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swoope

10:14AM | 04/21/05
Member Since: 04/20/05
2 lifetime posts
Bvmisc
We are buying an old farmhouse with that awlful siding that mimics brickwork. You know, the brown stuff nailed up in big sheets on the sides of the house. Please tell me it is only asphalt and not asbestos. Thanks.

MistressEll

12:57PM | 04/23/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
The only way to know for sure if there is asbestos, is to submit a sample to an accredited/certified for asbestos sampling laboratory.

Be prepared for a two step process. The first involves looking at a portion under a microscope. The examiner looks for the tell-tale signs of a crystiline structure common for asbestos. If a positive finding is made, an "eye" count is made to produce a percentage finding. If negative (and false negatives are plentiful) you will need an additional test.

Confirmatory negative testing is more expensive. They BURN the sample then subject the remaining to additional testing. Sometimes even 15% friable asbestos can be "negative" on microscopy (that area just didn't happen to contain many fibers, or the lighting just didn't happen to bounce -- dark colored substraights are more commonly false negative).

Negatives on both tests will assure you can handle these materials safely. Should the laboratory find positive, they should advise you regards to inspection, removal, remediation methods.

Your question might have been more appropriately under hazards and safety, i.e. the asbestos question.

Unfortunately in older structures, finding asbestos in "manufactured siding" is not that uncommon. Remember, it added fire-resistance and was considered a "plus" at the time.
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