It’s very difficult to repair asbestos siding but the good news is that you can often find new replacement siding that matches the look and feel of older siding but contains no asbestos whatsoever. This lets you replace old cracked and broken siding pieces while maintaining the same look and feel of your home.
If you're dead set on repairing asbestos siding, it's possible to patch in some small areas where siding has cracked or where gaps have appeared, but the textured and grooved nature of most old asbestos siding makes it very difficult to hide these patch and repair jobs.
You're almost always better off replacing entire pieces of siding instead of trying to repair bit and pieces here and there. Several manufacturers make fiber cement siding that looks nearly identical to older siding.
Risks of Replacing Siding
The decision to repair and replace any siding that contains asbestos always carries a certain amount of risk, with care required to not disturb and make friable any asbestos fibers.
Asbestos fibers can also settle on your clothing if you do break and disturb the material, leading to the possible contamination of your home -- and anyone living in it -- if you bring the fibers inside.
While most cases of mesothelioma and asbestosis stem from prolonged exposure to asbestos -- far more than you'd bring inside -- science still doesn't understand all the contributing factors to diseases stemming from asbestos exposure.
Finding Replacement Asbestos Siding
As far as finding replacement siding, various types and styles are now available from companies such as GAF,, with the GAF Weatherside line of fiber cement siding being one of the most popular and readily available.
Made to mimic the look and feel of older asbestos siding, the GAF Weatherside line comes in a variety of styles and textures, with all of the fiber cement siding completely safe and asbestos-free, so the siding can be sawn, cut, and drilled as needed with no worries whatsoever.
You should be able to find replacement siding at big box retailers such as Home Depot or Lowes, as well as at some roofing supply yards.
Tips for Replacing Siding
Take appropriate care and precautions when removing and disposing of old asbestos siding pieces. In most cases you can pry out old pieces in one intact piece, which is very important as asbestos only becomes dangerous when it's broken and made friable and fibers are released into the air.
Be sure to wet down the siding before working with it and double bag any pieces of old asbestos siding in contractor bags and dispose of according to your local and state laws.