Help, do I have an asbestos problem with my old vinyl floor?

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Old 10-28-14, 09:28 AM
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Help, do I have an asbestos problem with my old vinyl floor?

Hello everyone,

I recently bought a house and before I bought it I had a home inspection done. I specifically asked the inspector to look for signs of asbestos. The inspector has a good reputation and has been in the business over 20 years. He said there was no sign at all of asbestos ...

... fast forward a month and I am looking to clean up the basement. The basement has old, nasty vinyl flooring that is already half removed, but there are still large patches of it all over the concrete basement floor. It looks like this:

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I was doing some reading online on how to remove the stuff and I found a bunch of warnings about the possibility of this stuff containing asbestos. Makes me not so happy with the home inspector

Does anyone have experience with this and can tell me the liklihood of asbestos based on the picture above? If there is asbestos, can I remove this myself (taking great care of course)?

The plan at this point is to possibly install a furnace within a month or two (currently house has electric baseboard heat) and I would like to get the vinyl out before I have a furnace pumping any potentially harmful asbestos around the house. The plan for the basement floor is to put down new vinyl or possibly laminate - either way I think the old vinyl will have to go as it makes the floor pretty uneven in its present state.
 
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Old 10-28-14, 10:53 AM
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Only way to be sure is to have it tested, but that looks like a mid 80s pattern to me. I doubt that it has asbestos. Looks like latex adhesive on the edges and that wasn't used with asbestos- containing flooring.
 
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Old 10-28-14, 01:36 PM
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The adhesive is a yellowy brown color. In some places there are large patches of it still left on the concrete. If its a latex adhesive does that mean it should be removable with just water and a bit of elbow grease?

The backing material on the vinyl is a light grey slightly spongey substance that does look suspicious to me. It crumbles and breaks into pieces if you try to pull it up. However I remove it, its going to be a bit of work and make a mess.

I take it there is no DIY test for asbestos? Everything I have found says the only way to be sure is to get a lab test done.
 
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Old 10-29-14, 05:05 AM
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Asbestos was banned in the late 70's, and by having the cushion as well as not having black cut back adhesive, I would say you are safe from asbestos contamination. It is only when the asbestos becomes airborne that it has an effect on the lungs. You may want to enlist the services of one of these tools to help scrape it up. Keeps you off your knees and makes light work of it.

QEP 7 in. Wide Floor Tear-Out Scraper-75006Q at The Home Depot
 
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Old 10-29-14, 06:51 AM
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Actually, asbestos was not banned. The flooring companies voluntarily quit using it. And it is still used in some other products.
 
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Old 10-29-14, 10:31 AM
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I'll give one of the scrapers a try. Its going to be a lot of work, even with the right tool.
 
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Old 10-30-14, 06:22 PM
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I agree this looks like a newer floor to me probably put down in the 1980's if you are the least bit concerned though you can take up a small sample and send it to a lab yourself. There are plenty of labs throughout the United States and Canada that can check one sample relatively cheaply and can be found by doing a Google search. Just be sure to wear a face mask to be extra careful but based on appearance alone I doubt it will cause any problems. Even though it appears safe best to wet it down as you scrape and wear a mask.
 
 

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