so we were taking down the plaster in our downstairs bathroom to put a sink as there was some previous damage and we got a bit doubtful about if it’s normal plaster or asbestos cement plaster or some sort.

we aren’t experienced at all with what’s asbestos and what’s not but we found some random website and sent them some pictures over text.

they said this is 99% asbestos (cement based) and said it’s £700 to come out and take samples then if it is they’ll have to do a full cleanup.

is this typical?

I don’t know if people can actually tell what’s asbestos and what isn’t but here are the pictures... any advice would be appreciated.

the house was built in the late 1950s.

enter image description here

enter image description here

We are based in the UK

  • Unfortunately, asbestos was a "miracle" material back then and was put into (at some capacity) so many common materials. They right answer, is take a piece and get in professionally tested ($75-$200) if you are worried. The wrong answer is that you can also just err on the side of caution, tape the area off with poly and try to mitigate it yourself. Keep in mind you need full PPE and to shower after. You also want to wet everything to keep the dust down. Asbestos should be treated similar to radiation, you try to minimize your exposure to it as much as possible!
    – Shinobii
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


sent them some pictures over text... they said this is 99% asbestos...

Immediately throw away the phone number and email address of this company because what they told you is poppycock. Without a lab analysis nobody can say whether or not that plaster contains asbestos, and certainly not what percent/volume or weight.

I have met insulation specialists, who work with various legacy materials on a daily basis, who have correctly predicted materials that were ACM (asbestos containing materials) but they will never wager on it and they certainly can't analyze content percentage by sight/feel/touch/smell/taste... it requires lab analysis.

While I agree with a comment that advised minimizing exposure, I disagree with a comparison to radiation. Asbestos is never acutely hazardous (as some types of radiation exposure are), but rather a chronic issue. In fact, the chief concern with asbestos is with repeated occupational exposure.

  • Also, how could the material possibly be 99% asbestos... where did the plaster go? Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 21:58
  • Sorry I meant he said he’s 99.9% sure it’s asbestos contained.
    – Bob
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:15
  • Thanks Jimmy. They have our postcode and when we cancelled they said “that’s not nice, we had to pay someone a hotel since they were going to come tomorrow morning”.
    – Bob
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:16
  • I’m actually dropping off a sample now - not many labs in the country open 24/7 so posting it through the letterbox to a PROPER asbestos company that you can actually look up on many places on Google for an analysis
    – Bob
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:17
  • 1
    Precisely. Just scam artistes preying on folks. Absurd price for a test, claiming to be able to tell from pictures (you can't - with and without look very similar and testing is the only way to tell) red flags all over.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 0:45

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