Old ceiling tile - asbestos?

homeboundJanuary 4, 2012

Our basement ceiling had tiles (12x12's, as I recall) circa 1970 or earlier, that looked like acoustic tile and were stapled to wood furring strips. It broke apart in a flaky, pressboard fashion when we pulled it down.

Did that type of tile contain asbestos? It didn't occur to me to find out at the time, but I'm looking at job with the same tile that needs to have the ceiling opened up. Thank you.

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scarlett2001

Look in your Yellow Pages under "Asbestos testing" - there are places you can send or take a sample, to see what you've got.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 4:33AM
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PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

There is no way to tell without testing, we are not magicians

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 4:41AM
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columbusguy1

Homebound, testing is about the only option to know for sure--it sounds very much like what covered about 1/3 of my basement ceiling when I bought my place in '87. For some reason, it was only on the part which had been near the original furnace, under the living room. Being an ambitious new homeowner, I ripped it down--wearing gloves. There was a lot of sooty dust on top of it, but I didn't notice any fibers from it in the mix.
Some twenty four years on, I'm still alive, with the same cough I've had since I was about 20--accompanied by the occasional throat-clearing--both of which I got from my father.
At the very least, wear a face-mask and gloves, and long-sleeved shirt.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 5:40AM
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homebound

"...magicians" - funny. Just was hoping someone might be familiar with it based on the description. I suspect it's cellulose, not asbestos, but we'll see. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 2:54PM
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jonnyp

Spray it with water to minimize dust.I too suspect it's cellulose. Matter of fact I removed a similar ceiling and burnt it. While we're at it,whats the radon level like in your house (occurs naturally). Got any vinyl tile , what is in the mastic. How about the garden, what are the lead levels like.Got thermostats with mercury. House from the 70's ,any lead paint inside or out.
The point I am making is some things aren't as bad as we believe. Extended constant exposure to these elements have been proven to detrimental. But come on, unless you are working with these known carcinogens day in and day out for decades I think your concerns are really baseless.
Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, don't break them. Cordless tools contain cadmium, don't burn or eat them.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 8:47PM
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scarlett2001

If you work on this without finding out if it is asbestos, please invest in a respirator mask, not a painters mask. I scraped my popcorn ceiling and got a bacterial lung infection that turned into pneumonia. Not fun.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 3:25AM
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kudzu9

homebound-
Asbestos was less common in ceiling tile than vinyl floor tile, but no one can tell even if you gave us photos to examine. Testing is a cheap way to avoid second guessing yourself later.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 5:07AM
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powermuffin

We were told that our ceiling tiles in the sitting room and the dining room were asbestos. I had them tested for less than 20 bucks and they were cellulous. I pulled them down and found, under several layers of wallpaper, beautiful plaster ceilings. So worth the work.
Diane

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 2:11PM
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civ_IV_fan

we recently tore out a ceiling like this. underneath it was another ceiling almost the same! we tore out that one and found the original plaster. after a lot of patching and skim-coating, the ceiling is easily the best one in the house. now to scrape the popcorn...

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 1:06PM
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scarlett2001

Ah, scrapimg popcorn - a karma punishment for misdeeds in a past life.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 3:22AM
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