Can You Sell a House With Asbestos Siding?

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You’ve finally decided it’s time to sell your home. But it’s older, and you’ve been told it may have asbestos siding. You might wonder about the risks, the need for removal, and the implications for your property’s value. You may even be asking, “Can I sell a house with asbestos siding?”

This guide will help you understand asbestos siding, its potential dangers, and tips to handle the selling process.

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What is asbestos siding?

Asbestos siding is a type of exterior siding material that contains asbestos fibers. It was commonly used in residential construction from the early 1900s until the late 1970s due to its durability, fire resistance, and insulating properties. Asbestos siding typically comes in the form of shingles or panels and is often mistaken for other materials like cement or fiber cement siding.

Is asbestos siding dangerous?

Asbestos siding can be dangerous if the asbestos fibers become airborne and are inhaled. When intact and undisturbed, asbestos siding poses minimal risk. However, if the siding is damaged, deteriorating, or disturbed during renovations or repairs, it can release asbestos fibers into the air, leading to serious health issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to asbestos can lead to:

  • Asbestosis: Scarring inside the lungs from breathing in asbestos fibers.
  • Pleural disease: A lung condition that causes changes in the membrane surrounding the lungs and chest cavity, which may lead to reduced lung function.
  • Lung cancer: Malignant tumors that invade and block the lung’s air passages.
  • Mesothelioma: A rare cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, chest wall, or abdomen.

These conditions may not present themselves for 30 to 40 years after asbestos exposure.

How can I tell if my house has asbestos siding?

Identifying asbestos siding can be challenging, and even dangerous if you try to inspect it yourself. The only way to know for certain is to have your siding tested by a professional, but here are some characteristics to watch for:

  • Age of the house: Homes built between the 1920s and early 1980s are more likely to have asbestos siding.
  • Appearance: Asbestos siding often resembles cement or fiber cement siding and usually comes in the form of shingles or panels with a distinctive, grainy texture or a wavy pattern on the bottom edge. Tiles often have two or three nail holes along the bottom as well.
  • Labels and markings: Check for manufacturer labels or markings on the backside of the siding, which might indicate asbestos content.

Asbestos siding is not easy to identify. Over the years, it has been manufactured in various formats, such as corrugated sheets that resemble metal, wood, or false brick siding. It can also appear as stucco, slate, imitation stone, and other textured finishes.


If you’re unsure, it’s best to hire a professional asbestos inspector to confirm the presence of asbestos siding in your home.

When was asbestos siding used?

Asbestos siding was widely used from the early 1900s until the late 1970s. Its popularity peaked in the mid-20th century due to its fire-resistant and insulating properties. After the dangers of asbestos became more widely known, its use declined, and alternative materials were developed. Homebuilders were allowed to use up their existing asbestos siding inventory into the early 1980s.

Why were homes built with asbestos siding?

Homes were built with asbestos siding because it was durable, fire-resistant, and provided good insulation. It was also relatively inexpensive and easy to install, making it a popular choice for homeowners and builders. Additionally, asbestos siding required less maintenance compared to wood siding, further contributing to its widespread use.

Types of asbestos siding

According to Architectural Digest, asbestos was used in various building materials, including siding and shingles. Here are the most common types of asbestos found in house siding:

  • Actinolite: Found in sealants, paints, and insulation, often mixed with cement. It can be white, gray, yellow, or green.
  • Amosite: Brown, gold, or black with a coarse texture, commonly used in siding.
  • Chrysotile: The most prevalent type in siding materials, grayish-white and brittle.
  • Crocidolite: Less common due to higher cost, blue with a silky texture.
  • Tremolite: Used in fabric construction, roofing, and plumbing parts, ranging from white to dark green.

Can I sell a house with asbestos siding?

Yes, you can sell a house with asbestos siding. In fact, it’s very common because so many homes were built with asbestos materials. However, it may affect the sale process. Potential buyers might be concerned about the health risks and the cost of removal or encapsulation.

It’s essential to be transparent about the presence of asbestos siding and to understand your obligations regarding disclosure and remediation. Below are some options for home sellers to consider:

Know the asbestos testing options and laws

Research local regulations regarding asbestos testing and disclosure. In some areas, you may be required to test for asbestos before selling. Knowing the laws will help you comply with legal requirements and reassure potential buyers about the safety of your home.

Disclose known asbestos and negotiate

Be upfront about the presence of asbestos siding in your disclosure documents. Transparency can build trust with buyers. Be prepared to negotiate terms, such as sharing the cost of removal or providing documentation on the asbestos condition and safety.

Decide if you will fix or abate the asbestos

Determine whether you want to remove the asbestos siding or leave it in place. Removing it can make your home more attractive to buyers, but it can be costly. Alternatively, you can leave the siding as is, ensuring it is in good condition and safe.

Offer a credit for repairs or abatement

If you decide not to remove the asbestos siding, consider offering buyers a credit to cover the cost of future removal or repairs. This can make your home more appealing by reducing the financial burden on the buyer.

Consider selling your house as-is

If you prefer a quicker sale or want to avoid the costs of removal, consider selling your home as-is. This option might attract investors or buyers willing to take on the responsibility of asbestos removal themselves. Be sure to price your home accordingly and highlight other positive aspects of the property to attract interest.

Consulting with a real estate agent experienced in selling homes with asbestos can help navigate this situation.

A HomeLight infographic on how to sell a house with asbestos.

Do I have to remove asbestos siding?

You are not legally required to remove asbestos siding before selling your home. The decision to remove or leave it in place depends on several factors, including the condition of the siding, your budget, and buyer preferences. Some buyers may prefer the asbestos to be professionally removed, while others might be willing to purchase the home as-is, potentially negotiating a lower price.

Benefits of removing asbestos siding

  • Increased property value: Removing asbestos can make your home more attractive to buyers and potentially increase its market value.
  • Health and safety: Eliminating asbestos reduces health risks for you and future occupants, particularly if the siding is damaged or deteriorating.
  • Easier sale process: A home free of asbestos may appeal to a broader range of buyers, speeding up the sale process and reducing negotiation hurdles.

Drawbacks of removing asbestos siding

  • High cost: Asbestos removal can be expensive, often costing thousands of dollars depending on the size of your home and the extent of the asbestos presence.
  • Time-consuming: The removal process can take several days to weeks, delaying your plans to sell.
  • Potential for additional repairs: Removing asbestos siding might expose underlying damage or issues that require further repairs, adding to the overall cost and time needed.

Have Your Home Evaluated by a Professional

Before you make any repairs or updates, consult with a top local real estate agent about what your house needs. Doing so could save you significant time and money.

How much does it cost to remove asbestos siding?

The cost to remove asbestos siding varies based on several factors, including the size of the house, the amount of asbestos, and the region. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $3,500 and $11,000 for professional removal. According to Angi, the national average to replace asbestos siding is $5,700.

Larger homes or more extensive asbestos contamination can push costs higher. It’s important to get multiple quotes from licensed asbestos abatement contractors to understand the full scope and cost of the project.

Do I have to disclose asbestos siding when selling my house?

Yes, in most states, you are legally required to disclose the presence of asbestos siding when selling your home. Disclosure laws vary by state, but generally, you must inform potential buyers about any known hazardous materials, including asbestos.

Being upfront about asbestos siding can build trust with buyers and prevent legal issues down the line. Consult with a top real estate agent to ensure you meet all disclosure requirements in your area.

Asbestos siding FAQs

Selling your house with asbestos siding

Selling a house with asbestos siding can be challenging, but it’s possible with the right approach. Transparency and addressing potential buyers’ concerns are key. Ensure all legal disclosure requirements are met and consider the pros and cons of removing the asbestos siding versus leaving it in place.

For expert guidance, use HomeLight’s Agent Match to find a real estate agent experienced in dealing with asbestos siding.

If you prefer a quick, hassle-free sale, HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform can connect you with cash buyers ready to purchase your home as-is. With Simple Sale, you can receive a no-obligation cash offer in 24 hours, and close the sale in as few as 10 days.

Header Image Source: (Roger Starnes Sr/ Unsplash)