How to paint asbestos siding and spare the expense of removal

by Cheryl Dunn

Do you own a home that was built between World War II and the early 1980s? If so, many home renovation projects that you are considering may require the additional efforts and expenses. Two out of every three homes built during that time were built with materials containing asbestos. Here, you will learn how to paint asbestos siding to save you the expense and the effort of having the asbestos siding removed and to improve the appearance of your home.

To complete this project you will need:

  • Pressure washer
  • Liquid sanding solution
  • Paint brushes, rollers and trays
  • Paint scraper or putty knife
  • Eye protection
  • Ladder
  • Exterior oil-based primer and paint
  • Tarps or drop cloths
  • Masking tape

Step 1: Protect your plants and shrubs with drop cloths or tarps. You will have paint peels falling from the sides of the home that can be difficult to clean from your plants and shrubs.

Step 2: Before you can paint the asbestos siding, you must first remove any peeling paint from the surface. Oftentimes, this can be done with a pressure washer, but there will be some areas of peeling paint that will not come off without using a paint scraper or putty knife.

Note: Be careful when using a scraper to remove paint that is being difficult. Asbestos is dangerous if it becomes airborne. Do not scrape into the surface of the siding.

Step 3: Use a paint roller to apply liquid sanding solution to the siding. This product will help to soften the paint that remains and smooth the surface of the siding. This will improve the appearance of the finished product and help the fresh primer and paint to cure to the surface of the siding.

Step 4: While waiting for the siding to dry, use masking tape to tape off the windows and trim work that you do not want to paint. You may be tempted to skip this step, but you will spend far more time trying to paint around these things carefully than you will taping them off. It will also help the lines appear straighter and more professionally finished.  

Step 5: Apply a coat of exterior oil-based primer. Do not skip this step. The primer is needed to help the new paint to stick to the surface. Failure to apply the primer will cause the new paint to peel prematurely.

Step 6: Once the primer has dried, apply a coat of exterior oil-based paint. Do not apply too much paint or you will have several drips and runs appear in the paint. Work in small sections and look over the section often for any drips and runs that could be appearing from the gaps and crevices in the siding. Apply a second and third coat once the previous coats of paint have dried.

You can give the exterior of your home a whole new look by painting the asbestos siding rather than removing it; however, if the siding is in poor condition, contact an asbestos removal contractor, such as ASBESTOP, to have it inspected and possibly removed to protect your family's health.