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How to Remove Slate Asbestos Siding

By Henri Bauholz

Asbestos shingle siding was a common material used in the building trade from approximately 1930 until 1970. Now the asbestos shingles are banned from use because of the danger that asbestos causes. However, this danger occurs mainly during the mining and manufacturing process and as a result asbestos shingles that are currently on your home contain no health hazard unless they are pulverized or damaged in some way.As a result, unless the shingles become damaged, it is better to leave the shingles in place than to remove them. However, removal of asbestos shingles from a public building (or any building that houses more than four families) comes under federal guidelines. Still, there are local ordinances of which one has to be aware. So it will be necessary to check with these regulations also.If you are remodeling a house with asbestos shingles that are in good condition, then it may be necessary to remove the shingles that are located around a door and window. This can be done without breaking the shingle, and even if a shingle is broken in the process of removal, it is this writer’s opinion that the health risk would be extremely low. Still, a well-designed dusk mask would be highly advisable as would a good pair of work gloves.

Check with local ordinances to see if removal of asbestos shingles is allowed and by whom.

Pry on the shingle that is located above the shingle that you wish to remove to see how it is attached. Most likely the shingle is attached by nails that are driven through pre-drilled holes in the shingles.

Insert a flat pry bar (use one that is at least 1 foot in length) and see if you can slide the notch in the flat end between the head of the nail and the shingle that you wish to remove. Once this is done, put a moderate amount of pressure on the other end of the pry bar in an attempt to loosen the nail.

If necessary, slide the flat bar underneath the shingle. Make sure the notch in the end of the pry bar finds the shank of the nail and then put pressure on the shingle with the end of the pry bar. Be certain that the end of the pry bar is butted up against the shank of the nail.

Alternate between Step 3 and Step 4 until the nails come free.

If all else fails, Slide a pair of bolt cutters behind the shingle and cut the nails that are holding the shingle in place.

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