How Much Does Asbestos Removal Cost?
Finding out that your home contains asbestos can be frightening and shakes things up. If the asbestos has been disturbed, it must be removed, and that can be nerve-wracking. Removing asbestos comes at a price, but it is worth it to eliminate the threat that it poses.
The average cost to remove asbestos is $2,000. Asbestos siding removal costs average $2,300 or $15 per square foot. You can expect to pay $30 an hour in labor costs and another $400 for an asbestos air test. Blue asbestos is the least common and most expensive type to remove, and the average cost is $500 per hour.
Disposing of asbestos properly is also important, and failure to do so is against Environmental Protection Agency regulations. It costs roughly $30 per cubic yard to dispose of asbestos, and you’ll thank yourself when you aren’t inhaling hazardous material.
Follow along, and we’ll take a look at how much it costs to remove asbestos.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a controversial silicate building material, and it lingers in homes despite discontinuation. Until asbestos was banned in 1989 by the Environmental Protection Agency, it was widely used. It was banned because asbestos causes a slew of ailments and issues, including:
- Breathing difficulties
- Lung cancer
- Pleural effusion
As you can see, asbestos can wreak havoc on the respiratory system and even cause death. To this day, asbestos is discovered in homes and industrial buildings built before it was regulated and banned.
How Much Does Asbestos Removal Cost?
Asbestos removal generally costs $1,000-$3,000, but varies based on the contractor, labor, and the particular asbestos installation. Removing asbestos is both hazardous and labor-intensive, which contributes to the high cost.
Contractors typically charge roughly $5-$15 per square foot, or more, for asbestos removal. However, removing a popcorn ceiling with asbestos can cost $3-$8 per square foot. The process of removing asbestos is called abatement, and it is best done by professionals.
One of the most common places for asbestos in a home is the flooring. It can cost as little as $5 per square foot to remove asbestos flooring, and it is well worth it. However, it can cost up to $20 per square foot if it is hard to access, or your contractor’s rate is high.
Pricing gets more complicated when it comes to removing flooring, and you have the added cost of new floors. The older and more worn down asbestos flooring is, the more likely it is to release into the air.
Asbestos Ceiling Tiles
If your ceiling tiles have 1% asbestos or more, it needs to be removed and replaced. Contractors generally charge an average of $10 per square foot for removing asbestos ceiling tiles. With that said, call around for multiple quotes, and you could spend as little as $5 per square foot.
There may be additional charges for cleanup and disposal with asbestos ceiling tiles. It can create quite a mess, because as the tiles are removed, the material flakes and spreads. Sometimes removal is part of labor costs, but other times it costs as much as $150 total.
Asbestos Removal Popcorn Ceiling Cost
Popcorn ceilings were once quite popular, but at the cost of containing asbestos. Not all popcorn ceilings contain asbestos, but many contain at least a small percentage of the material. You will likely pay between $3 and $8 per square foot for removing an asbestos popcorn ceiling.
It could cost up to $2,400 to remove a small, 300 square foot asbestos popcorn ceiling. Removing ceilings with asbestos can cost almost double the rate as a non-hazardous material ceiling.
Asbestos Insulation In Attic
Many old attics have insulation with at least some percentage of asbestos. Asbestos is a nightmare for an attic because they are often stuffy and have little airflow. The combination of a confined space and hazardous particles in the air is not worth risking.
It will cost you $1,000-$10,000, or more, to remove asbestos insulation from your attic. That cost does not include replacing the asbestos with new insulation. Add another $2,000 to the bill to account for the new insulation in your attic.
|Asbestos Location||Removal Cost Per Sq. Ft.||Total Removal Cost|
Asbestos Removal Hourly Rate
Besides paying by the square foot, you also pay by the hour for asbestos removal. Asbestos abatement is tough and dangerous work, so the hourly rate reflects that. Homeowners typically spend an average of $2,000 in labor, and it can cost up to $200 per hour.
Removing the asbestos itself can take as little as one day, and its rarely more than 10 hours. Some contractors charge up to an extra $500 for the tools and equipment. However, other professionals simply include said tools without any supply fee.
Asbestos Siding Replacement Cost
Replacing asbestos siding costs $2,200-$2,400 for 200 square feet of siding, but it varies. Add another $1-$30 or more per square foot for new siding, plus $25-$40 an hour for labor to the bill.
|Asbestos Siding Removal||$2,200-$2,400 (200 sq. ft.)|
|New Siding Material||$200-$6,000 (200 sq. ft.)|
The total siding replacement cost above can include labor and materials. Labor costs are so high due to the hourly rate and how time-consuming it is. Installing new siding can take up to 2 weeks total
Cost To Dispose Of Asbestos
Asbestos must be disposed of properly due to how dangerous it can be. Entities such as Waste Management are able to get rid of asbestos with minimal environmental or human impact. By definition, asbestos is a hazardous waste and can harm others it comes into contact with.
You must obtain a permit in order to dump asbestos. Permits typically cost roughly $75-$100. You are charged by the cubic yard for disposing of asbestos, and it often costs $30 per cubic yard.
Both OSHA and the EPA enforce proper asbestos abatement and disposal.
Types Of Asbestos
There are three main types of asbestos, and the kind you have affects the cost of removal.
If you have asbestos and got a look at it yourself, it’s probably white asbestos. White asbestos makes up 95% of all asbestos that was used as a building material in America. The cost of labor and materials can cost up to $300 an hour for white asbestos.
Builders used to install white asbestos in ceilings, roofs, and walls. If you come across white asbestos, do not agitate it, because that releases the harmful material into the air.
Blue asbestos, or Crocidilite, is far less common than white asbestos. That is because it was not used as much for residential purposes as other forms of asbestos. It may not be the most common asbestos, but it is the most expensive to remove.
It can cost as much as $500 or more an hour to remove blue asbestos. You only really come across blue asbestos in tiles, flooring, and insulation. However, you can never be too careful, as blue asbestos is quite easy to inhale.
Brown asbestos has a reputation for being particularly dangerous, so removal is a must. It is not quite as common as white asbestos, but brown asbestos still shows up in many residential and industrial buildings.
It typically costs $450 an hour to remove brown asbestos, including labor. The higher cost for removing some types of asbestos is relative to the danger and accessibility. Look out for brown asbestos in cement, insulation boards, and roofing tiles.
|Type Of Asbestos||Removal Cost||Frequency|
|White Asbestos||$300 Per Hour||95%|
|Blue Asbestos||$500+ Per Hour||5%|
|Brown Asbestos||$450 Per Hour||Rare|
Asbestos Testing Cost
Testing for asbestos is critical, and it can let you know just how safe the air you’re breathing is. The most common type of asbestos test is an air test, and it costs $300-$500. For the same price, you can get a visual survey by a professional who can identify asbestos.
Asbestos testing is often the first step in getting it removed, and you want to do it as soon as possible. Full demolition and refurbishment surveys cost up to $1,500 for residences and are thorough.
There are asbestos testing kits for sale that cost between $8 and $30, but it is not advisable. Your safest bet is to spend the money for a test, and not risk breathing asbestos.
Asbestos Encapsulation Spray
Encapsulation spray is a great way to reduce the risk of harm from asbestos. You can prevent the disbursement of asbestos in the air by using encapsulating spray on it. Luckily, encapsulating spray costs between $20 and $80, or you can 5 gallons from SerpiFlex for $159.
When you use an encapsulation spray, it takes 25-30 minutes to dry. Once 12 hours have passed, it is safe to paint over it and not have to worry about asbestos in the air. Encapsulating spray can stay good for 20 years and is a good alternative to abatement for mild and contained cases.
Asbestos encapsulation is only a temporary fix and does not remove asbestos. It simply masks the asbestos for a long period of time, but eventually, it needs to be removed.
Is It Safe To Live In a House With Asbestos Siding?
You can safely live in a house with asbestos siding, but it is somewhat complicated. Due to the nature of asbestos, it is most dangerous when it is agitated and released in the air. That is why asbestos can be so dangerous in confined places, but it is different with siding.
Most homeowners have little chance of being exposed directly to asbestos siding. If you do have asbestos siding, do not touch it or even breathe too close to it. The asbestos could still be diffusing in the air, it just can dissipate more easily.
With that said, removing asbestos siding is the best bet to ensure you are safe and asbestos-free.
Cost To Remove Asbestos From Entire House
If your home was built in the 1960s or 1970s, there may be a lot of asbestos. Some homeowners find out that the whole house contains asbestos, and that is expensive to remove. You could spend up to $16,000 or more if you need over 1,500 square feet of asbestos removed.
Some houses do contain asbestos all throughout, for a few reasons. For one thing, older building standards viewed asbestos as an ideal building material. The other reason is that if they used asbestos insulation, then it likely runs throughout the whole house.
Even if your entire house does not contain asbestos, but your walls, ceiling, and flooring does, it can cost $7,000-$10,000. It is worth the high cost to make the house livable and allow you to sell it in the future.
Can You Sell A House With Asbestos?
Technically, yes you can sell a house with asbestos, and no rules stop you from it. The only problem is that, as you can imagine, prospect homeowners don’t always jump at the idea of hazardous materials. Nobody can force you to remove asbestos and make replacements, but it can hold you back if you don’t.
If you spend the $300-$500 for testing costs, and the test shows there is asbestos, that is fine. As long as the asbestos is not crumbly, clearly damaged, or disturbed, it is safe to sell. However, if there is visible damage or asbestos in the air, you cannot sell the house without abatement.
Should You Buy a House With Asbestos?
You could buy a house with asbestos and be safe, but there are a few risks involved. As mentioned above, a seller can only sell a house if the asbestos is not disturbed.
If you buy that house, that means that the asbestos is a minimum of 40 years old at this point. That means that even if it is not crumbling now, it very well could be soon. Depending on the location and levels of asbestos, you could spend $1,000-$3,000 or more on removal alone.
Don’t forget that if there is a lot of asbestos you are removing; replacements could cost 10s of thousands. It is not always worth buying a house with asbestos, even if it is not disturbed. You risk massive costs if it becomes disturbed, as well as respiratory illnesses.
Who Removes Asbestos Tiles?
Asbestos tiles, and all asbestos, is removed by remediation contractors and professionals. Look out for a local abatement company that is well-reviewed, and reasonably priced. You technically can test for and remove asbestos on your own, but not as safely or professional as an abatement company.
Remediation companies know how to remove asbestos safely, and more importantly, clean up and dispose of it. They have quick access to all of the proper gear, including:
- Eye and mouth protection
- Respirator masks
- Body protection
- Particulate air filter
The above equipment, especially a particulate air filter, is critical to safely removing asbestos. If you tried to remove it yourself to save money, you’d still spend at least $500-$1,600 on materials and supplies. It is worth the extra cost to hire a remediation company.
Does old blown-in insulation contain asbestos?
Yes, old blown-in insulation can contain asbestos, and it often does. It doesn’t always, however, so asbestos testing needs to be done. Blown-in insulation in particular can crumble quite easily, so removing it if it contains asbestos is imperative.
When was asbestos used in attic insulation?
Between the 1860s and 1978, asbestos was used in attic insulation. It was also quite popular for insulating pipes and other parts of the home. Houses built in the 1950s through the 1970s also often had asbestos siding and insulation under the roof.
Can you remove asbestos tiles yourself?
Some states don’t have specific rules against it, but many do. Besides the fact that not all states allow it, asbestos removal is best done by professionals due to the danger. Professionals use proper face, eye, mouth, and skin protection and can safely remove asbestos.
Does all vermiculite insulation have asbestos?
No, not all vermiculite insulation contains asbestos, and vermiculite is still sold. Back when asbestos was not regulated, it did often show up in vermiculite insulation. If you have vermiculite insulation that was installed before 1978, consider having it tested for asbestos to be safe.
Should I be worried about asbestos?
You should only be worried about asbestos if it has been physically agitated. However, if you cannot detect that by eye, then an asbestos air test can tell you if you have it or not. While you should be concerned about the potential for danger, you are only in danger if an inspection reveals that it has been disturbed, thus released into the air.
What Did We Learn
It can cost between $1,000 and $3,000 to remove asbestos. You can incur more costs when it comes to actually replacing the asbestos with less hazardous materials. The cost per square foot varies based on type of asbestos and location, but generally runs $5-$15.
Your most common kind of asbestos is white asbestos, and it is the cheapest removal cost per hour. White asbestos costs $300 per hour for labor, materials, and removal. If your whole house contains a lot of asbestos, you may have to spend up to $16,000 on abatement.
Asbestos is highly dangerous, but if left undisturbed, your house is livable and sellable. Get your house tested for asbestos before selling it, and if it appears undamaged, you can safely unload it. Do not try to remove asbestos on your own and call a professional to be as safe as possible.
Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.
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