Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
EXTERIORS of buildings
ADHESIVES, EXTERIOR CONSTRUCTION
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
ALGAE, FUNGUS, LICHENS, MOSS
ANIMAL ENTRY POINTS in buildings
ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING COMPONENT ID
BARK SIDE UP on DECKS & STEPS
BASEMENT WALKOUTS & COVERS
BRICK STRUCTURAL WALL Loose Bulged
BRICK VENEER WALL Loose, Bulged
BRICK WALL DRAINAGE WEEP HOLES
BOOKSTORE - EXTERIORS
CAULK GUN TYPES, CHOICES
CAULKS & SEALANTS, EXTERIOR
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
DECK & PORCH CONSTRUCTION
DECK FINISHES COATINGS PRESERVATIVES
DRYWELLS, FRENCH DRAINS for FLAT SITES
EIFS & STUCCO EXTERIORS
EXTERIOR WALL SIDING TRIM & FINISHES
EXTRACTIVE BLEEDING STAINS
FLASHING ROOF-WALL SNAFU
GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION
GLUES ADHESIVES, EXTERIOR CONSTRUCTION
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
HOUSE PARTS, DEFINITIONS
HOUSEWRAP / SHEATHING WRAP
ICE DAM PREVENTION
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
LEAD POISONING HAZARDS GUIDE
LOG HOME GUIDE
PAINT & STAIN GUIDE, EXTERIOR
PORCH CONSTRUCTION & SCREENING
RAILINGS, DECK & PORCH
RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
RETAINING WALL GUARD RAILINGS
ROOF CLEANING RECOMMENDATIONS
ROT RESISTANT LUMBER
SHEATHING, Gypsum board
Sheathing Celotex Homasote & Other
SHEATHING, FOIL FACED - VENTS
SIDING TYPES, INSTALLATION, DEFECTS
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
STONE VENEER WALLS
STUCCO WALL METHODS & INSTALLATION
SURFACE GRADING, SITE DRAINAGE
Thermal Expansion Cracking of Brick
TREES & SHRUBS, TRIM OFF BUILDING
TRIM, EXTERIOR CHOICES, INSTALLATION
VINYL Siding or PLASTIC Window ODORS
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WATER ENTRY in buildings
WINDOWS & DOORS
Asphalt building siding: this article provides photographs of asphalt-based siding products and discusses common defects observed in asphalt exterior building siding, such as buckling, splitting, cracks, odors, and questions about the need for a vapor barrier behind asphalt siding and over building sheathing. Included are comments from several recognized building inspection and construction authorities.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Our page top photo shows an asphalt shingle sided home located in Two Harbors, Minnesota. If you click to enlarge the picture you'll see that an apparent asphalt siding repair was made above the second floor windows.
Asphalt siding material was made in two common versions, one much like asphalt roof shingles but in larger sheets (right-side of the building photo at left) and the other was comprised of an asphalt coating laminated to hardboard siding material (the leftmost building wall in our photograph at left).
Commonly made to look like brick, asphalt building siding also appears in faux-stone versions (not to be mistaken for "perma stone" which has been sold since the 1960's as an exterior wall covering) and even in a wood-shingle lookalike, as well as a utilitarian covering that was unabashedly plain asphalt sheeting.
It would be rare to find asphalt-based exterior siding material as original wall cladding on a building; usually it was applied over wood clapboards which in turn were badly in need of paint or repair.
Asphalt building siding was a popular building renovation alternative to painting weathered or rotted wood clapboard or wood shingle siding as early as the 1930's and popular particularly in the 1940's and the 1950's in North America where it was used both for low-cost housing and for covering the deteriorated exterior walls of older homes.
The development of the aluminum siding industry (introduced in the 1940's) and later the vinyl siding industry after World War II meant that few buildings of that later era were covered with asphalt shingle or slab material.
Don't mistake mineral-granule-covered roll roofing that may have been nailed-up on a building wall for an asphalt siding product. Roofing products were not usually designed for use on a vertical surface and are likely to be found falling off unless extra nails were used. You can easily spot roll roofing on a building because of its length - you will find long horizontal runs, perhaps 15 feet or more (rarely vertical) without seams.
Here we provide identification photos of several types of asphalt-based building siding materials and a list of asphalt-sided building inspection, diagnosis, and repair suggestions.
Asphalt building siding products are typically composed of asphalt shingle-like material: colored mineral granules bonded to an organic or wood-product base with asphalt. The asphalt building siding shown just below is based on a hardboard substrate and is quite rigid when installed.
Just below we provide photographs of a thin asphalt exterior wall covering found on a building in Hudson, NY. This asphalt wall shingle product appeared to have no mineral granule coating whatsoever. Notice that the stunning number of roofing nails used to affix this exterior asphalt cladding did not make much difference in how the wall covering endured.
The two asphalt sheet siding photographs (below) show two defects often found on older buildings: falling siding where nails have been removed or lost (below left) and mechanical damage or tears in the siding (below-right). The asphalt siding product shown at below right (produced on an all asphalt substrate similar to asphalt roof shingles) is different from the product at left (produced on a hardboard substrate). A closeup photograph of the hardboard substrate of this asphalt siding is shown at below-right.
Asphalt sheet siding - paper substrate is shown in the photographs just below. You can see that this material may lose its granule coating to expose the asphalt-impregnated felt or paper base.
Our photo at below-left shows that this hardboard-based asphalt building siding was installed over wood lath. We pose that the original building wall had been covered by stucco.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Asphalt Building Siding
Can I Still Buy Asphalt-Based Exterior Siding?
Can you tell me where to buy faux asphalt brick siding? I live in New York. - N. verizon.net
We have not found any of the U.S. asphalt product manufacturers such as GAF, Certainteed, Oldcastle who currently produce asphalt-based building siding such as the brick-pattern you asked about.
The asphalt-based brick pattern exterior siding products found on some older buildings were generally produced by the same companies who produced asphalt-based roofing shingles.
Asphalt-based [roof shingle material on an organic (paper mat) or asphalt on hardboard] siding products were later supplanted by cement-asbestos siding-shingles, then aluminum siding and steel siding, then currently by vinyl siding.
We are doubtful you would find a current supplier of new asphalt siding products today, but I'll continue to look for such a source.
CONTACT us if you find a modern source, use, and building-code approval for asphalt-based faux-brick or similar pattern exterior siding.
Can I Use Roof Shingles for Exterior Siding?
We do not recommend using roof shingles for exterior siding, but if you are going to attempt that anyway, be sure that you follow the appropriate vertical and near-vertical nailing instructions for the roof shingles. Otherwise you'll find them falling off of the building. See SIDING ASPHALT ROOF SHINGLES on WALLS for details.
Does Old Asphalt Building Siding Contain Asbestos
I was just wondering if the Brick looking asphalt siding ever contained any asbestos or hazardous material. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.
I need to remove some of this product but will use a knife to cut it into pieces and bag it appropriately. Also i am having a room demo that is 20x38 and the drywall joint compound is suspected to have chrysotile asbestos contained. I have taken appropriate measures and have sealed of the area with 6mil poly and taped the joints. Should this upon removal be sprayed with water or are the asbestos crystals encapsulated in joint compound. Have you come across this situation. Thank-You. D.T., Canada
A competent onsite inspection by an expert might confirm the age and type of this particular asphalt-siding product, and also, based on the probable building age, it is certainly possible that other asbestos-containing materials are present. That said, here are some things to consider:
In general I think you are referring to an asphalt product that is made essentially of the same material as asphalt roof shingles, though some versions applied bituminous and asphalt and mineral granules to a hardboard base rather than a paper ("organic") base.
Some asphalt roof shingle products, and therefore quite possibly some asphalt siding products, did indeed contain asbestos fibers in their substrate or coating. Roof shingles, even if the material contained asbestos (which it might) are rarely the only nor even the principal source of problem-levels of asbestos fibers in a building and I suspect the same is true of asphalt-based building siding. That's because the asbestos fibers are encapsulated in asphalt or similar non-friable bases.
There might be a concern if building demolition is underway and the removal of old siding created dust - especially if power tools such as power saws or grinders were used.
Watch out: if that's going on with your building it would be prudent to use appropriate dust control measures and to minimize the break-up of the material, and especially, to avoid using power saws. And there may be provincial or local municipal regulations that govern the demolition and removal of these materials.
Questions and answers about asphalt-based building siding products.
Ask a Question or Enter Search Terms in the InspectApedia search box just below.
Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.