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Old 02-11-2007, 12:02 PM   #1
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Removing old tile (Health Hazards?)


I live in an early 60's Tri-Level and I am in the process of removing the old flooring. There are three different layers of flooring that I am dealing with: a "modern" ceramic, a thin linoleum, and a thicker linoleum like (the original) flooring.

I recently read in my local newspaper about a local Fire Station where the guys there started to pull up the old flooring (dated from the 40's) only to find out that it was made from asbestos!

Was this type of material used in houses in the early to mid 60's and is this or any other similar material anything that I should be worried about?

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Old 02-11-2007, 03:12 PM   #2
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Removing old tile (Health Hazards?)


Asbestos in linoleum was used into the mid 80's. The problem comes from the dust when removing. If at all possible, cover over the surface rather than removing it. You may want to have the material tested to ease your mind.

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Old 02-11-2007, 06:13 PM   #3
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Removing old tile (Health Hazards?)


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Originally Posted by majakdragon View Post
Asbestos in linoleum was used into the mid 80's. The problem comes from the dust when removing. If at all possible, cover over the surface rather than removing it. You may want to have the material tested to ease your mind.
Where do I do that?
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Old 02-11-2007, 06:19 PM   #4
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Removing old tile (Health Hazards?)


A call to your local health department should get you an answer. They should know any agency in your area that does testing. Good luck.
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:16 PM   #5
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Removing old tile (Health Hazards?)


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Originally Posted by majakdragon View Post
A call to your local health department should get you an answer. They should know any agency in your area that does testing. Good luck.
Ok, so you are saying that it is definately asbestos, correct? Given the age of the house. That was the primary material that they were using to make vinyl flooring in the early to mid 60's?
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Old 02-12-2007, 09:00 AM   #6
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Removing old tile (Health Hazards?)


No, its not definitely. Its only possible. And, its only dangerous, if it contains asbestos and that asbbestos gets airborne and you breath it. if you remove it without it breaking apart and sending bits of dust into the air then you are fine. If it does break up you are fine as well as long as the dust and dirt you create is not from the inside of the tile itself. Wear a good dust mask and put in a fan to vent to the outside and you should be OK. Many think the asbestos threat is over hyped. Oh, and Asbestos could also have been in the mastic (the glue).
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:42 PM   #7
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Removing old tile (Health Hazards?)


Ok the mask not breaking apart that all makes perfect sense, what about your clothes does this stuff wash out. Also, keep things "wet" helps alleviate this fibers, yes? (If I test and it is asbestos) Am I allowed to get rid of this material myself (can you take this stuff to the dump in a bag?). What about residual fibers on the floor or resting on studs - wash off?

Honestly it seems way overblown to me to just as the whole lead, radon, mold (pick your poison), I mean it makes me think I am living on top of a toxic waste dump and it's pissing me off! Is there anything in my house that CAN'T kill me? I see these guys on these home improvement shows and they are ripping out stuff of old houses wholesale without so much as a cheap breather and they do this crap for a living. Really, I heard there is asbestos in the air we breath (it's a natural occurring fiber) and that only in extreme levels is it considers dangerous. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:51 PM   #8
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Removing old tile (Health Hazards?)


Its, of course, up to you what you do. If it were me, I would just move forward with my remodel plans in reckless abandon! I would maybe put on a dust mask if I was kicking up a lot of dust, I might put a fan in a window to keep dust out of the rest of the house (not because of asbestos but because my wife would kill me). I would shower and wash my clothes when done just because I want them clean not because of asbestos.

I also drive too fast, smoke some, don't always wear eye and ear protection, etc. I live dangerously? How did our fore fathers ever get through the day w/o dieing I'll never know.

Now, if you are pulling up the stuff and you see any mold you better run for the hills and call hazmat! Or, do what my grandmother would do, clean it up.

I'm with you, get on with life. Take reasonable precautions, yes. But I think the space suit guys may just be selling us a load of crap to help line their pockets.
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Old 02-23-2007, 12:26 PM   #9
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Its, of course, up to you what you do. If it were me, I would just move forward with my remodel plans in reckless abandon! I would maybe put on a dust mask if I was kicking up a lot of dust, I might put a fan in a window to keep dust out of the rest of the house (not because of asbestos but because my wife would kill me). I would shower and wash my clothes when done just because I want them clean not because of asbestos.

I also drive too fast, smoke some, don't always wear eye and ear protection, etc. I live dangerously? How did our fore fathers ever get through the day w/o dieing I'll never know.

Now, if you are pulling up the stuff and you see any mold you better run for the hills and call hazmat! Or, do what my grandmother would do, clean it up.

I'm with you, get on with life. Take reasonable precautions, yes. But I think the space suit guys may just be selling us a load of crap to help line their pockets.
I'm with you. I think a lot of this boils down to one word: lawyers
They continually find a new boogeyman to scare us into sickness and then line their pockets. ie:
1. asbestos
2. lead
2. radon
3. mold
4. Chimney relines (CO2 poisoning)

I have to be honest I think my house has had a little of all of those. I should just bulldoze the place and start from scratch.

I did speak to my neighbor (same basic house, same year built, etc), he had his bathroom tile tested and the lab sent him back "asbestos 15%. What exactly that meant he has no idea. it seems like a low number when compared to the amount of material involved. Any ideas?

Also, what can I do with this stuff when I pull it out are they going to let me take it to the dump like the rest of my old building materials?
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Old 02-23-2007, 02:56 PM   #10
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Removing old tile (Health Hazards?)


Asbestos is pretty much ubiquitous in floor tiles, mastic, caulk and many other product from the mid 1900's however regulations don't really differentiate between friable (bad) and non-friable asbestos. The asbestos used in mastic and tiles is called Category I Non-Friable asbestos and in order to expose yourself to it you would have to grind the material into a powder while inhaling it, so as long as your not sanding or grinding it, you should be OK. I always wear a respirator for dusty jobs, it's not just asbestos that can affect your lungs, but if you follow the removal advice above, you should be fine. Regarding disposal in a landfill, if you have not confirmed it has asbestos in it, then you don't really know do you (wink, wink)? Your local landfill will be able to tell you what materials they accept. Our landfill will accept up to 440 lbs of Category I non-friable from private citizens.
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Old 02-24-2007, 08:19 AM   #11
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Asbestos is pretty much ubiquitous in floor tiles, mastic, caulk and many other product from the mid 1900's however regulations don't really differentiate between friable (bad) and non-friable asbestos. The asbestos used in mastic and tiles is called Category I Non-Friable asbestos and in order to expose yourself to it you would have to grind the material into a powder while inhaling it, so as long as your not sanding or grinding it, you should be OK. I always wear a respirator for dusty jobs, it's not just asbestos that can affect your lungs, but if you follow the removal advice above, you should be fine. Regarding disposal in a landfill, if you have not confirmed it has asbestos in it, then you don't really know do you (wink, wink)? Your local landfill will be able to tell you what materials they accept. Our landfill will accept up to 440 lbs of Category I non-friable from private citizens.
Thank you. That makes sense. What are the different categories of asbestos fiber materials and what common household materials would fit in what categories? I ALWAYS wear a mask and/or a respirator whenever there is the potential of stirring up any dust anywhere, because of the reason you state. I don't know what's in the dust and like you said any dust can be an irritant and potentially hazardous.
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:02 PM   #12
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Removing old tile (Health Hazards?)


Back to the crux of my original post, given that this stuff is dried and brittle and that there is several layers of tile (with ceramic on top) what is the best way to remove the stuff without having it break all apart? Is there any chemical solvent that will soften it up and what about solvents to remove the dried mastic?

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