Working with asbestos material is absolutely dangerous and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but there are asbestos safety tips and steps you can take to minimize the danger and work safely with certain asbestos-containing materials.
The most important safety tip is to use the best tool you have at your disposal: your brain. Understand the nature of the material and the potential health risks and consequences.
Learn about the different types of asbestos and which building products they were added to.
When wrestling with the decision to tackle any removal or renovation job yourself involving asbestos — as opposed to hiring a licensed contractor with specialized abatement experience and equipment — don’t devalue the peace of mind of knowing you didn’t scrimp on something important.
Still ready to remove or repair that asbestos siding yourself? Then you’ll need to be prepared and armed with the proper equipment for the job.
Asbestos Siding Safety Equipment
The good news is that you won’t need highly specialized safety equipment for working with contaminated siding due to the nature of the material and the fact that it’s installed outdoors.
The most important piece of equipment is a respirator to prevent any inhalation of fibers. Remember, with asbestos it’s the fibers that are dangerous when material is broken and disturbed, so be sure to buy a respirator that’s rated for the situation.
We highly recommend the MSA toxic dust respirator shown to the right. It’s rated for working with asbestos and you’ll get a cheaper price at Amazon.
It can also be confusing if shopping at Lowes or Home Depot to know if a particular respirator is the one you need, while ordering online guarantees you get the exact model necessary.
Once you’re armed with a respirator, the next step is to get a disposable Tyvek suit. You’ll need to dispose of any clothes you wear when working to avoid bringing fibers into your home, so a disposable Tyvek suit is essential.
Tyvek suits are pretty generic so you can find these at your local big box store but again, you’ll often save a little money shopping at Amazon and can buy everything you’ll need with a few clicks of the mouse.
You’ll also need a quality pair of goggles that won’t fog up as you’re working outdoors, especially if it’s summer and you live in a warm location. They’ll also need to be rated for mold work, which means the seal around your face is tight and prevents any fibers from entering.
The Dewalt goggles shown here are a great choice, rated for mold work and anti-fog as well. You’ll also be able to use the goggles and respirator for any other home improvement jobs you tackle so it pays to spend a little for the best equipment possible.
Any siding material you remove will need to be double-bagged in 6 ml contractor bags and labeled appropriately as containing asbestos waste. You can also buy rolls of 6 ml plastic and place the siding in the middle and cut to size, wrapping the siding and then tapping the edges.