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How to Remove Asbestos: Understanding the Process

How to Remove Asbestos: Understanding the Process

Did you know that removing asbestos can be extremely dangerous to your health? It’s true.

In Canada, anyone who plans to engage in an asbestos removal project is required to follow strict safety regulatory guidelines, as asbestos removal is often complicated, and requires specialized training, equipment, to be completed by certified contractors.

The key point to understand is that when it comes to the removal of asbestos – or any form of asbestos abatement at all – it is imperative that you hire a qualified and certified contractor.

Leave This Job to the Professionals

Asbestos removal work falls under both federal and provincial regulations, and for good reason. If performed improperly, asbestos fibers become airborne, and because this material is microscopic and invisible to the naked eye, it can easily be inhaled or ingested and could lead to serious health issues down the road.

Being exposed to asbestos can lead to diseases like asbestos, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. By breathing in airborne asbestos fibers over a period of time, a person could potentially end up with severe damage to their lungs as well as other internal organs.  Trusting asbestos removal professionals to safely remove asbestos from your home or your workplace could save your life!

Where Is Asbestos Usually Found?

Asbestos is found in all kinds of finished products.  It is found in anything from construction supplies to auto parts to protective clothing. It even exists in some household items like ironing board covers and oven mitts!

It is important to note that damaged building materials or materials found to be in poor condition could result in the release of asbestos fibers in the air. It is important to address building materials found to be in poor condition as soon as possible to prevent further release of asbestos fibers.

While the use of asbestos has been banned in Canada since the early 1980s, a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shown that in 1985, one in five buildings contained high concentrations of asbestos in the building materials. Buildings or homes built prior to the 1980s are very likely to contain asbestos. As a general rule of thumb, prior to any renovation, demolition, or repairs, it is highly recommended that any building or home constructed prior to1990s should be tested for asbestos by a qualified and certified technician.

Asbestos material was often used as a fireproofing method, being mixed into plaster, drywall mud, and spray-applied insulation.

Often, asbestos and asbestos products were found more often in places like attics, basements, bathrooms. Asbestos can be found in some of the following products and materials, among others:

Drywall Joint CompoundPlaster Walls and CeilingsFloor Tiles and Black Mastic
Vinyl Sheet Flooring and Paper BackingVermiculite Insulation within Attics and Cinder Block WallsCeiling Tiles
Exterior Stucco and PargingFloor Tile MasticWindow and Door Caulking

Always Remove Asbestos Carefully

Because asbestos was so common not long ago, at Certified Asbestos Removal, we recommend that if you plan on doing renovations in your building, demolition of an older home, or repairs to water damaged or mold-contaminated materials – whether it is your family home or a large commercial complex – asbestos abatement and removal should always be done by certified professionals.

Our technicians have been trained and equipped with the proper personal protective equipment as well as the proper equipment required to complete the job safely while they do this dangerous job. Our technicians always treat the work area with the utmost care. We know that when we come to your home or place of business, we’re protecting more than a job site – we’re protecting your long-term health as well as the health of our technicians.

Generally speaking, some of the following guidelines are followed by our workers any time they are on a job site.

Decontamination Procedures

Whenever an asbestos containment and worker decontamination unit is set up, there always must be decontamination procedures that follow. Our technicians and all tools and equipment used are properly and safely decontaminated prior to leaving the work area. The goal is to ensure that no fibers can escape the “dirty” part of the work area.

There should always be a separate “dirty” and “clean” decontamination area, with the latter being the best place to store equipment and protective gear during the job. Disposable wipes are used to decontaminate all surfaces and objects, and any debris materials removed during the job should be carefully double-bagged and sealed for later disposal. All personal protective equipment needs to be vacuumed and wiped down after use as well. All respirators are properly decontaminated and stored safely prior to vacating the job site.


When it comes to removing asbestos, the cost is an important factor. But much more important is proper preparation, and the use of appropriate materials. Health is the number one concern, always. That’s why everything used must be up to code, and prepared in advance. For example, plastic sheeting will need to be at least 6 mils thick. It should always be new (never reused from another job), and always be disposed of safely afterward to a hazardous waste landfill.

Removal experts will also need access to clean water (usually a garden hose will do), clean buckets, fresh rags, a solid asbestos waste container, asbestos waste bags, the proper personal protective equipment, and warning notices and barricades to keep unsuspecting people out of the asbestos abatement area during the work. Prior to starting the removal of asbestos, all vents are covered to prevent fibers and dust from entering.

Without taking the necessary precautions and preparation, anyone attempting to remove asbestos will be putting themselves and their families at risk of exposure unnecessarily.

Removal Process

During removal, all materials being removed are sprayed down with soap and water during asbestos abatement activities. When friable materials such as ceiling tiles, drywall, or plaster have to be removed, they should be dampened prior to removal. All asbestos waste should be carefully double-bagged in 6 mils labeled asbestos bags, taped, and placed in a hazardous waste bin.

Asbestos waste should not be dropped down rubble chutes, as the bags could potentially tear, resulting in the release of asbestos fibers into the air. Bystanders walking by could potentially be at risk should these fibers become airborne in their breathing zone.  

Our trained technicians do their best to avoid breaking down asbestos-containing materials as much as possible during an abatement procedure, as doing so may result in more asbestos dust and the release for more airborne fibers. They should similarly avoid crushing any asbestos materials on the ground.

Use Caution – Use Certified Asbestos Removal

Any building or homeowners considering a project that will require asbestos removal should be sure to hire a certified contractor or company that has a written safe work plan prepared before any work is done. Ask your contractor to see their safe work plan and safety paperwork.

This work plan should include many of the items listed above, and detail how the work will be planned, the asbestos removed, and the area cleaned up. These plans must meet appropriate federal and provincial regulations, with waste taken to a qualified landfill or safely recycled.

With over 25 years of experience in the asbestos removal industry, you can trust Certified Asbestos Removal to get the job done and to do it safely. Have questions? Contact us today, and we can design a plan that works for you!

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