DIY asbestos handling


People have a lot of questions about removing asbestos from their homes. Most of these questions are centered on removal from four main areas: furnace ducting, floor tiles, exterior siding, and the old popcorn ceiling. The questions differ, and there are various degrees of success for the DIY homeowners.

Just about everyone knows that handling asbestos is hazardous at best, but that can’t always be helped; hiring a professional team is a very expensive endeavor. But in spite of the expense, a professional asbestos remediation service are highly regulated, and a DIY homeowners rarely eliminates asbestos in a way that meets their standards.

When it comes to old heating systems (including the insulation around old boilers) this is especially true.  A crumbling layer of “friable asbestos” usually coats the duct work. The particle s from this are very small and if inhaled can lead to mesothelioma.

Also, in spite of the high cost of professional removal, the price of legal disputes coming about later are also expensive when tests show a poor management of the asbestos particles.

On the other hand, when homeowners tackle the pre-1972 popcorn ceilings, it can be a different story. There is a higher degree of success. The hazards are the same. But with careful mitigation, this project can be done quickly enough.


We recommend using “visqueen” or “poly/visqueen” (a heavy plastic polyethylene) sheeting about six to ten mm thick be laid out on the floor with a about two feet extra overlapping the walls and taped securely. A thinner plastic light weight sheeting can be used on the remainder of the wall to completely enclose the room’s surfaces.

We can provide personal protection with our inexpensive lead and asbestos removal kit  for each of the workers in the removal project. This kit includes a Tyvek suit, booties, gloves, hood, goggles, and mask. The respirator mask will be equipped with P-100 rated filters.

First, the area chosen for the removal is taped off and sealed. Then, you need to wet the ceiling with a water sprayer which will also greatly reduce the dust level. Having a second person handy to continue spraying as pieces fall would be helpful to keep the particulates clumped and easier to manage during the clean-up.

After all the scraping is finished, bag up everything that is contaminated beginning with the stuff on the floor and the sheeting. Then bag and dispose of the protective clothing, including the gloves, goggles, and filters. The kits are not terribly expensive, and anything exposed to the asbestos will have residual particles on it.

Old asbestos tile floors and asbestos-based adhesive, like old heater ducts, are difficult and create persistent problems. Sometimes it is best to just cover the old flooring with new.

Finally, many homes still have the very durable exterior asbestos siding. These become a problem if cracked or broken. Also, working with them when doing other things, like plumbing, they can complicate a simple task.

Cleaning this type of siding from your property can be done with the proper precautions and protective gear. However, if you live in a town, you may need a permit. You might have to decide if this is more cost effective than hiring a professional asbestos abatement service.

The necessity of wearing protective gear cannot be emphasized enough. With the appropriate planning a do-it-yourselfer can safely remove asbestos. If you have any questions about the products you need, contact us online at

Comments for this post are closed.