How to Take a Vermiculite Sample

‚Äč Homeowners and Home Inspectors may have justified concerns in wanting to have their Vermiculite Insulation tested for Asbestos.

These concerns might include:

  • The attic is used for living space or frequently entered storage space.
  • Dust is sifting out of the attic or walls through seams, ducts or penetrations such as light fixtures.
  • If the insulation will be affected by a home renovation or alteration.
  • If you are planning to sell your home.

In these cases, testing and expert advice is warranted. If you decide to have the suspect material analysed (since not all vermiculite insulation contains asbestos), for your own safety, please follow the recommended sampling procedure below.

We have provided further information on Vermiculite/ZAI on our Vermiculite / ZAI Resource page.

Vermiculite / ZAI Insulation Sampling Procedure

  1. The homeowner is advised to collect a minimum of three (3) separate samples of each distinct variety of vermiculite insulation from different areas throughout the attic.  Multiple sampling may identify conditions of mixed asbestos and non-asbestos vermiculite that a single sample would miss.  Also, provincial occupational health and safety law for Ontario at least, requires a minimum of three samples from any single material of uniform appearance to conclude it is not an asbestos-containing material.
  2. Collect one to two cup full of insulation for each of the three (3) samples (each in its own bag) taken from the bottom half of the insulation in the attic or from the bottom of the wall cavity (the asbestos tends to settle to the bottom).
  3. Avoid creating and breathing any more dust than necessary during this collection and do not remain in the area longer than necessary. The U.S. EPA and Health Canada recommend that you use a respirator to reduce the dust you breathe during this collection. You can purchase a NIOSH approved half-face P100 respirator from most hardware stores or safety suppliers. Follow the instructions with the respirator regarding fitting and maintenance. This respirator should not be used for major disturbance of vermiculite which would be encountered during renovations in the attic or for removal of the material. Try to avoid tracking the insulation or dust into the living space of the house, use plastic sheets below areas of work.
  4. Place the sample in a zip lock freezer bag and provide the following information on each bag or fastened to the bags:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone number
  5. Complete the Chain of Custody Form for Vermiculite & ZAI Analysis and submit it with the samples
  6. Have samples brought, mailed or couriered with payment to:

    Pinchin Ltd.
    Mississauga Laboratory
    Attention: Kendra Bertuzzi
    2555 Meadowpine Blvd., Unit 2
    Mississuaga, ON
    L5N 6C3    (Map)

    Office hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday.
    There is an after-hours sample drop box beside the main doors of the Mississauga Asbestos & Microbiology Laboratories Building.

    Phone: 905-363-1433
    Toll Free: 1.855.PINCHIN (746-2446)
    Fax: 905-363-0681
    Email: Home Owners Contact Form

  7. Email Pinchin indicating when the samples will be arriving.

Pricing for Vermiculite/ZAI Analysis

Three samples per location are recommended and is the minimum number required in Ontario to conclude a material is not an asbestos-containing material.

Regular Turnaround

Regular turnaround is 5 business days. Price is $150 in total for 3 samples (plus applicable taxes).

Rush Turnaround

Rush turnaround is 3 hours from receipt of samples during business hours of 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday. Price is $200 in total for all 3 samples (plus applicable taxes). For samples received after 1 pm, results will be provided the next business day in the morning.

Payment can be made by Visa, MasterCard or cash. Include expiry date and full name on the card if paying by credit card. Call us if you need help determining the tax rate that would apply if sending samples from outside Ontario.


Please Note: Due to the nature of Libby Zonolite, the laboratory does not report a percentage in asbestos containing samples.  This is due to the variable asbestos content of the vermiculite from bag to bag or even between sampling locations in the same installation.

Results can be picked up or emailed to you. If you would like a general consultation concerning your results, please let us know. We can respond by phone or email.