asbestos floor tiles


Old 04-01-02, 03:12 PM
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Question asbestos floor tiles

I have a large rec room that currently has carpet laid over old asbestos tiles. The carpet needs to be replaced. I would like to do part of the room -- the part near the sliding glass door to the patio -- in a (no glue) laminate flooring and the other part of the room in carpet. The problem is that the current tack strips are nailed into the asbestos tiles and are all over the room in various places. If I have to pull these up to lay the laminate flooring, I am likely to disturb the tiles, leading to asbestos exposure (or at least, that's my understanding). I could just do the whole room in carpet and leave the tack strips down, but would prefer not to if there is any other alternative. Any suggestions??
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Old 04-01-02, 06:28 PM
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From the type of work you describe, it sounds as if you would be okay. You really need to work the asbestos--sand it, grind it--to make the particles airborne. Even health pamphlets I've read from the EPA (and these tend to take the most alarmist viewpoint) say that the sanding/grinding activities are those to watch out for.
Old 04-02-02, 06:59 AM
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Thanks for the reply. If there's anyone else out there who agrees or disagrees with this, I would REALLY like to hear from you. I'm a little nervous about doing this job.
Old 04-02-02, 01:04 PM
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Location: Boulder, CO
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Another opinion

I moved into an old house 18 months ago and started renovating. The ceilings had 7% asbestos content, the vinyl floorings tested at 20%! I have an asthmatic child and grew up with toxic exposure (kids used to roll mercury around in our hands, etc.), so I take precautions when others wouldn't bother. I followed full professional abatement procedures.

For your tack-strip job, Libor is right that you won't throw up very much stuff. You need to decide how paranoid and rich you are feeling, because solutions will cost money and suck up a lot of extra time. Here are solutions I can think of in order of cost:

1) Ignore the hazard like probably 98% of people out there.

2) Buy a HEPA air purifier big enough for 4 or 6 air changes/hour in your rec room (Honeywell,eg., probably $150). Seal heater vents and doors. Seal walls and ceiling in plastic sheets (if you are being cautious). Buy a half-mask respirator with a P-100 asbestos cartridge, turn on the purifier, and go to work. Put debris into doubled or tripled trash bags (the nails will tear through otherwise). Don't sweep up! Mist the whole floor with dish suds (a little Dawn in plain water) until wet; fibers won't float away when wet, and the soap acts as a wetting agent. Don't tear any torn tiles, just stick them back down. Now clean up by wiping with paper towels. (Use blue Shop Towels and throw them out after one use. You are trying to remove stuff, not spread it!) Repeat misting and wiping the whole floor about 2-3 times. Leave the room, wash clothes immediately and take shower. Let the air purifier suck up anything airborne for 24 hours. Mist walls, ceiling and floor, tear down plastic, wipe floor one last time. Count on using lots of trash bags, plastic and duct tape for the job. Ideally you wrap up and throw out the air purifier.

3) Do all above but add disposable Tyvek coveralls with hood and booties ($6.00 each) and rubber gloves. Put the hose from a HEPA vacuum right next to each nail as you pull it. One of the most popular, used by asbestos abatement crews, is the Euroclean GD930, about $600. It is such a sweet vacuum that we bought one on sale for $439 and use it around our home. Our Eureka sits idle!

4) Step up to full professional-level abatement. Big bucks.

Here is a site that describes homeowner procedures in detail. Click on vinyl flooring removal at bottom. Best of luck!
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