What is that shingle-like material used on the outside of older houses, and is it dangerous?

I own an old home, built during WWII. It was originally intended as temporary housing, but was never replaced. So, of course, they did not use the best materials. It is wood-frame, and originally the outside material was a kind of board that looks like roof shingles, but with that gross brick-like pattern that fools no one.

There were two additions to the house, built onto the back, and one is a sun room. I want to open up the walls, by stripping off the paneling, and the paneling and old gypsum board it is over on the other side of the wall, to reveal the skeleton of that wall. I want to do this to improve airflow and heat/cool-air distribution. However, I pulled back the paneling in the sun room, on what was once the outside wall, and discovered that some, but not all, of the cladding, or whatever you call that material, was removed, it was just paneled over. So, I have three questions RE this:

First, what is that material called -- the cladding on the outside of a house, that looks life roof shingles?

Second, is this material dangerous? Does it contain, say, asbestos, or is it safe for me to remove on my own, without any special precautions?

Third, if it is dangerous, because it contains asbestos, or something like it, how bad is it to have it sitting between what is now an inside wall? ( I have cut a legal-paper size hole to reveal what is going on.)

5 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Asbestos is only hazardous if it becomes airborne; as an inhalable dust. You would have to peel off this old siding, put it in a blender and inhale it for two decades for it to be a health hazard.

    Otherwise, it is an inert, organic product.

    I tore that same material off my house 40 years ago and recently had a chest X-ray.

    They did not find any wall shingles in my lungs.

  • 5 years ago


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  • 7 years ago

    They used to use something called insulbrick. It looked like roof shingles, sort of, but had a brick pattern. If that sounds like what you have, google it. I can't remember what it's made of. If it has asbestos and it just sits there, that's not a problem. The problem comes when you disturb an asbestos-containing material, because that's when you can get asbestos dust that you breathe and breathing it is what can make you sick. Asbestos just sitting there doesn't hurt anyone

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  • 7 years ago

    friend, eternit please

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