Asbestos was initially used extensively during the 1930s as a construction material. Unfortunately, the shocking health risks were not identified early enough. We now know that the fibres from this material lead to fatal respiratory diseases and lung cancer.
How Widespread is Asbestos?
It wasn’t until 1999 that the substance was confirmed as dangerous and outlawed in the UK. So if your home was built between 1930-1999 it is likely you have asbestos materials within your home. Here are the most common places it may have been used:
- Insulation (Boards, cavity wall, attic)
- Walls (cement)
- Gutters and Pipes
But there’s no need to panic yet! The material is not harmful as long as it’s in good condition. The potential danger only occurs when it has been broken, damaged or allowed to deteriorate. This is what triggers harmful airborne fibres to be released into the environment.
The key to staying safe with asbestos is correct identification, care and attention.
What Are The Different Types?
Chrysotile (white asbestos) is commonly used in buildings, homes and garages. You can identify it by the grey/white colouring and strong yet flexible structure.
Amosite (brown asbestos) is also used in buildings, usually as thermal insulation.
Crocidolite (blue asbestos) is rare and usually only found in Southern Africa. It resembles textile materials and used for high temperate applications.
If your home was built before 2000 and you are concerned about asbestos, have a trusted asbestos surveyor come to check your house.
Must Asbestos Always Be Removed?
Before jumping to asbestos removal costs, it may be more cost effective to leave it in place. Many homes have a significant amount of asbestos within the construction, yet there is no need to tear down the entire house.
If your asbestos is in good health and unlikely to be accidentally damaged, it poses little risk. Remember it’s only when the material is disturbed or broken that the hazardous dust is released.
Due to the severity of associated health risks, it should definitely be removed if located in more risky areas. You do not have to wait for signs of deterioration before considering complete removal.
Should I Remove Asbestos Myself?
Absolutely not, asbestos removal far from DIY friendly. Some do remove it themselves then burn/bury the material, but this is very ill-advised. Not only is this against the law but also incredibly dangerous. Harmful fibres will almost certainly be released, posing serious dangers to anyone in the area.
Only competent professionals with full safety gear should be undertaking this job. It’s not wise to put yourself and others at significant risk to cut costs.
You can learn more about the legal aspects from the government’s official asbestos legislations.
How Much Does it Cost to Remove Asbestos?
The quantity of asbestos to be removed is a critical factor for price. However, you can estimate the costs of asbestos removal using these four stages:
- Identifying Asbestos
First you need a professional surveyor to accurately assess presence, quantity and risks. This stage is mandatory and prepares you for the following stages.
- A basic appraisal of materials £50+
- An extensive survey of the entire £200+
An extensive survey is recommended to provide detailed information and safely choose option 1 or 2.
- Asbestos Encapsulation (Option 1)
If your extensive survey highlights encapsulation as an option you may choose this. It works by applying a protective adhesive to all asbestos material, preventing the release of harmful dust.
– Cost of Asbestos Encapsulation is around £8+ per square metre
- Asbestos Removal (Option 2)
If encapsulation is not a viable option you will need to consider full asbestos removal, performed by licensed professionals. You can get quotes from qualified tradesmen by filling in the form on the sidebar.
– The cost of removing asbestos is around £50+ per square metre
The cost of asbestos removal is far greater than encapsulation, but it is well worth the investment. With the threat removed you will not have to be careful or mind hazardous material. Your house will be safer and it can also increase the value.
Variables that affect the costs to remove asbestos include location, scale of the project and required resources. Increase your budget if areas are more difficult to access.
- Re-boarding (Optional)
When the asbestos material has been removed it may have left large areas that need re-boarding, finishing and possibly decorating.
– For basic re-boarding, you can expect to pay around £400+
Average Asbestos Removal Costs
Smaller areas can cost less than £1000 in total. For example, a domestic water tank can be removed and disposed of for £200.
For larger areas such as an asbestos garage removal, the costs can travel up to £2500+.
You may be alarmed at these expenses, but remember it is a worthwhile health investment. If you plan on staying in your home long-term and raising a family, you can’t put a price on their health.
How Much to Remove Asbestos Garage Sections?
Asbestos garage removal costs can be broken down by size and sections:
– The cost of removing an asbestos garage roof starts at £380 or £680 if including sides.
– The cost of removing a double garage roof starts from £750 or £1800 if including sides.
– The cost of removing asbestos garage insulation ceiling boards starts at £1350.
Seek Help From Local Councils
The cost of removing asbestos can be reduced by seeking advice from your local council. Most have their own services in place and offer vastly reduced rates. It’s definitely worth checking first, some may remove small amounts free of charge! See below for some examples of local council policies:
Essex County Council – will remove up to 40kg of asbestos cement for free.
Bedford Council – have a reduced rate service for removing asbestos: Eight sheets for £206, twelve for £260 and sixteen for £300.
York Council – offer a greatly reduced rate for removing asbestos cement, roofing, pipes and gutters. In most cases up to 200kg of asbestos can be removed for £95.
Richmond Upon Thames Council– will remove up to 200kg for £44
Always Hire a Certified Asbestos Specialist
The high cost of asbestos removal may tempt you to skip an extensive survey, or worse yet take on this dangerous job yourself. This is extremely dangerous.
Hiring cheap non-qualified workers is not a smart move either. This poses a huge risk to your family, friends and any who visit your home.
The Control of Asbestos Regulations states you should only hire fully qualified tradesmen. Check your surveyor and remover is accredited to the following:
– BOHS P402 Standard
– HSE Licensed (if removing asbestos)
– Hazardous Waste Carriers Licence (for asbestos transport)
– Uses a UKAS accredited lab for sample assessment
If you suspect you have asbestos in your home, contact your local council for guidance then hire a certified asbestos surveyor. Fill the form in on the right.