Before you start any renovation project, check for asbestos and then follow our requirements carefully – failure to do so can result in deadly health problems, or a notice of violation and monetary penalties.
1. Conduct an asbestos survey.
If you live in and own the single family house to be remodeled (not demolished), you may conduct your own survey to identify asbestos-containing materials. Please refer to our sampling protocol guidance document, Asbestos Survey Guidance (PDF).
In all other situations, such as renovating your rental property or condominium, or demolishing your house, you must hire an AHERA-certified building inspector to perform the survey. These inspectors are listed in the phone book yellow pages under “Asbestos Consulting and Testing.”
Share the survey results with anyone who may come in contact with the material to be disturbed and keep a copy of the survey on site.
2. Decide what to do if asbestos is found. Either:
A. Leave it alone.
Asbestos becomes a health risk if it is disturbed or deteriorating and fibers are released into the air. It may be possible to work around the asbestos during the renovation without disturbing it.
B. Repair or encapsulate.
You may re-seal or encapsulate the asbestos in its location and without notifying our agency if it is not disturbed.
Sometimes, asbestos can be repaired rather than removed. This is basically a process of securely re-sealing asbestos in its location. For example, a few inches of torn, loose, or frayed asbestos tape wrap on heating ducts can be repaired with duct tape. Damaged hot water pipe insulation can be covered with a specially designed fabric available at safety equipment stores.
Some asbestos applications that are in good condition can be encapsulated to reduce the likelihood of asbestos fibers releasing into the air. Encapsulation is the best option when dealing with insulation on heating systems. There are two types of encapsulants:
- Penetrating encapsulants are products that seep into asbestos-containing materials and bond with asbestos fibers securing them in place. They have little impact on the outward appearance of treated materials.
- Bridging encapsulants are products, such as paint, that coat asbestos-containing materials. They are most commonly used to encapsulate popcorn ceiling and furnace and heat duct insulation.
Be aware, however, that while encapsulation may seem like an attractive option, especially for furnace ducts or popcorn ceilings, there may be less obvious costs and risks involved. For example, painting to encapsulate may make future removal much more difficult and expensive. Also, popcorn applications that become too heavy with added encapsulant product, or through water damage, may fall off the ceiling in clumps, possibly releasing asbestos fibers.
C. Remove it.
You may remove the asbestos yourself if you live in and own your single-family house. New homeowners may remove asbestos prior to occupying their house. If you are renovating your rental property or condominium, or are a renter, you must hire a certified asbestos abatement contractor to remove the asbestos.
Note: We strongly encourage you to employ a certified asbestos abatement contractor to remove any asbestos. The work is difficult, time-consuming, and dangerous to you and your family’s health if procedures and regulations are not strictly followed. These experts have specialized equipment and training and employ techniques to control asbestos fibers not available to homeowners. In addition, asbestos removal work is physically demanding, requiring a respirator, non-breathable coveralls, rubber gloves and boots, working in high humidity and on wet, slippery surfaces.
Removing Asbestos Yourself
If you decide to remove the asbestos yourself, you must:
1. File an Asbestos/Demolition Notification.
Before you remove friable asbestos-containing material from the structure, you must submit a Single-Family Residence Notification along with a $30 filing fee.
Print a copy of the Notification you submit and keep it available for inspection.
You do not need to file a Notice if you are removing:
- Less than 10 linear feet of pipe or 48 square feet of surface area (per calendar year) of friable asbestos
- Nonfriable asbestos-containing material, such as asbestos roofing, vinyl asbestos tile, mastic or caulking
2. Properly remove asbestos.
When removing friable asbestos-containing material you must follow Regulation III, Section 4.05 (b) Friable Asbestos Removal Work Practices (PDF) and 4.07 Disposal of Asbestos-Containing Waste Material (PDF). Remember to dispose of the friable asbestos debris within 10 days after you remove it. The following homeowner instructions for three common types of friable asbestos-containing materials are available to help you remove the material yourself.
- How to Properly Remove Spray-on “Popcorn” Ceilings From Owner-Occupied, Single-Family Residences Only (PDF)
- How to Properly Remove Sheet Vinyl Flooring with Asbestos Backing From Owner-Occupied, Single-Family Residences Only (PDF)
- How to Properly Remove Cement Asbestos-Board Siding From Owner-Occupied, Single-Family Residences Only (PDF)
When removing nonfriable asbestos-containing material you must follow the Method of Removal for Nonfriable, Asbestos-Containing Material (PDF) as noted in Regulation III, Section 4.05 (c).
3. Properly dispose of the asbestos.
Take friable asbestos-containing waste to an Asbestos Disposal Waste Facility authorized to receive the waste. Complete and bring an Asbestos Waste Material Shipment Record (PDF) to dispose of the friable asbestos waste at the disposal site. Nonfriable asbestos-containing waste must be promptly transferred to a disposal container labeled "nonfriable asbestos waste." Please contact your local disposal company for further instructions.