Cleaning Up My Meth Lab Home: Early Estimate

I have gotten a very early estimate of at least $7000 to clean up my home, assuming we had all our furniture and items removed (not that I know where we’d put them…). Once the estimator gives us a final clean-up cost estimate, I will share that with you.

One of my concerns, besides where I’m going to get the money to clean up our home, is whether or not I be able to sell my home, even after it is cleaned up. Maybe I can, although I know that the market value of my home will be less, because of its history as a former meth lab. I suspect that even if the house tests “clean”, there will be a stigma attached to it that will keep people from considering it as a home for their family.

Cleaning my home is only the first problem I have to deal with once I get an official estimate of the clean-up costs. Once the house has been cleaned, I will then have to pay to get it re-tested. The first time I had it tested (see more info about that on the page link My Meth Lab Homes Story), it cost me $1,600. After the house has been cleaned, I will then have to pay $1,600 to get it tested again. What happens if the house still shows there are still areas in the house that are contaminated? I will have to get those areas cleaned again and then pay to have it tested again for another $1,600. Where will it end?

Waterfall in Eastern TN

I live in rural Tennessee. It’s beautiful here (the waterfall pictured is not far from where I live), but as in many rural areas across the country, jobs are hard to come by. Good paying jobs are even harder to come by. By profession, I am a computer network and technical support specialist. I am far from being rich. If you make $15 an hour in my line of work in eastern, TN, you can consider yourself lucky, very lucky. My wife and I have learned to stretch every penny trying to make a new life in TN for ourselves and our young sons. I am currently working 56 hours a week to try to save enough money to dig us out of the financial hole that a meth addict threw us in when he used our home to make methamphetamine. He is, by the way, sitting in a jail cell, debt free and free of the toxins that my family are being exposed to because of him. Where is the justice for people like us who were sold a meth lab home, before the meth lab laws were passed to protect home buyers?

If you know of anyone with information that can help us, please email us or leave a comment for us here. We would really appreciate it. Thanks so much.


7 responses to “Cleaning Up My Meth Lab Home: Early Estimate

  1. I feel for you, but $7000 is not bad to clean up the lab. But you also have to remember that things like counter tops, carpet, stove, vent hood and sink may need to be replaced. You as a homeowner can clean it up yourself by following the cleanup plan given to you by a certified industrial hygenist and have them perform the post cleanup testing as well. Good luck.

  2. Hi Toby,

    I agree that $7,000 doesn’t sound like alot of money, but it is when you’re a young family with only one parent working. And when you work in TN, your paycheck is stretched pretty tight just paying your standard bills like your mortgage, food, electric, insurance, etc.

    So, when you’re thinking about how to come up with a minimum of $7,000 to make the home safe for your family, what bill(s) do you stop paying? Food? Electric? Heat? Clothes for the kids?

    Replacing counter tops, carpets, stove, vent hood, and sink will certainly drive the cost of cleanup MUCH higher than $7,000. How can families afford to make their homes safe without help from the government who had no laws in place to prevent them from buying a former methlab in the first place?

  3. My husband and I just stumbled upon a house that was a former meth lab. MN has clean up laws in place, but I personally don’t feel comfortable buying a home that was used as a meth lab. I’m terrified after all the research I have done about the unknowns. In MN you don’t have to take it down to the studs, just to the sheet rock, and take everything else out. What if that stuff is still in sheet rock and insulation? What if the hazardous waste this stuff produces is still on the property and my young children find it? Then what damage is done to them? I do not think it’s fair that families like you are being caught up in this. I think there should be help for you. I think you are in a caught 22 where you are damned if you do and damned if don’t. What about the possiblity of burning down that mobile home and replace it with a different one? Is that an option?

  4. Thanks for your words of support, CJ. Burning down their home would basically mean throwing away everything they’ve worked so hard for during the last 7 years. All of the years, they’ve saved money for a downpayment for a house, all of the money they’ve paid to the bank since 2004 on their mortgage, everything would be gone and they’d have no place to live. Yet, no funding would be available to them for housing. To make matters worse, they’d probably getting arrested for contaminating the air with hazardous chemicals!

    I suspect that you can’t just burn a contaminated house. It would have to be cleaned first. So, you’d pay to get it all cleaned and then pay $1,600 to get it tested to make sure it’s clean, then I suppose, you could ask the fire department to burn it down. But, watching $20,000 to $30,000 of your hard earned money go up in flames isn’t an option most young families would opt for. Insurance won’t pay you if you burn down your house and the bank won’t say “it’s ok, you don’t have to pay us back the rest of the loan”. There really is no way to deal with a methlab home except to get it cleaned and tested.

    The ironic thing is, meth addicts will get free help to kick their habit and they’ll get free “safe to live in” housing. The system punishes the victims and that’s just wrong, very wrong, in my opinion.

  5. I have a lot of sympathy for you. We are going through a similar situation right now. We had our local health dept. do our testing. It was 100.oo for the first room tested and 50.00 for additional rooms. We tested 3 rooms and they all came back with about the same results, since meth is transfered through the heating system in the home. I would suggest you ask the health dept. for a list of certified decontamination specialists in your state and then start calling them. I spent 2 days on the phone asking questions and basically interviewing them to determine which one to hire. The bids ranged in price from 2,600 to 8,000. All of the bids included post testing of every room in the home, so that shouldn’t be an additional cost to you. Be sure and ask what kind of damage they will do in the process. Some spend more time hand cleaning to prevent damage others power wash and use old fashioned harsh products that rust light fixtures, and remove paint. I found out, you can clean fabrics yourself by running them through the washing machine 3 times with color safe bleach and then two extra plain water cycles.I would be curious to know what your test levels were though. Good Luck!

  6. One more thing, all of the bids I received for clean up guaranteed removal to a.1 or lower with no additional fees.

  7. Thanks for the info, Helen! Besides having everything cleaned by the certified specialists, were you told that all of your flooring had to be replaced?

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