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Old 09-02-2008, 12:51 PM   #1
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Yet another asbestos floor tile thread.


Okay.... I just bought a foreclosed house and apparently the water heater sprung a leak while it was sitting vacant and the basement got pretty swampy.

Anyway.. I've started demo-ing out the moldy paneling, and framing. I plan on washing and bleaching the masonry and encapsulating the mildew with Zinsser. I had planned on painting/sealing the floor as well.

As I'm swinging the sledgehammer, I've got visions of a stark white basement with a smooth battleship gray floor in my head. That is, until I come to the realization that beneath the fake-parquet vinyl flooring are what look to be asbestos floor tiles. Ugh.

Now..as I said.. some of the tiles have gotten wet and are curling and loose. I've still got to remove a lot of the demo'ed lumber, so I haven't had a chance to really inspect it but I have a feeling that the vinyl stuck on top of the asbestos tiles is going to make removal difficult.

I haven't called for quotes, but professional asbestos abatement isn't really in my budget at the moment. I can't really carpet over it since some of them are moldy and curling.

Has anyone come across a similar situation?
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:23 PM   #2
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Yet another asbestos floor tile thread.


Common scenario. So now what? Is there a question someone can help you with?
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:04 PM   #3
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Yet another asbestos floor tile thread.


Lol... I guess I'm looking to see if anyone had any tips/tricks for removing tiles covered in vinyl like this.... or even what they wound up paying a professional to do it.

Also... what are the odds that these tiles are not asbestos? The house was built in 57, so I'm thinking not very good.

I was considering pulling up the flooring in the kitchen to lay some tile.. but now I'm afraid of what I'll find.
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:16 PM   #4
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Yet another asbestos floor tile thread.


Odds are.....they are an asbestos product if they are of that vintage.
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:02 PM   #5
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Yet another asbestos floor tile thread.


I would just add flooring over it. Don't try to remove it yourself -- it's when it's airborn that it's dangerous. Since you're in a basement, you shouldn't have to worry about the added height from another floor material on top. Here's an article I've posted a few times that has a good overview. Talks about insulation, but also asbestos in general. Link at the end of the article to more safety issues. Good luck!

http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-ad...asbestos.shtml
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:10 PM   #6
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Yet another asbestos floor tile thread.


If you want to take it up, keep it wet to keep the fibers from floating. Ace has a test kit you can buy. You put a sample of the tile in it and mail it to the lab. You get results telling you if it's asbestos or not withing a week.
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:33 PM   #7
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Yet another asbestos floor tile thread.


Disturbing asbestos tiles isn't something you want to tackle as a homeowner. Spraying water on the tiles as you demolish them is probably going to help contain things, but won't completely keep the fibers from becoming airborne. I think it will create a very false sense of security. Plus, you'll have a bunch of asbestos-laden water laying around. Personally, I don't think that it is a great idea to risk it. It doesn't take long-term exposure to friable asbestos to cause you or a family member lots of health issues down the road.

In my opinion, your best bet is to lay new flooring right over the top of the tiles. Your vision of a clean gray concrete slab aren't realistic in this house unless you somehow overlay the slab!
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:58 PM   #8
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Yet another asbestos floor tile thread.


Thanks for the input guys. I've been researching these tiles and they appear to most likely be asbestos. It looks like I've got something similar in the kitchen under the vinyl flooring... but, this looks to be well adhered to the subfloor and may be linoleum. I'm hoping I can remove the vinyl, put down some backer board and tile over it. Done. I'm guessing I've got the same setup in the bathroom.

The basement is another thing all together. The water heater hemorrhage caused a good sized river down the center of the basement. This is where the vinyl stick-em tiles are curling and the asbestos tiles underneath seem loose. And it just so happens to be the area that gets the most foot traffic on the way to the laundry room.

Honestly, I'd like to see them gone and I'm considering hiring someone. But, I'm sure having them professionally removed is expensive. I'm going to make a few phone calls tomorrow and see if someone can give me a rough estimate on how much it'll run. I'd say about 75% of my basement is covered in this stuff.. however, there aren't any obstructions. (not anymore since I've demo-ed the "rec room").

I think I will try the test kit at Ace, poppameth.... just to make it official. Who knows? Maybe there's a remote chance they're not asbestos and I can just start going gonzo with the scraper!! lol.

Does anyone know what sort of procedures/precautions are used by the professionals when removing this stuff?

Last edited by skipjack; 09-02-2008 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:51 AM   #9
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Yet another asbestos floor tile thread.


That's what I did at my grandmother's house. I was sure it was asbestos based on the age of the product but tests came back negative. As for "professionals" it depends on the company. As some others will attest you may see guy s show up in a pickup wearing shorts and those little paper dust masks. Some people have no clue what they are doing but one person in the company gets a license and they are good to go.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:25 AM   #10
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Yet another asbestos floor tile thread.


If you can remove the stuff without breaking it, you're good to go. A lot of 9"x9" tiles contain asbestos, but not all. Some 12"x12" tiles contain it as well. Be aware that sometimes the mastic under the tiles contains asbestos too. Floor tiles are not considered friable until you fracture them. One trick I've used is to lay some dry ice on top of the tile and freeze them off. Keeping them wet will reduce the airborne fibers, but then what are you going to do to to clean up the water? You can't let it dry. The fibers that were suspended in the water will then become airborne. The rags you use to wipe it up will now be polluted with fibers, so you can't just throw them in the trash (at least not ethically or legally). The other thing is that once you release fibers into the atmosphere in your home they can continue to become airborne over and over. Suspended fibers can hang in air currents for hours or days or until someone inhales them. The best bet is to leave it alone if you can. Unless you do something foolish, asbestos won't cause any harm.
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