This is not nearly as difficult a job as you're probably thinking it
Please meet the Crain Model 700 electric floor stripping machine:
It's probably the most popular floor stripping machine in the world.
Phone around to any of the carpet retailers in your area and ask to
speak to the installations manager. Ask the installations manager who
sells flooring installation supplies in your area, and whether or not
they rent floor stripping machines. If they do, they'll probably rent
the Crain 700. And, yes, they will rent to you, and if they don't Home
Depot will probably have these available for rent too.
Quite honestly, if these are either 12 inch square vinyl asbestos tiles
or 9 inch square asphalt tiles, stripping those tiles off the whole area
you're talking about shouldn't take more than 3 or 4 hours using a
rented flooring stripper.
Once you get the tile off the floor, the best product I know of for
removing the black glue holding it down is a product called "Oil Flo" or
"Oil Flo 141" both made by Titan Labs of Sunnyvale, California.
I've used Oil Flo to remove asphaltic adhesive, and it does a good job,
but I've never used Oil Flo 141, which I understand is formulated
specifically for removing black asphaltic vinyl tile adhesive (commonly
called "cut back" adhesive). You can do almost as good a job by:
1. dissolving the old adhesive in mineral spirits,
2. mixing a detergent like Mr. Clean or Simple Green into the dissolved
3. adding water to emulsify the mineral spirits,
4. and then vaccuuming up the liquid mess with a wet/dry vaccuum
To my knowledge, both Oil Flo and Oil Flo 141 are simply a detergent
(like Mr. Clean or Simple Green) mixed with a hydrocarbon solvent (like
Finally, about the asbestos issue, and some people might not believe
this, but did you know that the airborne asbestos levels in the parks
around San Fransisco were measured to be 50 times greater than the OSHA
would allow in a workplace without the employer providing protective
respiratory equipment to the employees?
It's true. Asbestos is one of the most common rocks in the Earth's
crust, and there are places where outcroppings of asbestos bearing rock
come to the surface, making regular exposure to airborne asbestos fibers
inevitable. Any construction project that disturbs that asbestos
bearing rock puts asbestos fibers into the air.
Essentially all of the bedrock in California is asbestos bearing. Much
of it is in the form of a rock called "Serpentine". Serpentine rock was
used to make the gravel roads in the state parks around San Fransisco,
and when cars drove over those gravel roads, the car tires would grind
the Serpentine stones against each other creating clowds of airborne
asbestos fibers. But, this was before Mesothelioma started showing up
in people who worked in the asbestos industry, so people at the time
thought nothing of it. California has since passed laws that require
that the gravel used to make gravel roads in that state have a
Serpentine content of less than 0.05 percent (IIRC).
You should also know that until recently (I believe it was 2000 or so),
the USA was importing brakes shoes and disk brake pads made from
asbestos from China. Apparantly, a baby squabble erupted between
different branches of the government as to who had jurisdiction over
imported auto parts. No one wanted it. So, until about the year 2000
the US was importing asbestos brake shoes and brake pads from China
while banning the use of asbestos in the same products manufactured in
the USA. Go figure.
Did you know that the bedrock around the Great Lakes is all asbestos
bearing rock? Rain erodes that rock and washes asbestos into the rivers
and streams that feed the Great Lakes. Duluth, Minnesota gets it's
drinking water from Lake Superior, and the citizens of Duluth swallow
about 3000 asbestos fibers with every glass of tap water they drink.
All of this information was on the OSHA's web site before they took it
off. And, if you don't believe me, read the "Asbestos News" section of
the Mesothelioma Center's website here:
'Mesothelioma News Center | Latest in Asbestos & Mesothelioma News'
The Mesothelioma Center appears to me to be a web site put up by some
ambulance chasing lawyers who want to represent you if you've contracted
mesothelioma. The problem is that asbestos-related lung cancers can
take up to 50 years to show up after you're first exposed to asbestos,
so it's impossible to tell where and when a person actually contracted
the disease. And, without being able to prove that, all you have is a
hefty lawyer's bill, and the disease.
If you ask me, the reason why people in San Fransisco are living to ripe
old ages and we aren't seeing auto mechanics that specialize in brake
and clutch replacement all coming down with mesothelioma is because
we've been living with asbestos in the environment for the 3 million
years we've been evolving from apes, and during the millions of years
before that during which the apes evolved from crawling fish, and so
we've acquired some resistance to it. But, we're all different and so
some of us are more resistant to it than others. And, of course, we're
all exposed to different amounts of asbestos depending on where we live
and where we work.
But, the bottom line here is that asbestos is abundant in the Earth's
crust and erosion happens, and that means we're all exposed to asbestos
to some degree every time we go outdoors.
Hope this helps.