Asbestos Tile Removal

By Robert Robillard on Uncategorized

 Remove Asbestos tile or cover it?

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Dear Concord Carpenter,

My home was built in ’56 with a tile floor basement that is asbestos. During floods, many of these tiles came floating by. I just had French drains installed on the interior perimeter of my basement. We have studded out a room as my brother is coming to live with us. My question is-am I better to put floor tiles where the missing ones are and then put linoleum or indoor/outdoor carpet over them as opposed to ripping up a a large amount of asbestos tiles?

Sincerely, Elgato


Dear Elgato,

The floor tiles your referring to are common in older homes.  Asbestos floor tiles are generally considered safe as well as legal to keep in buildings as long as they are intact and in good condition.    Asbestos is dangerous when the product it is in is damaged.

Disturbing  asbestos floor tiles through remodeling can release asbestos fibers, as does scraping or breaking of the asbestos tile flooring during the removal process.

Having a professional test your floor tiles for asbestos may be useful, especially if you decide to cover the it over.  You may find that the tiles do not contain asbestos.

If you test for asbestos and determine or maybe  just think that your tiles contains asbestos  BUT they are  in good shape, one option is to leave it alone.

Generally, floor tiles in good condition will not release asbestos fibers.  When making your decision about asbestos tile removal look for signs of wear or damage such as tears, abrasions, or water damage.  Damaged material may release asbestos fibers. This is particularly true if you often disturb it by hitting, rubbing, or handling it, or if it is exposed to extreme vibration [washing machine] or air flow.

Asbestos Tile Removal:

Important Note: Check with local health, environmental, or other appropriate officials to find out proper handling and disposal procedures.

If the floor tiles are damaged or disturbed, say in a remodel, there are two types of corrections: repair and removal.

If the asbestos floor tiles are more than slightly damaged, or if you are going to make changes in your home that might disturb the floor tiles, repair or removal by a professional is needed.

Covering Over Asbestos Floor Tile:

Your idea of covering the tiles is a good one.  Asbestos floor tiles that are in good condition and will not be disturbed should be left alone. Only material that is damaged or will be disturbed should be tested and safely removed.

Covering the asbestos tiles is certainly less expensive than removal.   Just remember that removal will have to occur at some point.  When it comes time to sell the house the asbestos tile removal issue may come back to haunt you.

~ AConcordCarpenter


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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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