Once known as the “miracle mineral,” asbestos was regularly used in everyday building projects until the 80s due to its durable fibers and resistance to heat, fire, and many types of chemicals. Exposure to asbestos fibers has been linked to major health conditions, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Because of this, it is now deemed a health hazard and typically removed during any type of renovation process.
Asbestos removal is a complicated and sometimes dangerous process that requires specialized knowledge to complete the job. The strict regulations surrounding the removal of asbestos and the high risk to the remover’s health make this a task that a professional should always do. Removing asbestos from an entire home, including walls, floor, roof, ceiling, and pipes, can be expensive. Prices vary mainly depending on the location where asbestos are found. On average, asbestos abatement costs $400 - $500, with the average homeowner paying $475 per hour for testing and removal of brown asbestos inside the house. Costs can be as low as $200 per hour for removing white asbestos from the outside of a home, but they can also run as high as $700 per hour to remove blue asbestos from throughout your home and make necessary repairs from the removal.
|Asbestos Removal Price|
|National average cost||$475|
Most of the costs of asbestos 1 clean-up are related to labor, which you can expect to pay between $400 and $500 per hour on average. Labor costs consist of preparation and setup, the removal process, and proper disposal. In some cases, testing and reboarding may be included or added as a separate charge. For a 1,500 sq. ft. home, it will likely take eight hours with two or more workers, totaling around $7,600 for the complete project. Below you will see what goes into the asbestos removal process and the average costs associated with each step.
|Labor||Average Removal Cost|
|Pre-clean and Setup||$240 - $350 per hour|
|Removal||$150 - $250 per hour|
|Disposal||$10 - $50 per cubic yard|
|Testing||$250 - $800 per test|
|Reboarding||$5 - $25 per square foot|
The largest expense in the asbestos remediation process is the pre-clean and set-up process, which runs between $240 and $350 per hour. Your professional has to disable your HVAC system to prevent fibers from moving through the home. They have to install an entirely new electrical system. This system prevents contamination of air outside of the prepped area through negative air pressure units, which is what the new system will be used to power.
They will seal the area, cover anything necessary, and post signage. They will install a decontamination enclosure system and clean-up using a special HEPA vacuum. Disposable containers will be prepared and labeled, and transportation to appropriate dumpsites will be arranged.
The asbestos removal process costs anywhere from $150 to $250 per hour, depending on where the asbestos is located and the condition of the material. During the removal process, a contractor will use a wet method and hand tools to remove the asbestos material. They will wear protective clothing and remove it as safely as possible to avoid releasing more asbestos fibers into the air than necessary.
Asbestos will be disposed of in specifically designed containers appropriately labeled and brought to a dumpsite designed to take in hazardous materials such as asbestos. The amount you pay for disposal depends on how much space the material takes in the landfill and runs around $10 to $50 per cubic yard. All removed material has to go to the disposal site in a specifically marked truck, which the contractor will arrange before the removal process begins.
Asbestos testing is an important part of the removal process and runs between $250 and $800 depending on the area's size and the amount of material being tested. Initial testing will determine if asbestos is present and what type of asbestos has been found.
A secondary inspection is likely needed after the removal has been finished to ensure that the removal was complete. The initial testing will be done by the company performing the removal process. Still, it can be beneficial to use a different company for the secondary inspection so that there will be no conflict of interest and you can ensure an objective process.
In some cases of asbestos removal, large gaps or damaged areas will be left. When this occurs, you can expect to pay between $5 and $25 to re-board, re-finish, and re-paint the affected areas. In some cases, the costs can be much higher if entire walls and floors need to be replaced.
Determining asbestos mitigation cost per square foot depends on the locations where the asbestos is detected. Different areas require different processes, more or less clean up, and have varying safety concerns. Asbestos mitigation runs as low as $3 per sq. ft. to as high as $120 per sq. ft.
It is less expensive to remove asbestos from 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 very expensive due to the safety procedures and extensive cleanup that must be completed after the removal. Areas that are hard to reach, such as steep roofs and trees, can make asbestos mitigations more difficult and more expensive. Below you can see how the costs vary depending on the area where asbestos has been discovered.
|Location||Average Removal Cost (per sq. ft.)|
|Popcorn Ceiling||$3 - $7|
|Soil||$4 - $6|
|Tile||$5 - $15|
|Siding||$7 - $9|
|Drywall||$8 - $10|
|Fence||$9 - $20|
|Soffits||$10 - $12|
|Pipe||$10 - $15|
|Cladding||$10 - $21|
|Insulation||$11 - $25|
|Garage||$11 - $30|
|Shed||$20 - $50|
|Boiler||$30 - $40|
|Duct||$35 - $55|
|Roof||$50 - $120|
Removing asbestos from a popcorn ceiling 2 will cost between $3 and $7 per sq. ft. and requires special care since it has to be disturbed during the removal process, causing the asbestos fibers to become loose in the air. Asbestos ceiling popcorn was traditionally used in older home construction as it gave the ceiling a bright white appearance, hid imperfections, and provided noise reduction.
Removing asbestos from the soil is one of the less expensive removal processes, running between $4 and $6 per sq. ft. Most often, you will find asbestos in the soil in areas that were previously used as landfills. Though asbestos is handled properly now, when disposed of before its discontinuation, asbestos material was thrown in dumps just like any other materials. Until the mid-1900s, many old landfills and dumpsites were bulldozed or filled in before being redeveloped for commercial purposes.
Removing asbestos tile from your home will cost around $5 to $15 per square foot. Asbestos was traditionally used in vinyl 3 sheet tile flooring as backing to make it more resistant to damage and give it better insulation. Asbestos floor tiles are often designed in patterns on the floor, such as a checkerboard pattern. Modern flooring can have this same appearance, so it does not necessarily mean the floor has asbestos. The scraping and sanding of tiles during the removal process release the asbestos fibers, making the renovation dangerous.
If your home’s siding has asbestos, it will likely need to be removed and professionally disposed of before putting on new siding. This can run anywhere between $7 and $9 per sq. ft. for the removal process. Suppose your house was built before the 1980s, and the siding has not been updated. In that case, there is a good chance that the siding contains asbestos as it was a popular exterior building material because it is fire resistant. You may also find when removing siding that there is another siding beneath it. In some cases, instead of removing asbestos siding, it would be simply covered up with another siding. If this is the case, you can likely assume the original siding contains asbestos and should have it tested.
If your home has asbestos in the drywall 4, you can expect to pay between $8 and $10 per sq. ft. to have it removed. Before it was deemed hazardous, asbestos was added to the mudding compound used in hanging and finishing drywall. In many cases, drywall asbestos clean-up is easier than other indoor removal options as it can often be removed without much disturbance. But, if the walls have become damaged, it may become a more difficult process.
If you have a cement fence from 1990 or earlier, there is a chance that it was created using asbestos-related materials. Asbestos remediation from a fence can cost between $9 and $20 per sq. ft., depending on the fence's thickness and height. Even though asbestos products were no longer made after 1980, the surplus of materials already created were used in construction until the early 1990s. Removing an asbestos fence may cost less than other removal types because it can be done outdoors where ventilation is not a concern.
If your soffits 5 contain asbestos, you can expect to pay between $10 and $12 per sq. ft. to have it removed. Asbestos was commonly used in soffits after World War II, when a shortage in traditional building supplies, such as wood, led to transitioning soffits to cement materials. Removing asbestos soffits is important because they are in areas where damage can occur, loosening the asbestos fibers.
Removing asbestos pipe wrap insulation can cost anywhere from $10 to $15 per sq. ft., depending on whether only a section has to be cut or the entire pipe removed. The cost will be determined by how the asbestos is affixed to the pipe, using glue or tape. Asbestos was commonly used around pipes to keep them better insulated.
Removing asbestos cladding can cost anywhere between $10 and $21 per sq. ft. Cladding is used to provide an additional protective layer to a building to help prevent rain and wind from entering the building, reduce sound, and create better thermal insulation. It was also used to help make a building more fire-resistant, so asbestos was commonly used for this function in the 60s and 70s. Removing asbestos cladding can be more difficult because it functions as a coating over other surfaces. The entire surface covering will have to be removed.
Asbestos fire-resistance, its insulating qualities, and its flexibility made it a popular choice for insulation decades ago. Removing asbestos insulation can cost anywhere from $11 to $25 per sq. ft. The removal process is often more costly than other processes because asbestos insulation is loose, making handling it more dangerous. Also, because it was often thrown in the nooks and crannies of walls and attics, it can take more time to ensure it is all removed.
Removing asbestos from a garage can run between $11 and $30 per sq. ft. depending on the garage's size and how much of the materials are made using asbestos. Older garages can have asbestos materials in their wall material, insulation, and even in the roof. The amount of asbestos the garage contains and the level of damage to the material determines the time and costs needed to be properly removed.
Removing asbestos from a shed is similar to removing it from areas outside of a house but on a smaller scale. You can expect to pay between $20 and $50 per sq. ft., which seems high for an outside removal but typically involves removing the roof, which can be more difficult and require more care and equipment. The shed was often made of asbestos materials if the original house was and typically weren’t updated as often.
Removing the asbestos requires special care to ensure that it is removed correctly, and the fibers are not disturbed. The cost runs between $30 and $40 per sq. ft. This type of removal has to be handled delicately, causing it to be a more costly process. Asbestos was commonly used as insulation for boilers as it was one of the most efficient ways to prevent heat from escaping.
Removing ducts with asbestos often involves removing the entire duct and replacing it with newer types. Asbestos was commonly used to hold pieces of ductwork together. You can expect to pay $35 to $55 per sq. ft. to remove asbestos ducts. This removal can be more expensive because it involves a closed space and is linked to the ventilation system in your home, requiring extra care. Asbestos was often used with ducts because it could properly insulate them and was fire- and heat-resistant.
One of the most costly removal processes is removing asbestos from a roof, which can cost between $50 and $120 per sq. ft. The price will be higher if there is significant damage to the shingles or the roof. Removing asbestos from a roof can be time-consuming. A professional will try to remove the shingles intact to limit their exposure. Working on the roof is a difficult location, which adds to the cost. Asbestos was a popular choice for roofing decades ago as it provided better durability and insulation than other materials at that time.
Three primary types of asbestos 1 are most commonly used: chrysolite or white asbestos, crocidolite or blue asbestos, and amosite or brown asbestos. While the location of the asbestos affects clean-up cost the most, the type of asbestos being removed is also a factor. On average, you can expect to pay as low as $200 to as high as $700 per hour to remove asbestos. Chrysotile removal cost will be close to the average price for each location because it is one of the most common types of asbestos. The removal cost of other materials, such as Zonolite or Amosite, could run on the higher end. Below you’ll see some of the characteristics of the most common types of asbestos and some other lesser-known types.
One of the most commonly found forms of asbestos is white or chrysotile asbestos. It can be found almost anywhere in older homes, including the walls, floor, ceilings, ducts, and around pipes. While it is not considered one of the most dangerous forms of asbestos, you should still avoid contact with its fibers. You most commonly see white asbestos in roofing materials, vinyl tiles, drywall, adhesives, and cement.
Brown asbestos or amosite is most often found in sheets of cement or in the insulation surrounding pipes. It can also be found in ceiling tiles in the home. It is known to carry a higher risk of cancer with exposure than with white asbestos and should be handled cautiously. You will most likely find amosite asbestos in roofing materials, vinyl floor tiles, and insulation in homes.
A type of asbestos that is less commonly found in the home but still somewhat prevalent is crocidolite or blue asbestos. When found in the home, it will most likely be in cement products, pipe insulation, and ceiling tiles. This asbestos can be more costly to remove because it is a much thinner form of asbestos, which can more easily be inhaled into the lungs, leading to major illness.
If anthophyllite asbestos is found in the home, it will most likely be in your home’s insulation or the roof. It is a rarer type of asbestos and has a very short history of commercial use. You are less likely to encounter it. It is distinctive by its grey, dull green color but is only visible when disturbed, which is when it’s most dangerous.
Tremolite asbestos was never used in commercial products but has been encountered as containment in white asbestos and vermiculite, commonly used in insulation. If you find either of these other types of asbestos, tremolite asbestos may also be present. It is not considered as hazardous as the asbestos in contaminates but still can contribute to major illness.
Like tremolite, actinolite asbestos is typically only found in trace amounts mixed in with white asbestos and vermiculite. This makes it very unlikely that you would encounter it on its own. So, if it is detected, you will likely have a more hazardous form of asbestos accompanying it. Common places where you are more likely to find traces of actinolite asbestos include concrete, sealants, and fire-proofing products.
Zonolite insulation is vermiculite with amounts of asbestos mixed into it. This was used for home insulation before the banning of asbestos. It was one of the most popular forms of home insulation in the 1960s and 1970s because it was fire-resistant, good for insulation, and was loose-fill, making it easy to fit in smaller places. Unfortunately, its popularity means that it likely exists in many homes still today. The fact that it is loose makes it much more difficult to remove effectively.
If asbestos material is categorized as friable, it contains more than one percent of asbestos and can easily be crumbled by hand, chipped, or broken down under pressure. This type is often considered the more dangerous of the two because it can more easily release asbestos fibers into the air, where they can be inhaled and lead to illness. How friable an asbestos containing material is depends on the number of fibers contained in it. The more fibers, the more likely it is to break down and become friable.
Friable asbestos is often found in insulation, plumbing putty that is clay-based, and acoustical ceiling tiles. Friable is often more expensive to remove because of the higher risks of it becoming airborne. The costs for removal will be related to the location where the friable material is found.
Asbestos material characterized as non-friable contains at least 1% asbestos but cannot easily be pulverized by hand. Some common items containing non-friable asbestos include cement roof shingles 6, asphalt shingles, gaskets 7, and rubber stair treads. It is important to note that non-friable material can become friable when it wears down and becomes more susceptible to hand crushing, abrasion, and damage. While non-friable material is typically less costly to remove than friable in most locations, it is still just as hazardous and should also be removed by a professional.
Whether or not an asbestos containing material is deemed friable or non-friable will largely have to do with the composition of asbestos fibers in it and the state of the material when it is time to remove it.
Even though there are rarely short-term effects of asbestos exposure, there is no exposure to asbestos that could be considered safe. Even types that are less likely to cause cancer can lead to health concerns even with small amounts of exposure. The most major-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma, are linked to regular exposure of small amounts over many years or intense short-term exposures at higher levels.
It is important to also realize that a single event can lead to an extreme amount of asbestos exposure, even if the duration is short. For example, if your home becomes significantly damaged in a fire or storm and large amounts of asbestos fibers are released into the air, you could suffer long-term effects from that single event. And for those who already have respiratory issues or smoke, even less exposure can lead to severe health problems.
One of the worst things about asbestos-related illness is that by the time you are symptomatic, you will have been exposed to either a large amount of asbestos or have been exposed over a long period without knowing it. At the point of diagnosis for major diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, your lungs will be to the point where the asbestos has become lodged and cannot be removed.
Though rarely recommended, there are situations when asbestos encapsulation is necessary. The encapsulation process runs $2 to $6 per sq. ft. and is a process where the found asbestos is sealed with a protective shell to prevent the fibers from dispersing in the air.
The process involves using a high-grade specialized sealant, which will be sprayed onto the walls, ceilings, and floors where needed. Encapsulations should only be done as a last resort when it is impossible to remove the asbestos. This could be when used in a supporting structure that the removal can damage the integrity of the home or when preserving a historic building. It is vital to remember that this process will not make the asbestos safe. It will lower its chances of becoming loose in the air. Still, even encapsulation can become damaged, leading to asbestos exposure. The potential for contact is why this is only used in extreme cases. It should never be used as a money-saving option.
While most concerns about asbestos involve homes built before 1980, there can still be asbestos in a home built up until 1985 or even a few years later. Government regulations required manufacturers to cease producing asbestos-containing building materials in 1980, but they did not require the already produced building materials to be pulled from inventory. Surplus supplies of materials containing asbestos were used in construction projects for the next several years until the supplies were exhausted. If you think there is a possibility of asbestos in your home and you are concerned, contact a professional to have some of your home material properly tested.
In most cases, your asbestos abatement company will leave your home completely clean, sanitary, and safe after the removal process has been completed. After all traces of asbestos have been removed from the contaminated area, the contractors will use the HEPA vacuum and wet cleaning methods to ensure that all trace amounts of asbestos have been removed. They will then perform air testing and remove the barriers once the area has met clearance criteria.
After all of the sheeting, barriers, signage, and other setup has been removed, a post-cleanup will occur, removing any traces of residue from the setup and work process. Since cleanup is vital to the asbestos removal process, you will find that the area will be significantly cleaner than you may experience with normal contract work.
When any material containing asbestos is removed, it needs to be secured in a leak-tight container while wet, labeled, and appropriately disposed of in a qualified waste site. Landfills equipped to take asbestos products will have specific methods to secure it so that the asbestos does not get released into the air.
While the removal and disposal process is more complicated than most homeowners want to deal with, there is no federal law or regulation that bans a homeowner from removing asbestos in their residence as long as they properly dispose of it. Still, the EPA strongly advises using a professional to make the disposal process go more smoothly and ensure that the asbestos is removed safely and completely.
In addition to the cost of having the asbestos 1 removed, you should also take into consideration home repair costs after the removal. For example, if you have your roof removed due to asbestos contamination, you will have to replace your roof after the removal is done, running between $5,250 and $10,500. This is an added expense to the cost of the asbestos abatement.
The same concept applies to having tiles, walls, siding, or piping removed due to asbestos. Reinstalling siding after asbestos removal will run between $4,500 and $22,000, depending on the type installed. The costs to replace tiles can run from $500 to $11,250, new drywall walls cost between $690 and $7,500, and replacing pipes in your home can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000.
It is highly recommended that you don’t remove asbestos yourself. It puts you at a huge risk for developing many health conditions if exposed to any of the fibers.
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.
It can be hard to identify asbestos just by looking at it. If you suspect you may have it, it is best to have a professional test it. With flooring, asbestos is typically beneath the vinyl tiles or sheet vinyl that was manufactured before the 1980s. Often, these vinyl tiles were arranged to form a decorative pattern on the floor. In ceilings, it can be hard to identify since it is most often covered over by paint. If you know your home was built before the 1980s and are unsure of how old the ceiling is, it is best to get it tested.
The length of time it takes to remove asbestos in the home depends on where it is located, how much is there, and how many workers handle the job. But generally speaking, most asbestos removal companies try to have projects completed in about 48 hours.
You should be able to reenter your home after the asbestos removal process has been complete. Professional asbestos removal companies will ensure that your home has been thoroughly cleaned and is safe to reenter before leaving.
Home insurance policies have an exclusion for pollution such as asbestos. This is primarily because asbestos is not dangerous if left untouched. If you renovate your home, you will likely have to pay for remediation if it has asbestos, which would not be covered by insurance. Suppose your home renovations result from a loss claimed with the insurance company, such as storm damage. In that case, the policy is likely to cover asbestos testing and remediation.
There are no symptoms immediately following asbestos exposure. Most problems will show up years later. When they do, some of the first signs are a buildup of fluid in the lungs, pain around the ribs, a persistent cough, fatigue, and lumps or pain in the stomach.