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RDS 01-31-2011 02:22 PM

Subfloor + asbestos issue
We are planning a full-gut kitchen remodel. We want to install porcelain floor tile, and our deflection rating permits this. However, I have two issues: (1) Our existing subfloor is 3/4" x 5" wide boards nailed diagonally across the joists. This, I understand from reading other threads, is not suitable for porcelain tile. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) And (2) we had all four layers of existing sheet flooring and tile tested, plus all the adhesives, and one of the flooring materials (second from the bottom) contains absestos.

So I'm mulling a couple of approaches to dealing with both the subfloor inadequacy and the asbestos. I'm hoping the experts here can tell me which is the wisest approach. We want to give ourselves the best chance at a tile installation that will not fail.

The easier approach would be to remove layers 1 and 2 of sheet flooring, but leave layers 3 and 4 in place since layer 3 contains asbestos. Screw down 1/2" t&g plywood (BC grade or better), grain perpendicular to the joists, screws through the sheet flooring plus existing subfloor, into the joists. Cement board, then tile.

Any reason this would be a bad idea? If it's OK, do I have any details wrong?

The more thorough approach would be to remove all the sheet flooring, including the asbestos layer. To the experts: How would you do this? (1) Hire an abatement contractor? (2) Remove it all myself, just being careful not to fracture the tiles containing asbestos? Then install new plywood subfloor atop the existing 5" boards. (3) Remove everything including the 5" boards, probably with a circular saw through all the layers? (4) Something else?

Advice greatly appreciated. I'm not afraid of more work if necessary, or hiring a pro if necessary, but obviously less demo is preferable to more demo, everything else being equal.

Thanks in advance.

RDS 02-02-2011 01:06 PM


woodman58 02-02-2011 01:33 PM

Do not remove all layers with a circular saw. This will put asbestos dust in the air. In my opinion you should rremove all layers to the asbestos, not the asbestos. Then put 1/2 inch ply over the top and install backer board and tile. Screw thru all layers. My opinion only.

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