As far as common construction materials go, you would be hard-pressed to find something as versatile and commonly used as asbestos. It’s natural heat resistant and durable nature made it a common material in most floor tiles up until the 1980’s.
How To Identify Asbestos Floor Tiles
If your floor has been around since the 80’s you are at high risk of your floor tiles containing asbestos. It was a super common material for most tiles, and prior to the 80’s it was one of the most popular building materials.
Check the tiles closely for any damages. Asbestos, when left undisturbed, is harmless to humans and animals. But signs of wear or cracking could mean that fibers have been knocked free and could be damaging your lungs. If you notice cracks in the tiles it’s best to get them tested by a professional.
Covering Asbestos Floor Tiles
The number one factor when considering covering your asbestos tiles instead of removing them is sealing them. You need a material that will fully seal the tiles so that the asbestos fibers don’t mix into the air both now and in the future.
Additionally, you must be aware that when you are covering tiles you are making the floor larger, and could face issues with door heights and clearances.
Vinyl tile is generally the best for this type of situation as the material is thin enough that it doesn’t create much of a difference in flooring height. Vinyl is also an excellent adherence that creates a tight bond to undamaged asbestos tile which can protect from fibers entering the air.
How To Remove Asbestos Floor Tiles
If you decide that you need to remove the current asbestos floor tiles it’s important that you contact a professional. At the very least you should check with your city to understand the laws surrounding the asbestos removal process.
When removing asbestos flooring, the first step is to seal the work area, and seal yourself. This means covering everything in plastic sheets so any asbestos that is knocked loose will not escape the area.
Always cover your entire body and wear a respirator at all times when dealing with asbestos.
Keeping any asbestos materials wet with soap and water is generally recommended as it reduces the risk of the fibers breaking free into the air. Additionally, during the removal process be sure to keep track of any tools that come into contact with the tiles. They will need to be cleaned with wet wipes after the job is completed.
When the tiling has been removed, be sure to place all of them in sealed bags, making sure that there are no small pieces left anywhere in the work area. Carefully bring all asbestos tiles (sealed in a bag) to a designated hazardous landfill for proper disposal. You should also dispose of all clothing worn during the process.
Asbestos is not something to be taken likely and even small interactions with the material can cause serious long term damage. It’s best to contact an asbestos testing center to determine if you have asbestos. If the answer is yes, it’s always advised to let professionals deal with asbestos removal.