Painting Asbestos Siding: Dos-Don’ts, Tips and Tricks

If you live in an older home with asbestos siding, you may be wondering if it’s possible to paint over it. “The good news is that painting asbestos siding is indeed an option.“ In this …

Painting Asbestos Siding

If you live in an older home with asbestos siding, you may be wondering if it’s possible to paint over it.

The good news is that painting asbestos siding is indeed an option.

In this blog post, we will explore the dos and don’ts, as well as provide you with tips and tricks for successfully painting asbestos siding.

Is It Better to Paint Asbestos Tile Siding or Replace It?

When it comes to asbestos tile siding, you may be faced with the decision of whether to paint over it or replace it entirely. While asbestos abatement or removal can be expensive, painting the siding is a more affordable alternative.

Unless the asbestos is deteriorating and causing health concerns, painting the siding is a viable option.

Benefits of Painting Asbestos Siding

There are several benefits to painting asbestos siding instead of replacing it:

  1. Paint adheres well to asbestos siding, making it easy to cover.
  2. Paint can protect the siding from deterioration, extending its lifespan.
  3. Painting the siding prevents it from becoming a health hazard.
  4. Painting is a cost-effective solution compared to complete replacement.
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What paint to use on asbestos siding?

The recommended choice for painting asbestos cement siding is latex paint, which provides optimal adhesion when applied over a latex primer base coat.

It is important to select a high-quality satin latex paint and ensure proper preparation of the tiles to achieve a flawless finish. Latex paint is specifically formulated to resist the alkali found in cements and masonry, which can cause alkyd and oil paints to deteriorate.

Additionally, latex paint allows air and moisture to pass through, enabling dampness to escape and preventing the formation of unsightly paint blisters and cracks.

Is It Safe to Paint Over Asbestos Siding?

In general, it is safer to paint over asbestos siding than to remove it. The process of asbestos removal can release harmful fibers into the air, posing a risk of inhalation. However, when preparing the surface for painting, certain safety precautions must be taken to minimize the risk of asbestos exposure.

How to Prep for Painting Asbestos Siding

Before you start painting asbestos siding, it’s essential to properly prepare the surface. Here are the recommended steps:

  1. Test for Lead-Based Paint: Since asbestos and lead-based paint were commonly used around the same time, it’s crucial to test for lead content. Samples can be analyzed using a test kit available online.
  2. Clean the Siding: Regardless of the presence of lead-based paint, cleaning the siding is necessary. Avoid using heat or dry, abrasive methods that may release asbestos fibers. Pressure washing on a low setting or hand scrubbing with a solution of dish detergent and warm water are safe options.
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How to Paint Over Asbestos Siding

Once the surface is prepped, painting asbestos siding follows the same principles as painting any other exterior surface. Here are some tips:

  1. Choose a Good Primer: Start with a thick, water-based, 100% acrylic latex primer to create a smooth finish and prevent peeling.
  2. Consider Encapsulant Paint: Encapsulant paints are specifically designed to contain and control hazards from lead-based paint. They also create a protective barrier on asbestos siding, preventing cracking and the release of asbestos particles.
  3. Opt for Latex Paint: If encapsulant paint is not used, 100% acrylic exterior latex paint is a suitable choice. It resists alkali in asbestos cement siding and allows air and moisture to pass through, preventing paint blisters and cracks.
  4. Select the Right Color: Any paint color can look great on asbestos siding. Choose a color that matches your home’s style or personal preference. Consider the trim color as well for a cohesive look.

Safety Precautions

When painting asbestos siding, it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some precautions to remember:

  1. Avoid sanding or scraping the siding, as it can release asbestos fibers.
  2. Wear a dust mask and disposable coveralls to protect yourself.
  3. If possible, use a respirator to prevent inhalation of asbestos fibers.

How do you remove peeling paint from asbestos siding?

To remove peeling paint from asbestos siding, it’s crucial to follow a safe and careful approach. Here’s a paraphrased version of the steps:

  1. Dampen the Area: Before beginning the removal process, dampen the affected section of the asbestos siding by spraying water on it using a spray bottle. This step helps to minimize the release of asbestos fibers.
  2. Gently Remove Loose Paint: Using a soft nylon kitchen spatula, carefully and gently remove any loose or flaking paint from the surface. It’s important not to forcefully scrape or try to remove any paint that is firmly adhered to the siding. Remember to maintain a damp environment while working on the area.
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Can you spray paint over asbestos?

Indeed, it is possible to “paint” over asbestos-containing materials such as asbestos paint, textured ceilings, and siding, but it must be done using a compound that meets the legal criteria for encapsulation.

Encapsulation involves applying a specialized coating or compound that effectively seals and contains the asbestos fibers, preventing their release into the air.

Encapsulation is considered a viable option for managing asbestos-containing materials, as it provides a protective barrier without the need for complete removal or building new structures.

However, it is crucial to ensure that the chosen encapsulation product meets regulatory requirements and is specifically designed for asbestos encapsulation.

Alternatively, if encapsulation is not a suitable or permitted option, other approaches include constructing a new structure that entirely covers the asbestos-containing material or complete removal of the material. Both of these methods involve more extensive and costly processes, but they eliminate the presence of asbestos.


Jayden Martin is a talented individual who excels in multiple creative domains. As a color expert, painter, and DIY hobbyist, Jayden possesses a deep understanding of color theory and its application in various artistic endeavors. With a keen eye for aesthetics and a knack for DIY projects, Jayden constantly explores new techniques and mediums, pushing the boundaries of their artistic abilities.