Asbestos Floor Tiles: What You Should Know

asbestos tiles

Asbestos flooring was a popular installation of choice up until the 1980s, with it being used most predominantly from the 1920 to the 1960s. Therefore, on many older models of home, it is still fairly common. Now, having asbestos tiles in your own home is no cause for alarm, but it definitely does pay to be able to identify and remove them if necessary. As is the case in many situations such as this, your number one choice is to have a professional remove them for you, but if you wish to take them out yourself, here’s how to do it safely.

Firstly, you need to know how to identify asbestos tiles. There are a few handy tips you can use:

  • If the building was made between 1920 and 1960, you have a higher chance of finding asbestos tiles. Take a look into your home’s history.
  • Asbestos tiles came in three sizes: 9”x9”, 12”x12”, and 18”x18”. Measure the tiles and see if they fall within this range.
  • Make sure that you handle disintegrating tiles with care. Intact tiles shouldn’t be an issue and can even be left in place if they are covered with other flooring materials.
  • Asphalt was a primary ingredient in asbestos tile manufacturing, and the oil from it can discolor floor tiles. If your tiles show discoloration, they might contain asbestos.

If you have successfully identified asbestos tiles in your home, you have two options: cover them up or take them out. Concrete and rubber-backed carpeting is the way to go If you wish to cover them. If you want to pull them up, follow these steps:

  • Seal off the work area by closing doors, windows, and air vents.
  • Always wear a respirator, safety goggles, and thick clothing including boots.
  • Try to keep the floor space wet to minimize airborne asbestos particles.
  • Use either a floor scraper or a flat shovel to pry the tiles out of the floor.
  • Place the removed tiles in specially-made asbestos bags and make sure that the bag is properly sealed shut.
  • Upon completion, mop the area where you were working.
  • Dispose of the bags in an appropriate landfill. Keep in mind that not all landfills are equipped to handle asbestos, so check with them ahead of time before driving out there.

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