Rotted floor + possible asbestos


Old 02-09-10, 09:28 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Rotted floor + possible asbestos

Hey there, some background info: I live in a house built in the early 1970s. The paper backing on the original vinyl floor in one of my bathrooms tested positive for a ton of asbestos.

In another bathroom, there is a newer (1990s era?) vinyl floor which I assume is lying on top of the old floor. Right by the shower and by the toilet however, there are small patches where the newer vinyl is discolored (I am assuming due to water damage). Further, by the shower, there is a small patch (2"x2") where if you press down on it, the wood underlaying the vinyl is soft. (I don't know if this soft spot is luan or the subfloor). I had this tested with a moisture meter, however, and it is dry - so at least it is not rotting anymore. Also, looking up at the spot from the crawl space, the floor is dry. So there's no major structural issue unfolding, I am told.

Here is my dilemma: I want to get this fixed, but I have no idea if there is asbestos vinyl under there. Or if there is luan under the new vinyl, and THEN asbestos vinyl directly on top of the subfloor. The contractors I have spoken with act like, hey, it's no big deal if it's asbestos, we'll just wear a mask when we rip it out (and contaminate the heck out of my house, gee thanks so much!). The asbestos guy who abated another area in my house recommends being conservative and removing the entire subfloor in one piece. This sounds safest, but it is very expensive.

Part of me wants to say to heck with it, get a flooring contractor to put luan and a new vinyl floor on top of the existing vinyl, and forget about this since the rot is so minor, and be much better with caulking from here on out. Is that an option? I'm a total newbie.

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Old 02-09-10, 02:57 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
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I don't think that covering it is the answer although it's a lot easier. I also don't think that removing an asbestos floor is anywhere near as dangerous as removing asbestos from pipes.

If it were my floor, I would cut a small section to see how many layers are actually there. Then set a circle saw to that depth & cut rows in both directions in say, 2 foot squares. Remove the squares with a hammer & a flat bar & install everything new.

If you do it that way, you'll never have to touch the floor again.

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