The term 'asbestos' refers collectively to six natural minerals. These contain fibers resistant to heat, corrosion, and electricity. These minerals were used for construction materials starting in the late 19th century.
Health experts found that asbestos caused several forms of cancer. They confirmed this discovery in the early 20th century. Officials began labeling asbestos products as dangerous in the 1950s.
By then, thousands of products contained asbestos. Many of them are still in commercial buildings today. Professional asbestos removal is usually the only way to safely remove asbestos from a building.
But how much does asbestos removal cost? Read on to learn about the factors that control how much asbestos removal can cost you.
Testing for Asbestos
Look around the internet. You'll find all kinds of advice about how to tell if your business has asbestos.
A lot of this advice is factual. Products such as popcorn ceilings, corrugated roofing, and vermiculite insulation are indeed likely to contain asbestos.
However, the only way to be certain your business has asbestos is to get a professional test. In some situations, an asbestos test is a legal requirement.
Who Performs an Asbestos Test?
Only certified asbestos inspection firms can perform asbestos tests. To get this certification, the asbestos firm must have adequate licensing and experience. The contractor must also have environmental testing services insurance.
In some jurisdictions, certified asbestos inspection firms will also be licensed asbestos abatement companies. In other places, laws require that one company performs the asbestos test and another performs the removal. Check your local regulations.
How Long Does an Asbestos Test Take?
Asbestos testing can take up to several days. There's also the laboratory testing to consider, which can also take several days. Faster turnaround times are available for an extra fee.
The speed usually depends on the size of the building. Larger buildings take a longer time than smaller buildings.
What Does an Asbestos Test Involve?
An asbestos test starts with a visual inspection of any material that's suspected of having asbestos. Then samples are taken from the asbestos building materials.
Some regulations require that a specific number of samples must be taken from each material. This is because amounts of asbestos per square area of a material can vary.
After the sample collection, the samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis. Once the results of these get sent back, the asbestos inspector will report the results. Then he or she will give recommendations.
Considerations About an Asbestos Test
Sometimes an asbestos abatement technician will have to reach a suspect material that is sitting behind a floor, wall, etc. They may need to cut a section away to reach this material. In other cases, the inspector may need to remove large sections of the floor, ceiling, wall, etc.
Licensed asbestos abatement companies do not cover building repair services. Thus, you need to prepare for the cost of possible repair work.
Also, you may want to have a second asbestos test performed. This should happen after you finish a project or get an asbestos removal. This ensures that no asbestos remains.
Procedural Asbestos Removal Cost
There are a lot of factors involved in successful asbestos removal. Each of them comes with an individual price. All of these added up together make up most of your asbestos removal cost.
Do you think that you can remove a part of what's involved in asbestos removal to save money? If so, think again!
Asbestos removal is a highly dangerous procedure. Each part of the procedure is integral to making it as safe and effective as possible. By not following the procedures exactly, technicians will put the health of yourself and others at risk.
Who Are Asbestos Abatement Professionals?
Asbestos abatement workers are grouped under the job umbrella of hazardous waste removal workers. Workers in this field typically get their training on the job. Certain employers also require their workers to get specialized training created by groups such as OSHA.
Certain states also require hazardous waste removal technicians to have permits or licenses. They also need to take educational courses every year to maintain these licenses and permits. With all these safeguards in place, you can feel certain that the technicians you hire will be worth their wages.
What Materials Are Required in Asbestos Removal?
Regulations require asbestos abatement workers to wear the proper personal protective equipment at all times to ensure their safety. In total, workers need eyewear, rubber boots, disposable gloves, disposable coveralls, and respirators. Much of this needs to be brand new at the start of the procedure.
Workers also need materials to seal off areas. This will prevent any loose asbestos from contaminating other areas during the asbestos removal procedure. Other equipment, like negative pressure airflow fans, can also help remove contaminated air by catching asbestos fibers.
As to the actual tools used to do the work, a HEPA vacuum is one of the most used equipment pieces. Workers may rent or purchase this machine for the procedure. Hand tools are also important as they will help workers cut away materials.
As you can guess, the actual rental or purchase price of this equipment will be a huge part of your asbestos removal cost.
What Happens Before a Removal Procedure?
Most of the cost of the setup and pre-clean stages will be the labor costs. Unfortunately, the beginning stages can get frustratingly time-consuming. However, as there will likely be only around two workers performing the tasks, the final cost may not be as much as you think.
The workers will turn off the HVAC system and start preparing the decontamination area. They will post warning signs, seal off rooms, prep disposal containers, and set up negative air fans. The amount of time this takes usually depends on the size of the abatement area.
What Happens During a Removal Procedure?
Asbestos removal workers will use hand tools to cut away, pull out, and otherwise remove asbestos building materials from an area. They will also often wet the area down to minimize how many asbestos particles get blown into the air. They will also put any asbestos waste into specialized disposal bags.
They can also collect asbestos particles with an asbestos HEPA vacuum cleaner. This is a special type of vacuum cleaner that has special filtration abilities. These will ensure that the asbestos fibers won't easily disperse during the cleanup.
Oftentimes, workers don't need to remove asbestos to make a building safe. They can instead use a procedure called encapsulation. This involves spraying a special coating over the asbestos to bind the fibers together.
The encapsulation procedure cost is a lot less than the asbestos removal cost. However, the former procedure is far less safe than the latter. Workers should only perform it when an asbestos inspector approves the procedure.
What Is the Asbestos Disposal Process?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the removal and disposal of asbestos building materials. Licensed asbestos abatement companies must have a permit and/or license to dispose of asbestos. They must also pay the asbestos disposal rates.
Most of the cost of asbestos disposal processes will go towards the two areas above. The disposal rates for asbestos building materials may be higher than the costs to dispose of regular waste. This is because asbestos abatement workers can only deliver asbestos materials to special asbestos landfills.
Landfills specializing in asbestos materials exist to prevent the materials from contaminating natural environments. Workers will deliver their asbestos waste to these in plastic bags and plastic, leak-proof containers. Workers at the landfill may further destroy the asbestos via ultra-high temperature incineration.
The removed asbestos building materials aren't the only things that the workers deliver to these sites. They also deliver any of their contaminated disposable protective clothing. Workers will follow special steps to decontaminate by removing this clothing.
Asbestos Removal Cost Based on Locations
The location of asbestos building materials within your business can change the overall asbestos removal cost. The price is often based on how difficult and/or time-consuming the asbestos-affected area is to work in. In addition, the jurisdiction that your building resides in can play a part in your overall cost.
How Can Your Business's Location Affect Expenses?
The asbestos removal cost in an urban area will likely be higher than the cost in a rural area. This is simply due to the usual differences in costs between the two areas. Similar factors should apply when comparing the prices of two different areas.
Beyond that, though, the laws of different jurisdictions can affect prices as well. For example, some states consider certain types of asbestos non-hazardous. This can reduce the overall disposal cost.
How Can Site Size Affect Expenses?
The bigger the asbestos-affected area is, the higher the asbestos removal cost will be. This isn't always because they'll take longer to clean and drive up the labor costs. Some licensed asbestos abatement companies charge their clients per square foot of asbestos their workers need to remove.
If you have a larger commercial building, though, you may not need to worry. The workers may not need to perform asbestos removal on your entire building. It could be that only a small area of your facility has asbestos building materials in it.
How Can Soil Contamination Affect Expenses?
The soil below your commercial building may contain asbestos. Your building may sit on the location of an old landfill that construction workers bulldozed and rezoned. Unfortunately, workers likely didn't adequately clean up any hazardous materials the landfill had.
Luckily, this isn't too much of a disaster if this is the case for your building. Removing contaminated soil is one of the least expensive asbestos removal procedures. Just make sure that your asbestos inspector tests your soil.
How Can Roofing Contamination Affect Expenses?
Asbestos fibers found their way into several different roofing products. These include felt, flashing, cement, asphalt shingles, and more. Unfortunately, at the time, the abilities of asbestos made these materials highly attractive material additives.
Roofing is also one of the most expensive places in a business for asbestos removal. It's very dangerous and complicated for workers to remove asbestos building materials from a roof. On top of that, you'll likely also have to pay for new roofing materials.
How Can Flooring Contamination Affect Expenses?
Tile and vinyl flooring often have asbestos in the material itself or in the adhesive that binds them to the floor. You can pay to have these flooring types removed if you wish. However, unless the floor has significant damage, you usually don't have to.
One option is to have asbestos abatement workers encapsulate the floor. Another is to cover the existing flooring with another type of flooring. Both of these options can keep you safe without having to add much to your asbestos removal cost.
How Can Fencing Contamination Affect Expenses?
Cement fences that were manufactured in 1990 or earlier may contain asbestos. This may seem odd, as asbestos product manufacturing stopped in 1980. However, there was still plenty of surplus asbestos building materials that construction companies continued to use.
The cost that you'll pay for removing an asbestos fence depends on the fence's height and thickness. Luckily, the overall cost may be less because it's easier to remove asbestos products outside.
How Can Siding Contamination Affect Expenses?
Manufacturers added asbestos to siding products to make them stronger. At the present, asbestos abatement workers may need to remove these products. If they do, you'll need to pay the cost of the work plus the added cost of replacing all of your sidings.
In some states, it's legally required that a worker removes siding with asbestos. In other states, it isn't and workers can just encapsulate siding. Keep in mind, though, that this isn't the safest option.
How Can Attic and Crawlspace Contamination Affect Expenses?
Attics and crawl spaces can be very small. You probably think, then, that the asbestos removal cost would be cheap. In actuality, it can get expensive.
Unfortunately, smaller spaces make it very difficult for workers to move. This can make asbestos abatement take a longer time. In addition, being so close to asbestos materials in the walls or floors can be dangerous for workers.
How Can Pipe and Duct Contamination Affect Expenses?
It's very tricky for workers to remove asbestos from pipes and ducts. These building features often run through several rooms. Thus, asbestos abatement workers have to section off a huge portion of a building when prepping for a pipe or duct-related asbestos removal project.
Also, workers often have to remove asbestos-contaminated pipes and ducts completely. Pipes may be spared from this as workers can find asbestos merely in the insulation around the pipe. It depends on how the original installers affixed this material to the pipe.
Ducts get removed more often than pipes. This is because older construction workers used asbestos to stick ductwork pieces together. Overall, the complication of this project will likely leave you with a high price tag.
How Can Wall and Drywall Contamination Affect Expenses?
Oftentimes, asbestos only exists in the insulation behind a wall or drywall. In some of these cases, workers can open the wall and remove the insulation. You'll need to pay for wall repair and replacement insulation, but this isn't the worst-case scenario.
The worst-case scenario is when the wall and drywall materials have too much asbestos. In this case, you may have to completely replace the walls.
Also, encapsulation of the walls may be an option. As mentioned, this is cheaper than removal. Unfortunately, though, an inspector still has to approve this option.
Types of Asbestos
The particular asbestos mineral that's in your building can affect your final asbestos removal cost as well.
Each type of asbestos has different qualities. Thus, they require different methods to remove. The removal company may or may not have the tools for the method required.
Beyond minerals, asbestos building materials can also be friable or non-friable. This can affect the final price as well.
How Does Chrysotile Affect the Removal Price?
Chrysolite, known as "white asbestos," is the most commonly used asbestos. Luckily, it's also considered one of the least dangerous types. However, it can still cause health issues.
You're (relatively) in luck if your building has mostly chrysotile asbestos. It's one of the easiest and cheapest forms of asbestos to remove.
How Does Amosite Affect the Removal Price?
Amosite or "brown asbestos" is the second most commonly used asbestos mineral. Most samples of this mineral came from South Africa. You can find it in insulation, ceiling tiles, and floor tiles.
Experts have found that it's more likely to cause cancer than white asbestos. Asbestos abatement technicians must take special care when removing the amosite. This may lead to a higher asbestos removal cost overall.
How Does Crocidolite Affect the Removal Price?
"Blue asbestos" or crocidolite exists in buildings less often than white or brown asbestos. You can find it in ceiling tiles, cement products, and pipe insulation. Miners found this mineral in Bolivia, South Africa, and Australia.
It's also arguably the most dangerous type of asbestos because of its thin fibers. These can easily lodge in the lungs and cause cancers. This same thinness also makes it difficult and more costly to remove.
How Does Anthophyllite Affect the Removal Price?
Anthophyllite isn't commonly seen in commercial buildings. When you do see it, you'll likely find it in insulation or on the roof. It has a grayish-green color.
Since it's rare, asbestos removal services have likely not dealt with it. This means you'll encounter a higher asbestos removal cost if your building has anthophyllite.
How Do Tremolite and Actinolite Affect the Removal Price?
Both tremolite and actinolite can only be found in trace amounts in different asbestos products. They're also not considered as dangerous as other asbestos products.
They will probably just get removed with other hazardous asbestos products. This means that there won't be much of a price difference.
How Do Friable Asbestos Products Affect the Removal Price?
Friable asbestos products contain more than 1% of asbestos. You can also easily chip, crumble, and/or break them down. The more fibers friable asbestos
This fragility makes friable asbestos dangerous. Whenever it breaks, it releases particles into the air. Humans can breathe these particles in and become sick with cancer.
You can find friable asbestos in insulation, plumbing putty, and more. Friable asbestos is often more expensive to remove because of the danger it poses to workers.
How Do Non-Friable Products Affect the Removal Price?
Non-friable asbestos products contain at least 1% asbestos and are not fragile at first. However, they can become friable as they get older. You can find non-friable asbestos in products such as gaskets, asphalt shingles, and more.
This type of asbestos is less costly to remove. However, it is still dangerous.
How Does Zonolite Affect the Removal Price?
Zonolite isn't a mineral. Rather, it was a type of insulation that mostly contained the harmless mineral vermiculite. However, the mine where this particular vermiculite came from was contaminated by asbestos.
Unfortunately, Zonolite insulation was a highly popular insulation. Construction workers installed it in several places in the 1960s and 1970s. It likely exists in several buildings today.
The popularity of Zonolite means that technicians should have the skills and knowledge to remove it easily. However, the fact that Zonolite is very loose insulation means that it will be very hard for asbestos removal technicians to remove it. This will raise the overall asbestos removal cost.
HCI Provide’s Asbestos Abatement to Commercial California Businesses
In sum, the total asbestos removal cost can vary widely. There isn't much that you can do to adjust the price if there's a high amount of asbestos in your building.
However, remember that you're paying for the health and safety of all the building occupants. Something so important should be worth the price.
If you need a licensed asbestos abatement company in California, consider hiring HCI Environmental. HCI is a highly experienced, full-service environmental management company. Along with asbestos abatement, we also provide chemical waste cleanup, waste oil recycling, and more.
Contact our customer service from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the number at the top of the screen to get started. Or, request a quote! Our customer service team will provide you with a quote within 24 hours of your call.