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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm contemplating taking it up because the bathroom and hallway it covers are going to be truly reno'd one day. I know I *can* throw vinyl over the top of it, but there's some real changes coming in 2-5 years, and so I have heard I should consider just throwing on the asbestos mask and glasses and gloves and seal off the room and work wet and get them up and gone. I have heard from flooring contractor friends that the asbestos is really imbedded in the tiles and so long as we don't make much dust, we're OK. I intellectually know this, but I'm still a little scared of it. More so even the black glue underneath. I have heard to take them up with a heat gun that will cause the black stuff to become goopy and we can pick up the tile and perhaps ball up the black stuff. I have also heard I can pop the tiles up with dry ice. Anyone want to weigh in? I'm concerned about the feasibility of the project and the indoor air quality thereafter. I'm having a hard time intellectually with this because I have heard from a half dozen people who really would know that it's gonna be OK, but we're soooo taught to dear asbestos that it's still scary to me. Anyone who has done this and wishes to weigh in, please do.
 

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Be careful, the cutback adhesive has more asbestos than the tile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
That is precisely what I am worried about :( I'm soooo tempted to throw 1/4 something over it, waterproof it and throw on the stick on tiles for now until the real reno... just to limp it through...

ETA: Or perhaps just throw cheap vinyl over it and know that the next vinyl will be embossed over that vinyl... I'm just leery to put too much of weight over it because I don't know how many layers of what there is, and how much load it can all bear.
 

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Too Short? Cut it Again!
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Yeah, a layer of vinyl will pickup the patterns in the surface(s) underneath.

I don't know what to suggest. Abating things like asbestos and lead is just going to get more expensive and the restrictions on putting it somewhere more severe. So, from that perspective the sooner you get rid of it the better. Maybe your renovation schedule should be accelerated if budgets will hold.

I suspect rumblings I hear about the homeowner being restricted from doing the abatement work in the future have some truth to them. If you are planning to save some money doing the work yourself you may want to jump in to the project sooner rather than later.

And do look into where you are going to get rid of the stuff before you start? Nasty, nasty fines or worse for dumping asbestos where it is not supposed to be.

On the other hand, asbestos is not a particularly threatening substance until its fibers go airborne and start blowing around and sticking to things. Like lung tissue. You could level out the floor, put a piece of quality vinyl over it and get quite a bit of use out of the floor giving you time to think through your renovation so you get exactly what you want.
 

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Mold!! Let's kill it!
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Take a sample of the tile and the adhesive and send it to a lab for testing. Not all adhesives or tiles contained asbestos. You will then know for sure if you have to worry and the test is relatively cheap. Asbestos tile is not generally considered a friable material. Check with your local landfill about how to handle disposal. There are few restrictions on homeowners doing their own removal, but plenty of restrictions on transportation and disposal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have had 3 30yr+ flooring veterans tell me it's asbestos tile and cutback adhesive. I think I'm OK with assuming the worst. I don't really want to put it on a formal record anywhere. What's to say the lab doesn't tell the results to someone other than us? Know what I mean? I want to have the luxury of dealing with it on my terms and I'm comfortable assuming it's the bad stuff based on the guys who should know. Is there any real reason to doubt it? It's 1/8 thick or better, It's real solid stuff, the few pieces that came up are very very rigid. It's forest green with specks as opposed to marbling, and it frankly looks like the samples I see online for asbestos tile, to the T. It's this stuff, I took the picture off a website because I'm not in the house now, but this is it. http://www.healthyhomesinc.com/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=34&g2_itemId=55
 

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Mold!! Let's kill it!
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In 15 years of asbestos abatement, I've learned a few things. I've never met anybody who was reliable at discerning whether a tile contained asbestos by looking at it. I've seen 9x9 tiles that i would bet were ACM, but came back clean and I've seen 12x12 tiles come back positive. I always test. I doubt that a testing company is going to share your results with some government sponsored data base. Heck, I never even tell them where the sample came from. In one line you say that you are concerned with any long term air quality issues and in the next you mention throwing on the mask and scraping it up yourself. I'm not going to advocate one way or the other, but if you are looking for somebody to tell you it will be fine if you do it yourself, then I wouldn't look here. There are plenty of things to go wrong if they aren't handled properly and they can cause some long term air quality issues. The tile in itself is a non-friable material. As you scrape it up, you break it into crumbs, some of which can become friable and release fibers into the air. Keeping it wet will minimize the release, but now what to do with the wet rags. They are now asbestos waste and if allowed to dry will become an airborne hazard. And what of the excess water run off? Where is it going? It now contains microscopic asbestos fibers. When it dries, the fibers will become airborne. And after you have it all scraped off, what will you do with it? Solid tiles are not necessarily a problem. All of your crumbled tiles, scraped up mastic, wet rags and contaminated clothing are a different story.
My point is that air quality and DIY asbestos abatement usually don't mix. The guys who advocate wetting and scaping because they've done it that way for 30 years, have never taken an air clearance sample to know what's really going on. And if the residents in some of those homes only knew.......................
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
M6- You're probably right. I bet they never do test the air afterward to see what they've done. For now, because I have other projects I want to get to (like the rotted out subfloor in our guest bath and getting my kid moved into a proper bedroom) I finally decided to go over it for the time being with glueless vinyl, adhered with the pressure activated carpet tile adhesive. For now, I'm going to let it sit, and I'll marinate on the subject while watching others in our local home rehabilitation community deal with theirs. At least this way I can move into my master suite and start enjoying my new old house.
 
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