Asbestos Removal Cost Breakdown
Asbestos removal has a wide range of costs because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. For example, some people will only have to remove asbestos around basement pipes, while others will have to replace the entire roof of their home. Let’s review the relevant cost factors.
Size of Affected Area
The more square footage, the higher the cost to remove and dispose of asbestos material, especially true if you need to seal off large areas as part of the removal process. The typical asbestos indoor remediation project costs anywhere from $5 and $20 per square foot, depending on the location.
Removing the substance from exterior locations, like a roof or siding, costs $50 to $150 per square foot, due to a marked increase in accessibility. Whole-home remediation that comprises indoor and outdoor areas costs $5,700 or more, depending on the house’s overall square footage.
|Interior Square Footage||Average Removal Cost|
|100 to 200 square feet||$1,250—$2,500|
|200 to 400 square feet||$2,500—$5,000|
|400 to 600 square feet||$5,000—$7,500|
|600 to 1,000 square feet||$7,500—$12,500|
Location of Asbestos
It costs less to remove asbestos from accessible locations, while inaccessible locations may require demolition and extensive sealing. For example, to remove asbestos from a floor pipe spanning three rooms, each room will need to be sealed off, and you’ll have to use multiple negative air fans. That’s before demolishing the floor. If a pipe of a similar length is in an exposed basement, you’ll have to seal the basement off, but demolition isn’t needed.
|Asbestos Location||Average Removal Cost|
|Walls and Drywall||$12 per square foot|
|Attic Insulation||$7 per square foot|
|Roof and Shingles||$70 per square foot|
|Siding||$150 per square foot|
|Flooring and Floor Tile||$10 per square foot|
|Pipe Insulation||$6 per square foot|
|HVAC Units||$70 per square foot|
|Basement||$30 per square foot|
Walls and Drywall
You’ll typically pay $8 to $13.50 per square foot to remove asbestos from a wall or drywall. For example, removing asbestos from a 1,500-square-foot home will cost about $20,000, but most of the time, you can encapsulate asbestos instead of removing it. Encapsulation, which creates an airtight seal around the asbestos to prevent fibers from releasing into the air, costs $2 to $6 per square foot.
The cost of removing asbestos attic insulation depends on the amount present and accessibility. There’s a wide range of costs, but attic asbestos removal typically costs $11 to $25 per square foot. After removal, installing new insulation will cost an additional $1,700 to $2,100.
Roof and Shingles
Roofing is one of the most expensive places to remove asbestos due to its accessibility difficulty. Roof asbestos removal prices typically run between $50 to $120 per square foot, plus the cost of installing new roofing. The average roof replacement costs $5,800 to $12,500.
Removing asbestos from siding costs between $7 to $9 per square foot. Unfortunately, most homes built prior to 1980 have asbestos in the siding to facilitate fire resistance. In some states, like New Jersey, removal isn’t required, so modern homeowners often prefer to repair and encapsulate the siding to keep costs low. Replacement siding costs $5,600 to $17,500.
Flooring and Floor Tile
Most homeowners can expect to pay $5 to $15 per square foot to remove asbestos from floor tiles. This removal process requires mechanical removal, but most of the time homeowners only need to encapsulate the asbestos and cover it with a new floor. In this case, tile floor installation would typically cost between $800 to $4,550.
Pipe Insulation and Wraps
Removing asbestos around pipes typically costs $5 to $15 per square foot. For wraps, you’re looking at around $2 to $5 per linear foot. The harder these features are to access, the higher the cost.
Removing asbestos in HVAC insulation varies widely, depending on the extent of the contamination. Removing asbestos from an HVAC typically costs $35 to $55 per square foot, due to the increased difficulty of accessing the ductwork and working in confined spaces. In some cases, it’s more affordable to replace the HVAC unit than bother with remediation, costing $5,000 to $12,500 for a replacement.
Like most rooms, the cost of asbestos removal in a basement depends on accessibility. Finished basements can cost 25% more than unfinished basements because they require more setup and demolition. Typically, you can expect basement asbestos removal to cost $5 to $20 per square foot.
Setup and Pre-Clean Costs
Setting up for asbestos removal is actually quite labor-intensive and accounts for much of the overall cost, around 60 to 70 percent of the final bill. These efforts range from $240 to $350 per hour, depending on the complexity of the job, and total anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 or more.
The prep work, otherwise known as pre-cleaning, is vital and involves turning off the HVAC system, sealing off rooms or spaces to create a decontamination area, and installing negative air fans to remove contaminants via a series of filters. Some asbestos removal professionals even put up warning signs and arrange disposal containers ahead of the job.
The average homeowner pays asbestos removal businesses $75 to $200 per hour for labor per crew member. The typical two-person team will take about eight hours to complete a project, depending on the amount of asbestos in the space. Generally speaking, labor adds up to $1,200 to $3,200 and often includes a separate contractor fee of $800 to $1,500 to cover permits, overhead, and asbestos disposal.
Materials and Equipment
Asbestos is a dangerous material and requires a diverse array of equipment and materials to successfully remove. These tools and items of gear add up to around $450, depending on the job.
Safety gear and equipment is essential, so expect plenty of sealants, specialized fans, and more. Respirators cost $30 to $150 per unit, protective eyewear costs $10 to $30 per pair, and Tyvok whole bodysuits cost $25 to $50 each. Additionally, asbestos removal pros wear rubber boots and disposable gloves when working with asbestos.
Asbestos is usually regarded as hazardous waste, and disposal must follow EPA guidelines. Costs vary from state to state, but it’s typically $10 to $50 per cubic yard and $50 to $100 for the permit.
Asbestos Test Cost
You may also want to hire an asbestos professional to test before and after removal. Before, it will help you assess the overall problem. After, it ensures that no asbestos has snuck into your HVAC system and there are no longer asbestos fibers in your home’s air. An asbestos test costs $250 to $850. A full air quality report costs an average of $400.
Additional Asbestos Removal Cost Factors
Removing asbestos from commercial buildings doesn’t differ too much from residential spaces. However, commercial buildings are likely to require different permits and licenses, which varies by city and state. Basically, any commercial work must adhere to EPA guidelines and regulations.
Additionally, commercial spaces tend to be much larger than residential counterparts, so while the cost per square foot may be similar, the overall cost will be much higher when working in office buildings and the like. When dealing with commercial properties, sealing off the area takes longer and uses much more materials.
Type of Asbestos
The removal process is similar for all types and colors of asbestos, but some fibers are smaller than others, requiring greater attention to detail during setup and removal. There are three common asbestos types, each with its own quirks and removal costs:
Chrysotile (White): This is the most common asbestos, with fibers ranging from 0.5 to 0.6 microns. Due to its abundance, this is the most budget-friendly type of asbestos to remove.
Crocidolite (Blue): This is the most dangerous asbestos and fibers are between 0.7 and 0.9 microns. Since this is such a dangerous type of asbestos, costs rise a little bit to meet the proper guidelines. Count on a slight cost increase of around five percent for a removal project.
Amosite (Brown): This type of asbestos is rare, and it’s the only type that can pass through most HEPA vacuums. These fibers range from 0.20 to 0.26 microns in size. Due to the smaller-than-average size, removal specialists must practice caution to avoid accidental inhalation, which increases the cost by around five to ten percent.
Since encapsulation saves on demolition and disposal costs, it’s usually 15% to 25% cheaper than removal. The encapsulation process costs $2 to $6 per square foot, and encapsulation quality sealant generally costs $115 per gallon.
Not all states require homeowners to remove asbestos siding, allowing for some repairs. The average cost to repair asbestos siding is $700 to $5,000, depending on the size of the area and the specific repair issue. Encapsulating the siding is a more budget-friendly option when local regulations allow for it. For other items like ductwork, drywall, and tiles where encapsulation is not an option, you’ll have to remove the object and repair it at an additional cost to asbestos removal.
DIY Asbestos Removal Costs
Although you can save anywhere from $75 to $200 per hour completing asbestos removal or encapsulation yourself, we don’t recommend it. This job is dangerous and you’ll need the right safety equipment, a HEPA vacuum, sealant, and a way to dispose of the asbestos properly—all adding to your expenses and safety risk. Not only that, some local ordinances may ban or restrict DIY asbestos removal. While asbestos abatement can be costly, hiring a local asbestos removal company can save you serious health risks, time, and hassle.
Cost to Remove Asbestos Yourself vs. Hiring a Contractor
You shouldn’t DIY asbestos removal because of the strict laws regulating demolition, encapsulation, removal, and disposal. An asbestos removal professional will protect you from potential violations, but beyond that, asbestos is carcinogenic and can affect your health. It’s not hard to accidentally inhale asbestos fibers if you’re not using the proper gear correctly—and most people don’t have a HEPA vacuum lying around.
When hiring an asbestos removal contractor, make sure they know your state and local laws and can obtain the required licenses and permits. They should also be familiar with the Occupational Safety and Hazards Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. OSHA requires those supervising asbestos removal to meet the EPA Asbestos Model Accreditation Plan, even if it’s not required by your state.
How to Save Money While Removing Asbestos
It’s typically best to let a pro handle asbestos remediation, but there are a few ways you can save on costs.
Opt for encapsulation instead of demolition and disposal to save 15% to 25% on the project cost.
Get multiple quotes from professional asbestos removal contractors.
Research whether you’re eligible for tax credits for your asbestos removal project.
Check to see if your homeowner’s insurance will cover removal costs (usually only applicable if asbestos exposure is due to a covered incident like a tree falling on your roof).
When to Get Asbestos Removed
You should follow the recommendations of your asbestos inspector as to when to remove the hazardous material, as asbestos-related diseases can take years to appear after consistent exposure. Generally speaking, you should remove asbestos if the fibers are exposed and, therefore, airborne. Beyond that, keep an eye on any asbestos-related health symptoms or bundle asbestos removal into other home renovation projects.
Asbestos is no joke and represents a dangerous health risk when inhaled. The symptoms of the associated chronic lung disease asbestosis include a dry, persistent cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, chest tightness, chest pain, and widened fingertips and toes, which is sometimes called clubbing. The disease is caused by asbestos fibers getting trapped in the lungs, leading to scarring over time. As a note, symptoms take a long time to develop, between ten and 40 years.
Homes built before or during the 1970s likely have asbestos lurking in them. If you live in an older home and are undergoing renovation or remodeling projects, it’s a good time to inspect and remove offending asbestos fibers as it’s discovered. Keep an eye out for white, brown, or blue fibers as you participate in the demolition stages of a project. Once you find asbestos, exercise extreme caution. Remember, the material is only a danger when exposed and loose, and demolition does both. When found, cover it up tightly until you go through with a proper inspection and test.