Asbestos Removal Cost

The average cost of asbestos removal is $400 - $500.

In this guide

Asbestos health problems
When to test for asbestos
Asbestos testing process
Factors affecting the cost
Types of asbestos
Asbestos location
Labor
Materials
Remove it or not remove it
Laws
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and cost
FAQ

How much does it cost to remove asbestos?

Asbestos 1 is a group of six naturally occurring minerals. Asbestos is made up of fine, durable fibers that are resistant to fire, heat, and many chemicals. Once referred to as the “miracle mineral” and used in building everyday products, asbestos is now a hazard. Asbestos becomes a hazard to health when the fibers are disturbed and become airborne. Exposure to these fibers can put a person at the risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis. For homes built in the United States or Western Europe before the 1980s, there is an increased chance of asbestos being present.

Asbestos removal should be done by a professional and not a homeowner. It is extremely important that someone who is specialized and has knowledge in the area complete the job, as the risk to one's health is very high. There are also many strict regulations in the removal of asbestos, so it is highly recommended that homeowners contact professionals to remove it.

A complete removal of asbestos from a 1,500 square foot house including walls, floors, roof, ceiling, pipes, etc. can cost upwards of $20,000-$30,000 for the project.

Asbestos health problems

Being exposed to asbestos 1 puts people at a high risk of developing many health problems. Three of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure include:

Lung cancer: an increased risk of lung cancer comes from inhalation of all different forms and types of asbestos. The greater and longer the exposure to asbestos, the higher the risk of developing lung cancer becomes. Most cases of lung cancer caused from asbestos exposure do not occur until 15 years after exposure.

Mesothelioma: all forms of asbestos have been linked to mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a very rare, aggressive form of cancer that is found in the lining of the lung, chest, abdomen, and heart. Mesothelioma often results from exposure of asbestos in the workplace. People living in neighborhoods near asbestos factories are at an increased risk. Mesothelioma takes a long time to develop, approximately 30 years or more.

Asbestosis: asbestosis is a very serious, progressive, long-term, non-cancerous disease of the lung resulting from asbestos exposure. When a person breathes in asbestos fibers, they lodge deep down in the lungs. Irritation by these fibers can lead to scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs. This can make it difficult to breathe, cause shortness of breath, and a chronic cough. Asbestosis occurs 10-20 years after initial exposure and can get worse over time.

Health conditions that are asbestos-related are difficult to identify by healthcare providers. If a doctor suspects an asbestos-related health condition, they will use tools such as chest x-rays, pulmonary function tests, and physical examinations to make a diagnosis. Sometimes, a doctor may refer patients to a specialist to make the diagnosis.

How to hire a good specialist

Asbestos 1 testing and removal should be done by an experienced professional with specialized training. Here are some things that you should consider when hiring a contractor to remove asbestos:

  • Verify that the contractor holds the appropriate licensure and permits for the job. These all vary by state and municipality, so make sure they follow the laws of your location.
  • Make sure the contractor is familiar with the EPA standards for dealing with asbestos. This is important to ensure that they know what they are doing.
  • Ask for their references and follow up on them. Ask them about other jobs they have completed in the past.
  • When the removal is complete, make sure to get a follow-up inspection to make sure the job was done correctly.

When to test for asbestos

It can be tricky to be certain if your home is contaminated with asbestos 1. Most often you will not know unless it is disclosed to you during the original building documents. Sometimes there will be identification marks which will advise you whether the material contains asbestos. For items that don’t have any asbestos marks, a specialist will have to provide asbestos testing to confirm if it is indeed present.

While asbestos can be difficult to identify, there are some signs that a home may contain asbestos. For example:

Most flat corrugated roofing and bitumen 2 roofing contain asbestos. They usually contain white asbestos, the least dangerous of the three types. If you have this type of roofing, there is a good chance that asbestos is present.

If your house was built in the 1980s or prior, chances are it is contaminated with asbestos. Houses built during this time period may contain asbestos in the walls, ceilings, insulation, floor tiles, and in pipe cement. It is a good idea to get it tested.

Flooring tiles that are 9”x9”in size, vinyl 3 tiles, and vinyl sheet with paper or millboard most likely contain asbestos. Again, the chances are higher if your home was built in the 1980s or earlier.

Old blown ceilings and ceiling tiles can contain asbestos. It is a good idea to check vent covers, cover traps, and light bases in the ceilings as these spots are open and can contain asbestos.

Grey and white insulation were widely used for fittings and insulation for pipes. If you live in an older home, there is most likely asbestos in the insulation.

Asbestos can be difficult to identify, as it was used in many different types of building supplies and can exist in many forms, from cement to ceiling tiles to loose insulation. Regardless, the fibers that are released from asbestos into the air are microscopic and harmful.

Asbestos testing process

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if asbestos 1 is present. To be certain, testing is necessary. To start the process, a professional will come in and do a sampling. This sampling process can range from $250-$750 in the standard home. The process includes the contractor coming in and spraying the area with water to keep the loose fibers from contaminating the area. A special tool is then used to cut into the substance to get a sample to be tested. This sample is placed in a sealable container to be sent to the lab for testing. An official testing of the asbestos, an AHERA (Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act) inspection, runs from $250 per sample to $1000 per sample.

Factors affecting the cost

There are many factors that can influence the cost of asbestos removal. They include:

  • Type of asbestos 4: typically, the more hazardous the type of asbestos, the more it will cost to remove it. For example, crocidolite (blue asbestos) is the most hazardous form and will cost the most to remove of the three types. The reason for this is because it will take more equipment, material, and time to make sure all of the asbestos is removed.
  • Location: it is less expensive to remove asbestos on the outside of the home. This is because it is a much easier process and can be less hazardous if any amount is missed. For areas inside the home such as insulation or in the attic, the removal process can be much more difficult. Removal of asbestos inside the house is dangerous and generally very expensive due to the safety procedures and extensive cleanup that has to be completed after the removal is complete.
  • Amount: more asbestos requires more labor, more tools, and more time. As expected, a larger asbestos project will cost more than a smaller one. It is a good idea, however, to complete everything at once when it comes to asbestos costs. Often, professionals will offer discounts for larger projects and charge more for multiple smaller ones.

Types of asbestos

There are three main types of asbestos 1: chrysotile (white asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), and amosite (brown asbestos). The chart below illustrates the characteristics of types of asbestos, their location, and the cost of removal of asbestos in the average size home.

       TypesCharacteristics/LocationCost of removal/hour (1500 sq. ft. home)

Chrysotile (white asbestos)



Most common form of asbestos


Long, curly fibers


Found in roofs, ceilings, walls, and floors. Also used in pipe insulation, gaskets 4, boiler seals, and automobile brake linings

$200-$300

Crocidolite (blue asbestos)





Considered the most hazardous form


Very rare


Needle-like fibers that are sharp


Most commonly used to insulate steam engines and for high-temperature applications

$600-$700

Amosite (brown asbestos)




Considered the second most hazardous form


Needle-like fibers


Strong heat resistance


Frequently used in cement sheet and pipe insulation. Also found in insulating board, ceiling tiles, and thermal insulation products

$400-$500


Asbestos location

Asbestos 1 can be located in many areas of the home. When it was used, asbestos had many uses for many different things. The chart below illustrates some of the locations that asbestos can be found and what it was used for.

LocationUses

Boiler room

Used to insulate steam pipes, boilers, and furnace ducts.These can release asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or removed incorrectly.

Ceilings/Ceiling Tiles

Asbestos was used in acoustic ceilings 5 called “popcorn ceilings 5” or “cottage cheese ceilings”.

Cement

Asbestos was used in cement mixtures to make it more fire and heat resistant.

Garden sheds

Used in roofing in garden sheds.

Roofs

Used in cement roofing, shingles 6, and siding.

Tiles

Used as the backing on vinyl 3 sheet flooring and as an adhesive for installing floor tile. If floors are scraped or sanded 7, they can release asbestos fibers.

Water tanks

Used in insulating water tanks as a preventative measure for heat loss.


Labor

The labor costs associated with asbestos 1 removal vary depending on the contractor and circumstances. Sometimes they will charge per project or per hour. For an average 1,500 square foot house, a contractor will charge anywhere between $200 and $700 per hour. This is all dependent on the size of the area, how much asbestos is present, and the location. A complete removal of asbestos from a 1,500 square foot house including walls, floors, roof, ceiling, pipes, etc. can cost upwards of $20,000-$30,000 for the project. This includes testing, proper preparation of the contaminated area, as well as the removal of the asbestos. Some contractors will charge a minimum fee of $1,500-$3,000 per job regardless of how small the job is. Also, some contractors will insist that an entire project, or a set budget is managed in a single job. For example, if someone is looking to have the asbestos from their roof removed, a contractor may suggest doing more than just the roof at one time. This process is very tedious to complete for just a single area job. However, this could mean that a budgeted $1,500 project may end up in the $3,000 range instead.

Materials

Materials are a big factor in the cost of asbestos 1 removal. Professionals require special gear and materials for safe removal.In the chart below are some of the materials needed to remove asbestos as well as their average cost.

MaterialsAverage cost

Disposable coveralls

$50/pair

Disposable gloves

$10/box

Eyewear

$20/pair

HEPA vacuum

$1000/vacuum

Respirators

$150/unit

Rubber boots

$30/pair


Remove it or not remove it

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are some cases where asbestos 1 should be removed, and some where it should not. If you think you have asbestos in your home, don’t touch it. If the area or materials that contain the asbestos  do not present a hazard, do not disturb them as they can then produce dust that contains asbestos fibers. For example, ceilings or walls that contain asbestos that are in good condition and painted pose no risk to health. They only become hazardous when you start fixing them.  

If asbestos is present and disturbed it can release fibers into the environment, and these fibers can be inhaled. In these situations, the asbestos can be a large risk to your health and a professional should be called in to remove the asbestos.

Laws

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has very strict rules on asbestos 1 removal. The EPA regulates asbestos in public, commercial, and school buildings, and has passed multiple local, state, and federal laws and regulations that all professionals must follow for testing and removing asbestos. Once the job is completed, the contractor must be able to prove that all the procedures were followed through thoroughly.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Asbestos encapsulation

Asbestos 1 encapsulation is the process of sealing asbestos within a protective shell. This can be done for many reasons, but is usually done in cases where it is impossible to remove all the asbestos present. These capsules help to contain all asbestos fibers that are present, without demolishing an entire structure or an area. The price of asbestos encapsulation runs around $2 to $6 per square foot.

Home repairs after asbestos removal

In addition to the cost of having the asbestos removed, you should also take into consideration home repair costs after the removal. For example, if you are having your roof removed due to asbestos contamination, you will have to replace your roof after the removal is done. This can add extra fees onto the cost of the asbestos removal. The same concept applies to having tiles, walls, or piping removed due to asbestos.  

Additional considerations and cost

  • In most states, it is mandatory to disclose the presence of asbestos 1 to the buyers of your home.
  • It is always important to be prepared for asbestos, especially if you are living in an older home. While removal is being completed, you and your family may have to temporarily relocate.
  • When looking for a professional to remove the asbestos, it is important to make sure to hire a person that has insurance, has a waste carriers license, and holds relevant asbestos licenses. You want to make sure that they know what they are doing because it is a big safety risk. Also, if something were to happen to them during the removal, they need to be covered under insurance so that you aren’t reliable.
  • Areas that are hard to reach such as steep roofs and trees, can make asbestos removal more difficult.
  • For anyone buying an old home, it is recommended that the home be checked for asbestos. Asbestos was used in older homes for a number of things such as insulation and in flooring. Asbestos flakes and crumbles very easily, so you want to make sure that the fibers aren’t in the air.
  • To avoid conflict of interest, have materials tested by one company and abatement or removal done by another company.
  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are no federal regulations that ban a homeowner from removing asbestos from his or her own residence. However, the EPA recommends that you hire a professional so that the job is done correctly.
  • The worksite must be sealed off from the rest of the house and clearly marked as a hazard. This is so that no one exposes themselves to the asbestos fibers.
  • When calculating the cost for asbestos removal don’t forget to take into account any renovation costs. If tiles that are removed and discarded, you will need to pay for new tiles to be installed. This can increase the overall cost.
  • When the job is completed, get written proof from the contractor that all the procedures were complete and followed correctly. Make sure to get a follow-up check from a licensed asbestos inspector.

FAQ

  • How much asbestos can I remove myself?

It is highly recommended that you don’t remove asbestos 1 yourself. It puts you at a huge risk for developing many health conditions if exposed to any of the fibers.

  • Do you need to remove asbestos?

If the area or materials that contain the asbestos in the home do not present a hazard, do not disturb them as they can produce dust that contains asbestos fibers.

  • How do you clean up asbestos?

Asbestos is cleaned up using a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum. This vacuum is able to pick up asbestos particles as small as 0.5 microns. It is also efficient at preventing the release of any fibers into the air.

  • How do I get rid of asbestos?

To get rid of asbestos, it is important to hire a professional to do the job. You need someone that is licensed and experienced in the area.

  • How much does it cost to remove asbestos popcorn ceiling?

The cost to remove an asbestos popcorn ceiling in a 10x10 room averages between $700 and $1500.

  • How much does it cost to have your house tested for asbestos?

The average cost to have your house tested for asbestos is $1,500.

Was this guide helpful to you?
  

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Asbestos: A group of fire-resistant silicate minerals found in construction materials including paint, particularly in older homes. When the asbestos deteriorates, particles can become airborne and this is a serious health hazard.
2 Bitumen: A viscous, black mixture of hydrocarbons often used for roofing and waterproofing. It is also used in asphalt for paving roads
3 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
4 Gaskets: A seal that fills the space between two or more surfaces that are joined together, allowing a tight seal even when the surfaces do not fit against each other perfectly
5 Acoustic ceilings: (Also known as Popcorn ceilings) A spray-on or paint-on treatment for the upper interior surface of a room which has a rough curd-like texture and is used to hide imperfections, absorb sound, and reduce echoes
6 Shingles: A smooth, uniform, flat piece of construction material, available in a wide variety of materials and laid in a series of overlapping rows, used to cover the outside of roofs or walls to protect against weather damage and leaks.
7 Sanded: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)

Cost to remove asbestos varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Ann Arbor, MI
+13%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Boston, MA
+40%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Camillus, NY
+8%
Chandler, AZ
-2%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Durham, NC
-1%
Fayetteville, NC
-20%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Gardena, CA
+9%
Garland, TX
+8%
Honolulu, HI
+35%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jersey City, NJ
+23%
Lawrenceville, GA
+16%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milton, MA
+43%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Nashville, TN
+21%
New Orleans, LA
+35%
New York, NY
+77%
Norfolk, VA
-6%
Oceanside, CA
+8%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Rochester, NY
+6%
Salem, MA
+19%
Salt Lake City, UT
-6%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Seattle, WA
+9%
Silver Spring, MD
+25%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Staten Island, NY
+26%
Van Nuys, CA
+11%
Washington, DC
+23%
Wilmington, DE
+9%
Winston Salem, NC
-1%

Labor cost in your zip code

Last modified:   
Methodology and sources