How to Take Asbestos Samples

[INFOGRAPHIC] How to Take Asbestos Samples

Taking asbestos samples if a fairly simply process. The most important part of the procedure is ensuring the safety of yourself and anyone around the asbestos material. Once the sample is taken you need to get it tested. This can either by done at a NATA lab or you can buy a DIY Testing Kit such as the ones proivided by Pro Lab.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in the form of fiber that is mostly located in rock formations. In the 1970s, it was extensively used in the construction industry due to its durability, strength and fire resistance properties. Years later, asbestos was found to be cancer causing agent hence necessitating its removal from residential areas. Because asbestos was often mixed with other elements, many people find it hard to identify the mineral elements visually. The only way to know for certain if asbestos is present is to submit a sample of the material for testing to a properly accredited asbestos laboratory.

The National Association of Testing Authorities recommends on the experienced professionals to undertake the exercise. However, if you choose to take the samples personally, you should take proper precautions to avoid being exposed to the asbestos fibers.

We break down How to Take Asbestos Samples in three simple steps: 1; Prepare, 2; Taking the Sample and 3; Cleaning.

The infographic below on how to take asbestos samples was provided by the team at Pro Asbestos Removal Sydney. Jack Newman from Pro Asbestos has over 10 years experience and is a respected leader in the industry.

Here are critical steps on how to take asbestos samples that you need to follow:

How To Take Asbestos Samples

Step 1 – Preparation

  • The first initiative you need to take is finding a laboratory that is accredited. Inform them of your plans and seek advice from them on how to deliver the samples for testing.
  • Seal off the area as much as possible, ensuring that no children or pets are not allowed in. Have the area isolated from any person to ensure no one is in vicinity during the sampling.
  • Turn off all the cooling or heating systems to minimize the chances of any fibers released from spreading.
  • If you are inside the house, you need to turn off any fans. If you are outside, make sure the day of sampling is not windy.
  • Avoid disturbing the material beyond what is required as a small sample.
  • Finally, you need to collect all the equipment you will require for the exercise. Ensure that you have disposable coveralls, plastic drop sheets, P2 respirator, resealable plastic bags, Pliers, 200m (0.2mm) thick, plastic waste bag, waterproof sealant, water spray bottle, and rubber gloves.

Step 2 – Taking the sample

  • First, you need to prioritize on your safety. Wear disposable gloves, disposable coveralls, and a P2 respirator. You can easily purchase these from your local store.
  • Have a plastic drop sheet laid down at the scene to catch any loose fiber that might fall off as you take the samples.
  • Before you start the exercise, sprinkle some water or use a fine mist of water that contains some drops of detergent. This will help to prevent fibers from being released into the air.
  • Now, by using pliers, cut a piece of the size of your nail right from the core of your material.
  • For fiber cement sheeting, take the material sample from a corner edge or along an existing crack or hole.
  • Insert the small piece you have cut from the sample material into a resealable plastic bag. Now, use s small “zip-lock” bag to contain the sample. The bag should be clean and dry. Have the bag labeled with the correct date, region and any other relevant information that might be useful to the laboratory. It is advisable to use material that won’t wash off when doing the labeling. The label should be on the body of the container.
  • Use a rag or a damp paper towel to wipe clean any material on the outside of the container or around the range sampled.


Step 3 – Cleaning up

  • Seal the edges of the area where the sample was taken from with a waterproof sealant. some good options of sealant are painting the particular area with plastic paint or sealing the area with a mixture of water and PVA glue.
  • Carefully wind the plastic drop sheet and secure it with tape. Have it placed in a plastic waste bag safely.
  • Wipe down all the equipment and tools used with a damp rag.
  • Put the protective clothing including the damp cloth, the coveralls, and the disposable gloves into the plastic bag with the drop sheet and then seal the bag. Put the sealed bag in some other bag which is as well sealable. Indicate that the outer bag contains asbestos waste and dispose of it at a facility that is licensed to accept asbestos waste.
  • It is advisable to remove the respirator once you have completed the whole clean-up process.
  • Take a shower using a very strong detergent in order to remove any residual fibers, especially from the hair.
  • Make arrangements on how the samples will be delivered to the laboratory as agreed with the lab personnel.

Asbestos Sample Testing Costs

Prices for testing varies between states. Prices start as low as $30 if you take the sample yourself and send it to a NATA accredited lab. They go as high as $250 for a single sample if someone comes to your property to take the sample and have it tested.


You can take asbestos samples yourself, as long as you follow strict safety procecudres during every step. Asbestos exposure can cause life threatening diseases so safety should be your number one priority. For further information on taking samples of asbestos contact our team for free advice.