How Much Does Asbestos Removal Cost?

Typical Range:

$1,163 - $3,050

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 3,140 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated July 19, 2022

Reviewed by Robert Tschudi, Expert Home Building and Remodeling Contributor.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Asbestos Removal Cost

Asbestos removal costs an average of $2,090 or between $1,163 and $3,050. For whole-house asbestos remediation, you'll pay $15,000 to $30,000, depending on the size of your home and how much of the dangerous minerals you need to get rid of. Asbestos removal is no small task. When budgeting for this project, consider regional labor rates, equipment required, and any other testing or removal methods your contractor might recommend.

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National Average $2,090
Typical Range $1,163 - $3,050
Low End - High End $450 - $5,600

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 3,140 HomeAdvisor members.

Asbestos Removal Cost Factors

Asbestos is a set of natural silicate minerals. These fibers are carcinogenic, meaning they can cause cancer, particularly in the lungs and stomach, when inhaled over long periods of time. Many variables make up the price of asbestos removal, including the size of the area, pre-cleaning, setup, labor, and materials. 

Size of Area

Asbestos removal generally costs between $5 and $20 per square foot but it can cost as much as $150 per square foot. Asbestos isn't usually found over a widespread area. Instead, it's in specific places, such as crawl spaces and attics, or confined to a room with asbestos in the floor or ceiling tiles, textured paint, or the insulation.

The lower the difficulty and risk of the removal project, the lower the cost.  Hazardous material abatement specialists will likely charge about $20 per square foot for having to work in cramped and confined areas or difficult-to-reach spaces, such as attics and crawl spaces, because the job is harder and puts them at greater risk. 

Exterior vs. Interior 

Costs mount if asbestos is outside the house rather than inside. Removing asbestos from a roof or from siding can cost up to $150 per square foot. The higher price tag is due to the increased danger and the challenge of keeping the asbestos safely contained out in the open. 

Pre-Clean and Setup Costs

Pre-clean and setup for asbestos removal costs $240 to $350 per hour. Depending on the site and the quantity of the asbestos, this step can range from $1,000 to more than $10,000

The preparatory work is vital but time-consuming. The property's HVAC system is turned off to prevent potentially lethal asbestos fibers from circulating throughout the house. The removal pro will seal off the room or space with asbestos to create a decontamination area. Negative air fans remove contaminated air, passing it through a series of filters to catch any asbestos fibers. 

Shortcuts cannot be taken with the prep work, as the processes protect homeowners and the asbestos abatement pros from inhaling the deadly fibers and prevents the fibers from traveling to other parts of the property. It's difficult to predict the cost of a pre-clean and setup for a job because it varies based on several factors. 

Labor Rate

On average, you'll pay $75 to $200 per hour for labor per crew member. It takes a two-person crew an average of eight hours to complete a typical project—a cost of $1,200 to $3,200.

The contractor fee can be $800 to $1,500 at a minimum to cover permitting, overhead and disposal.

Material & Equipment Costs

The average project requires $200 in materials and another $250 in equipment. Keeping asbestos from becoming airborne while also keeping the removal specialists safe during the abatement process requires extensive setup and specialized equipment. This process requires completely sealing the area, installing negative airflow fans, using safety gear, and applying sealants.

Asbestos Removal Material & Equipment Costs
Asbestos Removal Material Price Range Average Price
Eyewear $10 – $30 per pair $20
Tyvek whole bodysuit $25 – $50 each $37
Rubber boots $30 – $50 per pair $40
Disposable gloves $10 – $15 per box $12

Asbestos Disposal

Asbestos disposal rates are typically between $10 and $50 per cubic yard. Plus, you'll need to account for permitting fees of $50 to $100. Handling and disposal regulations vary by state, but all must comply with the national standards set out by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Residential vs. Commercial Removal Prices

There are no significant cost differences between commercial and residential pricing or removal techniques. Differences in permitting and licensing will vary by city and state but must meet minimum EPA regulations.

One cost difference is the setup and preparatory work. In commercial properties, the spaces are usually much larger than residential buildings, so sealing off the area takes longer, uses more material, and therefore costs more. 

Regional Price Factors

Overall costs differ slightly depending on where you live. Urban centers with higher costs of living tend to have higher pricing. Also, state regulations on licensing, permitting, removal, and disposal all impact prices. Check with your local abatement professional for regional costs.

Encapsulation vs. Removal

Encapsulating asbestos costs 15% to 25% less than removing it. The reduced cost is due to the lack of disposal fees and not requiring any demolition work. However, some situations require encapsulation, while others require removal. 

If asbestos is at risk of becoming airborne, then it needs to be removed to prevent inhalation. For example, if you're remodeling a part of your home and asbestos is uncovered, it requires immediate removal. 

However, in some cases, such as when asbestos is inside existing ductwork or in floor tiles, a local asbestos inspector may deem the area suitable for encapsulation. The contractor applies a special coating to bind the asbestos fibers and significantly reduce the risk of them becoming airborne. And, in the case of flooring, new flooring can be applied over the top. 

Testing

Asbestos testing and inspection costs between $250 and $800. This price includes a visual inspection and laboratory testing. Most abatement contractors employ third-party testing companies due to state regulations. Even if a state doesn't require a third party, it's better to use separate testing and removal specialists.

Asbestos testing requires the inspector to examine the suspect material and to take samples for lab testing to confirm the presence of asbestos and the need for professional abatement services. 

Clearance testing is also necessary to ensure the home is now asbestos-free or that any encapsulated asbestos no longer poses a threat to the occupants. This service, which is also known as post-abatement testing, is often included in the project price, but it's worth checking with your contractor to confirm.

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Asbestos Abatement Cost by Project

Typically, removing asbestos from inside a residential property costs $5 to $20 per square foot, while removing asbestos from the exterior can cost as much as $150 per square foot. The price depends on the size, location, and difficulty of the abatement job.

Ceiling Tile Removal

On average, you'll pay $5 to $15 per square foot for ceiling tile removal. If the tiles are in reasonably good condition, they may be suitable for encapsulation. Encapsulating asbestos ceiling tiles costs $2 to $6 per square foot and involves applying an encapsulation spray and then painting them with a special paint or sealant. 

Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn ceiling that contains asbestos costs between $3 and $7 per square foot to remove, with the average homeowner paying around $2,750 more for removing a popcorn ceiling that contains asbestos

As with ceiling tiles, popcorn ceilings are often good candidates for encapsulation, which costs $2 to $6 per square foot. This option is budget-friendly compared to full ceiling removal and replacement. 

Flooring and Floor Tile Removal

You can expect to pay $5 to $15 per square foot to remove flooring that contains asbestos. Floor tiles and the mastic used to glue them require mechanical removal. Most asbestos tile remediation only requires you to encapsulate it and directly cover it with new flooring. Installing new flooring costs anywhere from $1,500 to $4,700.

Keep in mind that the asbestos may be in the adhesive used to bond the tiles to the subfloor, so full removal can be a time-consuming and risky process. The asbestos fibers can easily become airborne when the pro is scraping away the adhesive from the subfloor; therefore, encapsulation is often the preferred option.

Pipe Insulation and Wrap Removal

Pipe insulation and wrap removal typically costs $5 to $15 per square foot. Hard-to-access areas or where a pipe extends into multiple rooms or ceiling spaces, cost more, particularly set-up fees. 

Pipes that aren't exposed are good candidates for encapsulation, but the price is similar to removal. Like pipework, it's often the set-up costs that make up the majority of the costs and, whether you're removing the asbestos or encapsulating it, the pre-clean and setup process is the same.

HVAC Units and Duct Cleanup

Removing ductwork that contains asbestos can cost $35 to $55 per square foot. The high cost is due to the higher risk and difficulty level of working in such confined spaces and because the ducts are part of your HVAC system, so it requires extreme care to avoid spreading asbestos particles throughout your home. 

The best way to remedy the problem is to remove the ductwork, clear out the void left behind, and install new ducts. The typical cost to install new ducts is $10 to $20 per linear foot, with most people paying $1,175 in addition to the asbestos removal costs.

Since your HVAC system circulates air throughout your entire home, the presence of asbestos in it indicates that the contamination is extensive. It may be more cost-effective and beneficial to your family's health to have the ducts, furnace, and AC units replaced.  Replacing an HVAC system costs around $5,700

Roof and Shingles Removal

Removing asbestos from a roof costs $50 to $120 per square foot. It's one of the most expensive asbestos abatement jobs because of the logistical challenges of safely containing the asbestos while exposed to the elements. Plus, working at height increases the risk level. For the cleanest, safest job, the removal pro needs to remove it in large pieces, meaning the task is laborious and time-consuming. 

Once the asbestos is safely disposed of, you'll need to replace the shingles. Installing asphalt roof shingles generally costs $5,700 to $12,200

Attic Insulation

Attic insulation removal costs $11 to $25 per square foot, with most people paying between $800 and $15,000.

In older homes, asbestos was a common choice for attic insulation because of its excellent insulating properties. However, loose-fill and batt insulation can easily fall through attic cracks, exposing household members to the dangers of asbestos. That’s why attic insulation is not a candidate for encapsulation of abatement—it has to be removed. Along with the removal costs, you'll also need to install new insulation, which costs an additional $900 to $1,900.

Wall or Drywall

Removing asbestos from drywall costs $8 to $10 per square foot. If you need to remove damaged wall sections, you can pay up to $20 per square foot, as this is more complex.

While you may be able to encapsulate the drywall, it still costs up to $6 per square foot, so it may be worth removing it instead. Drywall removal is one of the easiest indoor asbestos removal tasks. Plus, the cleanup is usually minimal compared to other locations because the drywall is taken away in large sections, so the asbestos fibers are minimally disturbed. 

If you choose removal over encapsulation, you'll need to account for the cost of installing new drywall, which costs $1,000 to $3,000

Garage Asbestos Removal

Asbestos removal from a garage costs between $11 and $30 per square foot. The price depends on how much asbestos is in the garage. It's common for older homes to have a garage where the walls, roof, and insulation contain asbestos. In these situations, the removal is a costly and time-consuming affair because the pros have to contain large quantities of asbestos inside and out.

Basement Asbestos Remediation

Removal of asbestos in the basement costs $5 to $20 per square foot, depending on the location, quantity, and type of asbestos. Removing drywall that contains asbestos from the basement is considerably less costly than removing insulation from inside walls or from long runs of exposed pipes. You'll also save up to 25% when removing asbestos from an unfinished basement compared to a finished one. 

Siding

Removing asbestos siding costs $7 to $9 per square foot, with an average project price of $1,000 to $10,000. Homes built before 1980 were often clad in asbestos siding because of its resilience and fire resistance. Over time, many homeowners applied new siding over the asbestos siding, making siding removal more difficult and increasing the labor costs.

Replacing the siding costs between $2 and $50 per square foot on top of the removal costs. Wood siding costs $3 to $10 per square foot while vinyl siding costs $3 to $12 per square foot and fiber cement siding costs $5 to $25 per square foot.

If you don't want to replace your siding, encapsulation is sometimes suitable. This task costs $2 to $6 per square foot and binds the fibers to reduce the risk of them becoming airborne.

Vermiculite Insulation Removal Costs

Vermiculite insulation removal costs $4 to $10 per square foot. The most common asbestos-containing vermiculite insulation is zonolite. This loose-fill insulation makes vermiculite dangerous because the fibers can easily get through small cracks and into the home, making it difficult and time-consuming to remove effectively. 

Asbestos Encapsulation Costs

Asbestos encapsulation costs between $2 and $6 per square foot. Encapsulation uses a thick sealant, priced at around $115 per gallon, to bind the asbestos fibers. The sealant forms a shell that prevents fibers from shedding into the environment. 

Although encapsulation is more affordable than removal, it doesn't make the area completely safe. The shell can sustain damage, in which case, the asbestos particles can easily become airborne. However, it's an option when a homeowner is on a tight budget, the asbestos is in good condition, or where you're preserving a historic home and the asbestos inspector deems it safe. 

How to Save Money on Asbestos Removal

While asbestos abatement is costly and should only be carried out by a professional, there are a few steps you can take to help you lower your costs.

  • Get price quotes from multiple local professionals.

  • Check to see if you're eligible for tax credits or other incentive funding for your asbestos removal project.

Questions to Ask an Asbestos Removal Pro

Do your research before committing to an asbestos removal contractor. Read reviews and testimonials online, and get recommendations from someone you trust. Make sure you ask plenty of interview questions, including:

  • Do you meet the state and federal minimum licensing and training requirements? 

  • Can you show me proof of insurance?

  • Do you have references from similar jobs?

  • What health and safety procedures do you follow?

  • What's your asbestos removal process?

  • How long will this project take?

  • What sort of guarantee do you offer?

  • Do you have an asbestos disposal permit?

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FAQs

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a mixture of six natural minerals that are blended to create heat-resistant fibers that are insulating, non-corrosive, and non-conductive. In older properties, asbestos was commonly used in siding, roof shingles, garage structures, insulation, flooring, ceilings, and walls. 

Unfortunately, when inhaled, they're highly toxic and can, with long-term exposure, cause aggressive cancer and progressive lung disease, among other things. The carcinogenic nature of asbestos, and the fact that homeowners are often unaware of its presence makes it very dangerous. If it's disturbed, the tiny fibers come loose and float into the air, where humans and pets are at risk of inhaling them. Over time, this can result in life-threatening health conditions. 

Do I need to remove asbestos?

You should remove asbestos as soon as you discover its presence. In some instances where the asbestos is in good condition and not at risk of breaking down, encapsulation is potentially acceptable if the inspector thinks it's safe. Full removal is usually the best choice.

What is the difference between friable and non-friable asbestos?

Friable asbestos can crumble or is easy to crush and break up. This type of asbestos is the most dangerous, as the fibers from friable asbestos come loose and get airborne more easily. Loose-fill insulation is an example of a friable asbestos product. 

Non-friable asbestos is resistant to damage so it possesses less risk if it's in good condition. Floor and ceiling tiles are good examples of non-friable asbestos because they're stable, solid products that can sustain a lot of use and damage before they start to break up. These types of materials are better candidates for encapsulation than friable materials.

What does asbestos look like in ceilings and floors?

Asbestos in ceilings and floors can look like any other ceiling and floor material. Remember that asbestos is commonly found in the adhesive beneath a tile floor, and there's no way to tell if that's the case by looking. Instead, hire an asbestos inspector to examine the areas and take samples to confirm whether you have asbestos.

Are there inexpensive or free asbestos removal services available?

No, there aren’t inexpensive or free asbestos removal services available. The job is challenging and dangerous and requires a high degree of skill and competence, along with specialist equipment, licensing, and permits. You may, however, be able to get tax credits or other state funding incentives to help reduce the cost of your asbestos removal project.

How long does asbestos removal take?

For small and medium jobs, asbestos removal takes one day to complete with a team of two pros. More challenging jobs and larger spaces can take longer to correct. After clearance testing completion, you can enter your home after asbestos removal.

Are asbestos abatement contractors licensed?

Federal regulations don't require certifications for abatement specialists. However, states and cities often regulate this industry, requiring certifications or specialized training. You should ask for detailed written receipts as proof of the investment you have made for the safety of your house.

Can I legally remove asbestos from my house?

Legally, you can remove asbestos from your home in most areas, but you shouldn't. It’s important to understand asbestos removal dangers because it’s potentially deadly. It's definitively linked to certain types of stomach and lung cancers and non-cancerous diseases. The best idea is to contact an asbestos removal specialist near you.

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