Asbestos abatement is the process of removing asbestos from your home. While asbestos siding is often the most visible source of asbestos in older homes, it’s important to note that asbestos was used in a wide range of products used in home construction in the past, including floor tile, pipe wrapping, shingles, roofing felt, insulation, drywall, and joint compound.
Asbestos abatement is typically performed by licensed, certified contractors who use specialized equipment to ensure that no asbestos fibers escape into the surrounding air or areas of your home.
Airborne asbestos fibers are very small so it takes specialized equipment and procedures to ensure that no fibers are released into your home when asbestos is being removed.
If the asbestos is confined to one area of your home, asbestos removal will also often involve sealing off that area from other parts of your home, in order to guarantee that no asbestos fibers escape.
Finding an Asbestos Abatement Company
Asbestos abatement is a very specialized service offered by a relatively small number of contractors. Due to the licensing, training, and specialized equipment involved (as well as disposal fees to properly dispose of any asbestos removed), it’s a relatively expensive service, and easily runs into the thousands of dollars for most jobs.
If you’re worried that your home may contain asbestos, the first step is testing for asbestos, as not all older homes contain asbestos.
What may look exactly like asbestos siding could in fact be cement siding, as asbestos was an additive to cement and drywall and other products to make them more fire-retardant, making it impossible to tell simply from looking at it if it contains asbestos.
Removing Asbestos Siding Yourself
Depending on the state you live in, you may also be able to tackle the asbestos removal job yourself, but be warned that you’ll be taking on a certain amount of risk if you decide to do so.
Some states allow homeowners to legally remove asbestos from their home without a license (or even any training) as long as they’re only working on their own home and not offering services to others.
You’ll also need to check about disposal of asbestos siding and other materials, as the process differs from state to state. Some allow you to dispose the material in landfills if properly bagged while others classify it as hazardous material that must be disposed of in a different more costly way.
Cost of Abatement, Remediation, and Removal
You’re likely focused on the important question of “How much will this cost me?” if you own a home with asbestos in it or are considering purchasing an older home that contains asbestos and will have to deal with asbestos abatement.
Unfortunately that question is next to impossible to answer, as many factors impact the final bill: where you live, what type of asbestos you have, state laws and regulations, and the availability of licensed asbestos removal companies and contractors.
A very short, very vague answer is “A lot”, so be sure to do all of your research first into exactly what asbestos is, the health risks of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other lung diseases, and what your options are when it comes to removing asbestos siding and other materials.