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cutting asbestos shingles

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Our 45 year old beautiful colonial 4 bedroom went up on the market yesterday. I have done so much to that girl over the last decade and it shows. I have one and only one project left to do before Sunday's open house (I will be on the sods, trying not to think about it).

I have asked alot of smart tradesman and cannot yet figure out how to cut old asbestos shingles . I installed a window where a awful leakin door was. I have a stock of the original asbestos shingles and I just want to get enough to fill the 34" x 4 foot section. I have tried a jigsaw, a circ saw with a sanding wheel. I Keep busting them and I might run out.

Any ideas? Please help me finish this phase of my life and move on to screwing up other projects in the new house .
post #2 of 20
Have you tried to scar it and snap it off on a sharp edge?
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I asked a guy that he said jig saw. I can certainly try it. I wonder if I use my tile snapper?
post #4 of 20
Shipwreck - do you have a table saw? If so, you might want to buy a cheap plywood/veneer/laminate cutting blade. Or a chop saw might work, less control of the cut, but easier to clean up afterwards.

The ones I buy for making cuts in delicate materials are around $20 for the cheapest ones, have 200 teeth in a 10" blade (Oldham plywood blade). Once I am done with a project, I toss the blade. I can cut laminates,shingles, linoleum tiles, and metal transition moldings with these blades. Avail in big box home improvement stores.

Caution!! - IF you decide to use this method, plse be very aware of the dangers of releasing friable asbestos fibers in the air. You should do it outside, near the back of or a less traveled corner of your property. If you have children who may play in that area, you should really think about thoroughly containing the debris and dust from cutting. At the very least, put a cheap piece of plastic under the work space, brush off the saw, and dispose of the plastic and all cuttings carefully when done. Wear a mask, with a bandana under the mask.

If that seems too involved, remember that the asbestos that will harm you is too small to see, but travels very easily into your lungs, where it will lodge quite nicely. I had an uncle that died from cancer due to short-term asbestos exposure in Johns Manville when he was younger. Anytime I am around asbestos, I am over-cautious. IMO can't be too careful when your life can be endangered from careless procedures you may have followed 20 years ago. Good luck - Dark
post #5 of 20
Originally Posted by jager1 View Post
Have you tried to scar it and snap it off on a sharp edge?

I've done this in the past, use a sharp utility knife, score it nice and deep, then you can snap it over an edge. Best bet for not destroying the shingle.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am gonna try and snap first.
DS I was spraying it with water to try and keep the fibers down, I also had a mask and nobody else around.
Thanks for the help guys.
post #7 of 20
You need an asbestos shingle cutter.
Any good rental place will have one.
If you only need to make one or two cuts, ya might try flipping the guy a $20 spot to let ya cut em there, without taking it home.
Else, rent it for a half day.
Also, there is a hole punch on the top of the cutter for you to make a nail hole.

I've tried a number of different ways to cut them over the years, and nothing works as good as the cutter meant for the job.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
I knew there had to be a tool for it. Thanks Ben
btw, been enjoying the pond builing progress
post #9 of 20
post #10 of 20
Are you guys F'n nuts? Knowingly releasing Friable Asbestos into the air. Is plain stupid, and in many states, illegal as hell. These fibers will forever be in your lungs and the lungs of anyone around you while you work. Asbestos is forever my friend. Besides your homeowner insurance, town code enforcement, DEP, and whomever else would like to jump on will be on your back for years to come. In this sue happy world, think about the possibilities.
For you own safety never cut dry asbestos. Always have a simple solution of amended (soapy) water on hand. The water keeps the fibers from becoming airborne greatly reducing their danger. That does not end your responibility though. You should tarp the area, and the ground, to contain any loose fibers and amended water. Wear a respirator, gloves, and tyvec suit approved for Asbestos.
Once the job is done its your responsibility not to knowingly release suspected ACM's (asbestos containing materials) into the atmosphere or local waste stream.
Double bag all suspected AMC waste, tape and seal openings of bags with duck tape and deliver to the proper authorities for disposal.
Doing this work yourself is opening yourself up to huge liability lawsuits. I hope and pray your neighbors either are stupid or live far away. If one catches wind of what you are doing then later tests positive for Asbestosis you are screwed. My suggestion to you would be to hire a professional Asbestos Abatement company and let them do the work. They have the training and are insured to boot.
BTW how much of the dust have you already sucked on?
post #11 of 20
Okay Pete, all good points, but settle down a bit there bud

The shingle cutter made for the job is nothing more than a clamp that breaks the shingle for you.
No cutting involved at all.
And the hole punch works better than any drill bit.
post #12 of 20
I'll go lay down now.
post #13 of 20
You can buy identical looking,non asbestos replacement shingles at larger roofing & siding places. You can cut then with any fine toothed saw.
post #14 of 20
The shingles on the side of my house are made of asbestos. Not roofing tiles, shingles / shakes that overlap with a fake wood grain. I have tried to find the replacements Speed Racer mentions but I can not find them anywhere in Southern California (San Diego specifically). Also some are beginning to break, discolor and are getting funky. I really need to either stain the whole lot (painting becomes a nightmare down the road when the paint may peel then need scraping) so I opted for staining with a penetrating stain. Any suggestions on exactly what stain to use? Also if you have any suggestions on restoring the finish (acid bath wash etc.) please let me know here is the picture. Notice the discoloration at the base of the house and how uneven the tone of the shakes are... looks old and moldy! You can reach me at monogram1 at cox dot net ...

post #15 of 20
We bought shears to cut Hardy plank, which is alot like the A stuff. They may work. Ben, Is that what you were referring to? If you go to there website, you can view them.
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