learning the basics of home septic systems
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learning the basics of home septic systems

A septic system is something that is easily forgotten until something goes horribly wrong. What should you avoid running down your kitchen sink? Is one type of toilet paper safer to use than another? How often does your septic tank really need to be cleaned? These were just some of the questions that I had about my septic tank after it had backed up and filled my yard with raw sewage. Since then, I have spent hours researching septic systems so that I would not have to go through that again. I have developed my website to make learning about septic systems a little easier for others like me.

learning the basics of home septic systems

Asbestos Siding: What Are Your Options?

Matthew Young

When you buy an older home, you know you're buying into what could turn out to be a myriad of DIY projects. Changing out the flooring, upgrading the windows and the insulation, kitchen updates...the list may seem daunting. One thing many people forget about is the siding on their home. If you pull up to your driveway and cringe at the sight of your home, it might be time to focus on creating some curb appeal, but once-popular asbestos siding might make that a more complicated task. Here's what you need to know about dealing with asbestos siding.

Is It Asbestos?

It's impossible to tell if you have asbestos siding unless you have it tested. Many siding materials came in a variety of shapes and textures, and asbestos was no different. You can't tell just by looking at the siding. You might need to have your siding tested for asbestos if:

  • Your home was built prior to 1980, which is when the use of asbestos was phased out for most commercial applications.
  • The siding on your home is shingle style. While asbestos was used in a wide variety of siding types, shingles were the most common.
  • The siding on your home is deteriorating. If you're living in an older house and the siding is coming apart, it could be releasing asbestos particles into the air and soil, so don't hesitate to perform an asbestos test.

How Is An Asbestos Test Performed?

Once you've determined the need for asbestos testing, how do you perform the test?

  • Shut off all HVAC systems. Having them on during sample collecting can spread asbestos particles around.
  • Spray the area with a fine mist of water to prevent particles from becoming airborne.
  • Using a sharp knife or corer to collect a sample that penetrates the entire depth of the material. You will need about 1 square inch of material.
  • Place the siding tile into a seal-able plastic bag, seal it tightly, and clean up any released material with a damp paper towel.
  • Send the sample into your chosen lab for testing.

The Test Was Positive. Now What?

If you confirm the presence of asbestos in your siding, and you're ready to do something about it, you have a few options. Some are more costly than others, so choose the option that best suits your needs and budget.

  • Sealing the deteriorating material with adhesive materials like caulk can prevent release of asbestos fibers. Simply apply the sealant to the pieces that are coming apart and allow it to cure. Make sure to use an adhesive that can be painted if you intend to change the color of your house.
  • Siding over the asbestos is the next least expensive option. Installing new siding over the old can improve the look of your house while minimizing the risk of asbestos exposure. You will need to choose a type of siding that allows for minimal anchoring to the old siding, so wood shakes are probably not the best option.
  • Asbestos abatement means hiring a team of specially trained professionals to come to your home and remove and dispose of the old siding. This can cost a small fortune, but it completely removes the risk of deteriorating asbestos siding and allows for the proper installation of newer, durable and attractive siding options. 

Many people hear the word "asbestos" and immediately assume that their lives are at risk. Asbestos siding is not ideal, but when faced with it, you have more options than if you were stuck with asbestos insulation. Get your siding tested, and decide on the best course of action for you.