Are these tiles asbestos?

19 Replies

My contractor said these 9x9 tiles are most likely asbestos, and that as a homeowner, I can mitigate it myself much cheaper (with special containers from the city - not being shady)

How do I find out for sure without opening a can of worms and being forced to deal with it right away?

Your contractor is probably right. Those are 9x9 vinyl tiles that very likely date back to the 70s and therefore also very likely have abestos fibers in them. The normal remediation is to encapsulate something like that. There are products that will allow you to put ceramic tiles over vinyl floor tiles, you can run floating floors over them, whole bunch of stuff. Getting rid of them, even if you do it yourself, is really never worth it. They're only a little more than a 16th of an inch thick.

@Michael Hajduk as others have said, there is no good reason to remove them. Just go over the top with a different flooring surface. I run into this all the time in the Chicago western suburbs where I work and invest. I routinely go over the top of these in my own properties as well. 

@Michael Hajduk

I can’t see the picture either, but I agree with @Jim K. And just go over them If you can. Won’t hurt anything or anyone to just go over. And you save the time of getting them up

The 8 x 8 tiles are secured with a glue that has asbestos in it.

The reason you don’t want to remove the tiles is because you will need to do asbestos remediation which costs money. 

Don’t disrupt the tiles because of the glue. Laying down a layer of new flooring is the least expensive route. 

@Michael Hajduk I know people first hand who died from asbestos related lung cancer. They worked in remodel construction during the 1980's before people were taking precautions dealing with asbestos removal. 

The first thing I will tell you is that asbestos was absolutely used in linoleum - even into the 1980's. It was also in vinyl tile and vinyl sheet. It was a filler in many building materials because of its low cost, durability and heat resistance properties. (it is also in insulation, ceiling tiles, popcorn ceilings)

Most likely if you tried to remove that tile, it would come up easily with a floor scraper. It would probably break into pieces, but likely not small enough to release fibers at any high risk level. 

That being said, I would NOT ever remove any asbestos related material myself. I would hire a professional. That is not a DIY project. The danger is just too high and it is not worth saving a few bucks.

As others suggested, you can just go over it with another material. I have had success applying a leveling compound directly and putting down sheet vinyl. I have also seen people use thick vinyl plank glue down. Use a thick plank, so none of the pattern will show through. You can glue directly to the old tile. If the tile is loose and coming up, then it may be better to remove, even if it costs you a few bucks.

Looking at the photo I would say your contractor is correct but the ones I come across are typically 8x8.  Don't remove them or grind/sand them because that creates dust; Don't disturb them.  If you plan on installing a glue down floor, installers clean the existing floor to make sure the new adhesive and flooring will bond to the existing floor.

Originally posted by @Matt M. :

@Michael Hajduk

I can’t see the picture either, but I agree with @Jim K. And just go over them If you can. Won’t hurt anything or anyone to just go over. And you save the time of getting them up

Matt, the OP has a link, but you had to manually copy and paste it: 


I remove. With that being said, you cant just remove. This is a full blown HAZMAT removal.

Suit up, Full face respirator, duct tape at the gloves wrist and ankles, heavy duty gloves thick nylon (not neoprene). Seal off the room, use an air scrubber with a chute to the outside world (not to the next room, outside the building). Double bag and tie them up. 

Also make sure the landfill will even accept asbestos materials (some wont)

Treat it like a biohazard site and you will be fine. I dont like leaving hazardous materials behind to be someone else's problem 10 years from now. Because some poor guy is gonna tear up whatever floor you laid over to encapsulate, and get a lung full of that crap. I am that poor guy alot of times, and it irks the hell out of me that someone put my health in danger to save a dollar.

Dont be that guy.

@Bill Kramer

In a great many jurisdictions this is considered such low risk requirements for handling/ disposal are actually zero. Recommendations are dust masks and gloves, but requirements, none. Just FYI, approaching with caution is always best.

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