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Old 02-09-2012, 08:32 PM   #1
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


The short:
...i got a few quotes and they are about $ 300 dollars to take samples
and assess the floor....currently most of the floor is covered by carpet...
Not sure I want to pull anything up until I know what I'm
dealing with so that 300 sounds like a waste at this point...
I've read that the adhesive also needs to be tested but can't figure
out how that could be done without scraping the boards
under the tile...and that seems to be something I shouldn't do.

the carpet is a mess and we would like to pull it up if possible...

The details:
old vinyl tile under carpet in a kitchen....12" by 12"...laid down
by a "handyman" in 1986...can't find receipt don't know
manufacturer...
....I only realized it was there because there is a rip in
the carpet...about 2 by 3 inches and several "corners" of tile have been
exposed...at least one looks chipped...there is also some newly exposed tile that was under a rotting kitchen cabinet shelf that was removed
last week. Some of those look chipped as well and have water damage
or stains or something...

------------------------------------------------------------------

questions include:

what kind of protection...if a mask do you throw out
the filters after, or just wipe the mask
do i need one of those white coveralls....do i seal the room off
with plastic...

windows open or closed...

will a regular shaving razor cut this stuff....what if I have to press or go over the cut several times to release the tile...is that safe...

do I just scrape the flooring under the tiles to get the adhesive...
if it's "dust" or crumbly material how do I get it into my plastic bag
safely...

do I use an ordinary sandwich bag to put this stuff in...

If no corners are "curling" up enough to cut to easily cut how do
i get a piece up safely..

how many samples...


--------------------------------------------------------------
and anything else you could think of would be appreciated...
the most I've done is paint so this seems like a monumental task...

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Old 02-09-2012, 09:15 PM   #2
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


What will be the next floor covering?

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Old 02-10-2012, 06:48 AM   #3
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


The person who will be living there has chronic fatigue and
multiple chemical sensitivities...the rug...besides being 15 years
old has been repeatedly treated with carpet cleaners...it's noxious
to the ordinary person but unbearable to a chemically sensitive one.
(those new scented products that Boast the scent stays forever
are NOT kidding)

Initially we actually thought we'd go down to the wood
sub-floor and just paint it. When the tile was "discovered" we went searching for a safe sealant to stop any vinyl out gassing (seems
that can actually get worse with age.....)
thought we'd "seal it" with a no voc/low voc product like safe seal (AFM)...

That was how I Discovered the whole asbestos thing....
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:22 AM   #4
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


That is not likely to have asbestos---it's to new---

Call your local hardware store--some have test kits with a mailing envelope---results in about a week.
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:50 AM   #5
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


Thanks for the reply

My understanding is that although there might have been a
ban asbestos containing vinyl tile was sold well into the 90s...
seems corps got an escape clause concerning already manufactured
tiles...

Yes I want to test it BUT how can I safely cut asbestos (?) tile
and scrape adhesive with asbestos (?) without "disturbing" it...which
is clearly warned against...and which must be done in order to test
it.

anyone have any info on how to self-test safely...
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:18 AM   #6
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


This topic has been discussed repeatedly on this forum. There is no current ban on asbestos, that is an urban myth. The EPA lost a court case regarding their ability to ban asbestos, hence asbestos can be imported into this country. Canada is a leading producer of asbestos, and I understand some of it is imported to the U.S. today for use in a variety of products. So you cannot assume that any particular item is asbestos free, regardless of date of manufacture.

As for testing, the EPA has a website that discusses in depth testing and abatement procedures for asbestos containing material, I suggest you start there. Contact the lab you plan to use for testing, they should have some suggestions on how they want the samples taken, and how many they need.
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:50 AM   #7
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


The mills voluntarily quit using asbestos in floor covering and adhesives around 1978. They sold out all remaining stock. No one knows when. I would not be surprised if a store somewhere still has some in stock.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:04 AM   #8
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


I've looked at the epa site but they don't address
all my questions...

anyone with personal experience as to the safety of
doing this...and how to do it safely
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:30 PM   #9
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


Quote:
Originally Posted by vi_lontano View Post
I've looked at the epa site but they don't address
all my questions...

anyone with personal experience as to the safety of
doing this...and how to do it safely
Quote:
Originally Posted by vi_lontano View Post
The short:
...i got a few quotes and they are about $ 300 dollars to take samples
and assess the floor....currently most of the floor is covered by carpet...
Not sure I want to pull anything up until I know what I'm
dealing with so that 300 sounds like a waste at this point...
I've read that the adhesive also needs to be tested but can't figure
out how that could be done without scraping the boards
under the tile...and that seems to be something I shouldn't do.

the carpet is a mess and we would like to pull it up if possible...

The details:
old vinyl tile under carpet in a kitchen....12" by 12"...laid down
by a "handyman" in 1986...can't find receipt don't know
manufacturer...
....I only realized it was there because there is a rip in
the carpet...about 2 by 3 inches and several "corners" of tile have been
exposed...at least one looks chipped...there is also some newly exposed tile that was under a rotting kitchen cabinet shelf that was removed
last week. Some of those look chipped as well and have water damage
or stains or something...

------------------------------------------------------------------

questions include:

what kind of protection...if a mask do you throw out
the filters after, or just wipe the mask
do i need one of those white coveralls....do i seal the room off
with plastic...

windows open or closed...

will a regular shaving razor cut this stuff....what if I have to press or go over the cut several times to release the tile...is that safe...

do I just scrape the flooring under the tiles to get the adhesive...
if it's "dust" or crumbly material how do I get it into my plastic bag
safely...

do I use an ordinary sandwich bag to put this stuff in...

If no corners are "curling" up enough to cut to easily cut how do
i get a piece up safely..

how many samples...


--------------------------------------------------------------
and anything else you could think of would be appreciated...
the most I've done is paint so this seems like a monumental task...
Quote:
Originally Posted by vi_lontano View Post
Thanks for the reply

My understanding is that although there might have been a
ban asbestos containing vinyl tile was sold well into the 90s...
seems corps got an escape clause concerning already manufactured
tiles...

Yes I want to test it BUT how can I safely cut asbestos (?) tile
and scrape adhesive with asbestos (?) without "disturbing" it...which
is clearly warned against...and which must be done in order to test
it.

anyone have any info on how to self-test safely...
I'll chime in with my experience.

$300 to test isn't too bad, assuming that there are no other testing costs and that the $300 isn't just to come out and collect those samples. For example, I paid $270 to test the 13 samples that I collected myself. The number of samples that should be taken depends on what/how many materials you are planning on "disturbing". I used
http://www.asbestos-test.com/ (Western Analytical Lab) because they were local to me. Other contractors/companies wanted $150-$250+ just to come out and collect samples and then they wanted pass the "additional" testing costs on to me as well.

Taking a sample, is like doing a mini-abatement.
To collect a sample from your floor where there are no loose or curled up material. I recommend a box cutter/blade, an assistant with a spray bottle (dish soap + water), and disposable rags. If you don't want to sit there too long trying to cut thru the material, I used a dremel with a cutting attachment.
1. Spray the area you're going to cut.
2. Assistant sprays the area, while you cut. [YOU MUST SPRAY CONTINUOUSLY WHILE YOU CUT]
3. Keep cutting till you have your sample.
3.1 Place sample in ordinary zip lock bag.
3.2 Wet Wipe the exterior of sample bag and place in envelope.
4. Use your rags to collect all the water and loose debris from the sample area.
5. Cover that cut area until you proceed/cancel your project.

p.s if you really want to be cautious, buy/borrow/rent an Air Purifier with a "True HEPA" Filter and good CADR numbers to clean your air. HD sells P100 masks for $15-$30 as an additional precaution.

the adhesive usually is attached to the bottom of your sample. (cutback, black mastic)

edit: Also our house was built in 1947, 5 samples came back positive (all flooring), one of which was the den that was added in the late 1980s. Good luck.

Last edited by jimbriam; 02-10-2012 at 01:37 PM. Reason: additonal info.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #10
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


thanks for the detailed response....unfortunately the tests
are 75 dollars each and they want about 4 samples..tiles two
and two separate for the adhesive....

would I pay...yes..but I am being over-ruled...some people
seem to disbelieve the concerns about asbestos...no one is
sick at the moment so they assume it is OK....


If you wouldn't mind answering..

1)did you wear one of those white paper suites?
or
did you just wear reg clothes and wash them afterward...

2)did you throw out your mask or just wipe it down...
did you remove any of the filters

3)the tools used....just wipe and chuck the paper towel
or did you need to do anything special...

4)did you seal up you doors somehow...you mentioned it was like
a mini abatement...so I wondered....
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:01 PM   #11
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


The other problem is the completely contradictory info I am getting...
some sites say it is TOO Dangerous to self-test...others...not really a big
deal at all..and that the tiles are no big deal...

It is completely confusing....
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:15 PM   #12
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


Quote:
Originally Posted by vi_lontano View Post
thanks for the detailed response....unfortunately the tests
are 75 dollars each and they want about 4 samples..tiles two
and two separate for the adhesive....

would I pay...yes..but I am being over-ruled...some people
seem to disbelieve the concerns about asbestos...no one is
sick at the moment so they assume it is OK....


If you wouldn't mind answering..

1)did you wear one of those white paper suites?
or
did you just wear reg clothes and wash them afterward...
I believe you could do either. I wore tyvek coveralls ($10) when I did the floor tile removal in our house, but wore regular work clothing when I took the samples.
2)did you throw out your mask or just wipe it down...
did you remove any of the filters
I still have the respirators we used. I wiped down the plastic parts and just left the filters as is.
3)the tools used....just wipe and chuck the paper towel
or did you need to do anything special...
Just wet wiped our tools.
4)did you seal up you doors somehow...you mentioned it was like
a mini abatement...so I wondered....
For collecting samples, I did not put up plastic to cover the doors/vents.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vi_lontano View Post
The other problem is the completely contradictory info I am getting...
some sites say it is TOO Dangerous to self-test...others...not really a big
deal at all..and that the tiles are no big deal...
I did a lot of research and probably came across the same sites you've been reading. In my non-expert opinion, it can be done relatively safely if you follow the same precautions that the pros do. (i.e. wet the material, wear a respirator, bag it air tight, and thoroughly wet wipe)
It is completely confusing....
Yes, it can be. At the end of it, it is your health, your time, and your money and therefore your call.
Good luck
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:39 PM   #13
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


For those other lost souls who might stumble unto
this thread I thought I'd post this as something to consider..

There are two types of tests...the corps that advertise
low cost and quick turn arounds are often doing a PML test..
which is good to a point...it can't see the smaller fibers
that are sometimes found in VAT floor tiles...it seems
you could end up with a result of "undetermined" or a false
negative...from what I've read on line...it seems "false"
negatives are believed to be rare and represent a very tiny amount
of asbestos that some labs have told me puts the material
below the level of concern..but Not everyone agrees with this
in the "scientific" community and both a negative PML and an
undetermined result can result in another test...the TEM test....

see here:
http://www.wadsworth.org/labcert/elap/asbestos.html


you can make sure the lab you choose
has NAVL certification for the test you choose..

http://ts.nist.gov/Standards/scopes/programs.htm
(scroll down to asbestos)

good luck!
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:49 PM   #14
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vinyl floor testing for asbestos DIY


Thanks Jim...
all info very Much appreciated...

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