Some States See Rise in Asbestos Abatement Business
With summer comes new renovation and remodeling projects, especially with the economy booming in some parts of the country. And with those renovation projects, experts say, comes the need to address asbestos, especially for those buying old homes that were built when asbestos was a normal component in a variety of building products.
The issue is a causing a backlog for many licensed asbestos abatement companies, reports a story aired on NBC News, Grand Junction, Colorado, a town where consumers are waiting weeks to have their homes tested for asbestos and then either removed or encapsulated.
“This summer’s been crazy, I’m running three crews, full time, some of my crews are running 50 plus hours a week,” said Justin Sutherland, who is the General Manager for Regional Asbestos Mitigation Services, one of the busiest this summer.
“Back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, up in the early 90s it was used fairly common,” said Sutherland, so houses built prior to that time are likely to contain some asbestos, which can be found in shingles, siding, tiles, insulation, drywall tapes, mastics, cement, and more.
Asbestos is fire resistant, Sutherland points out, which is why its use was so widespread, but – in many cases – it was also used for design purposes.
“Probably 90 percent of the popcorn ceilings you see around the valley are going to have asbestos in it and as well as the wall textures are very common; the next most common place to see it is in your flooring, your floor vinyl in your kitchen, bathrooms,” added Sutherland.
The story also noted that Colorado, in particular, is one of only two states that heavily regulate asbestos. Coloradans can leave it in their homes if it doesn’t pose a threat, but if it’s determined that the material is hazardous, then it must be removed.
That’s why abatement professionals are so busy in that state.
It’s not only the fact that it’s regulated that has some homeowners shelling out the bucks for removal. Many recognize the dangers the toxic mineral presents and want nothing to do with it, asking for it to be safely removed as soon as possible.
But it’s not cheap.
“A 1,200 to 1,300 square foot home, you’re wanting to gut all the drywall in it, you’re looking at $20,000 to $25,000,” explains Sutherland, who noted that projects can take from just a few days up to a few weeks. Furthermore, a lot of “pre-work” needs to be done to keep homeowners safe during and after the abatement.
Sadly, because of the cost, some homeowners decide to do removal on their own, which really is a no-no. Asbestos removal should always be done by professionals in order to avoid unnecessary exposure.
DIYers don’t have the right equipment or knowledge to get the job done correctly and wind up putting themselves and others in danger.