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Asbestos Abatement or Asbestos Encapsulation?

Asbestos Abatement or Asbestos Encapsulation?


These two terms are thrown around the asbestos industry daily but may not mean much to the average consumer.


Asbestos Abatement is another term for Asbestos Removal. It is exactly as it sounds, the asbestos is removed from the building component, etc. The advantage of asbestos removal is that you do not have to deal with the asbestos again after it is professinally removed. The disadvantage is that the abatement/remvoal process takes more time and is typically more expensive.


Asbestos Encapsulation is a term used when asbestos is left in place but covered with a protective barrier to reduce risk of asbestos exposure when around this asbestos. The advantage of asbestos encapsulation is that you typically save time and money upfront but the disadvantage is that the asbestos is not gone and you will likely have to deal with it again. When you deal with it again, it should be expected that the costs will increase annually as landfill fees, permit fees, equipment costs, etc tend to escalate annually in the asbetos industry.


What is safer, asbetos abatement or asbestos encapsulation? You may hear comments that asbestos should be encapsulated versus removed for safety. This statement is not correct assuming you have liscensed professinals that correctly do the removal. The removal process/practices/equipment/etc have come a long ways and are very safe and effective. Post removal air testing (optional) is also available for the added peace of mind that your asbestos removal project was done correctly.


Items that are commonly encapsulated include:

  1. Asbestos on piping systems to include:
    1. Asbestos insulaton on piping
    2. Asbestos fitting insulation on pipe fittings (90 degree elbows, Ts, etc)
  2. Asbestos on ductwork systems to include:
    1. Asbestos seam tape on ductwork
    2. Asbestos insulation on ductwork boots
    3. Asbestos insulation on ductwork


So what should I do? This is a questions that can have many answers that will vary dependent on your situation. Here are some common things to consider when making the decision between asbestos removal or asbestos encapsulation:

  1. Will I be living in my home/owning my building forever? Forever is strong term but if you know you will be selling in the near future, you should keep in mind that asbestos is a scary word to many potential buyers and they may not want it in their home/building even if its encapsulated. You may spend money on encapsulating asbestos only to have asbestos removal come up as a contingency to sale. Now your asbestos encapsulation money is a complete loss plus the cost for asbestos removal will be higher as encapsulated asbestos takes loner to remove than non-encapsulated asbestos.
  2. Are there hidden cost if I have it removed?
    1. If the you abating asbetos insulation from piping or asbestos fitting insulation, keep in mind that it was likely installed for one or multiple reasons:       energy efficiency, burn protection, condensation control. Once you abate the asbestos, you will want to consider if you want to re-insulate this item. If you decide to encapsulate asbestos versus removal, you will not have this hidden cost.
    2. If you are abating asbestos from ductwork, it can be nearly impossible or not cost effective to remove the asbestos from the ductwork itself without actually removing the ductwork as well. Asbetos on ductwork (typically paper thin) is very well adhered and is VERY labor intense to try to clean off. It is very common to either encapsulate this asbestos or to remvoe the entire section of ductwork. Keep in mind that if the ductwork is removed, it will need to be replaced.
  3. Will I be remodeling in the future or demolishing the structure? If you are thinking of remodeling or removing an item with asbestos on it (i.e. upgrading your HVAC System that is currenly covered in asbestos), you may want to spend money on having the asbestos removed and not encapsulated. If you have the asbestos encapsulation done you will likely have to deal with again durig ther remodel/demo.


Regardless of your choice, asbestos abatement or asbestos encapsulation, we can perform the work safely and in a cost effective manor. We are also here to work through the finanical choices between asbestos abatement and asbestos encapsulation. We can price things both ways and walkthrough hidden costs with you. Contact our office today for you free estimate.

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