Until the 1980s, asbestos was regularly used in construction as it was durable and resilient. However, in that decade it was banned when there were discovered to be serious health risks. But a ban did not mean its complete removal from homes. Even today many homeowners sit, wor kand live around hazardous asbestos-containing materials that are especially unhealthy during times of repair, renovation, and removal.
If you reside in an older home, read on to learn if your floor tiles may contain asbestos, how you can make a determination if that is the case and how you and your family can be safe.
Health Issues Caused By Exposure To Asbestos
Fibers from asbestos are a health risk when they are friable. This means the material can crumble, releasing fibers into the air. When inhaled, these fibers lodge in the lungs, preventing them from breaking down and this can lead to illness. The main diseases primarily related to exposure from asbestos are: asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
Floor tiles made from asbestos will only release toxic fibers is they are disturbed, usually through sawing, drilling, sanding or ripping the tiles out. In these circumstances, fibers can be released into the air. Whenever possible, they should not be disturbed or removed.
Asbestos Floor Tile Identification
The best way is to have the tiles tested. You can get a test kit or use the services of an asbestos remediation expert. Before doing this be sure to contact your local building authority as some locales restrict testing to licensed asbestos remediation specialists. The cost of their testing can run between $350 to $800. Other signs your floor tiles may have asbestos in them include if your home was built before 1980, he flooring uses tiles that are 9, 12 or 18-inch squares, the tiles appear oily or stained or if there is thick black adhesive underneath where flooring tiles have come away.
Coping With Asbestos Tile
One option is to leave it in place and cover it with new flooring. Laminate flooring, new vinyl flooring, and carpeting can all be laid over the top as the original tiles are very thin. All you need to do is ensure a fiber cent backer is utilized first.
Asbestos Floor Tile Removing Services
The only times you cannot leave asbestos floor tiles in place is when you want to refinish the wood flooring beneath the tiles or if you are intent on disturbing the tile during a remodel. By far the safest removal option is to have a licensed asbestos remediation contractor remove the old tiles, usually at a cost of between $6 to $10 per square foot. This will depend on your location, the tile condition and local regulations that may mean additional steps have to be taken.