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Removing materials containing some asbestos

How Much Does Asbestos Removal Cost? (2024 Guide)

Typical cost range: $1,170–$3,120

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Author Icon Written by Angela Bunt Updated 03/21/2024

Asbestos was once widely used as an insulation material but has since been shown to cause serious respiratory problems. If your home has asbestos-containing materials, they may need to be disposed of or encapsulated, a process known as abatement. This is not a do-it-yourself (DIY) job, as only professional abatement contractors have the proper training and protective equipment to deal with this hazardous material safely. 

The national average cost of asbestos removal or encapsulation is $1,170–$3,120.* We’ll explain the factors that affect this price and why it’s well worth paying for professional asbestos remediation.

*Article cost data via Angi and HomeAdvisor.

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What Is Asbestos and Why Is It a Concern?

A white, fibrous mineral, asbestos is a naturally fire-resistant insulator. In the mid-1800s, manufacturers began to use it in many building materials: from drywall to pipe insulation to floor tiles to mastic adhesive. Asbestos sheds microscopic fibers that lodge in the lungs when inhaled and can cause serious, even deadly, lung disease. Thus, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned asbestos use in many building materials, but older homes that were built prior to the 1970s often still contain asbestos materials.

Asbestos products that are friable—that is, easily broken into small pieces—are extremely hazardous and should be removed immediately. Conversely, when undisturbed, non-friable asbestos poses few health risks. However, when asbestos-containing materials deteriorate over time or are ripped up for disposal, they become extremely hazardous. It takes decades for the effects of asbestos exposure to show, but when they do, the result can be widespread lung scarring called asbestosis. Even worse, asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly cancer of the chest and abdominal lining.

Those at the highest risk for asbestosis are people who suffer chronic exposure over long time periods. However, mesothelioma has been linked to incredibly brief exposure, so it’s not worth taking chances.

Mesothelioma lawsuits have huge payouts because the disease causes so much suffering. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Professional asbestos removal costs are sometimes high, but they’re worth it to protect your family’s health.


What Is the Asbestos Abatement Process and Cost Breakdown?

These are the typical steps in the abatement process.

  • Inspection and testing: Because you can’t tell whether a material contains asbestos just by looking at it, any suspect materials must be inspected and tested. Asbestos testing involves an inspector taking a sample and sending it to a lab. This whole process typically costs between $250 and $800.
  • Preparation: You will likely vacate your home for the abatement process. Even so, abatement contractors will put up plastic sheeting and seal air ducts to contain any escaping fibers. This is included in the total abatement price.
  • Encapsulation: If the asbestos materials can be encapsulated, contractors will apply a sealant to coat and bind any fibers. This usually costs 15%–25% less than removal and disposal.
  • Removal: If the materials are friable or otherwise unable to be encapsulated, contractors will wet the materials to reduce the number of fibers released into the air. They’ll bag the materials, seal them, and put them in a protective unit for transportation. This part of the process usually costs $1,170–$3,120.
  • Cleanup: After removal, contractors will set up a special filtration system to clean the air of all fibers. They may perform additional clearance testing to make sure conditions are safe. Like preparation, this is usually included in the above cost.
  • Disposal: You’ll likely have to pay separately for asbestos disposal, about $10–$50 per cubic yard of materials, plus a $50–$100 permit fee. You should receive documentation that this step has been completed.

What Are Major Asbestos Abatement Cost Factors?

The cost of abatement projects will depend primarily on the following factors.

  • Square footage: The more materials that must be removed, the more the project will cost.
  • Location of asbestos: Certain building materials are more complicated to remove than others.

Square Footage

The price to remove asbestos materials may be calculated by the square foot or linear foot. Interior removal projects generally cost $5–$20 per square foot. Exterior removal projects, which often involve asbestos siding or roofing materials, are more complex and usually cost $50–$150 per square foot.

Cost by Square Footage

Here’s how those costs apply to various material amounts.

Square FootageInterior Abatement CostExterior Abatement Cost

100

$500–$2,000

$5,000–$15,000

200

$1,000–$4,000

$10,000–$30,000

400

$2,000–$8,000

$20,000–$60,000

500

$2,500–$10,000

$25,000–$75,000

700

$3,500–$14,000

$35,000–$105,000

1,000

$5,000–$20,000

$50,000–$150,000

Location

In addition to the amount of asbestos-containing materials, their location within the house will determine the price. Some materials and locations are easier to access, remove, or encapsulate than others. Additionally, the room or rooms will usually need to be sealed off during the removal process, which is easier in some rooms than others. For example, attic insulation is fairly simple to seal off, but removing materials from HVAC ductwork requires far more precautions.

Cost by Location

Here’s how prices typically break down by location.

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What Are Additional Asbestos Abatement Cost Factors?

The following factors also play into cost, though to a lesser extent.

Abatement contractors may charge an hourly rate of $75–$200 rather than by the square foot. Thus, anything that increases the amount of time the job takes will also increase the cost.

Removal and disposal are not the only decontamination methods. In some instances, it’s less hazardous to encapsulate the asbestos-containing materials with sealant and leave them where they are to prevent releasing fibers into the air. This typically costs $2–$6 per square foot or $115 per gallon of sealant.

Remember to leave room in your budget for replacing removed materials. The cost will depend on what and how much is removed.

Some asbestos types are more dangerous than others and may cost more to remove.

  • Amosite: Also known as brown asbestos, amosite is fairly rare, but it can be found in thermal insulation and ceiling tiles. Because its fibers are particularly deadly, it costs 5%–10% more to remove.
  • Chrysotile: By far the most commonly used in building materials, chrysotile, or white asbestos, is also the most affordable to remove.
  • Crocidolite: Crocidolite or blue asbestos is very rare, and it’s also the most deadly. You’re very unlikely to find it in residential or commercial buildings, but it costs about 5% more to remove.
  • Other types: Actinolite, anthophyllite, and tremolite, were used in materials such as textiles and adhesives, but they’re very rare.
  • Other materials: Asbestos is naturally occurring and often found alongside other minerals. Vermiculite and talc may be contaminated with asbestos.

Should You DIY vs. Professional Asbestos Abatement?

Homeowners should not attempt to remove asbestos on their own. The protective equipment required for asbestos disposal is far more extensive than just a mask and gloves. Asbestos removal companies use respirators, HEPA vacuums, negative air pressure machines, and other equipment to keep their contractors safe. Even if you could rent all this equipment, you don’t have the knowledge or training to truly minimize the risks.

QUICK Tip
If you suspect you have asbestos-containing materials in your home, avoid disturbing them by sawing, sanding, or scraping and request a professional asbestos inspection.

How Can You Save on Asbestos Abatement?

Saving money should not be your priority when it comes to asbestos abatement. However, it’s always good to know your options.

  • The asbestos inspector you hire should be independent and unaffiliated with an asbestos removal company to prevent a potential conflict of interest.
  • Ask your abatement contractor whether encapsulation—the less expensive process—is appropriate for the materials.
  • See whether your state or local government offers financial assistance for asbestos abatement.
  • When possible, ask for quotes from multiple contractors, but don’t be tempted by a price that’s much lower than the others. This may be a sign of cutting corners.

How To Hire a Professional for Asbestos Abatement?

Hiring a professional abatement contractor is a little more complex than hiring a construction contractor. Here’s what to look for.

Start with the EPA’s list of asbestos contacts by state.
Special training and licensure are required to inspect or remove asbestos materials. A reputable abatement company can provide documented certifications for each contractor.
Check the company’s Better Business Bureau page for ratings and any reported safety violations.
Before work begins, get a written contract that describes procedures such as cleanup, disposal, and safety measures.
After the work is complete, you should receive written confirmation that all regulations have been followed.

Our Conclusion

Asbestos-containing materials can be safely neutralized or removed, but as a homeowner, you should take the threat of asbestos seriously. Don’t attempt the job yourself. Instead, contact certified professionals for testing, abatement, and disposal. Factor in your family’s health and safety when thinking about the price. If you have an older house, you may need to include abatement in your attic or basement finishing costs.

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FAQ About Asbestos Abatement Cost

What are the potential health risks associated with asbestos fibers?

Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, which results in lung inflammation and scarring, as well as lung cancer and mesothelioma. These tend to manifest years to decades after exposure.

Are there any regulations or permits required for asbestos removal?

Yes, all states have specific regulations governing asbestos removal and disposal permits. A local asbestos abatement contractor can help you negotiate these requirements. 

Are there any special questions I should ask when I’m selecting an asbestos contractor?

Here are some questions to ask an abatement contractor.

  • ou licensed by the state’s health department as an asbestos contractor?
  • How much will the process cost? What does that cost include?
  • What removal, cleanup, and disposal procedures do you use?
  • Can you provide references from previous customers?

How do I know if there’s asbestos in my home?

The only way to know for sure that there’s asbestos in building materials, such as popcorn ceilings or roof shingles, is to have the materials tested in a lab. An asbestos inspector can walk you through this process.

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