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Old 04-23-2009, 07:57 AM   #1
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Backerboard and Tile Project Question

I'm closing on my first house in a couple of days and Iím about to tackle a tile project in the family room. Currently there is nasty 70's brown shag carpet in there. Upon lifting up the carpet, there looks to be asbestos vinyl tile underneath. My plan currently is to tear up the carpet and put down backerboard over the vinyl and tile over the backerboard. Believe me, the vinyl is down tight, itís not going anywhere. However, I don't want to drill into the asbestos tile, and I've heard its ok to leave it in place. I think it'd be a whole lot more work to have the Hazmat guys out to rip it up, and I really donít want to spend the money.

Instead of screwing in the backerboard, I'd like to glue it down using Mastic, or something similar. Can anyone give any advice on how I could install the backerboard without screwing it into the tile? Any and all ideas are appreciated.


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Old 04-23-2009, 08:46 AM   #2
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You haven't said what the subfloor is. You also need to describe the floor joist size and it's span between supports.
The tile you mentioned, is it ceramic tile?
Your plan will not work. You can't glue backerboard to vinyl tile. It needs to be screwed down to the surface as well as thinsetted.


Last edited by Ron6519; 04-23-2009 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:01 AM   #3
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We believe the subfloor is concrete, but as I don't close on the house until Friday, I haven't been able to start ripping up anything yet, also, I'm concerned about trying to peel up asbestos tile.

Also, the tile is commercial grade vinyl squares that seem to be glued down. I'm looking for options how I can put down the board without screwing it and without removing the asbestos unless that's the only way.
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:23 PM   #4
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OK, so the subfloor is concrete right? You do not install cement backer board on concrete. Either remove the VAT or asphalt tiles, or go over them and pray. The asbestos thing I believe is largely a bunch or nonsense to be able to charge you $5,000 to do something that is worth about $500. Do as you like, but unless you sand or grind and breath the dust for a long time there shouldn't be any fear. If in doubt, keep the area damp when removing the tiles, and double bag, then ask your city what to do. Again, do what you fell comfortable with.

What do you mean they are tiles that "seem" to be glued down? If you decide to remove the tiles, you can rent a stripper machine to makes it kinda easy. You will then have a black adhesive to contend with. This cut-back adhesive may also contain asbestos? You will remove as much as possible by using a "wallpaper" remover tool that has a razor to cut the stuff off. Again keep the floor damp so there will be no flying dust.

Or hire the abatement guys. Your choice.

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Old 04-23-2009, 10:54 PM   #5
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Looks like asbestos tiles, mmmm? Do you know that for a fact? Not all tiles were made with asbestos back in the day. Have it tested, rush the results back to you for a few extra bucks. It's a real simply process. Here in Seattle I can get next day results for $40.00.
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Old 04-24-2009, 06:10 AM   #6
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You're looking at the least offensive of two evils: ripping out the (supposedly) asbestos-containing tiles (and we're not sure of that yet) and leaving them there and covering them over (we think is) concrete.

But I'm with JazMan on this; I think a lot has been done to propagate the fear of asbestos tiles when in actual fact, the danger isn't as prevalent as they would have you think.

The cutback (the black adhesive you may have) may also contain asbestos, although as pointed out, it's not all that often that you find both.

But your plan of attack will have to be based on better knowledge IMO; not only will you have to determine the actual substrate, but you'll have to establish whether the tiles are vinyl and/or contain asbestos. Once that is done, then perhaps you'll have to determine the substrate assembly, which includes the underlayment and the substrate as a tile-supporting system to establish if you can put down ceramic-type tiles and - more importantly - how.
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Old 04-25-2009, 07:35 AM   #7
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Believe me, the vinyl is down tight, itís not going anywhere.
Are they 9" hard brittle tile?, if so, hit one hard in the middle with a hammer, it'll pop right up.

Oh and, forget about cementboard or any mastic anywhere here.


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