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ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
ASBESTOS CEILING TILES, Asbestos-Containing
ASBESTOS & FIBER CEMENT ROOFING
ASBESTOS CEMENT SIDING
ASBESTOS DUCTS, HVAC
ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION
ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION
ASBESTOS FLOORING REMOVAL GUIDE
ASBESTOS-FREE INSULATION MATERIALS
ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN buildings
ASBESTOS LIST of PRODUCTS
ASBESTOS MATERIAL REGULATIONS
ASBESTOS PHOTO GUIDE to MATERIALS
ASBESTOS REMOVAL CERTIFICATION
ASBESTOS REMOVAL, INCOMPLETE
ASBESTOS REMOVAL, WETTING GUIDE
ASBESTOS RISK ASSESSMENT
ASBESTOS TESTING LAB LIST
ASBESTOS UNDER the MICROSCOPE
CEILINGS, DROP or SUSPENDED PANEL
CEILINGS & WALLS, PLASTER TYPES
CERAMIC TILE, ASBESTOS in?
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOR, CERAMIC TILE
FLOOR, CONCRETE SLAB CHOICES
FLOOR, CONCRETE SLAB POURED FINISH
FLOOR DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS
FLOOR, ENGINEERED WOOD, LAMINATES INSTALL
FLOOR FRAMING & SUBFLOOR for TILE
FLOOR, KITCHEN & BATH OPTIONS
FLOOR, LAMINATE PLASTIC
FLOOR RADIANT HEAT Mistakes to Avoid
FLOOR, RESILIENT VINYL or CORK
FLOOR & SUBFLOOR MOLD, HIDDEN
FLOOR TYPES & DEFECTS
FLOOR TILE ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION
FLOOR TILE HISTORY & INGREDIENTS
FLOOR TILE INSTALLATION DETAILS
FLOOR WOOD AGE TYPES HISTORY
FLOOR WOOD, DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS ;
FLOOR, WOOD ENGINEERED, LAMINATE, INSTALL
FLOOR, WOOD FINISHES
FLOOR, WOOD INSTALLATION GUIDE
FLOOR, WOOD MOISTURE
FLOOR, WOOD RADIANT HEAT
FLOOR, WOOD SOLID STRIP, PLANK
FLOOR, WOOD TYPES
FLOORING MATERIALS, Age, Types
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
INSULATION IDENTIFICATION GUIDE
PLASTER TYPE IDENTIFICATION
SAFETY HAZARDS & INSPECTIONS
WORLD TRADE CENTER 9-11 DUST PHOTOS
Asbestos-containing sheet flooring or resilient flooring product testing & visual inspection for identification of linoleum, asphalt-saturated felt based flooring, vinyl & cork floors. This article describes simple visual inspection and testing using odorless paint thinner or turpentine to separate true linoleum or cork floors from possible, probable, or known asbestos-containing resilient sheet flooring.
This article also provides links to certified asbestos test labs should testing be needed. Our page top photo, contributed by a reader, contains visual clues indicating that this is a saturated felt backed sheet flooring product that may contain asbestos.
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How to Research, Inspect & Test Sheet Flooring to Distinguish Asphalt-saturated felts, Linoleum, Vinyl & Cork Materials
This sheet flooring was identified by a reader in a 1964 home. She found remnants in the bottom of a kitchen cabinet on which was imprinted "Armstrong". Is it linoleum?
[Click to enlarge any image]
A closer look at the product including its backing would be needed. It could be, but this pattern looks more modern to us and is probably a vinyl sheet flooring product.
At ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS by YEAR we include a reader report of lab testing performed on this flooring and confirming that it contained "70% asbestos".
Check the building age and probable flooring age
Visual Inspection of Sheet Flooring Backer Material
A laboratory test is necessary, using a certified asbestos test lab, to be certain that a material does not contain asbestos. But some visual and other simple tests can give reliable results.
Solvent Tests for Flooring Identification
Wilson & Snodgrass, U.S. FPL (2007) give some helpful suggestions for flooring type identification using a simple solvent. Solvent testing can provide some (but not complete) identifying information about both sheet flooring and resilient tile flooring. The authors recommend using turpentine, but for a less smelly mess I'd also add the use of odorless paint thinner as your test solvent. Wilson & Snodgrass explain that
Watch out: if the flooring is not clean you may be confused by dirt or old wax coatings transferring to your test cloth.
Watch out: when choosing a solvent, in just about any cleaning or investigation procedure it's best to start with the most mild and safe ingredients possible. I would not use lacquer thinner which is likely to damage the floor surface. Other solvents such as hexane are used in our forensic lab for a reliable confirmation of rubber and some other materials, but this solvent is dangerous to handle and may be carcinogenic as well. Even alcohol (iso propanol) that is readily available can create a mess if you try it on an alcohol-soluble painted surface. Stick to odorless paint thinner.
Certified Asbestos Testing Laboratory Tests for Asbestos in Flooring
If you are facing significant building renovation, remodeling or cleanup costs that include disturbing asbestos-suspect flooring, ceiling paints, insulation, or other hazardous materials, it makes sense to ask for a hazard confirmation by a certified asbestos testing laboratory.
Suspected or Presumed Asbestos Containing Material Floor Sample Preparation
Typically an asbestos test lab needs only a small representative sample of flooring material to test for asbestos - about a square inch of intact material. If the existing floor has a damaged or loose section it may be possible to simply pick up a fragment, bag it in a clean Ziplok™ type freezer bag and label it for mailing to the laboratory.
For larger segments it may be possible to clean-cut a sample using a utility knife, with wetting if needed to avoid creating a possible asbestos dust hazard. [McCrone (1987) describes laboratory procedures that require breaking the sheet or tile flooring sample to leave fibers exposed for direct examination.]
Best advice: ask your certified asbestos test laboratory what sample collection, packaging and handling procedures they require.
ASBESTOS TESTING LAB LIST provides contact information for sources of currently-certified asbestos testing laboratories.
Please do not mail flooring samples nor anything else to us at InspectApedia unless we have agreed by prior discussion. Please do not mail whole sheets, boxes of multiple tiles etc. The test laboratory does not need so much material and does not want to have to dispose of it.
Identify Sheet Flooring & Resilient Floor Manufacturers, Brands & Styles
Continue reading at LINOLEUM & SHEET FLOORING or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
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