DIY Asbestos Removal?

Okay, so six years ago my husband and I bought a wonderful 125+ year old Victorian - good structural condition, really needs some minor renovation/decor updates. We finally pay off the credit cards, save about $5000 for our upstairs bathroom remodel, and try to get started with it. Well, load-bearing blah, blah, so we go up to the attic, and decide to sister the joists up there first so we can get that out of the way. No problem, we wanted to get that yucky, kitty-litter like insulation replaced anyway. So, Husband is poking around up there Monday night and finds an empty bag of the yucky insulation, It says…

“Zonolite” otherwise known as “deadly tremolite asbestos” There turns out to be a long story involved with the mining and distribution of this insulation, including a federal criminal trial, an “Erin Brockovich” type water contamination on other company products, and a GWB power struggle with the EPA. In any case, I want this stuff out of my house like, yesterday.

Question - should we take it out ourselves? Based on the square footage of my attic (and smaller lower attic off the side of house) it will probably cost about $20,000 - $28,000 to hire a professional. It is not illegal in Indiana for a homeowner to do it themselves, but it’s scary. But, with all the research I’ve done, it seems that it’s not that difficult. Hard work, time-consuming, but requires no special skill, just undivided attention to details. And, to buy the necessary removal equipment (HEPA vacuum, respirator, miles of 6mm sheeting) and to pay for hauling and disposal, will probably only cost about $4,000.00.

Any dopers have any thoughts or experience with something like this?


You seem to have all of your ducks in a row. I’d also make sure to wet-wipe everything down when you’re done for the day or done with the job. Not enough to soak the wood of your attic but enough to get up any dust that might be lingering. Dispose of the HEPA filter(s) and the cloths in a thick-walled garbage bag and seal it tightly.


Are you going to remove all of the insulation in the attic, or just enough to provided access for the bathroom remodel?

I’d consider any disclosures you might have to provide when you sell the house. A professional abatement contractor will provide testing to document that the asbestos is gone or properly encapsulated, and you might not be able to do this as a DIY project. That’s probably not a problem if you are doing a partial removal, but if you intend to completely remove the asbestos being able to document that to the buyer might be helpful, especially if you are required to disclose it.

edited to add: of course, you’ll also need to consider the cost of new insulation.

That is actually not the big issue if the case is of partial asbestos removal, however, in case of complete asbestos, you must disclose it to the buyer of property through a proper legal documentation. :slight_smile:

In the UK, you would have a good case against your surveyor (assuming you used one). This is exactly the kind of thing that they are supposed to spot.

Reminder that this is a 7 year old thread and I’m pretty sure that the OP’s problem has been taken care of by now.

zombie or no

what matters is the type of asbestos and the amount.

often it is best to not remove it and make it so that it isn’t disturbed. it’s only dangerous if it’s in your lungs.

it is a case by case basis. it will all vary with what country, state or province you are in. what type of asbestos in what building material will determine what to do about or with it.

True In fact!

Spam reported. (sydneyasbestos)

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