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Can I test for asbestos myself? Is it cheaper??

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“Do It Yourself” Is All The Rage These Days

… But Asbestos Testing Is Not A Good DIY Project

Here are a few great ideas for things you can do yourself, rather than hiring a professional… thereby saving anywhere from a few pennies to several dollars!

  • Learning to eat with a knife and fork
  • Writing your own wedding vows
  • Making your own pot holders using one of those loop looms they sold when we were kids
  • Hand-crafting your own snowballs
  • Catching up on your favorite off-network drama series
  • Making your own home movies, for that matter!
  • Entertaining party guests with your portable karaoke machine

Yes, these are just a few of the “Do It Yourself” (DIY) projects you can take on, saving money and gaining the satisfaction of a job well done.  Or, at least, done.

Meanwhile, here are some things you might be tempted to DIY, in an extreme effort to save money, but which, while thrifty, might not be your most brilliant ideas:

  • Performing your own eye surgery
  • Building your own car out of re-usable household items
  • Attempting to entertain party guests with your portable karaoke machine
  • Testing your own property for the presence of life-threatening asbestos


Some Things Are Better Left To The Professionals

While we’re on the subject of asbestos, let’s take a look at that last one: Testing your own property for asbestos.

Here at Asbestos Abatement, Inc., we often get calls from homeowners and real estate agents, asking if it’s really necessary to hire a professional testing company or whether there’s a cheaper DIY option.

In truth, while it can cost a few hundred dollars to have your property professionally tested for asbestos, you can get a lab to run a test (on a sample you collect yourself) for as little as fifty bucks.

Great DIY project, eh?

Not so much.

It turns out there are some very strict rules and professional procedures to be followed in collecting samples to be tested for asbestos.  And, chances are, unless you’re a friend of mine named Scott who’s a highly-trained testing specialist, you don’t know what those rules and procedures are.

I know what you’re thinking: “What’s the big deal?  How hard could it be?” And, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

So let’s address those questions from your brain, in order.

  • What’s the big deal?  Well, if you get a false test result because you botched the sample collection, you could have an asbestos problem and not know it (or, worse, not believe it).  And the big deal there is that microscopic asbestos particles in significant quantities in your air could make you the kind of sick you can’t recover from.  There’s no cure for mesothelioma lung cancer, and airborne asbestos has been proven to cause it.


  • How hard could it be?  Answer: It’s much harder than you think to properly test for asbestos.  Chances are, if you’re testing for asbestos, there has been an “event” such as a broken water pipe or house fire, and your insurer is involved… or you’re attempting a real estate transaction and need to be assured that the property is asbestos-free.  Either way, somebody is going to require that the test is sampled and conducted with the extreme thoroughness only a professional testing company (licensed and bonded) can provide.  And that’s harder than it looks.


  • What’s the worst that could happen?  Again, the medical implications of an asbestos problem mean that the worst that could happen is, well, not to be too scary: Death.  But given the involvement of your property insurer, or lawyers for one or the other side of a real estate transaction, you could be facing huge legal and financial liability… even if you survive.

So, if you need eye surgery, a drivable automobile, happily-entertained party guests, or an asbestos test… it’s really best to turn the job over to a professional.

Botch the high notes on a karaoke version of a Huey Lewis tune, and your guests will wince.  But botch a DIY asbestos test, and they might die.

Just sayin.’


Professional asbestos testing and abatement is not as scary as all that.  Finding and getting rid of an asbestos problem is much less of a hassle and expense than most people realize.  And being able to breathe easy with peace-of-mind?  Priceless.