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Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

Posted by parkerl (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 20, 11 at 13:35

Ok I'm really freaked out. Here's the story. Our cat started peeing in our basement on the vinyl floor tiles about 4 years ago. No big deal since it's the basement. So I clean every day down there. I sweep up the broken tiles when I can. I also occasionally smoke even in the room with the broken tiles. Now I find out that they are asbestos. An abetement company is coming next week to remove them. they even told me not to freak out. They only contain about 3% asbestos and even if they are broken they may not have released anything at all into the air. they consider the asbestos non-friable and in that case unless I consistently am messing with them it should be fine. Any expert advice would be great. Right now I don't want to go downstairs at all much less into that room.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

You should be worried. Not from the asbestos, but because you are smoking. Cigarettes are a whole lot worse for you than the asbestos.

The asbestos is a total non-issue. It is only dangerous if you inhale large amounts over a long period of time. As long as you haven't been taking a power sander to these tiles and kicking up all sorts of dust, they really aren't a danger.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

I know how scary having a cat that starts to pee out of the box can be...wait till they start going upstairs...no getting rid of that smell short of ditching the carpet, padding and sometimes even kilzing over the wood!


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

Yeah about the smoking, quit 3 days ago. So any advice on how dangerous the broken tiles are? And yes, the cat is 19 so no way to get rid of her... just deal with the old age issues of a cat.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

I'd throw the pieces out and cover it with something until you are prepared to put something more permanant in/over it.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

In a decade or three the EPA will answer queries about asbestos something like this: "Oh, that asbestos thing? It really is not very much of a concern. All that panic was totally overwrought." They are waiting for the architects of the excessive policy to retire and die.

If you want to remove the tiles first check on disposal policy in your locality. Where I live, you put them out with the trash. Get a scraper, an N95 respirator and some Tyvek suits. Cover or remove anything that is not hard-surfaced in the area. (I'd include the joist and stud areas if these are open. Engineer a good fan in a window and close off the other living areas with doors or taped plastic sheeting to make the area negative pressure. (Take the proper actions if you have heating appliances that need draft in the area.) Keep the tiles wetted down while you are scraping them off. Clean up with a shop-vac with a HEPA filter or with wet compound or sponges/cloths/mops.

Pat yourself on the back, take a shower and have an adult beverage.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

You won't be able to afford cigarettes after the asbestos abatement co is done.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

We have asbestos tile in at least 2 rooms, possibly 3. They were covered with carpet. All flooring companies will do is put a hard layer over them, whether they are broken up or not, and then just put the new floor on that. Every company I spoke to assured me that this was fine, the tiles were harmless, and having them removed would be very expensive and not worth it.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

I just removed a bunch of asbestos tiles in a basement room. Tiles are considered "inert" and safe...so long as you don't SAND them. Even if they break apart, they aren't considered "friable." I did wear a mask, and then wet mopped when I was finished...but it was not big deal. Rules vary state by state...but here in NC homeowners are allowed to remove them. They can even go to the landfill.

Asbestos abatement people are going to be EXPENSIVE. Find out what your local rules are. If you are allowed to, I'd remove 'em myself.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

The EPA definition of 'friable' is that the material can be crushed with your bare hands.

Even broken pieces of vinyl or asphalt asbestos tile are not that soft.

Bury it under a layer of plywood.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

Why are you hiring an asbestos abatement company if they told you it is not a problem? Have you heard of any being hospialized because they came in contact with flooring contain asbestos?

In my opinion the asbestos abatement scare has gotten out of hand.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

"Have you heard of any being hospialized [sic] because they came in contact with flooring contain asbestos?"

While I agree with some of what you wrote, mike_home, that statement is ignorant. There are plenty of substances that won�t immediately and obviously injure you, but can kill you or make you sick days, months or years down the road. That is precisely what makes it difficult to identify them and evaluate the risk.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

Some people have been sickened by exposure to asbestos. I knew a few, including a guy who used to post on this board. An asbestos-related disease usually is a result of prolonged and repeated exposures combined with other factors which contribute to the onset of disease. However, I can understand how the hapless consumer could become easily frightened after realizing that an ACM (asbestos containing material) was disturbed in the home.

Be careful out there and use common sense.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

Let me tie together two issues raised and add my complaint.
I bought an apartment (co-op) built in the 1970's several months ago. The entire place is vinyl tile (yeah, lovely,) which I think I can assume from the dating of the place, vinyl-asbetos tile.
I researched as much as I can but cannot pin down the content from visual on-line comparisons, the amount of asbestos apparently varied from very little to HUGE.

The place was well/heavily waxed and repainted when I moved in and I smelled nothing. Moths went by.

Only, recently I am getting annoyed with the smell of cigarette smoke. I have a good nose and have not smoked in 30 years. I have tired everything including keeping the apartment pressurized with fresh air. Bloor and ceiling are concrete and there seem to be no gaps ANYWHERE at the floor line. Plumbing entries are all sealed.

I smell it worst at my desk and where my desk chair rolls the wax has worn out and the floor feels porous/pebbly/sandy. I wash it frequently but have not put down a new layer of wax yet.

Question: Is it conceivable that years of cigarette smoke have seeped into the vinyl-asbestos tiles and are liberated from the wax free areas getting SQUOOSHED by the weight of a rolling desk chair?

I think I can presume that any asbestos particles would be odorless (however fearful.)

I really should cover this ugly tile but I HATE wall to wall carpets and hardwood is so expensive and that synthetic wood is not a lot better than the tile.

If one removes 700 square feet of Vinyl-asbestos tile (down to concrete) is the cost prohibitive?

Does cigarette smoke sneak its way though latex paint after 6 months months odorless burial?


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

For air infiltration...check the floor/wall juncture.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

"Some people have been sickened by exposure to asbestos."

The tiles do not release asbestos unless you sand them or grind them to a powder.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

I have a room in my basement that I've been warned might have asbestos tiles. I've been reading the various posts about not disturbing, but instead just covering. I'd like to do this, however being a basement room I was hoping to install a floating cork floor. I understand that's possible, but my issue is some of the tiles are missing and I'm afraid those areas will cause the floating floor to sag. Any recommendations?


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

Fill in the missing sections.


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RE: Really Scared - Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles

I'm dealing with the same situation in the house I just bought (built 1962). We took up the existing floating Armstrong laminate kitchen floor because I want something completely washable (Mannington Sobella sheet fiberglas) and underneath the laminate there is that old black-streaks-on-white 9x9 Armstrong Excelon tile. My research shows that the asbestos content in those vintage vinyl/asbestos tiles can be anything from minimal to "yikes!!". Kind of a moot point because they all need to be treated the same way.

We can't just cover them up because due to prior leaks from the kitchen plumbing, the subfloor beneath the tiles is starting to rot. So no choice but to remove... very carefully, wetting down/no cutting/no breakage. Just wet down, allow them to lift up from the dampness, then carefully remove. Then any problem subfloors can be replaced.

It's a bit tricky in spots because some idiot prior owner SCREWED some of the tiles down to the subfloor, so there is powdering around all of those. Probably the same idiot owner who screwed down 70% of all of the oak flooring to their subfloors (to stop squeaks), split most of them in the process, and then covered it all with carpeting for 10 years waiting for the next unlucky buyer to uncover it. Guess who that was, LOL


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