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5 Methods for Safely Cleaning Asbestos Siding

August 17, 2023

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Are you looking for tips on cleaning asbestos siding? It’s vital that you tackle this project carefully, as you don’t want to disturb asbestos unnecessarily. On the other hand, regular cleaning keeps siding in good condition and your property looking its best.

Some methods for cleaning asbestos siding include:

  1. Soap and water
  2. Damp sponge cleaning
  3. Commercial siding cleaners
  4. Mildew removers
  5. Soft wash pressure washing

Note that each of these needs to be done properly, to avoid damage to the siding and ensure your safety. In turn, it’s good to check with a power washing contractor near you for needed cleaning. They can recommend the best process for cleaning asbestos siding on your property.

cleaning asbestos siding

5 Methods for Cleaning Asbestos Siding on Your Property

In most cases, cleaning asbestos siding yourself is not recommended due to the potential health risks of asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers can become airborne when disturbed, and inhaling these fibers risks serious health issues. If you are going to manage this project yourself, here are some methods to consider:

1. Soap and Water Cleaning

  • Mix a mild dish soap or a specialized siding cleaner with water in a bucket.
  • Dip a soft-bristle brush, sponge, or rag into the soapy water.
  • Gently scrub the siding in a circular motion, working from the bottom to the top to prevent streaks.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water using a garden hose or bucket of water.

2. Damp Sponge Cleaning

Use a damp sponge and bucket of clean, warm water. Dip the sponge repeatedly to ensure it stays wet, to avoid disturbing the asbestos. Rinse with a garden hose.

3. Commercial Siding Cleaners

There are commercial siding cleaning products available in the market that work well for asbestos siding. To use these, follow the manufacturer's instructions for dilution and application. Also, test a small, inconspicuous area before using the cleaner on a larger section. Ensure you rinse well, to remove all cleanser and residues.

4. Mildew and Stain Removal

For mildew, mold, or stubborn stains, mix a solution of one part bleach to three parts water. Apply the solution to the affected area using a sponge or soft cloth. Allow the solution to sit for a short period (not too long to prevent discoloration). Gently scrub the area, then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

5. Soft Wash Pressure Washing

Soft wash pressure washing uses specialty cleaners that dissolve thick dirt and grime without disturbing siding materials. Low-pressure rinses then remove the cleaners and dirt. This process is best done by a professional experienced in cleaning delicate surfaces.

exterior house washing

Should I Worry About Asbestos Siding?

Since cleaning asbestos siding poses some risks, you might wonder if the siding itself is dangerous. Asbestos is a mineral fiber commonly used in building materials before its health hazards became widely known. Asbestos-containing materials are not dangerous if they are in good condition and left undisturbed.

However, if those materials are damaged or disturbed during renovations or maintenance, they can release asbestos fibers into the air. These fibers are harmful if inhaled.  Check out some additional factors to consider about asbestos siding:

  • If your asbestos siding is not damaged and not showing signs of deterioration, the risk of exposure is relatively low. Asbestos-containing materials that are intact and well-maintained pose less of a risk.
  • If your asbestos siding is damaged, crumbling, or in need of repair, it's best to consult professionals experienced in asbestos handling. Disturbing the siding without proper precautions can release asbestos fibers.
  • If you're planning renovations that involve disturbing the siding, such as drilling, cutting, or sanding, have the materials tested. Take appropriate safety measures or hire professionals to handle the work.
  • Regularly inspect your siding for any signs of damage or deterioration. If you notice any changes, consult professionals to determine the best course of action.

In summary, avoid disturbing the siding unless you're working with professionals. If you're uncertain about your home’s siding, consult experts who can help you ensure safety on your property.

Is It OK to Put Vinyl Siding Over Asbestos Siding?

In some cases, it may be possible to install vinyl siding over existing asbestos siding. However, there are important considerations to keep in mind. Also, it's crucial to follow local regulations regarding asbestos abatement and renovation. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Before installing vinyl siding, have the asbestos siding assessed by professionals. They can determine the condition of the siding, whether it poses a risk, and whether encapsulation is a viable option.
  • Check local regulations and building codes regarding asbestos abatement and renovation. Some areas may have specific requirements for handling asbestos-containing materials.
  • If you decide to proceed with vinyl siding installation, proper safety measures must be taken. Use appropriate protective gear and follow safe work practices to minimize the risk of asbestos fiber release.
  • The surface should be prepared properly before installing vinyl siding. Any loose or damaged asbestos siding should be repaired or encapsulated to prevent further deterioration.
  • The vinyl siding should be attached securely to the home's structure. It's important to avoid damaging the underlying asbestos siding during installation.
  • Proper insulation and ventilation are important to prevent moisture buildup between the old asbestos siding and the new vinyl siding. Moisture issues can lead to deterioration and potential mold growth.

Keep in mind that encapsulating asbestos siding with vinyl siding does not eliminate the asbestos. While it may cover the asbestos and reduce the risk of fiber release, the underlying asbestos-containing materials are still present. In turn, they must be managed properly.

residential pressure washing

Is It Safe to Power Wash Siding?

Soft wash systems are excellent for cleaning asbestos siding. In turn, you might wonder if it’s safe to power wash metal, vinyl, and other siding materials.

Power washing siding can be safe, but it should be done with caution and the appropriate techniques. Check out some tips to keep in mind:

  • Different siding materials have varying levels of durability. Vinyl, aluminum, and fiber cement siding are generally more resistant to power washing. However, wood and stucco may require more careful consideration.
  • Use the appropriate pressure setting on the power washer. Lower pressure is generally safer for siding. High-pressure settings can damage siding by causing it to crack, chip, or loosen.
  • Maintain a safe distance between the power washer nozzle and the siding. Hold the nozzle at a slight angle to the siding to prevent water from getting behind it.
  • Use a wide-angle spray pattern (40 to 60 degrees) rather than a narrow, concentrated stream. A wider spray pattern distributes the pressure over a larger area, reducing the risk of damage.
  • In many cases, using a cleaning solution in combination with power washing can help remove dirt, mold, mildew, and other contaminants more effectively. Follow manufacturer recommendations for the appropriate cleaning solution.
  • Before power washing the entire area, test a small, inconspicuous section to ensure that the pressure and cleaning solution do not damage the siding.

If you're not experienced with power washing or if you're unsure about the safety of power washing your siding, consider hiring a professional power washing service. They have the expertise and equipment to safely clean your siding.

A Word From Our Team

ProClean Pressure Washing Venice is happy to explain these methods for safely cleaning asbestos siding. If you’re near the city, call our Venice FL power washing contractors for a FREE pressure washing quote. We offer expert services and guaranteed results!

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