Asbestos- How to tell?

Old 02-11-09, 03:30 PM
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Asbestos- How to tell?

My house was built in 1976-77. The flooring was installed in April of 77. Is it possible there is asbestos in it. We need to change our Kitchen floor as a large area has had the top layer to come off and there are a lot of cuts from where wife dropped pots, pans and dishes. I heard there is a cut off date when it was used in flooring. I want to take it all up as they put 2 X 4 fiber board down becasue contractor screwed up and did not use Pts plywood. I talked to installers and they want to put down luan board on top of the old stuff. The floor is thich enough now. They say it probably has asbestos in it and don't want to touch it. They say I can take up but they cannot. I have heard from friends that if I don't take it up the floor will be spongy with old flooring still there. Any info would be appreciated.
Old 02-11-09, 03:45 PM
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I don't think you have to '76 or so it wasn't used that I know of. Give some of the flooring folks a while to check in.
Old 02-11-09, 07:55 PM
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if i remember correctly 74 was the cut off. but I believe the epa web site will give you the correct date for when the cut off of use of asbestos by manufactures

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Old 02-12-09, 08:19 AM
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You know when the house was built.What you don't know is when the flooring was manufactured.I add this because my Father in 1977 put tiles in our house that he bought that DID have asbestos in them.I know this because I found the original box of leftover recently.That said remember that asbestos in flooring is "binded in" (lousy grammar) to the vinyl or plastic it is a part of.You'd have to grind it to a powder to release it.If you are concerned about disposal nobody is going to ask you about it or test it etc.If you do the removing and have concerns wear a respirator and wash up after the job.Contractors have to walk a fine line because of the rules and regulations and because frankly you told them it was there so they can't cliam lack of knowledge.You can remove it with little if any risk if you take minimal precautions.And I bet if you talk to a flooring contractor and say nothing about asbestos he'll do the job.
Old 03-08-09, 08:05 PM
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One of the best ways to determine whether the tile is Asbestos containing material (ACM) is to send a piece of it to a lab for bulk analysis using using polarized light microscopy (PLM). The test isn't that expensive, $20-30. You will need to download and complete a chain of custody form form the lab.

Here are a couple of certified labs that perform PLM analysis:
Scientific Analytical Institute (SAI) Scientific Analytical Institute Home
EMSL Analytical, Inc: Testing Lab - Asbestos, Mold, Lead, Microbiology, Radon, MRSA, Environmental, Industrial Hygiene, Materials, Chemical, Forensics, Metallurgical, Food, Water, Soil, Air, Dust, PLM, PCM, TEM, SEM, Hexavalent Chromium, ASTM, Contract, Independent, Accre

Let me know if you have any questions. I have worked with both labs previously. I have collected both air and bulk samples asbestos samples.
Old 03-09-09, 04:55 AM
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Only way know for sure is to test.

That said, older tile with splotches or dots of "molded in color" is likely to contain asbestos (as is the adhesive used to install it), older tile with repeating patterns in each tile may contain asbestos, tile with highly "realistic" textures such as faux grout lines etc. is likely 1980s or later and if so does not contain asbestos.

One "tell" for likely asbestos containing tiles is that many were manufactured in a 9x9" size.

A good article on removing asbestos containing tiles is at Floor Tile Removal - Minnesota Dept. of Health


Home Inspection: "A business with illogically high liability, slim profit margins and limited economies of scale. An incredibly diverse, multi-disciplined consulting service, delivered under difficult in-field circumstances, before a hostile audience in an impossibly short time frame, requiring the production of an extraordinarily detailed technical report, almost instantly, without benefit of research facilities or resources." - Alan Carson

Last edited by Michael Thomas; 03-09-09 at 05:23 AM.

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