Possible asbestos tile.. What to do?

8 Replies

Hey everyone,

I've been working on tearing up an existing flooring so I can lay some new tile down. On top of the floor is hardwood, and about 3 layers of vinyl. The lowest layer of vinyl (red in picture) have me concerned about asbestos.

What would be the cheapest and safest solution forward? I assume that I will have to remove the hardwood flooring so that my tile will transition into the other area of the house. 

Also pictured, there are a few areas at the far wall where a few boards are missing. 

Opinions appreciated.



I would have left everything that was there alone and screwed down hardiebacker and then put down tile.  I would have probably went with a laminate to save time and energy though instead of tile, especially if the floor has any deflection.  I doubt you have an asbestos issue worth worrying about.

@Jassem A.

Thanks for the response. I would do laminate in a rental but since I'm flipping I will better benefit with tile. Moving forward, what do you think I should do? I was thinking that the transition would be too much unless I take the hardwood out.

@Andrew Weikel

I would clean up the debris, repair missing boards,  and put down hardiebacker and then tile.  I wouldn't think the transition would be a big deal unless you are dealing with some very picky buyers.  You could cheat and put the tile over the hardwood to save yourself a half inch but the tile job may not last as long.

I would use floor leveling... just pour it over the area then hardibacker or whatever for the tile lay ... works great. You should have seen the sinusoidal variation I had in the farm house floor we just did.

Make sure you have an excellent grout mix or preferably an epoxy grout if you anticipate too much flexing.

I agree with the floor leveler. Make sure it's a portland base. I think I'd go a different tack. Use a groutable limestone composite LVT. Cheaper, Grotius cures faster and cures stain resistant and it eliminates the need for the backerboard. I 'd use an acrylic adhesive and not a releasablwe or multi purpose.

Whenever I run into asbestos tile I just tile over it.  If I have the space to do a hardiebacker I will, if not, I will just tile over the asbestos tile.

As a home owner you are allowed to remove asbestos yourself up to a certain square footage before you need to use an abatement company.  If you are not disturbing then you don't have to remove it.  I would disclose the possibility of asbestos tile when selling it for cya reasons.   if the tiles are 6" or 9" then they are most likely asbestos tiles.  

Long story short,,,be careful.  I wasnt, was told cant be in laminate backing.  Wasnt a little bit either.  All came about AFTER I was trying to sand some residue that stuck to unfinished hardwood underneath.  Found out AFTER I got sick in about 10 minutes later that it tested VERY high in asbestoes and I got asbestoes acute poisoning.  Felt bad, like an elephant on my chest for several weeks thereafter.  One morning woke up feeling fine.

NOW having said that,,,test it,,,easy, take a small bottle of it to people who specalize in removal,,,,they charged like 22 bucks to send it to lab and lab fee.

BUT leaving hardwood under tile is a no-no as it is not stable,,,so claim the experts.  And I am told you need 1 1/2 total inches of underlayment on big joists (not over spanned) spaced closely.

On floor above I removed short pieces of hardwood to expose terrible condition  inch bye subfloor,,large holes,large areas of no support.  I tore ALL out down to floor joists.  Put back 3/4 cdx and blocked joints between joists,,,then put 3/4 T&G over that.  I guess they make a redi floor or some such,,,my store didnt carry that.  Stagger all joints not to fall on same lines as below.  Start laying from opposite corner does that. Bottom layer runs underneath all walls. I just cut it off close as possible with circle saw and spliced on and supported all

Its easy to dispose of bad stuff here yet,,,thats why it should be disposed now if possible and in making your floor solid.Double bagged is all required and hauled directly to landfill with appointment. A blue tarp under the trailer load of stuff and fold ends together and tape in a tight bun.  I have had the landfill workers standing in the crap unloading,,,but they arent too bright.

Hope this works out well for you but covering it with anything may come back to haunt you.  

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