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Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was extensively used in construction in the years preceding the 1970s after which the Environment Protection Agency banned it from being used as a construction material. This was after a discovery that despite its vast benefits in construction, it had more devastating health effects. However, though newer buildings don’t contain asbestos, the odds are quite high that most of the buildings constructed before the ban have these materials. Therefore, engage the services of a professional to look for asbestos if you are looking to buy or renovate a house built before the ban.
When inspecting for asbestos, it’s important to not only look for them but to identify their condition as well seeing as asbestos is just dangerous when it flakes or crumbles. Upon flaking, it releases hazardous dust into the air which when inhaled leads to myriad respiratory diseases and grace cancers of the lung, stomach, intestine, and rectum. The problem is the material could be crumbling for years before anyone realizes which is why regulations were put in place that you should inform potential homebuyers of any asbestos in your home. On the other hand, it’s best you leave the material alone if it’s in good condition says the EPA. Removing it would only disturb the material releasing hazardous fibers which we are trying to avoid.
If you are looking to see if there is any asbestos in your house, there are some key areas you should consider where the material was used extensively. First, check the insulation. Be it the vermiculite attic insulation, or duct and pipe insulation. Also, check your house siding, ceiling and acoustical walls, and floor tiles. Asbestos was often used in these areas as it was believed to be more durable, better insulation, and long-lasting. Also, be on the lookout for these materials:
Chrysotile – This is white/grey asbestos and the most common. You can tell it by the color, grey or white, and its sturdy but flexible structure.
Amosite – This is another common asbestos but brown. It was used as thermal insulation.
Crocidolite – Finally, we have the rare blue asbestos. Chances are you will not find these in America, but you can never be too careful. They were used in areas with high-temperature applications.
Nevertheless, it is always best you engage the services of a professional to inspect the materials.
The risks of asbestos almost always boil down to the adverse health effects. However, these diseases are rarely detected in the early stages and are only identified when they are terminal. To paint a more realistic picture of the devastating effects of asbestos and why you should repair any damaged material, 5000 workers die each year from past exposure. This number is more than the number of people killed on our roads. Also, 20 workmen die each week from previous exposure.
Some of the illnesses and why you should remove damaged asbestos are:
Mesothelioma – This is cancer exclusively associated with asbestos and affects the lining of the lungs and that of the lower digestive tract.
Asbestosis – Scarring of the lungs that progressively leads to shortness of breath.
Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer – This resembles lung cancer caused by smoking. Experts estimate that there is a case of asbestos-related lung cancer for every instance of Mesothelioma.
Pleural Thickening – Congealing and swelling of the lungs. This happens after massive exposure.
To know if asbestos is present in your home, you will have to conduct two investigations. First, you have to engage the services of an expert to tell if there is any harmful material present in your home, and the condition. The technician will then direct you on the way forward. Seeing as asbestos abatement is a highly regulated and dangerous activity, the services of a technician from your regional asbestos program, or the state asbestos administrative department.
Sampling – Despite asbestos having distinctive features as illustrated above, it is often difficult to tell if it’s present in a material by merely looking at it. An “on-site” assessment will set you back between $250 and $750. Also, you will need air monitoring to know if there is any asbestos dust in your home. This calls for air monitoring which costs anywhere between $300 and $1200.
Finally, you can consider an official AHERA inspection which will set you back between $250 and $1000 for every sample.
After the technician has determined the presence of asbestos, the site will require a full inspection which points out the various places where asbestos is present. A comprehensive site inspection averages between $400 and $800. Ensure your preferred company does not skip this as it will save you money and time once abatement begins. Ensure your inspectors are federally certified and licensed. Also, they should be willing to provide the credentials and references.
After the inspection, there is removal. See costs below.
After the corrective measures, we have the post-abatement inspection to gauge the success of the removal. Though it increases the amount, it’s wise to invest the extra money in testing whether there is any remaining asbestos residue. A simple post inspection will set you back between $200 and $400. However, expect to pay more if there are air concerns. Expect to pay upwards of $2000 for the air monitors and other supplies. Nonetheless, this occurs more in commercial buildings than in residential buildings.
|Post-abatement air concerns||$2000|
|Site 2nd Inspection||$400||$800|
Removal of asbestos is an engaging process. Other than hiring a professional, several issues will affect the final amount you pay for the corrective measures.
Type of asbestos – The more hazardous the asbestos, the more it will cost you to remove. It, therefore, goes without saying that crocidolite, the most dangerous of the three asbestos will be the most expensive to extract. This is mainly because there more safety measures to put in place, more material will be required, more equipment and it will consume more time.
Location – This refers to where the asbestos is as well as the locale of your home. Expect to pay more if you are far from material suppliers as you will have to incur more on transportation. As for the location of asbestos, you will pay less if the material is outside your house than if the content is inside because it is trouble-free and less harmful if any amount is missed. However, when it comes to getting rid of asbestos on the inside, it is more engaging owing to the safety measures that have to be put in place and the clean-up. Also, it is more difficult because of the tight spots that the contractors have to work in.
Amount – On the whole, larger asbestos removal projects will cost more than smaller ones. However, the cost per square foot is less for more extensive projects than for smaller projects. First, more asbestos will need more labor, tools, and time which makes a more significant project more expensive on the whole. However, contractors will give you discounts for more substantial projects lowering the cost per square foot. Also, you enjoy economies of scale when you buy materials in bulk. Finally, seeing as the supplies are already on site, the total abatement cost is bound to fall.
Most homeowners report spending between $1,074 and $2,590 on asbestos abatement, with the national average for this project being $1,780. However, asbestos abatement can cost you as much as $30,000 or as little as $500. We have broken the costs down for you to get a better understanding of what is involved.
Note, that the costs below are per hour and for a standard 1500 square foot home.
First, we have chrysotile which will set you back between $200 and $300 per hour. Chrysotile is the cheapest to uninstall as it is the least dangerous. It is often found as pipe insulation, on walls, floors, and ceilings, on gaskets, and boiler seals. Next, we have amosite asbestos which is considered the second most harmful. You will pay between $400 and $500 to remove amosite asbestos. Due to their strong heat resistance, they are found in cement sheets or pipe insulation. Finally, we have the crocidolite asbestos. These are the most expensive to abate setting you back between $600 and $700 an hour owing to their harmful nature.
|Costs According to Type||Qty||Min||Max|
Most experts agree that the cost of asbestos abatement should fall between $200 and $700. This is without considering the amount you will have to pay for the inspection. Inclusive of examination, anticipate a fee of between $800 and $1500 per hour.
Also, the price will vary with the contractor as each has different overhead costs and expenses. However, there is a minimum fee despite how small the job is owing to the dangers involved. The minimum charge is often between $1,500 and $3,000.
|Abatement Costs||1500 Sq. Ft.||$500||$30000||$1780|
As pointed out earlier, the location of asbestos is going to determine how much you will pay for corrective measures.
Flooring – Expect to pay between $40 and $100 per square meter for asbestos removal from flooring, ceiling or pipes. The intensity and accessibility of the area more so with the tubes will be a chief determinant.
Eaves – Again, the magnitude here will be a crucial determinant of how much you pay. Anticipate a fee between $35 and $60 for every linear meter.
Cladding – The price for asbestos removal on casing depends on whether it’s internal or external. As highlighted earlier, removing asbestos from inside the house is more expensive than outside owing to the precautions that have to be put in place. This is the case with removing asbestos from cladding with internal cladding going for $40 to $90 while external covering will only set you back between $35 and $70 per square meter.
Sheds – If you are considering removing asbestos from a shed, you have to factor in the obstacles present which is often the case with unkempt sheds. Nevertheless, expect a fee between $60 and $90 for this.
Roofing – Removing asbestos from your roofing can set you back as much as $120 per square foot or as little as $20. Yes, this is a considerable variance, but there are several determinants at play here. First, we have the gradient of the roof. Steeper roofs are daunting and quite dangerous to work on. The contractor, therefore, has to set up more safety measure, unlike a flat roof which in turn increases the total cost. Also, you will have to pay more for higher roofs. Again, this is because of the dangers associated with heights.
Fencing – Finally, we have asbestos removal from your fence. The determinants here are whether your asbestos in the ground or not, plus the existing obstacles. If the asbestos is buried and digging is required, expect to pay between $30 and $75 per square meter. Otherwise, anticipate a fee between $20 and $50.
|Costs According to Location||Qty||Min||Max|
|Flooring||1 Sq. Meter||$40||$100|
|Eaves||1 Linear Meter||$35||$60|
|Internal Cladding||1 Sq. Meter||$40||$90|
|External Cladding||1 Sq. Meter||$35||$70|
|Sheds||1 Sq. Meter||$60||$90|
|Flooring||1 Sq. Meter||$20||$120|
|Fencing||1 Sq. Meter||$20||$75|
Materials are one of the main reasons why asbestos abatement is expensive. Contractors will need specialized gear for them to extract the asbestos safely and these elements aren’t reusable.
First, the contractor will need disposable coveralls and gloves. A box of disposable gloves will set you back $10 while a pair of disposable coveralls will set you back $50. You will also have to factor in eyewear though these are often reusable for $20. Next, and what is perhaps the most expensive equipment is the HEPA vacuum which will set you back about $1000 per vacuum. You will also need respirators which go for about $150 per unit and finally rubber boots at $30 a pair.
After the corrective measures, you will need to clean the air, and this is where the HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum comes in. This equipment can filter all asbestos dust particles from the air as they are 0.05 microns large while the filter can catch dust particles that as small as 0.03 microns.
Home repairs after corrective measures – If you are looking to remove asbestos from your house, warrant that you have budgeted for the repairs after the removal. You will be forced to replace some critical parts of your home. Say you were getting rid of your roof due to asbestos contamination, you will have to replace it before you can occupy. This will cost you an arm, and ensure it is included in the initial investment. The same goes for flooring, insulation, and siding.
Asbestos encapsulation – Asbestos removal is rather expensive. More so if it is an extensive process. However, if money is an issue, you can consider encapsulation which will only set you back between $2 and $6 per square foot. Encapsulation involves sealing of damaged asbestos within a protective shell to contain the harmful fibers. Other than using it while your budget is tight, it encapsulation is used when all the asbestos present cannot be removed.
Purchasing a home – If you are looking to buy a house, you are advised to conduct a thorough inspection of the presence of asbestos. Once termed as the miracle mineral, it was in almost every part of the house.
Accommodation –During the abatement process, you will have to find shelter elsewhere. The same goes for the renovation afterward. Warrant that you have included accommodation costs in your budget.
Albeit householders are allowed to carry out asbestos removal, we strongly advise against it. First, it is to protect yourself from the danger asbestos poses and second, odds are you don’t have the requisite skills to get rid of asbestos safely. You might end up doing more harm than good.
If you must do it, then ensure you take the necessary precautions. Also, homeowners are advised to take a basic training course on asbestos removal seeing as you are aiming to remove asbestos with little or no fibers released into the air. A basic asbestos removal training will set you back $150 for one day. Also, we advise you take a refresher course on how to safely remove asbestos if you had initially undertaken the former. The refresher course will set you back around $100.
Other than the training, ensure you are working safely. That is purchasing all the safety gear. Also, ensure that the items meet the required safety standards. You will also need some dust mask to protect yourself from the dust particles. The dust mask should have two straps to hold it firmly in place. Avoid masks with a single strap. Finally, check the manufacturer’s information when purchasing the equipment to see if they meet the standards. As for the price of the materials, it is as indicated above.
After warranting that you have the requisite personal protection equipment and gear required, you will need to prepare the work site. First, you have to seal off the work area to prevent dust particles from escaping. Also, you will have to cover the floor, siding, or any area you are not working on to prevent contamination. The plastic bags will set you back $10.
When it comes to the actual removal of asbestos, the location of the material will be a chief determinant of the amount you will incur, seeing as the site will influence the equipment you use.
Fencing – Removing fencing asbestos is a daunting task. The use of equipment is discouraged so as not to damage the materials and release the dust particles into the air. You, therefore, have to hand dig the sheets and ensure that you remove the whole layer. You will need a rattle gun to remove the bolts which will set you back about $100, a spanner for $9 and a shovel which costs around $15.
Cladding – Removing cladding asbestos involves removing nails from the covering. You can do this using a nail puller which will only cost you $12.67, a cold chisel for $27, or nail punches for $10.
Roof Removal – This is by far the most dangerous of all asbestos removal. First, the roofing materials could have weakened owing to the wind erosion and other weather conditions. Also, the steepness of the roof can be a threat, or the height a problem.
Additionally, make sure you use planks when getting rid of roofing asbestos as the asbestos cannot support you. These will distribute your weight across a larger area reducing your risk of falling through. Also, clear the space you are working on to avoid impalement should a worker fall off the roof. Finally, you will need an impact driver to remove the roofing bolts which will set you back around $100.
|DIY Asbestos Removal|
|or Refresher Course||$100|
Asbestos removal is a risky affair, and as such should only be carried out by qualified contractors. Also, for family safety, and to avoid the health risks associated with asbestos, you will want to hire an expert removalist.
As pointed out earlier, asbestos removal is a somewhat engaging activity which makes it all the more expensive. Asbestos removalists are therefore required to have various accreditations before they start operating. These papers are what you should first look before you hire.
First, check the health and safety license which tells you that the contractor is allowed to work with asbestos in your state. However, don’t take their word for it but ask for their license number and check with your local authorities. Also, check if they are licensed to carry hazardous waste. A dangerous waste license tells you that the contractor has taken the requisite measures to ensure the waste is disposed of appropriately. Again, ask for the license number to check the validity.
Finally, the contractor should be insured. Coverage will keep you from being liable should any injury occur on your property. Also, ensure the company carries an errors insurance for any damage that might be a result of professional actions.
Remember, the federal government doesn’t license nor does it accredit asbestos abatement companies. This is the work of the state and may vary by municipality and state. When hiring a company, familiarise yourself with state requirements and ensure the contractor meets them.
Asbestos removal takes place in two phases. First, we have the inspection and the actual remediation. As a rule, ensure that the two are carried out by different companies. Also, if you are going to conduct a post-inspection, the institution that carries out the activity should be different from the other two, warranting that there is no conflict of interest. It also enforces accountability. The organization carrying out the initial inspection should reveal any connections with any abatement institution before work begins.
Like all our other cost guides, we insist on asking friends and neighbors before hiring an asbestos removalist. However, it is not all about asking friends; you have to ask the right people. That is colleagues who have removed asbestos from their houses in the last six to 12 months. Ask them why they hired the contractor and if they can employ them again. If referrals cannot work for you, check the company’s online reviews and ratings. First, you can check their Google reviews, and see what their score is and what previous clients say about them.
Nevertheless, there are better options which are dedicated to helping clients get proficient contractors. One such website is Angie’s List where you can see reviews from previous clients. Pay particular attention to the negative comments as these might call attention to potential pitfalls. Additionally, check how the company responded to the complaints. Another incredulous organization dedicated to ensuring you hire the best contractors is the Better Business Bureau.
Check the institutions rating and grievances filed against them.
In conclusion bear in mind that a good reputation is not a guarantee of quality work. Could be that the company has only handled a few jobs and has not had any hitches so far. We advise getting a company with which handles numerous asbestos removal jobs a year with a few negative remarks over an institution which manages few tasks but with an impeccable record. This is because the larger company has been tried and tested, unlike the smaller organization.
Other than referrals, the next best place to start when looking for an asbestos removal contractor is trade associations. The first reason why you should check for contractors with trade organization is that these groups ensure that their contractors carry insurance. They will, therefore, save you the agony of having to confirm the contractor’s insurance details. Also, they have rigorous work ethics that keep the members in line. The ethics ensure you only get the best. In addition, all members are required to be in good standing with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and have responded to all complaints filed against them. Finally, trade associations set the work standards required of their members. You can, therefore, rest assured of quality work.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requires that all Asbestos abatement companies be familiar with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Asbestos Model Accreditation Plan. These are the basic standards for handling Asbestos in the USA. Though it is not a requirement that a company meets the OSHA and EPA requirements, it’s best you only engage the services of a company that has satisfied these obligations.
Another way to get a credible Asbestos removal company is to guarantee that their workers are trained. First, the employees should be proficient with pre-asbestos abatement activities and site preparation. These events ensure that asbestos dust doesn’t spread to other parts of your home or contaminate your furnishing. Also, they should be competent with establishing decontamination units and using protective gear to ensure that they don’t carry harmful materials from the work area.
Finally, they should be proficient with safety considerations and appropriate handling and disposal of asbestos.
To get a competent removalist, ask for guarantees. However, these assurances should go beyond the final result. The company you hire should guarantee safe working conditions for their employees, appropriate disposal of the hazardous material and safe working area. Also, they should tell you what to expect after the abatement process. Avoid employing any institution that is hesitant to provide guarantees. Only work with organizations willing to assure you of what to expect.
To warrant that the company will stand by their word, check the contractor’s previous violation of state asbestos removal laws.
Asbestos removal is the most costly environment scam. First, the threat that asbestos fibers pose makes homeowners make rash decisions, and it is quite easy to set up a fraudulent asbestos removal company. After all, all one needs is a truck and uniform, and they are set.
Most fly-by-night contractors conduct door to door campaigns to get unsuspecting clients. They will hire college students who can sell ice to an Eskimo to sell the lie of how reliable their services are. Avoid such companies, as reliable contractors don’t conduct door to door campaigns.
Avoid companies which happen to have items remaining from a previous job, and that should be the first sign that a contractor is a con and scammed his/her former client. All leftover materials should be handed back to the client seeing as they are the ones who paid for the items. The contractor being in possession of these substances means s/he conned the previous client, and the odds are s/he will deceive you too.
These are some of the more common cons of asbestos abatement. We agree that flaking asbestos is dangerous and should be removed the moment the homeowner discovers its presence. Now, scammers knowing that people are terrified of asbestos use this as a way to con homeowners. They will employ scare tactics to get you to sign an unfavorable contract. If a company uses such underhand tactics, run.
Another way homeowners get conned by asbestos removal company is through ‘today-only’ discounts or one-time offers. Yes, getting rid of your asbestos might cost you a fortune, and we would all love to get a discount on the price. However, cons understand this and will use it to get you to part with your hard-earned money for little or no work. Often the today-only discounts are designed to fool you into hiring the company, and the amount only increases once abatement starts. One-time offers are made to ensure you do not consider other estimates and the price quoted is often higher.
One of the top ways to guarantee you aren’t conned is to ensure payments are made through the proper channels. First, never make a one-time fee and more so, not at the start of a job. Most swindlers will disappear the moment the full amount has been paid and will leave you with a load of asbestos to deal with. Therefore, ensure you make the final payment only when you are satisfied with the work done. Though most groups will ask for a discount, it shouldn’t exceed 20% of the total cost. Additionally, don’t make cash payments and not to an individual. Cash payments are difficult to prove, and you can be subjected to double pay. Alternatively, make bank payments as they are easy to certify. Finally, don’t make payments to an individual but rather to a company. There is some comfort in knowing that business by the said name exists.
Most fly-by-night asbestos contractors are often from out of state. Therefore, stay within your state when hiring. Also, seeing as they will not readily avail this information, ask for an address. Don’t take their word for it and make a point to visit them. Any institution willing to invest the time and money to establish an abatement company is to be trusted.
Seeing as you are dealing with hazardous material, and are looking to protect your family, the least you can do is confirm that the waste is disposed of appropriately. Additionally, you need to know your contractor works within the confines of the law and follows the set rules for waste disposal to the letter. Only then can you be reassured that you have made the right decision. However, don’t take their word for it and ask to see their protocol and evidence for previous work.
The idea here is to gauge the professionalism of the institutions you have shortlisted. Give preference to companies which send a technician to your home for an in-person estimate over agencies that only provide phone estimates. An in-person evaluation speaks volumes about the company. It shows they understand the value of professionalism and have a grasp of their craft.
Asbestos removal and disposal is a highly regulated industry and all companies dealing in these materials need to be licensed and carry the appropriate permits. Remember, regulations vary with states, and you, therefore, need to be conversant with the rules in your region for you to be sure your contractor is carrying the right certification. One, ensure he is licensed by the state or municipal authority to operate within your locale, and that he is certified to remove and dispose of hazardous waste.
All environment contractors have to carry liability insurance. This is more the case with asbestos removal as you are dealing with harmful materials. A contractor cannot effectively protect clients and employees without this protection. Liability insurance minimizes the risks involved with asbestos.
The idea here is to know the company’s history. Yes, online reviews offer reliable and unbiased opinions, but it’s always best to check with former clients in person or over the phone. Ask why they hired the company and if they would hire them again. Probe whether they followed the proper procedures for removal and disposal, and how their experience was with the contractor. Find out as much about the organization’s history to get a feel of his work ethics.
This is another question designed to help you know the history of the institution. Other than the number of years the business has been operational, ask if they have ever been registered under a different name. Look up the previous names to see if there are any unresolved complaints. An excellent place to do this is the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List. Also, we advise you work with companies which have been around for a while. Being operational for many years doesn’t assure you of excellent work, but you can be sure of streamlined services, professionalism, and that you have hired a reliable institution.
It is not unheard of for asbestos abatement projects to run over budget. Ask what options the contractor gives you if there is such an outcome, and the measure s/he puts in place to avoid this. The first answer should be an in-person estimate to ensure that they give you the correct price. Ensure you are okay with the options offered before you sign the contract.
This question is for the company you engage to inspect your house for the presence of asbestos. As a rule of thumb, the organization you hire to investigate shouldn’t be the same company which carries about the abatement process to prevent conflict of interest. Avoid any contractor who insists on carrying out the entire abatement process. The same applies to the company which will remove the asbestos. They should be comfortable with another group conducting the post-remediation inspection. This ensures you get top quality work.
This is a question you ought to ask every contractor. The idea here is to ensure you know who to approach when an issue arises.
Finally, should inquire about how you can tell the difference between the company’s employees and trespassers. Seeing as you are allowing strangers into your home, the least you can do is ensure you can identify them. Therefore, employees should wear uniforms or tags that will ease identification.
Thank you for coming this far, and hope you found this guide useful. Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below and share if you found it helpful.