There is an alternative: Encapsulation
Place a new floor system over the existing without testing or removing
This was done in a family housing area by the Navy:
Nail down plywood sub floor & new floor finish over vinyl asbestos tile
and asbestos containing mastic.
Some of the old tiles has some asbestos fiber in them. They were really not
very hazardous as it was encapsulated Contact with asbestos is not a
problem at all. You can bath in it as long as you don't breath in the
You should skip the testing, which costs money and creates legal
obligations for you that you don't need, and just assume that
as far as you're concerned, they're asbestos, and as far as
the state is concerned, the question never occurred to you.
I dunno how you go about getting the old tile up,
although Shovelling dry ice across the floor and
then whacking things with a mallet has been suggested,
but Afterwards, poured epoxy flooring will cover the remains
of the glue and be a fairly permanent encapulation.
What is poured epoxy flooring? Can I just glue another layer of new
vinyl tiles over existing ones? Will this encapsulate enough existing
floor? I would like a solution that is relatively easy and inexpensive.
I don't care about new floor look. Again, 40% of tiles popped up and
they pop up constantly when I roll around heavy stationary tools (table
saw, jointer, etc.) in my workshop. I also need new floor good enough
to be able to roll around tools. My house is 55 years old, I am the
third owner. Previous owner lived in the house since mid-1980 in period
after asbestos was banned. Unfortunately when I was buying a house I
didn't ask previous owner if it was him to put the titles. If it was
him the titles most likely do not contain asbestos. If it was an
original owner they may. If testing is really easy and affordable
enough I would rather test titles between putting another floor. Also I
am not going to sell my house in another two centuries at least so what
I worry about is health hazards for me and my family and less about its
impact on house sale.
Almost all tile made before '85 contained asbestos. Put on a dust
mask. Use a heat gun to soften the tiles, peel them up, put them in a
bag, and throw them away. Try not to break any. Wet mop the floor
when you're done. Then never worry about it again.
Yes, the black stuff underneath could also contain asbestos. Don't
worry about that either. Put your new floor on top and forget it's
Unless you grind the tiles off with a drum sander or something, they
won't harm you.
Are they 9" tiles or 12"?
I wouldn't waste my money testing them; I'd just peel them up and send
'em to the landfill in a couple of plastic bags. Put laminate flooring
over the top of the old adhesive.
Relax, even if the tile does contain asbestos its not in the same state
as the type that causes health problems, which would be the stuff used
for insulation of steam pipes and boilers, or that stuff seen floating
around the air at Johns-Manville for fifty years.
Also, if the tile were really a health issue you would not be allowed
to dispose of it in your local landfill, which you are in NJ. I'm in
the Morris area and I've left more than a few bags at the curb, not a
HD sells floor scrapers that can be used to break and lift up the tile.
Then you shovel it into a garbage can containing a thick mil garbage
bag. Before the bag gets too heavy tie it off and haul it away.
For extra precaution set up good cross ventilation in the area you are
working in. Turn off any forced air units and put plastic over the
entryways. Wear a filtered breathing mask. Wet the area you are
working in thoroughly with a spray bottle. I doubt handling this job
will result in a slow and agonizing death.
Whatever you do, never tell anyone you have an asbestos problem.
Never get your property tested as it creates a record of your
asbestos problem that will cost you millions. All the illnesses in
the neighborhood are cause by your asbestos and you have to pay them
plus attorney fees and court costs.
Talk to a sales clerk at a flooring store. When we bought new vinyl
flooring, they just covered the old floor with a thin coat of some sort
of paste to make sure it was level. Then they cover it all with the new
Reason? It is very hard to remove old flooring without damaging the
wood underneath. The old adhesive is very hard to remove, too. And
grinding it off creates a dusty and uneven mess.
The only disadvantage is that your floor is thicker. The installers
needed to adjust the bottoms of some of our doors. This is routine for
flooring jobs... at least it only took them part of a morning to
re-floor our kitchen.
We could have demanded that they remove the old flooring, but it costs a
lot more. Maybe 15 years from now...
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