asbestos tile/worried sick

Bella72November 10, 2005

hi, after getting 3 very high estimates for finishing our basement my dh and i have decided to clean it up ourselves and make it a run-around play area for our 2 year old daughter. After a dusty clean-up (during which our daughter was near by) we were informed that the tiles on the floor contain asbestos and the paint on the walls might contain lead as the house is 50 years old.Now I am worried sick as our toddler is exposed to this all. How long does it take for the asbestos fiber to settle? Can we ever use this basement? What are the steps we should take to make this space safe for our daughter? Thanks.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, did you break up the tile? Or sand them? Or in any other way do anything mechanical to them? If not, then you have little to worry about. Simply wash the floor, then seal and coat it with any acrylic floor polish and your floor will be safe to use.

Get a simple lead test kit at a hardware store to check for the presence of lead in the paint. If you get a positive result, then research how you would properly paint over the existing surface to isolate and encapsulate the lead paint coating.

Someone who used to work in the asbestos abatement industry posts here frequently and he may have some expert advice for you.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 10:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

and just how did you dispose of this asbestos tile? Hopefully not in the dump. Its a $10,000 fine.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks for the info glennsfc, i hope this asbestos guy sees my post as well.
boxers, we did not take any of the tiles out, just dry sweep the floors, which was dusty. the tiles all look intack but they are old so I worry that within the dust we might have exposed the asbestos fibers to the air?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 2:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

if all you did was sweep you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Just leave them down and use as a subfloor unless they are loose or coming up. You have to sand the tile to expose any encapsulated asbestos.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 7:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Asbestos containing tile winds up as general trash in many municipal landfills. There are states in which VAT tile removal is not considered an asbestos abatement project.

However, federal regulations do supercede any state or local ordinances. I know that.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 10:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Asbestos just isn't a problem unless it becomes airborne, usually due to aging/crumbling. If you're still worried about it, instead of sealing it, you can just cover it with carpet or new tile and it won't be a problem at all.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 11:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I worked for an environmental regulatory agency for over 25 years, with half of that involving asbestos. From what you've described, you have nothing to worry about as long as the tiles aren't breaking up. The response above from dmlove is exactly right. Now if you would have removed them and broken them in the process or sanded them or scraped them, then there would have been a potential hazard. Given what I did for a living, I'm very conscious of environmental hazards, but you also need to keep perspective: almost every house in the U.S. that is older than 30-35 years probably has asbestos containing tile/flooring and lead paint. If these materials are in good shape, and if your toddler doesn't chew on the woodwork, the risk is minimal. Where people get in trouble is when they decide they're going to eliminate the risk and remove flooring or strip old paint without the proper knowledge and equipment.

My advice: Put a good sealer on the floor, maybe lay down a rug, put a coat of latex paint on the walls and trim... and relax. You're wise to be concerned about things like this...but in this case it doesn't seem to be a problem.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kudzu9, thank you so much for answering my post. I guess you are the expert glenn was writing about. Your answer made me feel much better and I will share the info with my husband. We will go to home depot this week-end and check out the sealer and other flooring options. Most of the basement is covered with carpet as is but it is not continuous, there are still spots that the tiles are exposed (which I now know is not a problem unless damaged/sanded).
Thank you all others who have responded as well.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 2:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm glad you feel better. It's always hard to have only enough info to worry, but not enough to evaluate a situation. If you need any more advice on this down the road, feel free to email me directly.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 2:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's great to finally have someone on board with the difinitive word on this subject!! :-)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 3:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just received test results back on kitchen floor tile that showed tile contains 3% asbestos and the mastic contains 0% asbestos. I want to remove the tile but obviously have some concerns.

Can anyone offer insight as to whether 3% is a "material" amount? If not, is there a method of removal that would minimize the possible release of the fiber?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 1:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It means you shouldn't break the tiles up, but from what I've read just wet them down and CAREFULLY pry them up whole.. if a few snap while wet it's not a big deal. You just don't want to smash them into tiny pieces or grind/sand them etc. Wearing a respirator would put you on the safe side, not sure if it's even needed though. I have some possibly asbestos-containing tile (haven't sent it off to be tested yet) to be removed, so I've been reading up on the subject.

Since the mastic doesn't have any asbestos in it, you ought to be fine sanding it down. Getting the mastic up is the most labor-intensive part of removing old tile, so you're lucky that it's the non-asbestos kind. Asbestos-containing mastic has to be wet scraped, which is VERY time-consuming.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 5:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

According to the Enviromental Protection Agency, the US federal government arm that enforces environmental laws and provides information and guidance to policy makers, if you have done anything with asbestos containing materials other than leave them alone, seal over them, or clad over them with anothr product, then you have disturbed them which could have released asbestos fibers into the air, in which case, you should get a local lab to come perform air quality and asbestons dust/debris tests in the affected areas you are concerned about (not only materials testing).

Based on the results, they can lead you in the right direction for area cleanup, if required.

Anything short of sealing over or covering asbestos-containing flooring is a violation of Federal Law (EPA - Toxic Substance Control Act, Clean Air Act, Code of Federal Regulations, and Federal Register Notices), can pose a very serious health risk to you, your family, and any visitors to your home.

The EPA has a very good section of their website well worth reading about Dealing with Asbestos Issues in the Home.

Many people tend to minimalize and trivialize asbestos issues ... until it's inherent health risks affects them or someone close to them.

Granted, it is a roll of the dice, much like any other health concern.

Just depends on what you are willing to wage in that gamble.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 11:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A one-time exposure to asbestos fibers is going to do absolutely nothing to you. Asbestosis requires long-term exposures. EPA rules and suggestions are written from and extremely conservative point of view - reality is generally less scary than the worse case scenario. The amount of asbestos you could possibly have swept into the air from intact tiles is nil. You will get more asbestos exposure from walking down the street on a windy day.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 1:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

While it is true that asbestosis indeed does take long term exposure for "the scaring of lung tissue from exposure to asbestos fibers", the affects of asbestos' carcinogenic affects in regards to Mesothelioma (which is a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity caused by asbestos fibers present in the lungs that is completely different from asbestosis lung scaring), is not completely known at this time, and ANY exposure "increases the risk that one day Mesothelioma may develop", because any inhaled asbestos fibers can remain in the lungs for years, if not decades in some individuals.

My post was not meant to scare anyone, but only to advise and educate and pass on the related laws and proven health concerns.

Many choose to disregard laws and realistic health concerns.

I choose to not take a chance, and adhere to them.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 2:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The thing is, if you read EPA documents and risk assessment for asbestos, they are filled with inflammatory language and very little actual data. Words like might, may, could, perhaps, maybe, are coupled with words like any exposre, risk, carcinogen, cancer, death. The actual numbers are in the realm of )0.000004 increased risk to people who work with asbestos daily. I'm NOT saying don't follow the law. But, seriously, all homeowners need to know is this: If it's asbestos and it's intact, leave it alone or seal it and go on with your lives. If it's asbestos and it's crumbly, pay someone to remove it, then go on with your lives. If the asbestos areas is less than 3 sq ft, even in the state of California, it's legal for the homeowner to remove it, should they choose to do so. One time exposure to minimal asbestos, even living in a house with asbestos, or using crayons (remember that one?), has never, ever been shown to have cause anyone any harm whatsoever. [Stepping down from my soapbox and, no, I do not, have never, nor has anyone in my family, ever worked for, lobbied for, or otherwise been compensated by the asbestos industry.]

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 9:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

People need to make informed decisions concerning products and practices that might impact their health and lives, whether that be using tobacco, ingesting alchoholic beverages, disturbing asbestos containing materials or other equally dangerous activities. And, people need to be protected from indirect exposure to these things by the uninformed, the wreckless or the dishonest. That is why we see laws promulgated to address dangerous substances and practices that might impact our health and lives. You cannot sell alchoholic beverages to a minor, nor can you serve it to one. Same thing goes for tobacco products and their secondary exposure events...hence, the 'second hand smoke' regulations to protect the non-user. And as for contractors, it is illegal to disturb asbestos containing materials when doing contract work in either the commercial or residential setting. And that is to protect the sometimes hapless and ignorant building owner or homeowner from dangerous work practices and also to protect the occupants and potential visitors from incidental exposures.

Practically everyone in the construction industry knows someone who has developed an asbestos-related disease and may know of someone who has died as a direct result of it. I know of a few. And, there was of a colleague of mine who used to post to this discussion board frequently up until shortly before his death last year. Many of you may remember Ian D. Gilham.

It is particularly unnerving for those of us who have worked all our lives in the contruction business who were exposed to the stuff unkowingly and 'criminally' at the hands of product manufacturers. These corporations of whom I speak knew of the dangers associated with the materials they were incorporating into their products but did nothing to inform the end user and the many people who would come in contact with it in the chain of commerce from the raw materials extractor, the producer and right on down to the cusumer and eventually the demolition worker.

Then, you have our congress that makes legislation to essentially protect these corporations from the effects of their criminally negligent behaviors. And that is deemed to be in our national interest! Try telling that to those who have suffered from an asbestos-related disease or the surviving family members of a deceased loved one due primarilly to the 'shortsightedness' of a major corporation.

And now...I'll get off my soap box for awhile also.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 1:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The reason I'm no longer with Armstrong is their self declared bankruptcy due to asbestos legislation. No one is arguing that if you have asbestos related illness the mfctrs should pay. What has created the current situation at least as far as Armstrong was concerned was every home and every commercial property owner who had an asbestos tile or vinyl floor in their building wanted compensation. Then add the millions who may have had some exposure and they want to get in line also even though there is no illness, just the fear that it might occur. Most companies have long gone bankrupt. The lawyers make the money. There needs to be some check and balance. There have been enough scares on this forum. The scotchgaurd in carpet or teflon is one recent example.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There should have been checks and balances within the corporations themselves.

Corporations have known since the 1950's that asbestos was a health issue, but there was no other technology to replace it.

The problem with companies like armstrong world industries is that they didnt HAVE to use it for flooring products like other companies had to for its heat dissipation and fire retardent capabilities.

They used it because it was more profitable than research and development of new technology and was not illegal at the time ... regardless of the known health concerns.

So please, dont come looking for any sympathy and please place any blame where it belongs, which is squarely on the shoulders of corporations like Armstrong World Industries executive management.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 5:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

it is a real, verifiable, consumer and professional health risk backed by thousands of years of history (yes back in roman times even they knew it was a health risk and called it the "sickness of the lungs"), decades of corporate research and corruption in hiding their findings to remain more profitable, and finally the federal government initiated studies and law all politically based with others votong against it because of money and high powered special interest groups backed by the major asbestos using corporations, lobbying (bribing) legislators because they knew they would lose alot of money if it was outlawed and legislated.

Eventually the tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) who were afflicted and affected by asbestosis, and eventually developed mesothelioma, could no longer be ignored by the government regardless of how much they were bribed to do so through corporate backed special interest *donations*.

... and just so you know, I am a pro-big-business republican.

If you had any friends or relatives die from it, you would be singing a different tune, i can assure you.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's a good one about Armstrong...did you know that they sold a 'seam saw' to commercial contractors as a labor saving and fool proof tool for performing the seam cutting operation on their commercial vinyl corlon products? Wow! It made great seams! It had a little cloth bag to catch the 'airbornes'. The only fool was the person using the thing.

Right now it's wrapped in heavy duty plastic and locked away where nobody can get to it...maybe until it's needed or when a lawyer may want to lease or purchase it for a pending court case.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 6:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Armstrong installation manuals from the 1960' and 70's actually stated that to achieve a good adhesive bond when going over an existing floor, the flooring should be roughed up or scarified by sanding! Today, if I did that, I'd be fined and imprisoned.

Then there was also the factory tours that many flooring dealers took out there in Lancaster, PA. I'll never forget the worker in the felt making area opening big bags of asbestos mineral fiber and dumping it into the machine hoppers. But, I'd better stop here...lest I risk being served a 'slap suit' by a corporate giant.

Nothing I have said here is untrue however.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 6:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't disagree. I worked for GAF in the late 60's and remember going on a plant tour with asbestos dust being mixed to make VAT tile. There are many fingers to point but what I am saying is that in the past decade their have been many consumer scares from Saccarhin to scotchgaurd. There are varying degrees of risk. There are few american brands left and dropping rapidly. I'm sure there are errors, and things we do today might be pointed at as stupid 20 yrs from now. I don't think panicing people who walk on a vat floor and think they will die from asbestos poisoning is in anyones best interest.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 9:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

no one attempted to panic anyone.

the post author was already *worried sick* ... ergo, the title of their forum thread.

people should be scared about disturbing any asbestos containing product, and if they did disturb it, they should test and take precautions to ensure it isnt an issure for anyone else or for anylonger.

education and the facts are they keys to this, which is all that was accomplished here, other than a few others attempts to minimalize the realistic health threat.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 11:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

and glenn, i remember what you are talking about with armstrong and their prep recommendations and the circular seam saw.

in my early years I cut my teeth on commercial inlaids and the throat clogging sandstorms involved with a sanding wheel on a orbital buffing machine in preparation of commercial projects.

They were right, there was no better way to get a large area smooth as a babys bottom for resilient installations, which is stil ltrue to this day.

I pity those who didnt use duct masks before my time.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 11:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been looking all over for different info. on asbestos. We recently purchased a house and started ripping up the carpet in the hall. There were tile underneath that my husband started ripping up. I told him to stop until we got a sample of it tested for asbestos. Well, he took it upon himself to take up the tiles and then SAND the floor with a belt-sander and vacuumed up the dust with a shop vac. He did this when my son and I were not home. He thought it was safe because he wore a resperator mask. Well, I got the tile tested and the tile and mastic were both positive for asbestos.

So, now I am freaking out. I have not brought our son in the house since then and I don't know what to do. We really cannot afford a professional cleanup of the whole house. But I am sure that the dust went everywhere when he sanded the floor.

Does anyone have a professional opinion about this?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jess - that does sound like a situation, unlike the original poster in this thread, where there IS airborne asbestos contamination. You really do need to have an abatement contractor test your house, and may well need them to clean all of it.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 12:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Recently I took it upon myself to remove an acoustic ceiling. Simply spraying it down and scraping it off... using no respirators or containment. Later found out it contained 2% asbestos in one sample 1% in another. What Kind of danger am I in? Also a contrator took a shovel to scrape up some what I assume are asbestos tiles in my living room. before recarpeting I painted over them with latex floor paint and a brush. Can I rest yet? will the paint encapsulate the asbestos if theres any in the mastic?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 4:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You'll be dead in 6 months!!!

No, just joking!! It takes 15 to 20 years before you know just how bad you got it.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jpaul - if it was wet when you scraped it off, you're probably fine. Especially if you don't smoke. As for the tile, same there, the big bad is sanding, even if they didn't wet the tiles down (which they should have) it probably didn't release all that much airborne asbestos if it wasn't sanded. The asbestos in those tiles pretty much stays put unless you grind them up.. it's better to have them wet just in case, but it's unlikely that you had very much exposure. Latex paint is a fine way to encapsulate the tile too, with carpet over it you're fine.

To be sure, you can get your house tested for airborne/settled dust asbestos.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 11:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks. I don't smoke so maybe I'm ok,I've been around 2nd hand for a long time from my grandpa though. I hate that feeling though that 30 years down the road I get diagnosed with something, and know exactly what it's from, and I could've prevented it by just leaving the old ugly ceiling alone.

I made a typo, I didn't paint over the tiles they got scraped up only the mastic was left.

I'm pretty sure this guy didn't wet the tiles down, and he left the mastic intact no sanding from what I can tell. whether he broke any or not I don't know. I wasn't home when he did it I live with my grandparents and took on the project as an early x-mas gift.

They hired the contractor to finish it because I was moving too slow... He's just a handyman they've used in the past. I personally don't like him because IMO he does poor quality work when it comes to detail, hardly speaks english so it's hard to explain things to him when you know somethings wrong ( 2 screws in a door hinge with holes for 4..., panels falling off the wall in the shower... scraping asbestos floor tiles up off the floor...)

but my grandparents don't care they just want it done and call me paranoid because they've lived here 30 years and never had problems untill there meddling grandson decided to scrape down their popcorn ceiling.

Happy holidays!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 6:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I dont want to impose since I know this isnt a "construction" forum, but the replies here are what I was looking for. I plan to remodel my basement in a home I recently bought that was built in the 50's and the tile, according to the inspector, contains asbestos (no tests were done). The tile is all intact except for a few tiles around the sanitary sink (not part of the remodel). I researched and found that as long as the tile is not disturbed or destroyed it will not be a problem. We plan to install carpet over the remodeled section of tile and then we will not worry about it. My concern is, we have to nail the wall studs down and also im assuming the carpet install involves some nailing on the floor; which is the tile... should I be concerned about this nailing that has to be done to hold the studs and the carpet down through the tile into the concrete? Is the tile made with asbestos, or does the material used back then to adhere the tile to the concrete also contain asbestos? I'm confused and concerned. thanks for any replies.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 5:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If anyone would like specific information or answers on their asbestos situation let me know. I managed asbestos removal for a large school system for several years, so am well versed on the regulations, hazards, and removal.

For a substance to be considered "asbestos containing" it must be at least 1% asbestos. Floor tile or other "non-friable" asbestos materials are the most safe, since it is extremely hard to make fibers airborn with out abraisive sanding or sawing. So if you have a tile that is .5% asbestos, technically you dont have to do anything, but 2% and you have to jump through all of the IMO the difference is so minor, as long as you use acceptable practices for removal and working around it to minimize fiber release, and utilize vacuums with HEPA filters, you should be fine. All an abatement contractor would use to remove floor tile would be a large heat machine that heats up the tile so it pops up easily, and possibly a solvent on the mastic so it can be scraped up in a big blob instead of creating dust. Of course respiratory and protective clothing is also a good idea. You also have issues with disposing of asbestos materials, technically they have to be disposed of in special landfills, and not with normal construction debris.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

KJ, whato do you think about my situation? I can't afford for a consultant to inspect my home, and my grandparents don't want to bother with it. They just feel I'm over reacting...

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi. Can you tell me what you think my risk level is also? i pulled down ceiling tiles from a basement ( the 12"x12" papery fiberous ones) and they were breaking all apart. Also, while on hands and knees using a scraper, i pried up those old stiff thin tiles also about 12"x12" each. on black tar like adhesive in an about 11'x14' room. alot would just scrape off intact but a lot also cracked up, or broke off snapped in half etc. i don't remember wearing a mask. These were probably installed in the 50's or early 60's. we didn't have them tested but i feel like if any tiles contain asbestos they would have. also, i've never smoked.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 5:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


If you've never smoked, that is a VERY good thing.

You might have been exposed to the fiber during the acoustical tile demolition, if they contained any of it at all. As for the floor tile...I would not worry about that much. It is doubtful that you pulverized enough of the product to release a significant number of fibers to be a health threat.

Just stay away from the stuff in the future and don't take up smoking of anything.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 10:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for all of this good information.

We had a toilet overflow flood this week, and have been dealing with the insurance co. They have removed the carpeting & found asbestos-containing vinyl tile below. They are planning to remove only the tile that got wet in the flood, even though we will be replacing the entire carpeting. This means 1/2 of the bedroom, 1/2 of the office, 1/2 of the hallway.

My concern is that once they break the seal by removing some of the tiles, aren't we at risk of asbestos exposure?

Also, how long should we wait before re-entering the house after removal? Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 12:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hi i am kind of worried now too, we have a 1951 home and we recently started remodeling the basement. we pulled up the carpet and found an old retro vinyl floor tile that looked like it was from the 50s for some reason i forgot that it may contain asbestos. we cleaned it by mopping and scrubbing, and we planned to just install those cheap vinyl stick on tiles, but my husband thought it would be better for us to remove the old ones because the new ones might not adhere properly. so i took it upon myself to remove the old stuff. and i am afraid to say that i used a hammer to break them up and some came apart whole and most came apart in pieces and there was dust and it gave me a bit of a headache, (everyone is probably thinking i'm stupid right now) anyway i had the window open. and now we have all the tiles up and there was this black tar stuff the glue i assume and once again my husband suggested he try and scrape that off to make it smoother. so he started doing that. He did a little bit and was happy with the progress but after reading all these posts i think we will just install the new stuff now without touching the floor in that way again. we also have small kids and i am worried about that, but i don't think they are in as much danger as they were not in the room when it happened. but i am worried about us. we also had a ceiling that was probably asbestos, my husband actually took care to remove that carefully.
it sux that i didn't think to look into the floor before we did what we did. we were doing it on the cheap so we wanted to do as much as we could ourselves. the only reason i even looked online today for this topic is that i just had a guy out to give me a quote on something and i asked for his opinion on the basement and he pointed out that the floor probably had asbestos in it.
the govt should work out something so that its easier for people to have their asbestos removed safely and so that more people know about it. I know the lead paint is pretty well known, but i feel there is not enough knowledge for the general public who are not in the business. How many people can afford to get a professional to remove the asbestos!
I think that to prevent people like myself from doing things like this they should put more info out there like at home depot and hardware stores just lettin gthem know that when you buy or look at floor or ceiling stuff you should first learn about your house and when it was made etc.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


There is information out there. Every new carton of flooring (and adhesives and installation instructions) comes with cautionary statements about possible asbestos in existing flooring. Perhaps there ought to be more information out there to help the homeowner recognize the ACMS (asbestos containing materials) in the home. For new buyers of existing homes, a thorough building inspection before closing is supposed to alert the prospective buyer to the presence of an ACM.

But, don't you worry about your possible exposure. You've probably breathed in more silica dust from the concrete, than you have asbestos fibers from the flooring, if you breathed in any at all (other than those fibers that are suspended in every litre of air on the planet). Btw, silica dust isn't good to inhale on a regular basis either.

What you might want to do at this stage of your flooring project is to consider troweling on a skimcoat layer (or several) of a product such as Ardex Feather Finish to encapsulate the adhesive residue and give you a smooth base for your new floor. It must be a portland based product designed for the purpose. Gypsum based patches or skincoats are not recommended.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 12:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Asbestos floor tile is not friable, does not release fibers unless snaded or pulverized, and can be removed in many states.
Visit your STATE environmental agencies web site and see what the rules and regulations are for your location.
In many states non-friable asbestos containing waste is simply double bagged and landfilled with other trash.
Some states double bag and then require diposal in identfied landfills.

States ARE allowed to regulate asbestos removal and disposal.
A few staes have bought into the EPA panic and require moon suits and a full hazmat activity to remove even a single tile.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 10:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hi thanks Glenn for the advice, i was expecting to be bashed, i will look for the Ardex feather finish thing.That sounds like the way to go, or we might just put the vinyl tiles over it as is because at this stage we just want to get the basement finished and move onto other parts of our house that need work. Once we have finished this room and there is no asbestos to be disturbed or visible do we still have to disclose that there was asbestos in the house when we sell, its better to disclose that up front than wait for the inspector to tell the would be buyers later down the track?
thanks for the response and advice.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Hard to say. I'm not a real estate agent, nor have I ever sold my home. However, mortagage lenders and insurance companies are being more careful these days when closing deals with properties that have 'possible' expensive liabilities that possibly come with them. I'd like to hear a response from someone who actually has experience in the residential real estate market and can answer your question. I do know that in some commercial properties the presence of the fiber in anything gets labeled with a cautionary phrase about not to do anything to the product that would create dust.

Brickeye is correct when he says that rules and regulations concerning removal and disposal vary by state. It is important to say here, however, that federal rules and regulations supercede state ones in most instances.

In NYC, single residence homeowners regularly place their used flooring debris out for municipal pickup as ordinary trash. Yet, most informed contractors will not remove ACM products for fear of creating a liability for their businesses and insurance carriers and for fear of violating state and local laws.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 3:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Resilient Floor Covering Institute has very good and thorough instructions for the removal of resilient flooring that may contain asbestos:
You can visit their website at

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 9:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

glennsfc, what would you say about my situation?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 6:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh? You mean your popcorn ceiling stuff post question?

It is highly unlikely that you will suffer any harm from what you think you did.

There is a background 'level' of asbestos fibers in every cubic litre of air on the planet. Are we to take to wearing air filter respirators 100% of the time?

I really think you have nothing to worry about. You do not smoke and you are not an asbestos worker.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 12:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With all the focus on asbestos I don't think anybody has addressed the lead issue. If you house is 50 years old then there's a good chance it has lead paint but unless it still has its original paint job, there's a good chance that it has been painted over with a non-lead paint (and it's a virtual certainty if it has a recent paint job). The lead paint is primarily a health hazard if (1) the paint is chipping or peeling, or (2) you sand it or do other work that will send it into the air. The best thing you can do is leave it undisturbed and paint over it.

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, lawyer, home inspector or contractor but I do live in an 80 year old house in a neighborhood where virtually all the houses have lead paint. A much bigger problem for us has been lead in our drinking water, as many neighborhoods are still supplied by the city's original lead pipes and tests have shown that many older homes have elevated levels of lead in our water.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I always wanted a economical and inexpensive way to test for asbestos and we recently found test kits for asbestos that anyone can use.

Some hardware stores and big box retailers now carry them and they are also available online.

Asbestos Test Kits

An idea solution where you dont have to track down a local lab or if you dont have a local lab to get your material tested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Asbestos Test Kits

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 3:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks for all of your help on easing my mind, this forum is great. it will still haunt me a little just knowing I wasn't wearing a respirator or very careful with that mess but not as much as before.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 4:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

just a quick comment for brickeyee or anyone who thinks local or state legislation supersedes Federal Enviromental Protection Law.

it doesn'nt.

Federal Law always takes presidence.

NO STATE allows asbestos removal without adherance to Federal Enviromental Protection Law.

Localities and States may indeed REGULATE removal, but they do it under the Enviromental Protection Law umbrella.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 5:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jpaul 2006,

Yeah, you'll think about it from time to time, but you have very little to be really worried about.

Many of us in the flooring industry, who were deceived by the flooring product manufacturers and unknowingly exposed repeatedly to the dangerous mineral,...well we do have stuff to worry about. But, I don't let it rule the rest of my life. Eventually I may have to hold someone accountable...but God willing that will never be necessary.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 9:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Amen, Glenn.

keep fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Glenn, I'll keep you in my prayers. that isn't right what those companies did.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 12:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can't believe whats going on in my home right now.

My grandparents decided they want to install tile in the kitchen, dining room and one of the bathrooms. I tried to sit them down and talk with them and explain to them my concerns about scraping up the 40 year old vinyl linoleum without having it tested first. they agreed but after asking the contractor about it ( who has never set foot in the house BTW only the day laborers) who denied it (asbestos) was ever used in flooring they gave them the OK to start. this morning they cut the floor into sections down to the subfloor with a skillsaw and pried the sections up.

The entire house is a dusty mess... anything to be concerned about?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 2:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 10:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This stuff does happen...

Big fines in some places for contractors who knowingly disturb this stuff. In NYC two people went to jail a few years back because they knowingly removed asbestos in a commercial place and they were not licensed to do that.

Your grandparents have little to worry about or to be concerned about.

I suggest a good cleaning after all the work is done. If you do it, then I know you know how to clean up dust safely. No dust of ANY kind is good for lungs, matter what the dust is from.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 11:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ok I'll keep that in mind thanks. it seems like a curse almost every time I turn around First the ceilings now this mess. I live with them also btw. from now on all of my projects are staying exterior. I think next I'll re-do the lawn lol maybe a planter box or two out front.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 11:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yeah...but wear a respirator when you're cutting the wood for the planters and don't slice anything off with your garden or wood cutting tools!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 7:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"just a quick comment for brickeyee or anyone who thinks local or state legislation supersedes Federal Enviromental Protection Law.

it doesn'nt.

Federal Law always takes presidence.

NO STATE allows asbestos removal without adherance to Federal Enviromental Protection Law. "

In any number of cases (including asbestos removal) the Federal law allows state law to supercede if the state has regulations.
The Feds have waived a significant amount of control over many of these issues to the stae IF the state has regulations.
ASbestos floor tile is NOT friable under even teh EPA definitions and many states allow its removal by homeowners and disposal with regular trash.
Other states make an absolute scare out of the entire thing and the result is NO cleanup of any kind, or even worse handling of actually hazerdous conditions.

We are talking about the great EPA that drove bilions of $$ in clean uip of 'hazerdous' sbestos in pulic schools, only to reverse course later and decide that encapsulation in place would have been a beter idea.
Dulles Airport argued with the EPA over the ceiling flock and finally settled on encapsulation in place instead of closing the entire airport for 2-3 years to remove the material.
The EPA even made a decisiomn to not 'confuse' anyoone by dealing with the different types of asbestos and the non -hazard of some types.
They are still dealing with the hazard they created with metalized glass brake pads.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 10:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have sheet linoleum in an upstairs room that has tested positive for asbestos - the 30% kind. It is peeling and actually has a hole in it, not good. When I took a look at it I realized that it is not glued down and the backing has mostly separated from the actual linoleum. It looks like almost two layers, the backing is a dark gray or black.

The sheeting is old, so it rips fairly easily. Is the best way to remove the backing to wet it thoroughly and then roll it up? I have two small children who walk across this area many times a day and I feel like I need to get rid of it immediately. My wife is furious at me for not having it tested until now and does not trust the removal process. Help!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 1:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If this stuff is loose laid, then for heaven's sake just wet it down real well and carefully roll it up, wrap it in plastic and put it out for the trash. Check to see if you as a homeowner are allowed to do that where you live. Look for recommended work practices from the Resilient Floor Covering Institute.

30% asbestos content in a 'sheet' product? It has a dark gray or black backing? Could this be a sheet vinyl that was glued to a saturated asphalt flooring felt and that it has delaminated from its asbestos fiber backing? I've seen that many times.

If the white asbestos fiber backing remains glued to this dark gray or black material, and if that remains glued to the floor, then you have a more difficult removal or encasulation issue.

What kind of floor is all of this glued to? If it's installed over a 1/4" flooring underlayment panel, then you might want to consider removing the underlayment panel...sometimes it's the quickest and cleanest way to do get the offending materials out.

Or, you can just employ an asbestos removal company to do the job for you.

I won't discount the usual warnings that you can find on flooring packaging. A recent one I came across from a product manufactured in Canada had an existing flooring products warning on every page of the material brochure.

Can you post pictures?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 7:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The felt is black. The underlayment is wood flooring and is not glued anywhere at all. All of the linoleum in this house is loose laid, I'm having the rest of it tested today. Most of it has no felt backing at all, just laid over wood flooring.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 1:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Consider yourself lucky that it's loose laid. Won't be any kind of a problem to get it out of the house.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 8:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Alright, it looks like we are going to have to have someone official remove the asbestos. Anyone have experience with this? How much it costs, how long it takes, etc?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 9:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have just bought our first house, we move in in two weeks time.
The owner told us the old textured ceiling had been removed a month or so ago (house is empty owner lives in another city) new carpet was put in before this was done, the removal was done by a painter, I called the painter just to confirm how he did it all, he said he placed plastic on the floor taped it to the walls, wet the ceiling before scraping it off.
I just had a look through the window of the house today and every room that the popcorn was removed from is this white powder on the window sills, would this just be plaster or could it be part of the textured roof? Im sure I could faintly see something sparkly in the powder.
Should I be worried about this?

I was thinking before we move in wetting all of the dust and wiping it up then hire one of those rug doctors, you know the water carpet cleaning things you hire from the super market. would this be good enough?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 2:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

HMmmmm....I wonder what others will say...

The fact that the widowsills show a dusty 'sparkly' powder would not make me have confidence that the job was done well. However, your plan to deal with latent dust is a good one.

After all the cleanup is finished, you might want to have an air sampling done to put your concerns to rest as to whether or not the fiber quantity per litre of air is similar to the normal 'background' levels. My guess is that you will find that your indoor air quality is safe re: asbestos fibers.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 6:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a question....I too am in the middle of completing some home projects....I am pulling up the carpet as there are hardwood floors underneath....well in the hallway and entryway, I found there was tile on top of the hardwood...well I was about to scrape the tile up...when someone told me today to make sure the tile doesn't contain asbestos....they also told me that if the tile measured 12 x 12 then I should be okay...well they measured 12 x 12..but is that correct thinking...Can any informed person tell me if that is correct? Do I still need to have the tile tested for asbestos? I read earlier about watering it down...but I think it might hurt the hardwood...can someone please help me...


    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 12:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

both 9"x9" and 12"x12" tile used to cointain asbestos ... tile size is not a proper determining factor for it to have contained asbestos or not.

the US government made any manufacture, sales, distribution, or installation of asbestos containing products illegal in 1979-1980.

if there is a possibility that your tile is at least that old then have it tested for asbestos before continuing.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 7:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi.. I currently work for a School district as a custodian. I've disovered that the tile in my classrooms are 9x9 asbestos tile..30+ yers old.. I'm not sure about the % but anyway, The chair rollers in the classrooms have actually grinded down into the tile and have created a cloud of dust every night I sweep. I'm not sur of how much is actual tile dust and how much of it is the wax that was sealing the tile. I've commented about it to my boss before and he just kinda blew me off. Is asbestos tile something that could be ground down just by chair rollers? Should I worry abount the fibers being released from just the top portion of the tiles? I'd appreciate any comments.. Thanks

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 1:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Follow up from my post on May 13.

Abatement company is in my house now. Removing 300+ square feet of asbestos sheet linoleum. Cost is $2000. Yikes, but a great piece of mind.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 3:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just like many of you we have just moved into a house that is 70+ years old. We pulled up the carpet in the living and dining area to find the hardwood was covered with sheet linoleum in the dining area. We have no idea how old it is and without thinking about possible asbestos issues we pulled it up. We didnt use water it just peeled up on its own. There is still some black backing left on the hardwood. I started reading about getting the black stuff off and realized how stupid it was to not think about asbestos. Now I am totally worried.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Remember...use warm water to see if the adhesive dissolves. If it does, then it's organic linoleum paste and you'll be able to get the rest of it off easily. If your sheet product had a black backing, chances are you released little of anything into the air.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 8:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This discussion about asbestos has me thinking about other sources. What about asbestos-containg brake dust from car wheels that we track on our shoes from our garages into our houses. Is this trivial or should we worry about such things?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 12:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As far as I know asbestos in brake linings is a thing of the past...but someone who knows the automobile industry will know.

You should not be worrying about such a thing.

However, I do like the 'no street shoes in the house' rule that some people follow; that way you're dragging no foreign substances into your living space via the shoe bottoms.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 7:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Experts (or anyone that can help provide me with some insight),

I also live in an older (50+ years) house, with small children. We have vinyl tiles in our family room. There are a few tiles that are exposed and have corners or edges that are either broken/torn or lifted off the ground from some previous flooding. We're quite worried as we just learned of the possibility that we may have been exposed to asbestos.

I found a box in my crawl space that has some spare tiles. The box had a date of 1987 on them. So now I have two questions;

1) Any idea what year they stopped using asbestos in vinyl tiles?

2) I've emailed contacts from NVLAP just now requesting if I could send some sample tiles. Can I send ones that have not been layed (from the box I found)? Is that the right thing to do?

In the meantime, I've covered up all broken tiles with some rugs but I'm obviously real anxious to hear back from someone who may be able to provide some additional insight to my situation.

Thanks to those contributors - really admire help you're offering here!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 1:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If they are the same tiles as the ones installed, then you can send one to the lab for testing.

Asbestos isn't going to jump out of the tiles and become a hazard for you unless you do something extraodinary to them, such as sand, grind, drill or in any other way 'pulverize' the material.

Covering them is a good start. Applying a self-polishing floor dressing will also seal them real chance of creating 'dust' after that.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 9:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Asbestos in flooring was banned in the late 70's. If your tiles are dated 1987, you're fine.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thanks for the prompt response. I feel better knowing that since the tiles were made in 1987, that they were not made with asbestos. I'll anyway get them tested.

Thanks Again!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 11:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I took up a tile floor in my house a couple months ago. The tiles were 9 x 9 and were held down with what appeared to be tar. Should I be worried? I will take the tiles to be tested but I'm not sure if they contain asbestos or not because I don't know how old they are. I don't think they are too old because this was in a section of the house that had an addition and was not original with the build.

I took the tiles up with a razor scraper. Natually some broke but i didnt sand or grind the floor. It seems everywhere I read the the VAT tiles really arent a threat unless you sand or grind them.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 1:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If your 9 X 9 tiles were brittle, then they were most likely asphalt asbestos. Removing them creates very little dust. In my opinion you have very little to worry about; you did not grind, sand, drill or in any other way 'pulverize' the material.

If they were asbestos, then cleanup as recommended in past posts to this thread and be done with it. Worry about something more threatening, such as traveling by auto here and there.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 10:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It depends how you define brittle. the scraper cracked alot of corners off yes. You could bend one a little before it broke. Everywhere where I read it says not to dry scrape.- and of course thats what we did. There was dust from the old floor. The floor tiles were probably about 60% broken when the job was finished. Hopefully they will test negative we'll see.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 5:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The 9x9 tiles are VAT= Vinyl Asbestos Tile 9x9's are a "dead" give away.
The black tar like adhesive, is asbestos cutback

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 8:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In my region (the East coast) most 9 X 9's were asphalt asbestos. It was the 12 X 12 format tiles that were VAT. When scoring and snapping asphalt asbestos, I could actually see fibers sticking out of the cut edges.

Yes, cutback adhesive "fortified" with asbestos fiber. No wonder those floors lasted almost forever.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 12:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well is one worse than the other? I am not currently living in this house as it is just a renovation project. Does anyone think I might be in danger? I will clean up wet as recomended.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 4:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My guess is that it is the same type of asbestos in both products. Do a web search and I believe you will find that the type of asbestos found in flooring is less "toxic" than that found in insulation products, but don't take what I am saying as 'gospel' truth. Look for yourself.

I think your lab test results may tell you the type of fiber present.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 6:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Glad I found this forum. I have been searching the web for information about potential asbestos exposure and found contradictory and scary information.

In my new house I have 9X9 tiles that tested at 15% asbestos. I had it tested at the request of my flooring contractor. We had originally planned to lay tile after removing the carpet on the lower level (this is a split style house).

After the tile tested positive for asbestos content I told the contractor I did not want to disturb it. I was already somewhat concerned that I had broken some of the tiles while removing the tack strips that held the carpet in place. And then I dry swept the floor to get rid of the debris.

He suggested wood laminate floors laid over the tile which we had him do. However, in the laundry/furnace/hot water heater room, which leads to a bathroom, he suggested we put porcelain tile because of the water that would likely be spilled there over time. We agreed on the condition that the asbestos tile be kept in place.

However, before he installed the tile (we had moved in by then and were home) he removed some loose tile with a paint scraper. Some I think came up fairly intact but others broke into small pieces. It's a fairly limited area, perhaps 8 by 6, and tiles were only disturbed in less than half of that space. When I heard the noise I went down and expressed my concern, and he said it was not a problem, and that I shouldn't worry. He dry swept the area afterward and removed the debris. What was done was done but I have had lingering concerns. The floor is now mostly covered with porcelain tile, except around the water heater and furnace, which is bare concrete, and too small a space to get into to lay tile.

I am concerned about any possible release of asbestos fibers, and whether I should perhaps wet wipe down the area, or even get the air tested. My wife thinks I'm overreacting, but I'm a low-risk guy and this is weighing on my mind and not making it easy for me to enjoy my beautiful new home! It's early autumn and we have not turned on the heat yet, and I'm resisting doing that for fear of introducing any asbestos in that area to the rest of the house when the furnace draws air (we have forced hot air).

What do you suggest I do? I don't want to panic, nor ignore a potential health hazard. I have some concerns not only about our middle-aged (mid-40s) health and life span but I have a 14 year old daughter to consider as well.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 9:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sure, if you want to ease your mind wipe every horizontal surface and get your ducts cleaned before heating season. Get the air tested if you want. I doubt any fibers will be found over the background level, but let us know if you do that and what the results are.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 8:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi! Thanks for also the useful information. I recently had drain tile put in my basement. There is asbestos tile in one quadrant of my basement (1000 sq. ft. house). These are undisturbed except for some that are jagged around the edges, not many. I believe the waterproofing co. pried up the tiles on the perimeter there. The other area of concern had a lot of wet to it and I lifted ip a small area rug and under there is black cut back left that is gooey and some dry. The area rug was 4' x 6'. The trouble is that there is gray paint over the rest of the area (over the whole basement floor), but there are patches of gray paint left where the rug was that could be scraped up and spatter-type spots around it where the paint has worn away with dried black cut back showing through making the area somewhat larger. The rest of the basement has no tiles and no black cut back left. The 4' x 6' gooey area is my laundry area so I will be walking over it on a consistent basis. I'm in the midst of wet-mopping all the dust from the waterproofing job. Do I continue that in the asbestos tile area as well and then leave it alone or seal it with something? Also with the black cut back area I have purchased some portland-based feather finish and plan to cover the black cut back with it and then probably have a floating vinyl sheet installed. Should I wet mop all the dust from that area as well or just cover it with the flooring? Does this sound like the way to go? I wore a comfort dust mask the first clean-up day and am now wearing a respirator mask. Thanks in advance. . .

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 8:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mop (if you think you must)..allow to dry...trowel on your feather finish and install your floor.

The asbestos in the cutback, if there is any, isn't going's stuck in the asphalt matrix and can't become airborne, unless you try to sand it off the floor.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 8:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi there everyone,

Glad I found this forum. I have asbestos tile in the finished attic of my home. I'm going to be putting carpet in this area instead. The tile is very intact, and in fact didn't realize that it might be asbestos until I took off one of the tiles to prep for the new carpet (it came up in 3-4 pieces, and was not wet down). After some research, I've found that given its good condition, it is best to encapsulate the tile and then just place the carpet over it.

My questions are twofold: One, what should be done about the hole where the first tile was? Is there a generic floor filler compound to use, or something for this particular case? Second, what type of sealant should I use for the entire floor? Thanks everyone for your help!!!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 7:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Seal it if you must, but it's not going to do much...the asbestos in the tile (if there is any) isn't going anywhere. Simply mop on any self-polishing floor dressing...plenty of choices in your supermarket.

Fill the holes with any hard-setting material. You don't need much, so even plaster that you mix with water will do the job.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 7:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I tore out my entire bathroom this weekend and noticed that there is a 4'x6' patch of old linoleum with some old 195Os tile underneath that appears to be VAT. There is also a black mastic adhering the old tile to the subfloor. I'm having both layers tested. My inlaws, who we bought the house from had put carpeting over these two layers. My original thought was to cover them, but there is a lot of rot in the sub floor which is breaking up underneath the tiles, causing the tiles to break up. I am considering having the old tile and linoleum abated if they come back positive for asbestos. We did sweep up and vacuum a bit, but did not remove any material that was adhered to the sub floor which wasn't much. We were wearing masks, but just dust masks. Are we going to die? (Joking, hopefully.)

I guess the big question is...what does it generally cost to have an abatement company take care of such a small job (about 24 sq. ft.)? Are we going to get totally hosed by an abatement company and does anyone have any advice for not getting hosed? I understand everybody has got to make a living, I just don't want to lose my shirt on this one, but will be happy if I'm atleast left with a tanktop. Thanks in advance for any answers you may have.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 5:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK guys, jumping into the fray with some trepidation here, but I am a nurse and worked in asbestos litigation for 15 years to review studies and cases to determine what the chances are that they were asbestos related. I have spoken with many of the primary researchers personally. The risk related to asbestos varies with the disease. However, generally, the lower the exposure, the longer it takes for cancers to show up. 40 years is not unheard of. Most workers who died of asbestos related diseases had more contact than you guys are talking about in these homes, and had it daily for years. They brought it home on thier clothes and wives shook the dust off and put them into the laundry and released the fibers into the air at home as well.

There are other risk factors for every disease and if you are a smoker, asbestos exposure and smoking increases risk in a multiplicative manor. For example, if you smoke enough to increase your risk of lung cancer 10 times above normal and then have enough asbestos exposure to increase your risk to 10 times more than a person with no exposure, your risk isn't now 20 times more than normal, it is 100 times more than normal. Many, many, many people died of lung cancer who had both exposures. Millions of dollars were spent in court while 4 ppd smokers blamed asbestos companies for the cancer and asbestos companies pointed to the smoking. The truth, as it usually is, was somewhere between the two. The same is not true of Mesothelioma, which generally takes a lower exposure to asbestos but longer to develop, and is not caused by smoking.

The greatest risk, for these reasons, are those who are youngest, those who smoke and those who have large and long term exposures.

If there is a child in a house where asbestos fibers were likely released, get an air test. Its not fair to let him/her assume the risk of developing cancer when they are in their 40s or 50s because you didn't do that now. It may be fine. It may show only a very slight risk. It may put her life in danger in 40 years. Just FIND OUT now. If you are worried, get an air test. Then decide what to do based on that.

If you have intact asbestos in tiles, you can do what Bill said or, if you are not comfortable with the asbestos being there or if you want to sell the house in the future and don't want to have to disclose the asbestos, find out how much it would cost to have it removed now. I don't know about costs or removal, but it may be more cost effective to have a low % asbestos tile removed while it is still intact than waiting until if/when it starts to deteriorate. But don't panic, it can't hurt you unless it gets into to air.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 1:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I forgot to mention, if you have asbestos tile starting to break up, get an estimate from an appropriate firm. Don't go with the first necessarily, just like anything else, and be suspicious of anyone who is much less then the others. Find out how they would handle it, if you feel you are being "hosed", don't hire them. If you try to do it yourself, be smart, find out how, wet it down, use a respirator, and have an air test done when you are finished. I would not recommend doing yourself in most cases, but would rather you do it in a lower risk way if you are going to do it anyway.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 1:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I read all of the postings and they are very informative. We had the carpet removed in our family room two years ago and there was some old tile. Few pieces were broken on the corners but mostly in good shape. Now we want to put down tile and tested for asbestos. It has 5%. The costs of removal is 4-5K. I think we can probably remove it ourselves following all the directions in previous messages. Or should I pay for removal?

On another thing, 1 1/2 years ago we took down some walpaper in our bahtroom and the wall was in really bad shape so we sanded it off. My husband did not turn off the air conditioner and when I came home there was dust everywhere. I cleaned everything but I wonder about the air ducts. I have a daughter and worry about her. It has been a while but should I have the ducts cleaned? Thanks for replies.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In some municipalities you can remove Vinyl Asbestos Tile yourself and place it with regular trash for sanitation pickup. It would be wise to find out what your local regulatuions are.

Some states do not consider removal of vinyl asbestos or asphalt asbestos to be an asbestos abatement project and do not require permits or anything. Regulations vary by location, but federal regulations always supercede state and local ones. However, as a homeowner you may be exempt from cartain portions of the regulations. Most regulations can be found on the internet, so search, find and read.

You have to answer the question yourself. If it's legal to do the work yourself, it's something to consider; just remember that tile removal can be physically demanding and you have to be able to do the work. You may actually do a better job than an abatement contractor; as with any hired labor...the work is only as good as the person doing it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 12:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just purchased my first home (fixer-upper) and it's a mess. Sure enough removed just part of the carpet to find a whole floor of 9x9 tiles; home built in 1961 so sure its VAT. As is the linoleum in the bathrooms & kitchen. There are broken tiles due to the carpet tack strips. My plan is this: Wet the broken area with a mister/spray bottle and pickup any loose pieces (wearing gloves). Then use a vinyl adhesive across the whole floor and lay a new sub-floor (lunar boards) over top using wood screws to secure the floor in place. IÂm in hopes the vinyl adhesive will bond anything else thatÂs lose and prevent the screws going into the tiles to cause issues as I read youÂre never to drill anything, but need to secure the flooring. Please let me know your thoughts before I take this on and if there is something else/better I should be doing.

Thanks everyone!! IÂve been to every site and by far this has the best information!!


    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 12:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mary - You should have a tittle soap or detergent in the water you spray to help it penetrate.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 8:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for your reply. I will add soap to the spray bottle. What do you think about screwing through the tiles? I am in hopes it is ok since having the vinyl adhesive to penetrate at the same time.

Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 10:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't worry about screwing into the stuff as you have planned. Any panel layed over the existing flooring will trap any particles you may create in the screwing process. Nothing can become airborne in that situation.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 10:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am not sure if it is asbestos in our laundry but prefer to treat it as though it is due the age of the house being in the period when asbestos was commonly used. My husband doesn't think the same and a few months back he drilled some holes to hang a paper towel rack on the wall. I wasn't there at the time so not sure if any dust came out, but I imagine it is invisible?
My concern is we have a lot of uncovered baby gear in the laundry: prams, car seat and carrier. Our baby is due in four months and now I am worried they might have invisible dust on them. If I hose them off and wash them down thoroughly would they be ok or do I have to throw everything out??
After I wash and wipe down everything is there a chance the fibres will remain once they are dry? I have read the fibres are like hooks and I wonder how persistent they are after washing.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 10:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

He drilled holes in the wall?

Of course you don't have to throw anything out. Wipe evrything down or hose it off.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 7:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I noticed that my basement carpet was damp (we bought this house about 2 years ago). When I pulled the carpet and pad back I was dismayed to find what might be 9x9 asbestos tiles that had started to pucker (God knows how long they've been wet), but also a rotted tack strip for the carpet which exposed the fact that the SOB installer drilled down through the tile to attach. So, I probably have this dust all along the edge of my finished basement. We planned to let my daughter play down here... How do I deal with this?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 6:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They may not have drilled it, because installers will commonly use tackless with special concrete nails. Either way just suck it up with a hepa filtered shop vac.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 4:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I follow you... it does look like they used nails. That said, I still have tile lifting up at the corners and some cracked and loose tile pieces where the nails had been hammered in. If it was just me living here, I'd use a hepa vac and just be done with it, but I'm more concerned (possibly too concerned) because of my kids. I think I might hire somebody to come take a look as I'm both untrained and overly emotional about this! Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 9:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't blame you for being concerned. Follow your gut instincts about this. :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 5:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have lived in our house for 8 years and from the beginning we noticed we had the tell-tale 9 x 9 VAT tiles that were commonly used for flooring in our kitchen and the sunroom just off the kitchen. The tiles had been covered with an industrial carpet that was hideous. We tore up a small portion of the carpet with plans of covering over the tile underneath and were dismayed by the fact that the tiles were popping up almost immediately. We did not decide to remove the tiles ourselves due to the fact that this was 300 square feet of material.

We hired a licensed abatement company to remove the material and they in turn hired an independent industrial hygenist to perform the air monitoring that needed to be performed. They conducted air tests in the areas outside the work area as well as within the work area. The tests were conducted prior to work beginning, during the actual work of removal and after the work was completed. The final air test was 0.01 (2/100).

Hardwood floors were layed the very next day.

The contractor used negative ventilation, sealed all openings with double, 6 mil plastic, cleaned all areas with a hepa-vacuum, continually kept a wet mist in the air to knock down fibers and when completed, wiped down all surfaces with wet rags which were all disposed of in accordance with all federal, state and local regulations.

We are expecting a child in a month and are wondering if there is anything to worry about for our unborn child and for ourselves. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 6:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi folks, I've been slogging thru this discussion and learning a lot, but have a slightly different case. We've just bought an old house with 9x9 tiles on the kitchen floor. The inspector said they were probably ACM. I would have just left them alone and covered them, but the vinyl(?) surface is starting to ripple and wrinkle and little parallel splits are forming along the wrinkles.

I'd had some warnings about asbestos, so I bought a $40 respirator and a chisel, put on some old clothes and rubber gloves, and started at the tiles. I've only worked on 3 tiles and found that the middle and edges come up easily, but the corners adhere stubbornly. So each tile ends up in several pieces. There is a tar-paper-like layer between the vinyl surface layer and the paper backing.

I put a few larger pieces in clear plastic bag to have someone look at them, but I don't want them to shun me for not hermetically sealing them.

Should I quit now, skim coat the floor, and put our chosen new floor over it?

We also have a very old furnace with a fair amount of asbestos tape on the ductwork.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 5:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, I just read through all of the replys and do I feel like an idiot. A few years ago I purchased an older home. I remodeled the bathroom which included removing the old linoleum. I had a hard time removing it so I rented a floor sander and went to work. I'll see you all on the other side.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 1:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't mean to sound glib or flip here, but I did what you did on a fairly regular basis decades back before the inherent dangers of the material was revealed.

I'm still on the planet in a warm and reasonably well condition and I am thankful for that.

Your one-time exposure may not affect you at all. If you smoke, quit now.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 9:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am in the process of buying a 1979 home. It has those popcorn ceilings throughout, except in the kitchen where someone scraped it off at one time. I have time to back out of this house purchase and am considering it being the very bad worrier that I am. I am afraid I will get in there and the ceilings will be a constant worry for me. And after reading these messages, a new worry has come up, will I also find asbestos vinyl under my carpeting? I noticed someone said asbestos was not used any more starting 1979-1980 but is that for sure true? Inspections are coming up on the house. My realitor played down my concerns of the ceiling and did not order an asbestos inspection. Can I get an inspection on my own? should I call him and say I want it after all? And can I trust an inspector the realitor would get since he knows I am afraid of the asbestos thing and he down played it and made me feel stupid for asking about it?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 2:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you that concerned about it I would suggest you ask the sellers to provide you with this information first. If for some reason they balk, then have it done yourself. You will have to instruct whoever is hired as to what items specifically needs to be tested.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 4:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

2nd day into a basement demolition, a contractor just peeled up some 12x12's in my basement and then sawed a ditch for a drain pipe in the 12-inch channel he uncovered. The way I found out about it was from the exhaust smoke from his cut saw that made its way into the air upstairs, where my 2 boys under the age of 4 were playing. We opened the windows and left the house. Later, after he left, I went downstairs to see what he'd been cutting and wondered if any bad dust could have made it upstairs. I saw the 12x12 tiles and thought maybe he'd sawed through a couple and started Googling around. Some broken tiles were in a pile on the floor as well. Of course I found this web site and was horrified. My wife and I didn't sleep last night thinking we'd given our babies cancer by hiring a contractor who didn't know what he was doing. I had an asbestos abatement expert come in this morning and he's taking some of the tile to test it today. He says he thinks whatever might have been released is extremely unlikely to have made its way upstairs. It's apparently a lot heavier than a 2-stroke motor's exhaust - which is what we smelled and why we left the premises. This is on the heels of spending 4 days in the hospital with my 22-month-old for an unrelated lung infection, and why I suddenly became interested in dust - and also why I haven't slept much lately and am sick with worry. Both my wife and I feel miserable.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 1:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry you both feel miserable. It is doubtful that the contractor sawed through the tiles. However, that said, any fine mineral dust (whether it is asbestos or not) is dangerous to breathe. You don't say whether or not the cut saw was a wet saw or a dry saw.

Your asbestos abatement expert is probably right in his claim that it is unlikely that any particles were released from the tile matrix.

Asbestos 'can' cause cancer, but so can many common household materials we come in contact with every day. You haven't 'given' your babies cancer. Most asbestos related illness is due to significant and repeated occupational or environmental exposure.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Funny how lack of sleep can affect mental functioning... Anyway I'm much better now. The tile tested negative for asbestos. It turned out there was some other, older asbestos tile under a wall that we demolished, but less than 2 or 3 square feet of the stuff - apparently not a major concern and we'll wet it to remove it. We did end up having asbestos cardboard insulation under the wooden shelves that were on top of every radiator in our house. The plumber moved those around a bit when bleeding radiators recently, which made me notice them and I had the asbestos guy come look. One whole intact ply of the cardboard came off and fell onto my son's bedroom floor. I picked it up and put it outside - which was a little stupid probably. Later, after it got wet in the snow and rain, I ended up shoveling it and the snow around it into a plastic bag. We had the rest of the shelves and the bag removed properly by the asbestos abatement guy for $75 - kind of a lot but not too bad and now it's in a proper hazmat landfill.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We just found out we have 9x9 asbestos tiles in our basement. In general they are in good shape. In our laundry/storage room, however, quite a few tiles are warped and broken.

Since most of the damaged tiles are at the entrance to the room, we have been walking/kicking those broken/crumbling tiles for about 5 years now.

How bad is this? I am really worried about the exposure we all had so far (especially, since our small kids have been exposed as well)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 11:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tile is not very much of a hazard unless you actually sand the stuff.

Even when it breaks, the asbestos remains trapped in the asphalt of the tile.

Tile is not friable asbestos (capable of being released by crushing the material with your bare hands).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 1:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our discovery and concern mirrors that of poster lucija on Sun, Mar 1, 09 at 11:07 almost precisely: quite a number of 9 x 9 tiles in a basement room have crumbled to finger-size or smaller slivers underfoot around the washer and dryer, except that it has occurred over perhaps a 40 year period. As the tiles have disintegrated or popped up, about 35 to 40 tiles in the largest area plus a few others elsewhere, we've just thrown them away, exposing a black, hard, residue on top of the concrete. The home is a 1930s Mid-Atlantic-situated USA house.

My questions are:

What should we do about it?

Should we have any testing done?

These missing tiles represent less than 20 percent of the entirety in this room, perhaps 80 percent remain. And in another, larger basement room, most all tiles remain on the floor. Pulling up the remainder would certainly be quite a job.

If we leave them down, should we refasten the remaining loose ones (which can be pulled up intact)? If so, how do we do this?

And what should we do with the exposed areas? Getting matching tiles seems impossible (and though with the exposed black area matching may hardly seem important, re-doing the floor myself has been on my project list). And I'd prefer not putting carpet down.

And if we could get something close, what would we fasten it down with?

Is there no need to worry about the old tiles as long as they don't break?

Also, I'm wondering if we ourselves should be tested, particularly considering the 40 year exposure, though it may be infinitessimal.

Has anyone tried testing the air in a basement after breakage of these tiles?

Also, what is the best testing kit to use?

Any links pointing to webpages which address this particular issue with tiles would also be welcome.

Finally, with any definitive statements about the effects of asbestos, would appreciate your sharing your credentials/experience/education/bias to the extent you feel comfortable. Difficult to separate speculation from study.

I've read a good part of this thread and so familiarized myself with some terminology (e.g., "mastic") but stopped reading after some posters diverged into the legal aspects of the effects of asbestos. My interests now focus on what to look for and what to do about it.

If you've posted before and have nothing else to add in answer, please feel free to leave another post which reads, for example:

"See my post above at 'Posted by lucija (My Page) on Sun, Mar 1, 09 at 11:07' and this one here..."

Finally, in what other areas might asbestos be in 70 year old homes?

Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 12:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We just bought a 1960 house that has not been renovated at all. There is pssible Asbestos tile in the foyer. The tiles are separating, but are bendable, not britle, so we aren't sure if they are asbestos. If they bend after all these years (assuming they are from 1960), does that confirm there is no asbestos tile or glue? We have not researched how to have it tested yet.

We want to remove the tile so that we can install new hardwoods. If we cover the tile, we'd have to do floating floors b/c real hardwoods would be over 1 inch higher than the adjoining rooms that already have hardwoods and that height difference is not our preference since they rooms are pretty continuous. The hardwood installer said that if they remove the tile while keeping it in-tact with the subfloor below it, everything will be fine. Just wondering if anyone has heard if this is an appropriate way to remove possible asbestos tile. I have 3 small kids, one who is crawling and on sucking on toys off the floor at all times. Its a little concerning if things get airborn. We plan to wash all the walls after done and then disgard all cleaning sponges, etc. But are we really 'removing' it from the walls, or just spreading it around?

The same tile is also in the kitchen with a subfloor underneath it. Additionally, there is subfloor on top of the tile and then linolium which is starting to rip. We are not planning on re-doing the kitchen for several more years, so I'm assuming we'll leave the linolium as is for now and just liquid nail down the part that is ripping up. I imagine during a kitchen reno in a few years, we'd want to do the same approach as the foyer in order to keep all the floors the same height.

Your advise is appreciated : )

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 12:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Sure...have the air tested if you want; there are environmental companies that offer the service. As for having yourselves tested...well that wouldn't make much sense, unless you're looking for an asbestos related disease.

Either leave things as they are or hire an asbestos removal company to get the stuff out of the house. Part of that job would also be dealing with the adhesive, which is also likely to contain the fiber. Simply coating the adhesive residue with a cementious floor skim coating product would encapsulate it and prevent future airborne contamination.

Several government regulatory sites will describe where else asbestos may be found in your home. Put "asbestos in the home" in your browser's address bar.


Your sheet flooring that you describe as "linoleum" may also contain asbestos in the white mineral fiber backing, if it has one.

Usually removing asbestos containing flooring and the underlayment it is attached to all at once is probably a safe enough way to go. However, you and your contractor need to be aware of any laws you may be violating by doing so.

Every litre of air on the planet contains a naturally occurring number of fibers depending upon the region and location, known as the background level. Quitting smoking and avoiding events or situations where you may be exposed to tobbacco smoke are the best things you can do to help prevent disease.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 10:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi everyone,

Wow, what a long thread!

My husband and I have just bought our second house. In our first house, we had Kentile asbestos tile in the basement that was in perfect condition. I read, researched, etc and even though I was freaked out at first (I found the box in the garage that said "Kentile Asbestos Floor Tiles" on it and got dizzy and nauseous!) I realized it was no problem because it was not friable. So we got some new vinyl floor tiles and encapsulated the asbestos ones (also updated the look).

Now, in our new house, built in 1965, there are asbestos floor tiles in the basement again, but some of them are loose. None are broken (from what I've seen) but they are loose, I guess from previous water damage. The rest of the floor is in great condition. We want to install vinyl tiles over the floor, but I don't know how to do this, because if the underlying asbestos tiles are loose, then anything we install over them will never stick, right?

Any thoughts on how I can make the vinyl floor tiles stick without exposing myself to asbestos fibers? Can I just cover the offending tiles with something, or am I going to have to lift up the tiles and apply some sort of adhesive?


    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 6:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I too am worried sick, and have lost much sleep this past week.

My dad is helping us spruce up our 80 year old house. The basement stairway had thick wood boards screwed onto the treads and we decided to remove them. After finding tiles underneath my dad went to town dry scraping them with a small pry bar to get down to the wood. They broke and were a general pain to remove.

They were about 15 9x9 tiles total and they were a brown "leather" look as described by my dad. They were adhered with a black glue that to me smells a little like tar and have a paperish backing that was didn't really come off very well.

It didn't occur to me until after wards that the tiles may contain asbestos. I have a 5 year old, a 3 year old and 4 month old and I am horrified. The kids and I were out of the house during the demo but were home before it was covered up - so with glue and paper exposed. The stairs were walked on, etc. and we all spent time in the basement (tv and playroom) before it even occurred to me. My husband and father had used a shop vac, and swept to clean up. My 54 year old ex-smoker father did all the scraping.

As soon as I thought of asbestos I had my husband cover the stairs with a thin plastic drop sheet until they were re-covered permanently. I called an asbestos abatement person, but since they were already removed he just kind of gave me advice. He said they were most likely asbestos and so was the glue. He said a brown paper backing (like unfaced tar paper?) was better than a grey/white backing but I can't seem to decide which colour it is! I told him like cereal box cardboard but that to me is greyish. He said it's unmistakable.

On someone else's advice we covered the steps with duck tape and then screwed down 1/4 inch plywood to the treads.

Am I worrying for nothing? I am driving my family nuts, but I am concerned for my children. I don't even want to be in my house. I want to have the tiles tested, but if they're positive I think I would just panic more. On the other hand if it was negative, I'd be relieved beyond belief. I know what's done is done, but I can't stop worrying for my family. Is there anything else I should do? Replace my furnace filter (washable) or anything like that?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 9:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

yes your worried over little. Unless he sanded the floors nothing in scraping them off the floor releases asbestos fibers.

For future a new posting would be nice. it takes a long time to scroll thru 154 msgs. Many people have posted virtually the same question.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 10:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I am going to put wood flooring over flooring tiles containing 2% asbestos.

Carpet had been installed over the asbestos. I have pulled up the carpet, but not the carpet tack strips. Do I need to wet the floor down where the tack strips are to remove them? If so, should I just pour water all along the edges of the room? There are lots of nails sticking up, so I cannot wet the tack strips with a cloth.

Thank you in advance for any advice.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 2:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

About 10 to 12 years ago I decided to "freshen up" my basement laundry room by removing some old tiles and laying new ones. I didn't even think about asbestos at the time. Some were very difficult to remove and I ended up chipping away at them and sanding as well. I didn't wear a mask and can remember looking in a mirror and seeing black "dust" in my nose. I did wash everything down afterwards. I think I spent about two days taking it all out.
I'm sure, now, that these tiles contained asbestos. Probably the black "glue" also.
I've been worried sick since I realized what I'd done. Fortunately, my children were all grown and gone at the time.
Should I be speaking to my doctor about having some type of testing?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 9:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Someone a long time ago said: "Corporations have known since the 1950's that asbestos was a health issue, but there was no other technology to replace it."

That would be bad enough... what's worse? Even the ANCIENT GREEKS knew that asbestos caused ill effects. So believe me, these companies knew well before the 1950s about the problems with this mined material.

To the people who broke up tiles once... there's nothing you can do after the fact, there is no test to check you, so basically don't worry because it won't help. If you're over 50, you're fine because you may be dead before you have any issues... if you're under 50, eat more bacon just in case ;-)

I believe that Chrysotile is what's found in most of these tiles, and there was a study done in rats where they found that its shape is "easily" (compared to other asbestos types) expelled from the lungs, thus a year after exposure most was gone from these rats.

The danger in asbestos is long term scaring of the lungs caused by continued exposure or by the fibers remaining in the lungs. Since this type of fiber is able to be expelled, as long as you aren't making a career out of its removal you stand pretty good chances of having no ill effects.

I cut up a counter top which I later learned contained 15% Chrysotile, I had my face inches from the surface as I ran a reciprocating saw through it... it's possible I'm now a 20-30-40-50 year time bomb, but since there is nothing I can do about it, I'll try to forget and be a bit smarter in the future when it comes to protection.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And if you never smoke, chances are your bomb will never go off.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 2:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello I appreciate the post and the remarks. I have a situation where it seems as if water got under the tile in the basement of a new home I purchased. The tile has been tested for Asbestos. 1 or two tiles have been chipped or damaged already, they also had to remove one to have it tested. I am concerned because water has gotten under most of the tiles and they are buckling a little and aren't flat on the floor. Because of this, I am wondering if it's best to have the tiles remove as adverse to just putting carpet or painting or covering the tiles. My contractor has said the tile is the better of the two types meaning concealed (I've forgotten the techinical term). Looking for advice on this type of situation.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 11:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

if you haven't sanded the tile everything is fine. If you want to remove them it ok but there isn't any concern for what you have described.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 12:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it is a 'newly-built' home, you have no concerns whatsoever.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 8:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I really hope that someone can help me. Approximately 2 weeks ago my husband decided to renovate our bathroom. We have lived in our home 2 1/2 years. The reason for our renovation was a leaky pipe behind the wall of our shower wall. After my husband already took down half of the wall he questioned the material because it was the cement type of wall with the mesh wiring behind it. Then we found out that it could possible contain asbestos (almost 98% sure) because of the age of the home. We have two little ones and we are so nervous. What do we do and how dangerous is it. The one wall is down and we are terrified!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 11:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Okay, first of all, calm down. Asbestos is a chronic danger, not an acute danger. This means that while there is potential irritation from a single exposure, the folks that get mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses are those that were exposed to high levels over and over and over, etc.

For clean-up, keep things damp. Use a spray bottle of water with a little soap in it (dish soap is fine) to keep things sprayed as you pick up what he already removed. The water keeps dust down. Place the material in plastic bags for disposal.

Again, relax, it's okay. If you husband is going to do this every day for years, feel free to start worrying again.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 1:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi everyone... I was so happy to have found this forum. My husband and I have been dealing with some asbestos issues in our old home (built 1951) and it has been very difficult. I am extremely scared and worried and have been losing sleep for the past 6 months regarding it. My husband tends to take a more laid back approach, and I'm much more scared and want to just move out of this house and never look back - clearly financially, that isn't an option. The house is the house that I grew up in and have since taken over with my husband. I'm 29 and have a history of smoking for about 5-6 years and quite about 8 years ago. We have 9x9 tiles in our basement that I just recently learned are likely asbestos. Some have broken and a few places have crumbled due to water damage from the basement flooding. Before I knew what it was, I used to just throw the tiles away and vacuum up the small pieces and debris. I've also swept with a broom and just pushed the larger broken pieces around. Now I'm terrified that I'll end up with a disease. I'm also terrified for my husband now, too, because of the shape they're in now. We walk through the area daily to do laundry in the other room (cement floor). We have been told to just throw the pieces of flooring that are broken away in an approved dump and to sweep up the debris with a broom to be thrown away after and call it a day. This terrifies me. I would think that the sweeping would just make the fibers airborne. My husband says that I'm overreacting and that the tiles aren't like a cracker that crumbles. Can anyone tell me what they feel is my risk of exposure so far? And the best way to proceed from here? I would greatly appreciate your input!!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 12:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, for pity's sake, LexiMarie1115. Read through this thread - there is plenty of information in it.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 10:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok, we are going to have a professional come in to do the removal. In the meantime, do we need to wear masks to enter this area to get to the laundry room? There are broken friable tiles and some are crushed...

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 2:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"I would think that the sweeping would just make the fibers airborne."

The fibers are embedded int he tiles very well.

Unless you sand or otherwise break the tile into very fine pieces the fibers are not going anywhere.

The tile is NOT considered 'friable' (capable of being broken up with bare hands) by the EPA .

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My case doesn't seem as serious but I'm still concerned. I have an old ceramic tile floor in my kitchen. I'm tearing it out and I notice a black mastic stuck to the wood under the cement thickset. At that point I recalled seeing an old asbestos looking tile in an adjacent closet where the water heater is. I cut a small piece of the mastic and small piece of the floor tile and had them tested. The mastic is clear but the floor tile is 4% asbestos. At some point someone removed the old tile and replaced it with ceramic tile on a cement base. My question is that when I'm demo-ing the ceramic tile and cement base, is there a possibility of releasing asbestos dust if the old asbestos tiles were not abated properly (and asbestos dust was left behind)? I'm not touching the closet area where the small bit of old asbestos tile remains.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 1:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Asbestos floor tiles do not normally release any fibers unless you sand, grind, or cut them with power tools.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thanks for the reference to the ancient Greeks.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 1:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You have nothing to be worried about concerning any asbestos dust that might have been left behind. Very unlikely that any would be present in the air during your demolition, except for the number of fibers normally present in every liter of air in your locale. However, as for the ceramic tile dust is concerned...definitely wear a respirator when demoing that and make sure you cleanup well after. Silica dust is not friendly to lungs either.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We recently had some flooding in our basement. We pulled up the carpeting and found 9x9 tiles. (House built in 1946.). Some of the tiles dissolved into a white paste type of substance, then dried and are gritty, almost sand like. Pretty darn sure there's asbestos in them. Given how much some of the tiles have deteriorated, I assume I now need a pro to come in and do abatement? We plan to lay carpeting or cork tile back down in the same area. It's a play area for our young kids, so we want to be safe rather than sorry. Thx.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know this is an old thread, but I did read virtually all the posts looking for my specific issue and didn't find it. I have ripped up old carpet, found 9x9 tiles underneath that are breaking up around the edges where I pulled up tacking strips. I am having a piece of tile and the associated black backing, which is like a paper layer that does not seem to be very adherent to either the overlying tile or the underlying wood floor, tested for asbestos. There seems to been a nice maple floor beneath, but it is stained black. The black area is patchy and is not a residue that can be felt, like an adhesive residue I assume would be. Is this just a pigment that has bled into the wood?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 7:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

From your description I am guessing you have genuine linoleum tile. If the tile is at all flexible, then there is a good chance that is what it is.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 8:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, glennsfc! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 11:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the input. I have read the thread and it is helpful. I would like to relay my story and hope that someone would not mind replying.

I recently became aware of the dangers of asbestos when remodeling old houses and all I can say is I wish I had known this 15 years ago. I am really having a hard time sleeping now that I have this new information and here is why:
About 10 years ago a friend of mine asked me to help him remodel a house. The house was probably built in the 1970s but I can's say for sure if it was in the early or mid or late 1970s. Bottom line is this...with no mask or protection I did the following things:

1. Scraped off lots of popcorn ceiling in a large cathedral ceiling living room. The popcorn ceiling was the very rough bumpy kind with sparkles in it. Don't know if that helps to determine the manufacturer or likelihood of it containing asbestos or not but I thought I would add that. I was spraying the popcorn ceiling with water before scraping it. However sometimes it would dry up, especially when I got near the "sheet rock" or "gypsam board" of the ceiling. As a result, I often ended up having to dry scrape because it was very difficult to get the surface smooth.

2. Pryed and jackhammered tile out of the whole living room. This was arduous work because the adhesive (mastic?) under the tiles was super strong and many times I had to break tiles and driil into the adhesive and even had to drill into the slab quite a bit to get the tiles up.
Wll as you can see these actions created plenty of dust and made everything "friable" so if any of these materials contained asbestos then I sat there and breathed it in for several days.

I am in a state of fear now. I know what is done is done but I am so worried about the damage I did to my body and have this feeling of doom now that I will inevitably get sick from my exposure.

The tiles that I was prying up looked like wood and they were fairly small. They gave the appearance of a wood floor and when they broke they looked like they could have actually been mader of tiny squares of wood. They were brown like wood too. My understanding is that vinyl tiles contained asbestos so I am praying these were not vinyl but I know they could have been faux wood and although had the appearance and texture of wood, could have been made of something else (maybe vinyl).
To the best of my knowledge the adhesive (mastic) underneath was a very hard glue like substance. It was not soft or gooey at all. It was super hard and very difficult to separate from the tiles and slab. I think it looked kind of light brown in color but that could have just been the residue left from the tiles I pryed off.

The opinions that I am looking for hear are as follows:

1. I know popcorn ceiling manufactured in the 1970s often contained asbestos. I am praying I did not remove that kind. Does anyone know the odds of this (i.e. if the house was made in say, 1975 what percentage of popcorn ceilings contained asbestos?)

2. Does any one think they know the kind of tile I have described (looks like wood) and if so was it made of vinyl and therefore likely contained asbestos?

3. Does anyone know if the adhesives (like the one I described above)used to attached these types of tiles likely contained asbestos in the 1970s?

Whatever was in the air, I know I breathed a lot of it and I am now just trying to figure out just how much potential damage I did. Suffice it to say that if I ever do work like this again I will wear the necessary protective gear. I just fear future lung disease now that I have discovered the dangers and am at a loss why there are not public service announcements or something to warn people of this deadly hazard. That would have saved me. Thanks for any responses.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 5:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You must have been pretty isolated NOT to have know about the dangers of asbestos 15 years ago, but that can't be helped now. Regardless, brief exposure to asbestos should not be a big concern. You exposure was brief.

Frankly, your most obvious danger from the work you were doing was at the time you were doing it - from the dust, any kind of dust, in the air. Any time you are in a dusty environment - dust mask, preferably a hepa filter.

Any time you do any work with which you are unfamiliar, it is a good idea to do some minimal research before you start. This will allow you to make good decisions about proper safety precautions. You cannot expect a public service announcement - put forth some effort and take responsibility for your own health.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 3:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good advice but unfortunately I was young and naive at the time. I was aware that asbestos was bad but I was under the impression it was only in insulation and ceiling tiles in old buildings. I had no idea something like popcorn ceiling from the 1970s would contain it. I thought that was just dried plaster. I only have become aware of it because a friend of mine just recently remodeled his house and told me about it.

Don't worry I will buy everything short of a hazmat suit should I ever work on something like that again.

I didn't realize that commond dust could cause major illness either. Aggravate allergies yes, but I didn't realize it was dangerous.

Thanks for taking time to respond.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 1:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, I really messed up big time. I am remodeling a basement and found the asbestos floor tiles underneath carpeting. Well, I knew they were asbestos, but never dreamed the tar like crap underneath them contained asbestos (why would adhesive or moisture barrier have asbestos in it...right?).

The tiles were no worry since they would just pull up with little to no effort at all. But, I had to get that nasty tar crap up so I could lay ceramic tile, right? Well, I went to the local rental store and rented a floor scraper. It was really tough going since it has to catch an edge to get the stuff up. It seemed like there may have been something else underneath the tar mastic though to create the edge that the scraper needed (I could see something white at times). In some areas, the mastic was so gummy that the scraper would not do anything. I rented a drum sander too to see if it would get some areas up that the scraper did not. Well it did in some cases, but mostly it just gummed up, so I did not use it much.

Well, needless to say, I generated a lot of dust. I did have plastic up in an attempt to contain the dust, and had a fan in a window pushing air out to try and also contain the dust and get some fresh air. I was wearing a dust mask, but I have no idea how effective it is for asbestos fibers.

About the only thing I can hope for is that 1. The scaper generated larger bits than the sander and hopefully did not generate too much dust from the mastic. 2. That the asbestos fibers don't get out of the tar compound very easily. 3. That most of the dust was from the concrete (it was that color), and 4. That my containment measures for what I thought was just harmless dust did some good.

I can say that I am worried for my kids though as surely some of that dust did get airborne and made it into the rest of the house. And...what about my air ducts now? Darn it! I doubt I will live long enough for this possible exposure to hurt me, but my kids are another matter.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband and I are in the process of buying a Levitt house in NJ. Our inspector said that there was possibly asbestos vinyl tiles under the carpet in the living room. At first it didn't bother me much but the more I thought about it the more worried I get. Upon further research, it turns out the the vynl is under all the floors in the house. My husband does not seem to think it is a problem because it is all sealed. I am worried that at some point in time we are going to have a problem with it and there will be a health risk involved. I am also nervous the previous owners ripped up some of the tiles before they knew it was asbestos based. Can the particles still be in the house years later? Should we back out of the deal or I am just being paranoid? We both really like the house otherwise.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 6:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is my opinion that you are paranoid.....but I would back out if I were you as you will never be comfortable. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a 50's house that has the entire first floor with 9x9 VAT (15% chrysotile) tiles over a slab. The tiles pop up very easy and can be removed carefully without breaking them. The black cut back adhesive has 3% asbestos.

Originally, We planned to remove tile and adhesive and grind the concrete down to prepare it for concrete stain. But after discovering the asbestos, our plan has changed. Also, the black cutback penatrates and stains the slab to the point where grinding won't remove the appearance of the tile lines completely. I call it "ghosting" And that doesn't look good with a stained concrete floor.
Now we plan to use an epoxy paint to cover the old demons....but I need it smooth and texture free first.

Although we probably won't be grinding the slab now - is there a way to use solvent to remove the surface adhesive completely and safely? which product?

If not, we will have to cover with a tile product ($$$)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 12:11AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Engineered hardwood floor help needed
We are going to be selling our home and currently are...
cleaning hardwood floors & tile floors
What's best way to clean hardwood floors.... how can...
Has anyone used Wicanders Vinyl Comfort flooring?
I'm really struggling to find the right floor for my...
Need help: c.1997 Hartco Pattern Plus 5000
Hello to anyone reading, and thanks. I have Hartco...
Reviews : Brazilian direct - -
Did any one purchase solid hardwood from Brazilian...
Sponsored Products
MaxLite RKL23U4535DV LED RKL Retrofit Kit Strips, 3500K
MaxLite RKL45U5535DV LED RKL Retrofit Kit Strips, 3500K
MaxLite RKL23U4541DV LED RKL Retrofit Kit Strips, 4100K
MaxLite RKL45U55XXDV LED RKL Retrofit Kit Strips
Stainless Steel 2.64-Qt. Air Pot
$29.99 | zulily
Achla Hearth Gloves - A-13
$35.98 | Hayneedle
MaxLite RKL23U45XXDV LED RKL Retrofit Kit Strips
MaxLite RKL23U4550DV LED RKL Retrofit Kit Strips, 5000K
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™