the inspiration to restore our own home…SO DON’T GIVE UP ON US NOW!!! I keep telling my husband that if the kids on the internet (you two!) can do it, we surely can too!!! Hang in there! Your “baby” will pull thro this disaster also, and it will turn out great! By the way… I really like the original green on your clapboards! Thank you for all the wonderful pictures you share with us. We really look forward to your postings. I wish I lived closer, I’d bring you some new flowers to replace the ones that got crushed!

  4. heather

    Thanks! Your posting really lifted my spirits, especially your offer of flowers if you lived closer. Sometimes I get discouraged because although we have done a lot we still have so much work left. I just want to be done already! Although, I have deeply enjoyed the process of restoring the house (ok, not the moments when things go wrong but overall) and am not sure what I will do with my free time once this is finished?

    I am truly sorry to hear about your termite problem. That sounds like a big one to fix. Sorry!

    I have gotten over being upset about the hole on the side of our house, am geared up to finish the outside restoration and we have decided to go with the green paint color!

    Thanks again. Best of luck with your own 1912 bungalow restoration,

  5. claudia

    dear heather, as of friday at 5:05 pm, est, my husband and i are the proud owners of a craftsman bungalo in albany, ny. i too am determined to bring it back to its former glory. i got a good chuckle about those home restoration projects on tv. IF there is a problem, it’s always so casually and calmly dealt with. naturally it helps to have an army of carpenters at your dispsal!!!!!! lol!!! i will follow your adventure and plan on posting my misadventures too. i hope that i can kep my sense of humor like you. i think you are doing a wonderful job and are accomplishing far more then you know. you are also a source of inspiration for me. all the best, claudia

  6. heather

    Oh, congratulations! I hope you are as happy in your new home as we are in ours. We have had our ups and downs during this restoration but it truly has been fun.

    I wish you all the best in your new home and your restoration! I’m looking forward to reading about the work you will do on your home and following along on your restoratrion.
    Best, heather

  7. barbara


    I applaud your efforts. My husband and I bought our 1912 bungalow two years ago. We’ve done most of the repairs, and some from the help of our loving family. We’re painting the exterior ourselves. Our rear home and gargage are finished, but we’re in the same predicament. Should we remove our asbestos siding or try to replace the missing or cracked pieces with something that looks similar?

    Please advise your fellow hopeful craftmans restorers,

    barbara and ray

  8. heather

    Hi, Barbara and Ray!
    To remove the asbestos was such a difficult decision for us to make – not because we liked the look of the asbestos, but because we didn’t know what was waiting underneath or what type of condition it would be in.

    In our case the asbestos was in horrible shape with many cracks that were allowing water to seep through when it rained. We would have had to replace about a third of it. That kind-of made the choice easier for us to get rid of the asbestos. We couldn’t see trying to track down replacement tiles for something we didn’t really like.

    I carefully removed one of the asbestos tiles and found the original wood siding underneath. I just had a feeling that the original siding would still be there on the rest of the house. This wasn’t rational or based on anything other than gut instinct.

    We decided to have the asbestos removed and then to deal with whatever we found. In retrospect, I wouldn’t recommend that approach to anyone. I would make sure that I had enough money available to replace all the original wood siding (which we didn’t) BEFORE removing the asbestos. You just never know what you will find.

    In the end, we got lucky. Although the original wood siding looks pretty bad most of it is in good shape. There are only a few areas that will need to be replaced.

    I’m glad we decided to remove the asbestos because I think the original siding brings out the house’s character and charm. I don’t regret our decision. That said, it is a lot of work to patch ALL the nail holes from where the asbestos siding was nailed in.

    I think it comes down to a few things:
    - do you like the look of the asbestos tiles?
    - are your tiles in good shape?
    - are you able to find replacement tiles?
    - are you concerned about the health risks associated with asbestos?
    - do you have the funds available to replace the original siding underneath the asbestos if the original siding is in bad shape?
    - are you prepared for all the patching and cost associated with restoing the exterior (underneath the asbestos)?

    I don’t know if this is very helpful to you? We are really glad we took off all the asbestos and wish you all the best no matter which decision you make!

    Best Wishes,

  9. Teri

    **sigh** I’m reading your account and getting very, very scared. We own a 1924 bungalow, , originally clapboard and shingle, and it has asphalt (nor asbestos) siding over it (it looks like fake grey and blue bricks, I could send you a picture of it). We love the house, and are considering either pulling it off or just painting it for now until we have the money to do a full restoration. Siding is around $16K, and I was wondering the cost of having it removed and repainted? I’m just starting the phone calls now, and don’t want to get ripped off…..*sigh*

    I love your site, and love even more looking at what you did with it. It gives me hope. It also makes me want to go out and buy a can of Redi-Strip and start stripping down the window frames, but with my luck, they’ll be in horrible condition….

    Keep up the great work,

  10. Mike

    Wow. I am in the process of buying a 1927 bungalow with asbestos siding on it. What am I getting into? ;) Any more progress than the last post?

  11. RC

    Don’t be so quick to pull off the old asbestos siding, if it is in good shape. Our 1927 brick bunglow has the asbestos siding on the top, and on the front dormer. It, and all the wood trim on the house, was badly in need of paint. We considered putting vinyl siding over it, but decided it would look out of place no matter how carefully done. And, the windows and fascia would need to be shimmed out to match. We ended up hiring a company to use “Liquid Siding” to paint over it…and it looks fabulous. It was about 2-1/2 times more costly than simply repainting it, but cheaper than vinyl cladding the asbestos and all the trim and soffit and so on. And it retains the original look, while sealing in the asbestos. The good thing about this product is that instead of having to repaint every five years or so, it is guaranteed for 25 years.

    I just didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars having the trim and asbestos shingle painted, then have to keep doing that every so many years. Besides the ongoing expense, the build up of paint is unsightly.

    I would definitely recommend it as an alternative to ripping out asbestos siding (as long as the shingles themselves are relatively intact and not missing) or or covering it up with vinyl siding.

  12. Amy


    Any chance you can fill me in on how much the asbestos removal cost you? My husband and I are buying a craftsman in the Bay Area, and it appears we have the same type of siding you got rid of (congrats!).

    I’d greatly appreciate any info you can share!

    Amy :)
    PS: Any update on your redo of the original siding?

  13. heather

    Hi Amy. The cost of removing the asbestos was around $1100-1300. The orignial siding looked horrible after the shingles came down but it was actually in good shape and required only minor patching/wood replacement. I honestly feel it was the best thing we have done to improve the look of our home.

    We have completed the outside. There are photos of the finished exterior throughout the site. I need to get some more “after” photos posted.

    Best of luck!

  14. Michelle

    Hi Heather,

    I love reading your blog! I just purchased a home a 1906 bungalow in Echo Park that has been brutally stuccoed over. But, there appear to shingles underneath the stucco. Who did you use to patch and repair your siding? Can you recommend a good carpenter or handyman who gets historic homes in the LA Area? Thanks so much! And best of luck in your renovations!

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