How to Identify Asbestos Floor Tiles

It’s commonly known that living in a area where asbestos is present can be harmful to your health. Many older homes and buildings have asbestos tile for flooring. As time passes by, these same homes and structures will likely be remodeled or demolished exposing the need for removal. Unlike mold, asbestos isn’t some infestation being treated in a building that develops over time.

Asbestos is actually a silicate-based material that used to be commonly used in building construction for surfaces as common as walls or floor tiles. The biggest challenge for many people who live and work in buildings with old flooring is that it’s very difficult to know if the building has asbestos floor tiling. It’s not something you can eyeball just by looking a at it.

If your floor was installed in the 1980s or before, it’s the safest course of action to assume there is in fact asbestos in your tiles. The only way to be positive that your tiles contain asbestos is to have a sample tested by an accredited laboratory. While it can be costly to have it removed, are you willing to put a price-tag on your health?


How you can identify asbestos floor tile:

Closely Examine Tiles for Decay

Examine the floor tile to determine its condition. Asbestos is only harmful if it’s not fully intact and in good condition. While there is a good chance that 9-inch and 12-inch tiles manufactured before 1980 contain asbestos, the hazardous fiber is also found in larger- and smaller-dimension tiles. If you find that the asbestos is in a bad condition or there is any kind break in it, it would be best to contact an asbestos professional.

If your tile is intact, meaning there is no cracking or signs of decay found, then it is possible to safely build over the asbestos with a different material.

Check for any Discoloration

Check for areas that are grayish brown, dark gray, dark brown, or black. Vinyl or asphalt tiles that have these colors in it have a high likelihood of asbestos fibers.

Date your Tiles

Between the 1920s and 1960s asbestos was a popular material used in floor tiles. The flooring during this period was usually made in 9-inch squares and is quite a bit thicker than most of the modern vinyl tiles. Be Aware! The adhesive used in these older tiles may also contain some asbestos.

Get Your Floor Tested

Remove all anxiety and guesswork and send a sample of any tiles that you suspect having asbestos to a laboratory for testing.  Labs will usually require you to send at least three samples.

Be sure to use proper protection such as a mask when you are cutting your samples. It’s always better to be safe when dealing with the possibility of asbestos.

Collecting Tile Samples

When taking samples, use a utility knife and put them into a plastic bag that should be sealed tightly before sending them out for testing. You can use duct tape to cover the area you just cut.

At the end of the day, it’s always best to use a professional asbestos contractor to do the job. So give us a call to assist your needs.

 

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