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Asbestos Sampling


Asbestos sampling has become more important than ever due to Massachusetts State and United States Federal Regulations requiring sampling be done prior to renovation or demolition regardless of the age of the building.

There are many things to consider when you call for asbestos sampling.

Experience And Training Of The Person Taking Samples.​

Make sure you hire a licensed asbestos inspector to collect the samples who will deliver them to an independent laboratory to be tested.

Turn Around Time- When Can You Get The Results? ​

Look for a company that can deliver results back the same day or within 24 hours.

What are the sampling requirements and how many samples are needed

What is Asbestos Sampling?

Sampling refers to the collection of building materials to be tested such as flooring, joint compound, ceiling materials etc. 

Samples must be collected by a Licensed Asbestos Inspector who fills out a chain of custody report and then transports the samples to an independent state certified laboratory for testing.

Is Asbestos Sampling the same thing as Asbestos Testing?

Although many people use the terms Asbestos Sampling and Asbestos Testing interchangeably they are not the same thing.

Sampling refers to the collection of suspect building materials by a licensed asbestos inspector.  The samples are logged on a chain of custody and transported to an independent laboratory where they are tested.  The laboratory produces a report of the results determining whether or not any Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) is present.

What are the sampling requirements ?

What kinds of materials need to be sampled:


Pipe insulation, boiler wrap for heat or thermal resistance – need to grab 3 samples of each type/size of pipe as dictated by the EPA/State


Typically sprayed or troweled or spread on, typically up higher –plaster/skim coat –

Plaster has 2 layers – base and skim – would need 7 samples of each layer if over 5,000 sq ft

Follow the 3/5/7 rule:

3 samples <1,000 sq ft

5 samples between 1,000 and 5,000 sq ft

7 samples >5,000 sq ft

+10,000 sq ft add 1 sample for each 10,000 sq ft


Anything not thermal or surfacing – floor tile, dry wall, coating not troweled on

  Must take a minimum of 2 samples

  • Drywall/joint compound – 2 from the original and 2 from addition (different area) – when renovated – different drywall and joint compound
  • Multiple layers of flooring –top layer and paper bottom, then the mastic – need 2 samples of each layer
  • Ceramic plus 2 layers of sheet flooring in two different rooms (Look for height difference in flooring which would indicate different layers are present)
  • If sample drywall – will sample the cove base – if vinyl would only sample mastic – if older brittle material like the black 6” in schools that break not bend would sample
  • Drywall and joint compound – minimum 2 samples – more may be needed.

How many samples are required and are the number of required samples related to the square footage of the building?

The minimum number of samples is set by State and Federal guidelines and is dependent on the type and quantity of ACM being disturbed, (thermal, surfacing or miscellaneous).  

Samples must be collected by a licensed asbestos inspector and are not related to the square footage of the structure but by the type of building materials present.