The national average cost for an asbestos inspection is $100 - $190. The total cost will depend on the type of tests the contractor performs, the number of samples they take, and whether or not it's included in a full home inspection.
For most homeowners, the mere mention of asbestos is a terrifying thought. A carcinogen that occurs naturally in rocks and soil, it was widely used in building materials prior to the 1970s because of its heat-resistant qualities. But, we now know, it poses a health hazard and regulations set out by the EPA have since banned most asbestos-containing building materials.
The danger of asbestos is not in just its presence but whether or not it is "friable," which means the asbestos-containing material can be crumbled or reduced to powder by hand. It's also hazardous if the material has become broken or damaged by mechanical force. The danger of asbestos-containing materials is triggered when they are cut into or disturbed, like during a demolition or remodel.
If you're buying or remodeling a home built before the 1970s, an asbestos inspection should be a part of your whole home inspection. Before you hire an asbestos testing company near you to check your home, get an idea of how much testing will cost.
What's in this cost guide?
The cost to inspect and test a home for asbestos depends on the size of the home, the number and type of samples the inspector conducts, and whether or not it's included as an add-on to a full home inspection.
Asbestos is commonly found in duct and pipe insulation, attic insulation, ceiling and wall acoustical tiles, cement asbestos siding, and floor tiles or floor tile adhesives. If a building is more than 30 years old, it's wise to have it tested for asbestos—especially if you know you will be taking down walls or otherwise disturbing tiled or insulated surfaces.
If a home inspector sees signs of friable asbestos, it's also a good idea to take samples for testing. However, the more samples the tester must take, the higher the cost of the inspection because it will take more time and incur higher lab analysis costs.
The cost for asbestos testing starts at $250, in addition to the cost of the initial inspection, for an inspector to take a materials sample and have a lab analyze it. One Thumbtack pro who specializes in home inspections in Middleburg, Virginia, tests clients' homes for asbestos using this method. He always notifies clients during an inspection if he sees anything in the home that might contain asbestos so they add on asbestos testing if necessary.
The cost to have your home's air tested for the presence of asbestos fibers ranges from $300–$1,200. Air testing is typically more expensive than a materials sample because of the method, the asbestos transmission electron microscopy method (TEM), used to inspect samples. TEM uses electrons to create images of fine crystal patterns and analyzes the chemical makeup of fibers or structures encountered in the air sample.
Although more costly than a physical sample, it's worth the price to make sure the air in your home isn't posing a health risk for you and your loved ones.
The bulk of the inspection costs for asbestos goes to the lab fees so, the more tests the more expensive your total costs will be. For example, the same Virginia-based home inspection pro mentioned earlier charges $300 to take a material sample and test for asbestos as part of a home inspection—$225 of that fee goes to the lab to analyze the samples.
If asbestos test results are needed in less than a week, the cost may go up. Many testing services need seven to 10 business days because that is how long it can take a lab to analyze samples.
However, some asbestos testing companies can return sampling results faster. For example, a Thumbtack Pro and asbestos inspector based in Mesa, Arizona, offers a 24-hour turnaround on asbestos testing.
The average cost for asbestos abatement or removal ranges from $1,500-$30,000. Many asbestos abatement and removal contractors charge a minimum fee of $1,500–$3,000.
Abatement and removal costs will depend on the size of the project, type and number of asbestos-containing materials you need to take care of, and what abatement method(s) your contractor uses.
Asbestos abatement actually refers to any procedure used to control fiber release from asbestos-containing materials in your home, which may or may nor include removal. For example, the Virginia-based asbestos inspector says that if you have a floor covered with asbestos tile, covering it with some other hard flooring will keep asbestos out of the air. Nonfriable asbestos (the term for any material that contains more than 1% asbestos but cannot be pulverized under hand pressure) can often be covered up instead of removed to keep it from posing a hazard.
Asbestos testing and home inspection services don't typically offer the removal service. However, your asbestos inspector will be able to recommend someone who is certified for asbestos removal.
Since the presence of asbestos poses a health risk, this is not an expense you want to skimp on. That said, adding an asbestos inspection and/or tests to a full home inspection is the most affordable way to go because the inspector only has to come to the property once. This is a good option for to-be homeowners who are in the process of buying a house.
Before you hire someone to inspect your home for asbestos, be sure to:
- Ask for certifications. Whether you're hiring a general home inspector or an air quality specialist, ask your inspector what sort of certifications and training they have with asbestos inspections. Further, a trained and qualified inspector will have the proper protective gear and tools needed for collecting samples for testing.
- Ask how long it will take to get results. If your inspector has to send samples to a lab, ask up front how long it will take to return the results and, if you're pressed for time, what the average cost is to expedite them.
- Ask for a free estimate. Before the inspection begins, ask your contractor how much it will cost. Get a range that includes sampling and testing.
Whether you're about to begin a renovation of an old home, or looking at purchasing one built more than 30 years ago, it's a smart idea to have it tested for asbestos. If you're ready to get started, find a home inspector or asbestos inspector near you on Thumbtack.