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Why DIY asbestos removal is a bad idea

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Why DIY asbestos removal is a bad idea

If you’re wondering how to tackle an asbestos issue at your property, DIY asbestos removal is certainly not the solution.

Asbestos was once hailed as a miracle material for its fire-resistant properties and durability and was widely used in the construction of buildings from the 1930s through to the early 1980s. However, this material is now recognised for what it truly is: a serious health hazard.

Consequently, many homeowners are concerned about the presence of asbestos in their properties and may consider removing it themselves to save costs. However, DIY asbestos removal is incredibly risky and can have serious consequences. In today’s blog post, we’ll consider why attempting to remove asbestos without professional assistance should be avoided.

Asbestos: what’s the danger?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral extensively used in construction materials, automotive parts, textiles, and other industries during the 20th century. It was lauded for its heat resistance, strength and insulating properties.

However, the microscopic fibres released when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed can easily be inhaled or ingested, and exposure to these fibres can lead to severe, debilitating, and often fatal respiratory diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Pile of broken asbestos roof from professional asbestos removal effort.

Lack of expertise

Removing asbestos requires specialised knowledge, training, and equipment. Professionals undergo rigorous training to safely handle asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and are well-versed in the proper containment, removal, and disposal techniques.

Whilst DIY can be fun, cost-saving, and practical in many areas of the home, when it comes to asbestos removal, DIY enthusiasts risk exposing themselves and others to harm. Moreover, improper removal can result in cross-contamination, spreading asbestos to other areas of the property and increasing the risk of exposure.

Health risks

As previously mentioned, exposure to asbestos fibres can pose marked health risks, including respiratory diseases that can be life-threatening.

Inhalation of airborne asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, and symptoms often do not manifest until years or even decades after the initial exposure. DIY removal increases the likelihood of these fibres being released, putting not only the person performing the removal at risk but also their family members, neighbours, and anyone else in the vicinity.

Legal and regulatory compliance

If the health risks alone weren’t reason enough to steer clear of DIY asbestos removal, it may be useful to note that removal from non-residential properties is subject to strict regulations following The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

While DIY asbestos removal from residential properties is not subject to a legal duty of care, it can easily violate these regulations, leading to legal consequences and hefty fines. Additionally, improper disposal of asbestos-containing materials can result in environmental contamination, further exacerbating the problem. Professionals are well-versed in these regulations and ensure compliance throughout the removal process, from containment to disposal, thus avoiding complex and costly legal pitfalls.

Cost considerations

While DIY enthusiasts may be motivated by cost savings, the reality is that DIY asbestos removal can end up being far more expensive in the long run due to the issues that can be encountered.

Conversely, professional removal, whilst requiring an investment, ensures thorough containment, removal, and disposal, thus minimising the risk of future contamination and costly remediation efforts. Moreover, the potential health consequences of DIY removal pose the question of what is more valuable to you, your cash or your health?

Risk of property damage

Asbestos-containing materials are often integrated into various components of a property, from the likes of insulation and flooring to pipework and roofing. Attempting to remove asbestos without proper training and equipment can result in significant damage to these structural elements, leading to costly and troublesome repairs and renovations.

In contrast to the risks incurred by botched DIY, professionals are equipped with the expertise to assess the extent of asbestos contamination and devise a sophisticated and effective removal plan that keeps damage to an absolute minimum.

Waste removal

Not only is it risky to try and remove asbestos yourself, but once you’ve undertaken the removal you will need to dispose of the waste. Like the actual removal of asbestos, the disposal of this harmful material is also a complex task that needs to be approached correctly.

Asbestos-containing materials must be disposed of in line with strict regulatory requirements in order to prevent environmental contamination and keep health hazards to a minimum. Professional asbestos removal contractors are equipped with the knowledge, training, and equipment necessary to safely manage asbestos waste disposal, and have access to approved asbestos disposal facilities too. With a firm understanding of the intricacies of asbestos regulations, along with the expertise and resources to ensure proper containment, packaging, transportation, and disposal of asbestos materials, this is a high-risk job best left to the professionals.

Peace of mind

Perhaps the most compelling reason to opt for professional asbestos removal is simply pure peace of mind.

Entrusting the task to qualified professionals ensures that the job is done safely, efficiently, and in compliance with any related regulations. With professional assistance, homeowners can rest assured that their property is free from asbestos hazards, safeguarding the health and well-being of their families and the broader community.

An outside view of the top floors of an old grey commercial building.

Alternatives to asbestos removal

While asbestos removal is the most effective way to eliminate the health risks associated with asbestos exposure, there are alternative approaches that homeowners can consider:


For homeowners concerned about the presence of asbestos but hesitant to undergo removal, regular monitoring can provide valuable insights in regard to the extent of the issue and the potential pathways to rectify it. Professional asbestos surveyors can conduct periodic inspections to assess the condition of asbestos-containing materials and monitor any changes over time. By tracking the condition of ACMs, homeowners can make informed decisions about whether and when to proceed with removal.


The main alternative to asbestos removal is encapsulation, a process that involves sealing asbestos-containing materials to prevent the release of dangerous fibres. Encapsulation can be a cost-effective solution for managing asbestos in situ, particularly in areas where removal is not feasible or practical. Here at Henderson Environmental, our team uses materials such as rigid boards and sheets, spray coatings, and fabric wraps to encapsulate asbestos. However, it’s important to note that encapsulation is not suitable for all situations and may not provide a permanent solution, as encapsulated materials can deteriorate over time, leading to a resurgence in the risks.

How can Henderson Environmental help?

DIY asbestos removal is not to be taken lightly. It’s a risky endeavour that can incur incredibly serious health, legal, and financial consequences.

Luckily, we can provide a safe and effective alternative. Here at Henderson Environmental, our team of licensed professionals is equipped with the training, experience, and resources required to safely manage asbestos removal from start to finish and offer a range of services including licensed and non-licensed removal, abatement, encapsulation, and waste disposal.

Looking for professional assistance with asbestos removal? Get in touch with us today. 

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From the enquiry to the completion of the work, the service is outstanding. All members of staff who attended the site are professional, very polite, did their work and when I asked to do any extra work, it was not a problem, they just did it.

Lena Jopling, Hutchinson Environmental Solutions, Northumberland

"Friendly and Polite"

Hendersons stripped the asbestos ceiling panels from our garage and removed the panels from site. I was very happy with the professional and efficient way in which the work was carried out. The team were very friendly and polite and they left the garage and surrounding area clean and tidy. The work area was tested by an independent company and found to be clean and free of asbestos fibres.

John Knowles, County Durham

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All the work was completed on time and to our expectations The staff were very pleasant and checked regularly that we were happy with the progress.

Tony Turnbull, Tynemouth

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We were delighted by the professional approach and customer service that Henderson provided. From the onset, they demonstrated a highly structured and well-planned approach. This was also seen in how they approached the work on-site, as staff were professional, and friendly but also very concerned to do the right job. An excellent service at a reasonable price.

Peter Upton, Hexham

"Expert Knowledge"

I received excellent service from everyone at Henderson as all team members are friendly, helpful, and professional. I would recommend Henderson Environmental to anyone with an asbestos issue and on the strength of the great job that they did, if I ever need soundproofing I would go straight to them.

G Parker, Newcastle Upon Tyne

"Clean and Efficient Job"

Ian and his team provided us with an excellent service at a competitive price compared to others. The team were fantastic, arriving on time and working continuously to get the job done. Once completed they showed me the area they had cleared and it had been done to a very high standard, all materials were taken away and the area was thoroughly cleaned. I would highly recommend to all.

Sam Benfield, Newcastle Upon Tyne

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When I was first told I had asbestos I was concerned mostly about what it meant to remove it and how destructive the process would be. I needn’t have worried as the team were in and out really quickly, working professionally, and that took all of the stress out of the situation. Thanks for a fantastic job guys!

Adrian Young, Whitley Bay

"Limited Disturbance"

We owe a huge thanks to Ian and the team for making the asbestos removal go so easily and to plan. The impact to tenants has been as minimal as possible and the asbestos skip was removed immediately. The job couldn’t have gone better and we look forward to working with you again in the future.

Neil Joslin, The Gateshead Housing Company

"Efficient and On-Time"

I needed a job done quickly and the team came out to give me a quote the following day ad provided the estimate a day later. The work was completed within the estimated time frame and given that it involved removing a ceiling and taking the wall back to brick, we expected a mess but all of the waste was removed and not even a spec of dust was left behind. It’s rare these days to find a company that surpasses expectations and these guys do just that.

Christina Porter, Whickham, Newcastle Upon Tyne

"Safe and Collaborative Team"

The Henderson team were very easy to talk to and it was simple to schedule the removal to suit our calendar. The team on-site worked with our roofers to make sure the building was watertight by the end of the day. All in all Ian and the company were great to work with.

Hamilton Building and Joinery Services

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