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FAQs about asphalt asbestos and vinyl asbestos floor tiles, 1900 -1986:
These frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about Armstrong & other brands of flooring produced in the 1960's helps building occupants & owners identify asbestos-containing floor tiles or sheet flooring and gives advice about minimizing the asbestos hazard from these materials.
This article series provides a guide to identifying asphalt-asbestos flooring (1917 - ca 1960) & vinyl asbestos floor tile (ca 1952 - 1986): identification photographs, product names, styles, colors, and vinyl-asbestos floor patterns, and colors for asbestos-containing floor tile products made between about 1930 and 1986 - flooring materials that are reported to or have been confirmed to contain asbestos in asbestos fiber or asbestos powder-filler form. These flooring products typically contain chrysotile asbestos, and possibly other asbestos forms.
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Asphalt asbestos and vinyl-asbestos floor tiles were produced in 9" x 9", 12" x 12", and even 18" x 18" as well as in decorative strips, and in thicknesses of 1/16", 3/32", and 1/8", also in 0.08 gauge.
This photo guide to asphalt asbestos & vinyl asbestos floor tiles for each year shows at least one color photo of each floor tile style or pattern in an example color. A list below each group of photos includes the names of and links to additional photos for other colors of these styles.
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.
If you do not know the brand name of your flooring you can take a quick look at example photos of the product line of each manufacturer given in the list of photo guides found at MORE READING below.
(Apr 21, 2015) Anonymous said:
I went through the asbestos identified tile pictures on the website, but I could not recognize the tiles I have. I have two pictures of separate tiles I would like to submit to the website for identification. How do I post the pictures of do I have to send them in an email?
I have 9x9" vinyl tiles in my basement and have no clue if they contain asbestos. The house was built in 1966 but its possible that the basement was not finished in that year. I have photos to submit.
Please use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to send us photos and we'll be glad to comment, post, research as we can.
David, please use the page bottom CONTACT link to send me photos of the tiles in question.
Based on age, it'd be prudent to treat the flooring as presumed to contain asbestos.
In the ARTICLE INDEX for this series,
or at the page left links above,
see ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION
or if you need to remove damaged asbestos-containing flooring See ASBESTOS FLOORING REMOVAL GUIDE
Am looking for information on Armstrong diecut inserts from around 1952. Also are there any recommended ways to seal these floors so you can enjoy the look but without any asbestos concerns? Thanks, Sarah - Sarah 6/23/11
Our photos show examples of some of the diecut flooring inserts from the 1950's; I'm not sure what other information you seek.
About sealing vinyl-asbestos tile floors, especially in residential use where school or public regulations and public access worries don't apply, I've had great success using clear-coating floor restorer products.
As you can see at ASBESTOS FLOORING LEFT IN PLACE, we just did this recently in a New York home. The floor was washed with mild detergent and water. Then we used a spray cleaner recommended by the floor resetorer manufacturer. The spray cleaner removes old wax residues. Next we used a magic marker to color in some gouges that had marred the floor surface. Finally we coated the flooring with the floor restorer product. The floor looked new, and great.
In sum, if you maintain a hard clear coating on top of the floor surface you won't be releasing any measurable level of asbestos fibers by normal foot traffic.
Also see ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION for more ways to reduce the asbestos hazard in asbestos-suspect or presumed asbestos-containing flooring.
Do you have info about whether the following 2 tiles contain asbestos?
1. Box says Color Tile vinyl floor tile 12x12 code 422 80 made by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Plant C Akron, Oh. and sold by color tile supermart with a Vancouver, Wa address.
2. Box says Amtico Suravinyl Tile 12x12 1/16 ga 7LDF18 AH084 1 AL1102 and also says Zip Stik self adhering duravinyl tile; made by American Biltrite INc. Trenton, NJ.
Do I need to send photos to make ID possible? Any help is appreciated. - Nan Duncan 8/28/11
My previous email had a typo-- 2. should read Amtico Duravinyl.
American Biltrite in Trenton produced asbestos-containing floor tiles; if your American Biltrite flooring was installed before 1980 it's likely that it contains asbestos.
Goodyear also produced asbestos-containing floor tiles. I'd make the same suggestion: if your Goodyear flooring was installed before 1980 it's likely that it contains asbestos.
Found what I believe to be asbestos tiles under carpet in all 4 bedrooms of a house my daughter purchased. The house is 100 + age so this indicates these tiles would be asbestos.
Some are damaged through age and also have been stapled to hold the underpad of carpeting and also the carpet tack around the edges. What is the hazard of the staples and tack? Should we be concerned about fiber leakage thru these holes and various damage in the rooms. Thank you - Leaha 9/7/11
Shile one cannot assert the age of a flooring material necessarily from the age of a house (as flooring can be installed long after original construction) it's reasonable to use caution about old-looking flooring in a 100 year old home before knowing much more.
But it's unlikely that there would be measurable asbestos particle movement up through wall to wall carpeting over floor tiles; the hazards would more likely arise during demolition.
See ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION (article link at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article ) for advice about minimizing the hazards should you need to remove material.
If nevertheless you are worried about the health and safety of building occupants, you'd want a professional inspection for all conditions there; a loose railing or step or a fire hazard could be a greater risk that should not go ignored.
Finally, you could order asbestos tests on settled house dust or even air sampling if you are very anxious about the matter; frankly those steps would not be my first concern.
do you know if the SEARS brand HOMART 64-7169 asphalt floor tile contained asbestos? - Paul Wright 9/22/11
Have you heard of Dura Floor Plastic Asphalt Tiles? Do they contain asbestos? - Jo Lynn Judka 10/24/11
I have 12" x 12" tile in the basement just like the pattern San Roque Gold 57161 from 1980.
However, this tile is not 1/8 thick but 1/16 and it was peel & stick. Would this contain asbestos? - David 11/27/11
Is there a way I can forward someone a photo of a school floor to determine if it contains asbestos? I am unable to get back into the building It is closed, but the school dept wants to open it again and is saying that there isn't a problem. I looked through the tiles on your site, but oculdn't find an exact match.
The school was built in 1950-1960, but we have no evidence that the tiles have been replaced. Can you help? -
we have an armstrong floor tile (black color) with the following numbers on the back L4 1230 021898. We don't know the year it was installed. Does it contain asbestos? Is there a way to cross reference these numbers? - Dan 5/1/12
We have the San Roque pattern sheet vinyl. Did Armstrong use the same patterns at a later date for their sheet vinyl but without asbestos? We have already started to remove it and I am concerned. - Sue 10/24/2012
We have vinyl sheet flooring that was put in about mid 1984. Is this anything to worry about? When exactly was asbestos banned in the manufacture of sheet flooring? - Peter 11/6/2012
David, naturally by email alone no one can say with certainty whether or not a floor tile contains asbestos, but if your flooring matches one of the ACM floor tiles we illustrate here,
AND if you are confident about the age (as you suggest) most likely it is an asbestos-containing product. And yes, for sure there were some peel-and-stick floor tiles that contained asbestos in the tile baking.
That does not necessarily mean that you need a costly asbestos remediation job - it depends on the condition of the surface, use made of the area, etc. If the floor is sound you may have the option of simply covering it with a new material.
JoLynn, sorry we don't have information about DuraFloor plastic asphalt tiles. Do you know the age of the product? You're welcome to send us photos (see the CONTACT link at top, side, bottom of our pages), and I'll research further. Certainly up to the early 1980's many asphalt floor tile products contained asbestos.
Dan, while we have published product and lot numbers for some floor tile products, there are just too many of them, thousands. Unlike mechanical equipment like water heaters or furnaces, I have not found a standard of correlation between product numbers and date of manufacture, though it probably was included in widely varying ways by individual manufacturers.
You can narrow down the asbestos question by:
- noting the age of the building itself as that sets the earliest plausible date for its floor materials +/- a year or so to allow for flooring sold from stock
- noting the date of any renovations of the building
- noting whether or not there are multiple layers of flooring or other similar changes that give a renovation history
- noting information on any packaging used for the floor tiles - sometimes an extra box of floor tiles is left and stored in a building, intended to supply future repairs or changes to the floor
- comparing the appearance of your flooring to the photographs we provide in these tile identification articles
- sending a small sample of flooring to a certified asbestos testing lab
For a tile floor of unknown constituents, do not do something foolish such as grinding, sanding, power sawing, or a dusty messy demolition.
I think you mngh want to ask Armstrong, but in NY case, if you remove materials following the recommended procedures and avoid making a dusty ness you should be OK
How much asbestos did the Armstrong Excelon Standard 12"x12" tiles contain - Loretta D 12/21/11
How much asbestos did the Armstrong Excelon vinyl asbestos floor tiles contain (12"x12", 1972/1973)? - Loretta 12/22/11
Hi! Would you expect the armstrong corlon resilent flooring with the hydrocord backing from the mid 1960s to contain significant amounts of asbestos? I am trying to find some information on it as I think that may be what is in our home...the only info I can find is that the backing probably did contain an asbestos and latex composite...
I am wondering how likely the composite material would become easily friable if we attempted to remove it... - Kate 2/16/12
Loretta, lacking hard science facts I have to give an OPINION that the material is high in asbestos content because in addition to asbestos fibers that gave strength to the tiles, many such floor tiles included a high level of asbestos filler - very ultrafine particles. We'd need to have a sample for specific testing to obtain an content level measurement.
Hi there, being naive and not aware that floor tiles may contain asbestos - I began removing some older tiles from under the carpet in my kids room. After seeing a warning on a Home Depot website - we stopped the removal. Is there any way of testing or visually confirming the possibility of it containing asbestos? I was working in the area for approximately 2 hours without any breathing apartus, etc. What are my options at this point? My wife is freaking out. Thanks - Sean M 1/22/12
I think I've looked through all the photos here and fortunately, the only one that appears to resemble what I have is in the "1989 & Later Armstrong Accoflex Series Flooring Tiles" image just above this comment box.
Unfortuneately, it is very difficult to be sure from this small image and i am sure what I have is NOT from the UK. The tiles I have are 12" x 12", 1/8" thick light blue and white (like streaked clouds on a blue sky) resembling "Spruce" above. The tiles are VERY heavy, quite inflexible and have very tiny sparkling crystals throughout.
These physical apsects make me very uneasy. Since the tiles are at least 25 years or more old, should I be concerned? Where might I go for an expert opinion? Thanks. - Scott 2/1/2012
We recently partially demo'd a ceramic tile floor in the kitchen of a home built in 1970. We popped the ceramic tiles up with a pry bar and sledge hammer. Beneath the tiles was a linoleum floor covering. I've visually identified the flooring on your website. It is Armstrong, Excelon, Custon Burnham 1972, 57080 Blue.
How much asbestos does this contain? Also, we didn't bother peeling it all up because it was too difficult. We chipped up the remaining ceramic tile on top of it and just covered the remainder of the floor with plywood and fastened the plywood with split drive fasteners.
We then nailed pine plank flooring over the plywood. Do we have any reason to worry about asbestos exposure??? My husband wore a dust mask. - Kelly McCullin 11/13/2012
I have ArmStrong sheet layment in my kicten.There was a layer of newer layment on top I did realize it was the orignal under it.
The house was built in 1974. I removed about a there foot area before I realized it. If i was exsposed to it how much does it take to make you sick and what are the symptoms.I have to think I am not the only one who has done this. - David 11/28/2012
David, and also Kelly McKullin:
Unfortunately no one can say with any accuracy whatsoever just what level of hazard you were exposed to during your asbestos floor removal. The variables include:
If you have specific individual health questions those should be posed to your doctor who knows your personal health history
Presuming that your project is now long over, if you have reason to be concerned, you might want to do some strategic dust sampling to see whether or not the building needs further cleanup
Continue reading at 1970-1972 ARMSTRONG FLOOR TILE PHOTO-GUIDE or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Or see FLOOR TILE / SHEET FLOORING PHOTO GUIDES - list of photo guides
1960-1969 ARMSTRONG EXCELON FLOOR TILE FAQ sat InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice or see this topic index:
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