InspectAPedia®

Asbestos containing vinyl asbestos floor tilesIdentify Asbestos-Containing Flooring
Home page

  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how to identify asbestos-containing flooring materials and what to do when asbestos-containing floor tiles or sheet flooring are found in a building.

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.


How to Identify Floor Tiles & Sheet Flooring That May Contain Asbestos:

This article explains how to identify floor tiles that are likely to contain asbestos, by making a simple visual inspection, noting the probable age of the building and age of its materials, and similar clues.

This document assists building buyers, owners or inspectors who need to identify asbestos materials (or probable-asbestos) in buildings by visual inspection. .

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

How to Identify Asbestos Floor Tiles & Sheet Coverings - Asbestos Suspect Floor Tiles & Sheet Flooring

Vinyl asbestos flooring 1974 (C) Daniel FriedmanHere we provide photographs and descriptive text of asbestos insulation and other asbestos-containing products to permit identification of definite, probable, or possible asbestos materials in buildings.

Asbestos is safe and legal to remain in homes or public buildings as long as the asbestos materials are in good condition and the asbestos can not be released into the air.

For a quick check and five easy questions that can help tell you if an unknown floor covering contains asbestos, try

DOES THIS FLOORING CONTAIN ASBESTOS?

Or we invite you to wade through the more-detailed discussion below.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Our photo (left) shows Armstrong® Excelon 12x12 vinyl asbestos flooring made in 1972, identified in our floor tile photo guide ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS 1949-1959 - detailed photo guide to asphalt asbestos and vinyl asbestos floor tiles, and resilient flooring produced in 1900 -1980.

Asphalt Asbestos, Plastic Asbestos, and Vinyl Asbestos floor tiles were sold in 6"x6", 9" x 9" and in some years 12" x 12" sizes.

We also seen very small asphalt asbestos floor tiles in a 1 1/2" size bonded to a jute backer fabric.

Details of Asbestos Floor Tile Identification

Armstrong asbestos floor tile under the microscope (C) Daniel FriedmanIf you can identify your floor tile collection name or model number, or if you recognize it in the extensive library of flooring color and pattern photographs provided in these pages, laboratory testing of the sample to screen the flooring for asbestos may be unnecessary.

While an expert lab test using polarized light microscopy may be needed to identify the specific type of asbestos fiber, or to identify the presence of asbestos in air or dust samples, many asbestos-containing building products not only are obvious and easy to recognize, but since there were not other look-alike products that were not asbestos, a visual identification of this material can be virtually a certainty in many cases.

Our photograph at above left shows asbestos fibers and asbestos filler fragments from an Armstrong vinyl asbestos floor tile examined in our forensic laboratory.

The asbestos floor tile identification articles in this series illustrate that with the combination of design appearance and an idea of floor tile age, many asbestos-containing floor tiles or sheet flooring products can be reliably identified even before confirmation by a test by a certified asbestos testing laboratory.

On occasion, the original flooring packaging or installation literature may be available for a given home: often an extra box of floor tiles was kept for future repairs.

The vinyl-asbestos floor tile package label information, combined with a simple comparison of tiles in the package with tiles installed in the building may be sound confirmation of asbestos-containing materials.

See VINYL ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE PACKAGING. Historical information about the dates of flooring installation may also be sufficient to rule in or out the possibility that flooring in a building contains asbestos.

Asphalt-based asbestos floor tiles and plastic or vinyl-based asbestos flooring were popular in the U.S. in the 1940's - 1970's and were produced by some manufacturers (Armstrong) as late as 1980.

Armstrong-like Excelon (C) Daniel FriedmanSome asbestos-containing flooring products were manufactured (we estimate) as early as the late 1920's.

Photo at left from a 1950's home shows Armstrong Excelon-type VAT, courtesy of reader Kim who adds that asbestos testing indicated that the white floor tiles contained 7% and the black contained 5% asbestos.

We suspect the actual asbestos levels are higher in these tiles because both fibers and fine asbestos filler particles were often used.

If the flooring is being demolished, sanded, buffed with steel-wool floor polishers, or subject to heavy traffic, it might be a source of unacceptable asbestos particle release, as we discussed above at asphalt asbestos floor tiles as an asbestos source.

Armstrong was by no means the only company producing asbestos-containing floor tiles, though the company may have been the largest producer.

Armstrong® produced the Excelon Tile™ series beginning with a plastic asbestos floor tile series in 1954, referring to the product as vinyl plastic asbestos floor tiles beginning in 1955, and vinyl asbestos tiles from 1957 to 1980.

Resilient sheet flooring containing asbestos was also produced, finding wide use as early as 1968. The Solarian flooring brand appeared in 1977.

Not all old floor tiles or sheet flooring contain asbestos

Adding to modern confusion about which vinyl floor tiles from the 1950's to 1980's do or do not contain asbestos, some lines such as the Excelon Supreme (ca 1977) did not contain asbestos.

And some six-inch asphalt based or floor tiles tested by a reader were reported to be asbestos free even though their pattern matched other 9x9 asbestos-containing floor tiles in the Armstrong line. That's right 6" x 6" - though that floor tile size was rare.

Who produced vinyl or asphalt asbestos flooring?

Vinyl asbestos floor tiles were produced by a number of manufacturers, and the decorative tile patterns were varied, often annually as styles and tastes changed. It is possible to make a tentative identification of floor tiles based on the individual tile pattern, color, and thickness.

Guides for identifying specifc floor products that do or do not contain asbestos

On occasion, the original flooring packaging or installation literature may be available for a given home: often an extra box of floor tiles was kept for future repairs.

The vinyl-asbestos floor tile package label information, combined with a simple comparison of tiles in the package with tiles installed in the building may be sound confirmation of asbestos-containing materials.

Other Examples of Asphalt-Asbestos or Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles (VAT) such as Armstrong™ Flooring and EverWear™ Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles™

Our complete index of floor tile brands and ages is found

at ASBESTOS FLOORING IDENTIFICATION GUIDE INDEX.

Below are photos and links to some less-well-known flooring brands.

AMITCO Floor Tiles

Amitco self-adhesive peel and stick flooring from 1970s (C) InspectAPedia

Amitco International an international flooring company established in 1964 and that has  principal locations in the U.S. U.K.

Details about Amitco flooring are now found

at AMITCO ASBESTOS FLOOR TILES

Ever-Wear, Kentiles & Other 9x9" and 12x12" asbestos-containing floor tiles

Details about Kentile flooring are 

at KENTILE KENFLEX ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE GUIDE.

Details about Ever-Wear vinyl asbestos flooring are 

at EVER-WEAR ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE GUIDE. Excerpts are just below.

Everlast Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile (C) D Friedman D Grudzinski

These photographs of EverWear Vinyl Asbestos floor tiles were provided courtesy of home inspector David Grudzinski,

For photographs and text describing other vinyl or asphalt based asbestos-containing flooring starting

at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS 1949-1959.

Other (Brand Uncertain) Asphalt-Containing 9" x 9" Floor Tiles that Contain Asbestos

See ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS 1949-1959 to flooring produced between 1955 and the late 1980's and in some cases later products up to the present.

Below we provide additional example photographs of asbestos-containing floor tiles in both 9" x 9" and 12" x 12" sizes.

Asphalt asbestos floor tile (C) Daniel Friedman

Above we show a 9" x 9" cork patterned vinyl asbestos floor tile found in a 1960's ranch style home in New York.

You can assume this floor tile contains asbestos. Cork pattern vinyl asbestos floor tiles were produced in at least three hues by Armstrong as well as Montgomery Ward and Sears and possibly Kentile and other companies.

Below: we show a 9" x 9" reddish brown asphalt or vinyl asbestos floor tile found in the same home.

Asphalt asbestos floor tile (C) Daniel Friedman

Other (Brand Uncertain) Asphalt-Containing 12" x 12" Floor Tiles that Contain Asbestos

Below is a 12" x 12" vinyl asbestos floor tile found in the same home as the 9" x 9" flooring shown above.

Asphalt asbestos floor tile (C) Daniel Friedman

See a very similar and long-running popular Armstrong floor tile pattern beginning in 1955

ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS 1949-1959: Armstrong's Seneca white [Image]

It is likely that this is an asbestos-containing floor tile.

Asphalt asbestos floor tile (C) Daniel Friedman

At above left is a 12" x 12" vinyl asbestos floor tile found in a home built in 1969.

See ARMSTRONG FLOOR TILE LIST - 1969.

Testing found 3% chrysotile asbestos in this floor tile sample. Thanks to reader R.M. for the photo and test information.

We have not identified the manufacturer of this floor tile though it may be an Armstrong tile (See Craftlon Collection 12" x 12" Adelphi II Aalst 54431 (showing a second color, Aalst)

See ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS 1949-1959) .

CONTACT us if you know this image and brand.

Asbestos-containing Vinyl Based Sheet Flooring Product Photos

Modern vinyl sheet flooring

The resilient sheet flooring shown at above left is a modern product (we are using this photo as a placeholder) and does not contain asbestos.

But before about 1978, in products that looked like this same material, asbestos fibers were used as a strengthen material on vinyl sheet flooring backing.

Details for identifying asbestos or asbestos-suspect sheet flooring products are at RESILIENT SHEET FLOORING ID GUIDE.

See other examples of linoleum and sheet flooring at CONGOLEUM-NAIRN FLOOR TILES & LINOLEUM

Key to Thicknesses or Gauges & Weights of Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles & Floor Tile Application

Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile Thickness and Dimensions & asphalt floor tile thickness and dimension data:

This topic is now found at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE DIMENSIONS

Flintkote Asbestos-containing Floor TIles & Other Asbestos-products

This topic moved to its own page at FLINTKOTE ASBESTOS PRODUCTS GUIDE

Montgomery Wards Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile Packaging

This information is now at MONTGOMERY WARD ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION.

Sears & Roebuck Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles

Details about Sears vinyl asbestos tile flooring are  at SEARS ROEBUCK VINYL ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE RECOGNITION . Excepts are below.

Asphalt asbestos floor tiles as an asbestos fiber source in buildings

This discussion has moved to ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD LEVEL ASSESSMENT

Index to Asbestsos-Containing Floor Tile Identification Photographs & Articles

The Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile (and asphalt asbestos and sheet flooring asbestos) photo catalog became so huge that the file was slow to load and unwieldy - so we broke the catalog into segments by year range.

See ASBESTOS FLOORING IDENTIFICATION GUIDE INDEX for a complete index to ID guides for asbestos-containing flooring materials as well as to similar floor coverings that do not contain asbestos.

...


Continue reading at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS 1949-1959 or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION FAQs the first in a series of collections of questions & answers about how to identify asbestos-containing floor tiles, posted originally at this page

Or see DOES THIS FLOORING CONTAIN ASBESTOS?

Or see these

Asbestos Floor Tile Hazard Management Articles

Asbestos Floor Tile Hazard Management Articles

 

Suggested citation for this web page

ASBESTOS FLOORING IDENTIFICATION at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to ASBESTOS HAZARDS

Or use the SEARCH BOX found below to Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia


...

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References

Publisher InspectApedia.com - Daniel Friedman