Monday, September 3, 2012

Insulbrik The siding which looked like brick but was made with Asphalt

Asphalt Siding more commonly known as Insulbrik and similar spelled names   where I live was a fantastic way to cover up your wood frame home and not always have to paint it.  Produced by company's like Armstrong industries it was used up till 1960's  when it fell out of favor for aluminum siding .
Asphalt Siding has been around for more than 100 years  but some building inspectors and insurance company's do not like it for the fact it burns extremely fast and hot when ignited with proper amount of heat. In some extreme cases people have not been able to get homeowners insurance until it was removed . There have also been concerns of asbestos being used in the material as well which all but doomed this material from being further sold.
In some cases yes there are very valid safety concerns when the material has deteriorated and started flaking and had many holes drilled thru it . But as you can see on this old home in Parnassus section of Westmoreland county it has been carefully preserved and in excellent shape. 
In some cases instead of removing it home owners put new siding right over it in an attempt to make it less burnable from an external flame source but may have actually made things worse.
Do to the fact these homes are wood framed and balloon constructed they all burn fast  since air can penetrate the construction and increase the fires intensity.
As a home owner should you be worried. Yes I would as with any old wood frame balloon constructed home you have old wiring ,balloon construction , lead paint etc. so yes I would make sure I have proper smoke alarms and CO detector in the home as well as extinguishers and use caution when using anything electrical and have it checked as well and have a workable escape program in place. Living in an old home does not mean your in eminent danger if you use good common sense and practice  Millions of people live in old homes  all there lives and never had a problem.

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