If your home contains asbestos, the best course of action may be to leave it alone.
Asbestos can cause serious health risks if disturbed.
You can also hire an asbestos abatement pro to test your home.
If the pro finds asbestos, they can safely remove it from your home.
While it may not be at the top of your mind when working on your home, asbestos could still be present behind the surface. The good news is that in most cases, you’re perfectly safe as long as you’re not touching it. It’s when asbestos gets removed or disturbed that it might pose a problem.
When you need to remodel or repair some part of your home that may contain asbestos, the best course of action is to first hire an experienced professional to test your home and safely remove any asbestos.
How to Find a Pro to Test for and Remove Asbestos
Asbestos abatement professionals aren’t federally licensed or accredited, and local rules and regulations can vary widely. This aspect is one reason why it’s so important to do your research to find and hire an experienced and skilled abatement professional for your home.
One way to start is by asking for word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, neighbors, and colleagues who have had this work done recently. You can also search online to find local asbestos abatement pros near you and look up their licenses if applicable.
Before Hiring an Asbestos Abatement Pro
A little prior research and strategic planning will help you evaluate competing companies to find the best asbestos abatement pro for your home. Start by familiarizing yourself with the different types of asbestos and the history of your home’s construction and any subsequent remodeling projects, if possible.
It’s also a good time to learn a bit about best practices of safe asbestos handling, such as using plastic to close off impacted areas and wearing appropriate respirators during removal work. The following tips will help you pinpoint and hire the most qualified professional.
Plan Your Asbestos Testing and Removal Project for Accurate Quotes
Give some thought to where asbestos is likely to exist in your home, if anywhere. Outline the planned remodeling or refurbishing work that’s triggering the need for asbestos testing and possible removal. Also, note whether your home was built before the early 1980s and whether your home contains any of the following, all of which can indicate the likely presence of asbestos in your home:
Walls or other parts of your home constructed from cement sheets
Vinyl flooring or millboard that installed between 1952 and 1982
An older cement water tank
This background will help your asbestos abatement pro work more efficiently to make your home safer. Still, you’ll want to get at least three detailed quotes from different providers and interview each of them to make sure you understand what each quote includes (and what it does not).
Check Your Asbestos Abatement Pros’ Qualifications and References
While there’s no federal licensure or accreditation system for asbestos abatement pros, there may be licensing and insurance requirements in your state or municipality. Regardless, you’ll want to obtain a written list of the provider’s experience in testing and abatement work as well as whether they’re insured and bonded for working in residential homes.
Ask each provider for two or three referrals. Call and speak to these past clients and ask questions about their experience working with the pro.
Questions to Ask Your Asbestos Pro
Use the following list of questions as a checklist for your interviews with asbestos abatement professionals:
How long have you been an asbestos abatement professional?
What training have you or your workers had in testing and handling?
Are you insured and bonded for this work and in what amounts?
What steps do you take to protect my home before you begin to test for asbestos?
Does your quote include the safe clean-up and removal of leftover debris and material?
What laboratory do you use for testing the samples?
How long will we have to wait before we get a response from the lab testing?
If the area contains asbestos, will your company handle the removal?
Tips for Hiring Your Asbestos Abatement Pro
You and your family deserve to trust the asbestos abatement pro you end up hiring. That’s why it’s important to spend the time during the hiring process to make sure you have a thorough understanding of the pro’s background and experience. These tips will help you hire the right abatement pro and maintain a positive working experience with them.
Interview with Your Asbestos Pro
Set up a time to interview each potential abatement pro so you can ask them the above questions. Often it’s hard to evaluate a potential pro in isolation, so talk to more than one company or professional. That way, you have a point of comparison for each.
Ask for a Background Check
Inquire about whether the pro is licensed (if a license is required in your area). Also, ask about whether any other workers that will have access to your home have undergone background checks and are insured and bonded.
Get a Contract and Arrange Payments With Your Asbestos Testing & Removal Pro
After you’ve reached an agreement with an asbestos abatement professional, make sure you discuss each of the following items. Then include these terms in a written contract with your pro to reduce the possibility of future disagreements or confusion:
The total cost and how many payments you’ll be responsible for
How much is due before work begins
When each payment is due
The scope of the work (i.e., testing only, in what areas of your home, etc.)
What form of payment is accepted
Full contact information for both parties
Be sure the contract states that the pro is insured and bonded, and in what amounts.
Keep Records of Your Asbestos Testing & Removal Project
While the testing and removal work is progressing, keep detailed records of the job. Include a log of hours worked, progress made, and whether the pro is abiding by the schedule contained in your agreement. Maintain copies of the agreement itself as well as receipts for payments you’ve made.
Look for Red Flags and Prepare to Troubleshoot
While the vast majority of professionals will deliver high-quality service and skilled work, sometimes the pro doesn’t get the job done the way they promised in your contract. It’s always better to spot potential problems before they become serious issues, and it’s always easier to fix faulty work early in the process.
Look out for any workers the pro brings in who aren’t abiding by safety rules and procedures. Also, make sure the workers leave the area clean and orderly instead of leaving materials and debris that might contain asbestos out in the open.
If you’re experiencing any difficulties with your pro, bring up the topic at the earliest possible opportunity so that they have the best chance of remedying the problem and avoiding bigger issues down the road.
After Your Asbestos Abatement Pro Has Finished
Once your pro has completed the testing and any subsequent asbestos removal, evaluate the work that’s been completed. If you’re happy with the way the pro got the job done, make the final payment and let the pro know if you’re happy to serve as a reference for them. Don’t forget to leave a positive review on any directory sites where the pro might be listed.