Asbestos question

I have been living in 50 year old house for 2 years. I have partially finished basement with vinyl floor tiles. The tiles are in very bad shape and come out of the floor here and there. I want to completely remove them and replace with laminate floor. Can the vinyl floor tile contain asbestos? What usually contains asbestos and most importantly how can I test this? What are precaution to be taken if asbestos is indeed found inside the house?
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Alexander Galkin wrote:

Are they 12" squares, or 9" squares? IIRC, the 9" contain asbestos. It's not all that dangerous unless you disturb it. Can you put the laminate over the top of it?
Best regards, Bob
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Tile is 9" X 9". Although the house is 50 years old I didn't know when the basement was finished. The tiles are in very very bad shape, just walking over the titles kicks several of them out. Eventually in one of the rooms in the basement all tiles kicked out. I then vacuumed the floor, put PE liner, laminate floor underpayment and then laminate floor. I don't know what to do with other rooms in the basement that also have vinyl tiles. what the right approach would be? I cannot not disturb the tiles as it is already disturbed much. I wonder what exactly contains asbestos? Vinyl tile itself or adhesive? Since tiles have already same out there are probably fibers in basement. How to deal with them? Where can I really test title samples for asbestos? Is there a government agency or private laboratory that performs tests for asbestos? I am in process of complete basement renovation and I am really worried to create a health hazard. I have absolutely no knowledge of asbestos except it is a hazard and how to deal with it. I know pretty much about lead paint, what contains it and how to contained it. There are finally lead paint blood tests that I did for my children recently and that came out negative. Are there any medical test for presence of asbestos in human body?

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I think you are worrying too much.
Yes, the 9 x 9 tile most likely contain asbestos. For years they were known in the industry as VAT (vinyl asbestos tile). The adhesive may or may not contain asbestos.
Asbestosis is created by breathing the asbestos fibers into the lungs. They stay in the lungs and do not biodegrade. The only way you can breathe the fibers into the lungs is when they are in a friable state. They only way you can release friable fibers from the tile is by drilling, sawing, grinding, or sanding to allow the fibers to become airborne. The most dangerous thing you could possibly do would be to sand or grind the floors. For years the EPA and most states allowed contractors to remove VAT flooring with chippers. The waste was not considered hazardous and could be disposed of in public trash receptacles. The only requirement or suggestion was to keep the floor wet to prevent fibers from becoming airborne.
Each state has its own regulations. My state recently passed an ordinance to require that a licensed abatement contractor remove VAT in public buildings, yet allows homeowners to remove limited square foot quantities.
You should check the requirements for your state. Your own conscience must be your guide. I would not hesitate to wet the floor and remove the tile. If you do not want to deal with the cut back adhesive and it is well adhered and sound , there are several floor products made to skim coat and isolate the adhesive to allow the use of newer adhesives. Make sure that the product you might use is compatible with the new adhesive you intend to use.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG

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Thank you very much for a detailed response. I remove vinyl tiles with almost no effort using the putty knife. Some tiles come out whole, some break in pieces. I do not grind or drill the floor. After I remove the tiles I vacuum the floor. I do all removal work in Dustfoe88 mask, is it safe to work in potential asbestos environment? Unfortunately, vinyl tiles have to be removed since it is very uneven. It does not cover uniformly entire floor. After I put new laminate floor, what's the best way to ensure there are no asbestos left anywhere from my vinyl floor removal process? Should I carefully vacuum all surfaces or maybe do something else?

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You should use a respirator with the replaceable circular cartriges which are labled for what contaminents are trapped.. Keep the floor wet through the removal. Vacuming probably will blow fibers through the machine and in the air. Rinsing with a hose is the safest way .
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Alexander Galkin wrote:

Mop, don't vaccuum. If there are any free fibers (and there's probably not), Vaccuuming will stir them up.
-bob
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Alexander Galkin wrote:

1. The tile could very well contain asbestos. 2. You don't need to test. If you DO test, because of mandatory disclosure rules, the might of the state will descend upon you and require men in space suits to demolish your house. They will carry the parts to an EPA-approved dump site. You will be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars. 3. The biggest precaution is to never know for sure - you can be compelled to tell whether you knew. The next biggest precaution is to never tell anyone you have (or had) asbestos (you won't be able to sell the house or get health insurance).
If you mean PERSONAL protection, there is no need. There has never been a documented case of an asbestos health problem from any end-user product. The only people to have experienced asbestos-related health problems were asbestos miners exposed to the dust for 30+ years.
Scrape the stuff up. Put it in boxes or trash bags. Leave the bags/boxes in a school-yard late at night* and let the hysterics have something to justify their existence.
------ *That's what Dilbert's boss did with his refrigerator.
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Are you on drugs? Asbestos miners are not the only people with documented health problems. Do some research. What about all the ship yard workers or pipe covers or electricians , boilermakers or any construction wokers from the grand old asbestos days > Oh yeah , did I forget to mention auto mechanics exposed to brake linings or clutch pads? What about all the people that were involved with the manfacturing of asbestos containing products . I guess all ose undocumented cases are the reason congress in trying to pass laws to stop the law suite s from bankrupting all the big companies that manfactured the stuff.
Bill
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Oh yeah I forgot to add that a friend of mine farther passed away last year from asbestosis . He was a pipe fitter wonder how he got that?
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Alexander Galkin wrote:

Rule of thumb is: if the vinyl tiles were made prior to the mid-1980s, assume they have asbestos, because most of them did.

Look in your yellow pages for a test lab, usually listed under 'asbestos-consulting and testing' and call them to get instructions on how to safely remove a section of the tile to send in for testing.

Basically, you don't want to risk breaking or crumbling the tiles and releasing the fibers in the air. So you use a 'wet method' of removal, where you keep the floor wet and the room barricaded with plastic sheeting to keep any potentially freed fibers from traveling into other areas of the house. Wetting the floor for a day or two before starting work also helps loosen the tiles so they're easier to pry up without breaking. It is also recommended you wear a respirator and clothing which can be laundered immediately after working on this. Just to make things more complicated, you'll still have to arrange for safe and proper disposal of the materials afterwards. You cannot simply put them out in the trash; you are legally obligated to arrange for their disposal using properly-labeled containers that will be sent to a site that handles asbestos waste. You can call your trash hauler for help with that.
After reading about all the precautions and steps you've gotta do, and the potential legal liability you face if you do it yourself and do it improperly, you'll understand why almost everybody recommends you hire an asbestos abatement company to do the removal for you.
Here are links to some good information on the subject:
http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/ashome.html http://www.asbestos-institute.ca/home/home_ala.html http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/ashome.html http://www.orcaa.org/AsbestosVinyl.pdf http://www.asbestos-institute.ca/home/home_ala.html
HellT
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Clamp/glue one of the loose tiles to a hunk of plywood, and try to drill a hole in it with a hole-saw. If it throws sparks, and eats the saw, it's asbestos.
Do this outside, with the wind at your back..
--Goedjn
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wrote:
Just to make

This is not true in Texas for homeowners and apartment complexes of less than 4 units.
See:
http://www.tdh.state.tx.us/beh/asbestos/Homeown.htm
Roland
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