Asbestos Tiles - Coverup

Old 07-31-07, 01:41 PM
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Exclamation Asbestos Tiles - Coverup

Hello, my husband and I purchased our first home last summer, and while lifting the edges of a nasty 14 year old carpet to see what was underneath, I made an awful discovery. I found 9x9 tiles, that I'm sure are probably asbestos, given the age of the home and the look of the tile(definitely straight out of the 60's/70's). They have been removed in some areas, leaving a black glue residue, and in other areas they are chipped and/or cracked. There are also tack strips nailed into them. This is an extremely scary situation for us, particularly because we have 2 toddlers and an infant, and I am in the process of getting licensed for home Family Child Care. We have absolutely no budget to abate this problem, and were hoping to just tear out the carpet, nail down some osb, paint it, and be done with our floors for a couple years until we could save up for laminate or wood. I'm worried that by tearing up the carpet and ripping out the tack strips, we'll disturb the asbestos, but I don't know what else to do. Plus, if we nail down osb, can the fibers come up through the nail holes, past the nails. I know this is an extreme situation that definitely demands a professional, but there is no way we can afford that, and leaving the carpet is just not an option. I'm hoping to get as much advice/feedback as possible, so that we can find the best possible solution, given our very limited financial capacity. Perhaps someone knows of some sort of federal remediation loans or grants for asbestos removal. Any words of wisdom will help.

Thanks so much............Katherine
Old 07-31-07, 02:20 PM
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This floor may not even be asbestos. Get a sample and get it tested.

If there are traces of asbestos, do not have a heart attack. Though it's not healthy, it takes decades of continual high exposure to get medical problems.

If you are paranoid when you are taking up the carpet, mist the "suspected" tiles with water. This will keep any "possible" fibers from getting airborne.

You can lay OSB down or you could go with a linoleum flooring.
Old 08-01-07, 04:38 AM
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Congradulations. You have the safest form of asbestos in your home. It is considered "nonfriable". That means unless you sand, pulverise or abrade the tiles, the fibers won't become airborn. Removal/abatement of this type of flooring is allowed as a diy project in most states/municipalities. To ease your concern about pulling the tack strip, mix a solution of water with a bit of dish soap in a garden sprayer and spry under the tack strip as you pull them. Any minimal dust that is generated will not become airborn that way. Wipe up the solution as you work. When done, vac the area with a hepa filter vac. If you would like to remove all the tile, complete instructions are available in a pdf download from the Resilient Floor Coverings Institute at (copy and paste into your browser) under technical info, there is a pdf for safe removal. It's rather long because it covers all situations individually. Your situation will be located in the index and is maybe 4 pages long.

I'd be more concerned with lead paint on your mouldings.

Prior to covering the floor, fill any missing spots with a floor patch. OSB is cheaper but will swell when exposed to water. If you really want to cover it and paint the floor, I'd suggest a good underlayment rated plywood, which would accept and take paint much better and not give the problems of swelling or splintering that you could get from osb-or-find yourself one of those Costco or Big box cheapo laminates that's less than $1 sf.
Old 08-01-07, 07:36 AM
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All of the above is good advise. This is not a disaster and not something to get wrapped around the axle over. I would make one suggestion however. If you intend to do laminate or wood in the future, paint shouldn't be an issue. If, on the other hand, you think there may be a chance you'll want tile, don't paint the floor. It can turn into an issue. There are some fairly inexpensive no glue sheet vinyls on the market that work really well and would preclude the need for an underlayment. Just remove the existing tiles, make sure the flaws in the existing floor are dealt with so they don't telegraph through the new floor, and install the stuff. It's very installation friendly, is quite floor prep forgiving, and will be easily removed, leaving no residues behind when you're ready to tackle new floors. You won't have added any more layers to your existing floor so you'll have a greater range of options and you won't have the expense of the underlayment so it should cost close to the same and yet provide a better looking, easily cleaned floor. Encapsulation is a valid method of dealing with the floor you have and this will encapsulate it also.

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