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Old 08-12-2008, 09:45 AM   #1
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How to remove vinyl tile for asbestos sampling?


I'm planning to gut my 1970s-era bathroom and want to have the vinyl floor tile (and underlying adhesive) tested for asbestos.

I'm puzzling over how to take a sample. I just need to cut out a piece a couple of inches square, but it's stuck down good. What would you use to cut and then lift a piece? Utility knife? Cold chisel? (The underlying floor is a concrete slab.) Grinder? Something else entirely?

While I'm here: Longer term, assuming the asbestos test is negative, what's the best tool/approach for removing all the tile? About 40 square feet total. I've seen those long-handled scrapers; just wondering if there's something else that's better. Thanks for any suggestions.

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:15 AM   #2
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How to remove vinyl tile for asbestos sampling?


If the tile is in fact asbestos, it isn't a hazard to you until you disturb it. In its tile state, it isn't friable. When you start tearing it out, then a portion of it may become friable due to breakage. It certainly isn't as friable as something like asbestos fiber pipe insulation.

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:54 AM   #3
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How to remove vinyl tile for asbestos sampling?


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Originally Posted by RDS View Post
I'm planning to gut my 1970s-era bathroom and want to have the vinyl floor tile (and underlying adhesive) tested for asbestos.

I'm puzzling over how to take a sample. I just need to cut out a piece a couple of inches square, but it's stuck down good. What would you use to cut and then lift a piece? Utility knife? Cold chisel? (The underlying floor is a concrete slab.) Grinder? Something else entirely?

While I'm here: Longer term, assuming the asbestos test is negative, what's the best tool/approach for removing all the tile? About 40 square feet total. I've seen those long-handled scrapers; just wondering if there's something else that's better. Thanks for any suggestions.
If it is asbestos tile usually its an 8"x8" tile set with black adhesive, A full 1/8 thick. I'm going to let you in on a old family secret. get your self a block of dry ice. where heavy glove's because it will burn and remove your skin if you pick it up unprotected. wrap a rope or long wire around the block, and lay it on the tile. once the tile starts to freeze you will here them crack and start to pop up.then remove with a putty or flat bar. its a lot easier then using a floor scraper. BOB.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:11 AM   #4
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How to remove vinyl tile for asbestos sampling?


Thanks termite and bob.

The tile is 13x13. I don't know what the adhesive looks like. I will certainly try the dry ice trick if it comes to that!

But termite, your advice would be not to test or remove it at all, right? To put new tile directly over top of it?

I'd certainly considered that option -- less demo work for me.

The main reason I was planning to remove the tile was to enable me to inspect what's underneath. There's a single long crack in the tile (a shallow 'crevice', not a 'ridge'), parallel to the underlying joists, and I'd like to know what's happening underneath to possibly cause it. I want to fix whatever that problem is, so that the new tile I lay doesn't also crack.

I'm not certain, but I think there's a poured concrete slab directly under the tile. (Peering down the joist cavities from the unfinished part of the basement, I can see the sides and bottom of it.)

Basically I'm wondering this: If it's determined that the crack happened long ago when the house settled, and that it isn't getting any worse, will I be able to level out the floor in that area *without* removing the tile? (Floor-leveling products are not something I've researched yet.)

Again, thanks for any wisdom you may share.
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:03 PM   #5
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How to remove vinyl tile for asbestos sampling?


You might look at Ditra by the Schluter company as an isolation membrane between the cracked floor and the new tiles. Not sure, but it might be able to go over the existing flooring.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:58 AM   #6
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How to remove vinyl tile for asbestos sampling?


OK, I'm an idiot. I took up the threshhold to try to find an edge on the tile, and... it's not vinyl. Quarter-inch thick, I assume ceramic, stuck to the concrete slab with thinset or whatever they used back then. (Checking with a neighbor who knew the previous owners, I now think the floor is original 1940s.) It was the tight joints, i.e. lack of grout lines, that had me assuming it was vinyl.

Ceramic, thinset, concrete subfloor -- those materials aren't typically asbestos risks, are they? I suppose I could have everything tested just in case.

Anyway, thanks for your help with my question based on a false premise.
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:24 PM   #7
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How to remove vinyl tile for asbestos sampling?


ceramic and thinset are not asbestos concerns. Getting that lot up off concrete might make you wish it were, however. Lots of sledge, chisel, or demo breaker in your future, I'm afraid.

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