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We Offer Asbestos
Sample Testing

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Disclaimer: Improper sampling or handling of asbestos-containing materials is dangerous and can cause false negative results. When in doubt, defer to the professionals!

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How To Collect A Sample

If you are collecting your own samples for testing, we recommend adhering to the following guidelines for your own safety and to ensure reliable results:

  • Always don personal protective equipment prior to handling suspected asbestos-containing materials. We recommend the use of a disposable N95 mask, disposable gloves, safety glasses, and coveralls.

  • To prevent circulating any fibers that may become airborne, turn off your furnace or air conditioner prior to taking samples.

  • Use a spray bottle to finely mist the area where you'll be taking a sample to help minimize the creation of fine dust.

  • Remove the sample with a clean knife. See below for further instructions on collecting samples of different kinds of suspected asbestos-containing materials.

  • A clean knife works best to remove a sample. See instructions below as to how large the sample should be for different potential asbestos-containing materials.

Or, leave it to the professionals!

How To Collect A Sample (Continued)

  • Place your sample in a plastic, zip-lock style bag. Be sure to safely let the air out of the bag prior to sealing and labeling it with the date and location of where it was collected. If you are taking multiple samples, you should also include a sample number e.g. 001, 002 etc.

  • Once you've finished taking your samples, you need to clean up the area. Use a damp cloth to wipe the area you've removed the sample from, then wash the tools you used, and doff your PPE safely.

  • Do not, under any circumstances, vacuum up any dust! This will render the asbestos fibers airborne. Use a damp rag or paper towel to wipe up any dust.

  • Put all your disposable materials (PPE, paper towels etc.) into a garbage bag and seal it.

  • The clothes you wore beneath your PPE should be laundered separately and immediately. You should also shower immediately following cleaning up.

  • Combine all individual samples into one larger zip-lock style bag and label this with your name, location, date and contact information.

Keep it simple - call the professionals!

How To Collect Different Types Of Asbestos-Containing Materials

Flooring (Floor Tiles And/Or Vinyl Sheet Flooring)

  • Sample size required: 2 square inches
  • Your sample should include all layers of flooring present. You can generally see how many layers of flooring there are by lifting a floor register and inspecting the floor.
  • A hooked knife or prybar usually works well for removing floor tiles. Vinyl flooring can usually be cut out with a utility knife.
  • Your sample must include everything from the top of the flooring to the substrate.
  • Make sure your sample includes the paper backing and a sample of the mastic (glue).
  • If there is a leveling compound or a vapour barrier under the flooring, you will need to cut out a sample of this as well, or risk getting a false negative result. If you only test the top layer, but have disturbed the bottom layers that contain asbestos and don't test those materials, you could be living with airborne asbestos.

Popcorn ceiling

  • Collect at least two samples of the same ceiling and from more than one room if necessary.
  • Keep in mind that additions will have used different materials and should be tested separately.
  • We recommend you DO NOT scrape popcorn ceilings as this can cause asbestos fibers to become airborne. Instead, use duct tape to cover the sample area and use a trowel or a knife to break off the section of texture under the tape. Add the tape and sample to a bag. Using this method, you will be charged per sample.
  • Alternatively, should you choose to take the risk, you can scrape the popcorn ceiling and include a thin layer of the drywall mud compound underneath. In this case you can include multiple scrapings into a single sample bag.
  • If you are going to use the scraping method, it is best to take the sample in a corner where the ceiling meets the wall or where you can see a tape seam.

Vermiculite (Attics And/Or Wall Cavities)

  • Sample size required: minimum one cup of material from three sample areas.
  • If there is more than one type of vermiculite present, they should all be collected separately.
  • For ease of collection, turn your zip-lock style bag inside out and place it over your hand like a glove to collect a sample.
  • Your sample should include material from the top and closer to the bottom of the wall or attic. Making sure you gather material from the bottom is very important as the asbestos fibers can settle over the course of years.

Wallboard, Plaster, Textured Walls, And/Or Drywall Mud

  • Your sample should include all layers: paint, textured surface, tape, joint compound, plaster, brown paper wrap, and gypsum sheet.
  • Corners often work best for collecting mud samples.
  • You do not need to include metal screen or wood samples from lathe and plaster walls.

Silicone on windows and doors

  • Sample size required: 1 inch.
  • Use a utility knife to cut along the window and trim sides to remove.

Thermal insulation on boilers

  • Sample size required: 2x2 inch square
  • Wet the area you will be sampling by misting it with water. Keep misting as you cut into the material.
  • Use a utility knife to cut out the sample.
  • Cover the hole from the sample with tape.


  • When submitting roofing samples be sure to include samples of the tar and paper as those are the materials that are most likely to contain asbestos.

How Many Samples Should You Collect For Your Asbestos Testing?

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