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#1
Old 06-01-2004, 09:57 PM
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What to do with asbestos tile?

I'm getting ceramic tile in the finished portion of my basement. The people that are going to do the tile mentioned that the old tile is probably asbestos because of the age of the house. The house was built in 1956. The people installing the new tile said that they would just level the floor with cement since it is uneven and some of the old tile is already gone. My question is, what is the appropriate thing to do with asbestos tile? Is covering it with cement adequate to mitigate the risks, or should it be removed prior to laying the cement and new tile?

I've looked online somewhat already, but most of the hits I get are law offices or government sites that deal with what to do when asbestos tile has been used in places like schools. I can't really find a guide showing what the choices and recommendations are when dealing with asbestos tile in a private home.
#2
Old 06-01-2004, 10:26 PM
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Crush it up and snort it.

Asbestos removal is given a GO-NOGO based on how stable the asbestos is in its current state vs. how much risk would be associated with removing it.

Floor tiles are relatively stable when left alone. Pretty much the only source of airborne fibers will be from periodic cleaning with a highspeed floor stripper (I've never met any individual that owns one of these, so I doubt you have to worry), otherwise risk is minimal.

The floor tiles have likely become very brittle, and so fall into the classification of "frangible material"... basically, they're going to turn into dust as you try to rip them out. Given the basically zero risk of leaving them installed v. the very high risk of removing them, cost-benefit says leave them alone.

The problem with covering it with cement is that, if extensive repairs to the floor are necessary at some future time, someone might just start jackhammering away without realizing there's any risk for asbestos... other than that, it should be fine.

I don't really know where you'd be from a legal standpoint, though. And it could be very expensive if someone decides you have to have it removed before you can lay your own tile.
#3
Old 06-01-2004, 10:30 PM
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This is one of those instances in which the regulations have gone way overboard. Yes, asbestors fibers can be dangerous. No, asbestos shouldn't be used if there's any alternative. But asbestos ain't plutonium. The people who've been harmed by it have, by and large, been people who had massive exposure to the fibers, people who were working with the stuff every day.

Asbestos floor tiles are pretty harmless. Remember, the asbestos in those floor tiles isn't friable - in other words, the fibers are encased in vinyl, and aren't flying around loose in the air. The tiles present almost no risk at all.

Covering them with a leveling coat of cement will work just fine. Think about it: how could asbestos fibers from those tiles ever get into the air you're breathing, once they're covered with cement? Even without being covered with cement, now could the fibers get into the air you're breathing? Alternatively, you could slap on a filter mask, grab a crowbar, and pry up the old tiles. Bag them, and send them to the landfill.
#4
Old 06-01-2004, 10:35 PM
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If, by some chance, you decide to tear them out yourself. The trick is to flood the floor. Shore up the doorways, plug the floor drain and get a couple inches of water over the tiles. This will keep the dust submersed, AFAIK asbestos is only dangerous when it's airborne and you inhale it. Also, you'll want to be careful who you go telling this to. If the people doing the tile ask what happened to the old asbestos tile it's best just to say "it's gone" and leave it at that.
#5
Old 06-01-2004, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P
The trick is to flood the floor. Shore up the doorways, plug the floor drain and get a couple inches of water over the tiles. This will keep the dust submersed....
I'm sorry, but this is just nuts. Have you actually done this, or are you just winging it? Repairing the water damage would end up costing more than hiring the guys in the space suits to come and remove the tiles.

If you're actually worried about the fibers miraculously de-embedding themselves from the vinyl, and launching an attack on your lungs (which, we must assume, are utterly unprotected by the normal biological mechanisms for rejecting noxious particles, like mucus), just wear a dust mask. If that's still not enough for you, get a spray bottle, fill it with water, add a few drops of detergent to keep it from beading up on the surface, and spray the tiles while you're prying them up.
#6
Old 06-02-2004, 12:19 AM
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How do I tell for sure if it is asbestos? Do I have to rely on the guys that will install the new tile to tell me?

What if some of the tile has already been removed and/or is broken? My wife went on a home improvement kick and pulled out some of it a couple of years ago. I never even thought of the fact that it could be asbestos.
#7
Old 06-02-2004, 07:46 PM
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If the tile is 9" x 9" tile, chances are it has asbestos in it. If they are 12" x 12" tile, chance are that they don't have asbestos. The mastic may also have asbestos in it.

Depending on what state you live in, a homeowner can remove asbestos without any licensing. Your state may require a permit. You should be able to find the information on-line.

Floor tile are considered a non-friable asbestos product. This means the fibers are not easily released.

BTW, I am a licensed asbestos competent person, inspector and project designer.
#8
Old 06-03-2004, 03:25 PM
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To echo pretty much what others have said, non-friable asbestos should not be a hazard unless the ACM is disturbed to allow the fibers to become airborn. If it is uncertain as to whether the material is asbestos-containing, then a sample could be collected and sent to a local lab for type and fiber counts.

One thought, should you decide to cover over the material and then at a later date decide to sell your residence, then some form of an environmental disclosure in the purchase sales agreement will probably be required.
#9
Old 10-03-2013, 08:44 PM
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Asbestos floor tile

I just read some of the replies to the person wrestling the asbestos floor tile removal and I got say that flooding the floor to suppress the potential dust is absolutely the not smartest thing I've ever read. Unless disturbed, asbestos is not hazardous! Leave it place.
#10
Old 10-03-2013, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiberfighter View Post
I just read some of the replies to the person wrestling the asbestos floor tile removal and I got say that flooding the floor to suppress the potential dust is absolutely the not smartest thing I've ever read. Unless disturbed, asbestos is not hazardous! Leave it place.
You know that was 9 years ago, right?
#11
Old 10-03-2013, 09:52 PM
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zombie or no

is the basement done?
#12
Old 11-18-2017, 01:50 PM
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Get rid of it

Realize this is an old thread but thought i'd chime in. Tear out the asbestos tile yourself and don't tell anyone your doing it. It's not dangerous despite all the asbestos hysteria now day's. Like one of the previous posters said, it's not like asbestos insulation which can become airborn easily when disturbed. The other thing too is that you would have to be exposed to it airborn for years and years in heavy amounts for it to have a detrimental effect on you. Just tear it out yourself and tell no-one and save yourself a small fortune. No-one will ever know and you wallet will thank you.
#13
Old 11-18-2017, 08:26 PM
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The advise offered by cman here and in other threads is dangerously misinformed and untrue. While asbestos-related illnesses may take decades to manifast, the medical literature is consistent with the 0.1 fiber/cc OSHA threshold, and even OSHA and the EPA advise that there is no safe level of exposure to airborne fibers, either during removal or residual. The fibers themselves do not break down in the environment and are not removed from the body after inhalation, so exposure is cummulative and persists throughout life. There are cases of since incidence of known exposure to airborne asbestos resulting in asbestos-related chronic illness.

The safe removal and remediation of asbestos-containing materials requires training and certification in most states even if undertaken by the property owner. In many cases where the asbestos non-friable (material where the asbestos fibers are contained) it is sufficient to leave it in place (in the case of something like duct insulation in an attic that is otherwise unlikely to be disturbed) or seal it using Fiberlock or some other recommended sealant. In the case described by the o.p. (from over a decade ago) covering with a sufficient layer of cement would suffice, and would be both cheaper and safer than attempting to remove and remediate the suspect tile, but it would pose an obligation for the owner to disclose (depending on state and municipal statutes) to a prospective buyer.

The notion that there is some grand conspiracy by asbestos manufacturers and contractors comes from the same source as the professional influencers who spent years casting doubt on the hazards of tetraethyl lead in gasoline, or the harms of tobacco smoking. These “Merchants of Doubt”, as the have come to be known, attempt to use bad science (often solicited from unscrupulous researchers willing or unaware to have their work turned to supporting ignorance) or try to tease disagreements and minor inconsistencies in critical research into a tapestry of scientific suppression against their client industry. That there is a clear and nearly universal consensus among health scientists that asbestos exposure is a major concern should be sufficient to cast light upon such ignomancers, but some people will belive anything as long as it feeds their worldview of evil government oversight and pernecious egghead scientists.

Stranger
#14
Old 11-18-2017, 09:27 PM
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I'm going to echo list of the previous posters, and say that by far the safest thing to do is to leave the tile in place and cover it with something else. I have tiles in my basement that are probably asbestos, and I've talked with contractors about putting in a new floor. Covering it is legal and in accordance with local code. Most contractors are willing to work in the room while covering the tiles, and there's really no extra cost due to the asbestos.

My goal is to put down another layer of floor before the tiles degrade to the point of releasing dust. I don't know whether there's a legal requirement to disclose them to a future buyer, but since contained tiles pose no risk, I'm not particularly worried about it.
#15
Old 11-18-2017, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
zombie or no

is the basement done?
the R is still active on the SDMB. Since he didn't reply 4 years ago I'm guessing he is still working on the basement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
The advise offered by cman here and in other threads is dangerously misinformed and untrue. While asbestos-related illnesses may take decades to manifast, the medical literature is consistent with the 0.1 fiber/cc OSHA threshold, and even OSHA and the EPA advise that there is no safe level of exposure to airborne fibers, either during removal or residual. The fibers themselves do not break down in the environment and are not removed from the body after inhalation, so exposure is cummulative and persists throughout life. There are cases of since incidence of known exposure to airborne asbestos resulting in asbestos-related chronic illness.

The safe removal and remediation of asbestos-containing materials requires training and certification in most states even if undertaken by the property owner. In many cases where the asbestos non-friable (material where the asbestos fibers are contained) it is sufficient to leave it in place (in the case of something like duct insulation in an attic that is otherwise unlikely to be disturbed) or seal it using Fiberlock or some other recommended sealant. In the case described by the o.p. (from over a decade ago) covering with a sufficient layer of cement would suffice, and would be both cheaper and safer than attempting to remove and remediate the suspect tile, but it would pose an obligation for the owner to disclose (depending on state and municipal statutes) to a prospective buyer.

The notion that there is some grand conspiracy by asbestos manufacturers and contractors comes from the same source as the professional influencers who spent years casting doubt on the hazards of tetraethyl lead in gasoline, or the harms of tobacco smoking. These “Merchants of Doubt”, as the have come to be known, attempt to use bad science (often solicited from unscrupulous researchers willing or unaware to have their work turned to supporting ignorance) or try to tease disagreements and minor inconsistencies in critical research into a tapestry of scientific suppression against their client industry. That there is a clear and nearly universal consensus among health scientists that asbestos exposure is a major concern should be sufficient to cast light upon such ignomancers, but some people will belive anything as long as it feeds their worldview of evil government oversight and pernecious egghead scientists.

Stranger
Bolding Mine.

That is some damn fine writing.
#16
Old 11-19-2017, 06:15 AM
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There are several different types of asbestos, with different degrees of risk to health. This is from a UK advice site:

Quote:
Common Types of Asbestos Materials

1- Loose fill asbestos insulation (used in lofts, floor voids and within partition walls)
2- Sprayed coatings (known as limpet)
3- Pipe lagging
4- Insulating board (AIB)
5- Ropes, yarns and cloths (primarily used in older fuse boxes and pipe gaskets, but also gloves and fire blankets)
6- Paper (backing used for flooring applications)

7- Bitumen felts and associated products
8- Flooring materials (both sheet vinyl and thermoplastic tiles)
9- Textured coatings and paints (often referred to as Artex)
10- Mastic, sealants and putties (often used as a glazing bead and in very old wall plugs)
11- Reinforced plastics (toilet seats and cisterns)

The above list is ordered from most to least dangerous. It should be noted that all types of asbestos have the potential to pose a risk if not handled or removed appropriately. The top 6 should only be removed or treated by a licensed asbestos removal contractor. Items 7-11 do not require a licensed contractor, however, those looking at having such products removed should be competent and have sufficient training

http://merryhillenvirotec.com/types-of-asbestos/
I recently had the guttering on my 1950's house replaced. The material was asbestos reinforced and I bagged it up and took it to the local waste disposal, where they have a special skip for it. The contractor couldn't do it as he would have to be licenced.

Last edited by bob++; 11-19-2017 at 06:16 AM.
#17
Old 11-19-2017, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
11- Reinforced plastics (toilet seats and cisterns)
Why on earth would someone need a fire-resistant toilet seat?
#18
Old 11-19-2017, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDog View Post
Why on earth would someone need a fire-resistant toilet seat?
You never had a REALLY hot curry?

I assume that it was just a cheap source of reinforcing fibre.

Last edited by bob++; 11-19-2017 at 09:24 AM.
#19
Old 11-21-2017, 02:52 PM
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And I'll just reinforce the comments about safe disposal of asbestos-containing waste - even if you can safely remove the offending material, you need to dispose of it correctly to prevent harm to people further down the chain. This generally requires a disposal mechanism that can be sealed (often a zip-closed flexible skip-bag) and delivery to the correct facility for safe handling (which will cost somewhat more that typical building waste disposal).
#20
Old 11-21-2017, 04:19 PM
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And once again, like smoking, asbestos is a crapshoot. (Only a lot more dangerous). My step-mother smoked, but stopped about age 70 and died at age 97 of heart failure. Plenty of other people smoked and died of lung cancer earlier. Similarly, not everyone exposed to one day of asbestos dies of lung cancer. Not everyone who closes their eyes and crosses the street gets hit by a car.

I would guess that if you are scraping up the tiles without breaking or crumbling them, you should be fine. your odds of dying a horrible death are quite low. However, how badly do you want to find out?
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