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Questins & answers offering help in identifying floor tiles or sheet flooring that might contain asbestos.
This article provides answers to frequently-asked questions about how to identify asbestos-containing flooring and what to do about it.
This article series includes a photo-gallery of pictures of floor coverings submitted for identification along with comments on findings, recommendations, & asbestos content. Readers can use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to ubmit photos of flooring to get help in identifying floor tiles or sheet flooring that might contain asbestos.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2017 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Our photo (left) shows Armstrong® Excelon 12x12 vinyl asbestos flooring made in 1972, identified in our detailed photo guide to asphalt asbestos and vinyl asbestos floor tiles, and resilient flooring produced in 1900 -1980. (links below)
[Click to enlarge any image]
In the article below we arrange the flooring photographs and discussion about identification of the floor and about possible asbestos content and asbestos risk management roughly in order of the reported age of the building or flooring installation.
If you have tried looking through our example flooring photos by year or flooring manufacturer and were unable to identify your flooring then feel free
to CONTACT US to send along photos and a description (age, dimensions, building history) of flooring that you are unable to identify
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.
(Apr 3, 2014) Anonymous said:
How can I submit a photo of a tile to see if it might contain asbestos?
Sure, Anon, just use the email found at our CONTACT link seen at the top or bottom of any InspectApedia.com page - but it may not be necessary.
If you've got vinyl or asphalt floor tiles installed before the early 1980's it would make sense to treat them as presumed to contain asbestos (PACM or "Presumed Asbestos Containing Material") - and to avoid making a dusty demolition, sawing, grinding mess.
Hi. I have a question about asbestos in floor tile and its removal. I work at a public school and the school had a contractor come in to remove some flooring that was starting to "buckle up" in some areas due to water seeping underneath it. When the contractor came I happened to be around and I asked him before he started if the tile could be asbestos (the school was built in 1952). He looked at it and said it wasn't 9x9 inch, and he wasn't sure what was underneath it yet, so he couldn't say for sure. When I started at the school I was made aware by my boss that there is asbestos tile underneath the carpet in the classrooms, but he didn't mention the hallways, where this work was going to be done.
I kept a watch on the contractors as they were removing the tile flooring, (I stayed a safe distance from them...like outside the building through a window). I noticed they used no masks and there was no plastic barriers put up inside the building. They were breaking the tile up though because I noticed them shoveling it up and putting it in the big 55 gallon plastic barrels used for garbage. They stayed for about 2 days doing this. When they were done they left these filled barrels of the tile for us to dump! I didn't want to be involved at all in their dumping! My boss came though and he said he needed my help in dumping the barrels in the outside container for garbage. I REALLY wanted nothing to do with this and I panicked inside. I was afraid though to ask about its safety. When we went outside to dump them I kept my distance as much as possible.
When we dumped the first barrel I held my breath and we dumped it quickly and a HUGE bunch of dust went into the air. I stepped far away and let the dust clear. I then asked if he had any kind of face mask. He did, but only the N95 kind. I put two on and some goggles. We then dumped the rest. My question is, what are the chances that the flooring contained asbestos, and if it did, wouldn't the contractor and our head supervisor that ordered the work know about the flooring? - Mike 8/22/11
No one can say just from text whether or not the floor tile that was taken up contained asbestos, though the lack of dust control and personal protection sounds to me like an amateur was doing the job. Even non-asbestos-containing dust can be hazardous, especially at acute exposure levels.
From the age of the school (1952) some asbestos containing materials would be expected to be present in lots of items, especially floor tiles. And the contractor's assertion that only 9" floor tiles contain asbestos is incorrect.
- ask your doctor for an opinion about your health and exposure to demolition dust that might have contained asbestos and any respiratory health complaints you may have
- if there is remaining dust or remaining examples of the same flooring they can be tested for asbestos
- building management can make be sure all of the demolition dust has been properly cleaned and removed - if it's asbestos-containing, a higher level of cleaning and post-cleanup testing are needed.
- Don't do more demolition without a competent risk assessment
And for your question of whether or not the contractor would or would not know if the floor contained asbestos?
My OPINION (not a lawyer) is that the contractor is legally obligated to be competent to perform the work for which s/he is hired; at a school, and removing flooring, that should include the ability to recognize a "red flag" that would stop the job until an asbestos hazard assessment has been made by a professional.
Faced with very high costs of an asbestos cleanup, and worried about causing a (perhaps inappropriate) panic among parents of school children, building managers I've met have sometimes opted for an "ignorance is bliss" argument. At a large Jewish Community Center in New York where it was patently obvious that there was asbestos-containing pipe insulation and flooring, the building management showed me a "report" asserting that the building was "asbestos free". The report authors simply stayed out of building areas where asbestos found.
I was pulling up some carpet in my basement today and found that there is tile on the floor beneath it. That didn't seem like a problem to me except in one corner the tile came up with the carpet and there is a green tile beneath that. The house was built in 1950. should I be concerned that the green tile has asbesto in it?
The tile broke into pieces. - Don Mac 9/5/11
Don from the age of materials you describe it's a good chance you have one or more layers of asbestos containing floor tiles, though of course I can only speculate with so little information.
However if the floor is covered with additional layers of tile or even carpeting, it's unlikely that it is being disturbed enough to produce a detectable level of asbestos (from that source) in the building air or dust.
A single piece or two of broken tiles are not measurable; what you want to avoid is demolition making a big dusty mess.
Search our site for "How to Reduce the Hazard Floor Tiles That May Contain Asbestos" or "ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION" to read about procedures for handling the flooring.
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 couldn'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
I purchased a co-op built in the 1950's. I need to put down a new floor. The last layer of flooring is green 9x9 vinyl tiles. The pattern looks close to seneca white but the background is light green with dark green pattern. There is black tarry stuff underneath. The tiles are extremely thin. I ripped out the tiles and the plywood underneath them in the corner about 18" square. The super told me to leave it alone as it might be asbestos, but all the contractors who have seen them, seem not to be worried about ripping up the tiles. I would feel better to play it safe and just floor over them. How do I e-mail a picture to you? - Jeanie in Queens NY 11/13/2011
I have a early 60's home with both bathrooms having what appears to be a solid surface material poured over a greenish felt. The flooring is tan with colored flecks in it throughout. I have looked for the material but haven't found any info. Does anyone know what it is? Is it possible that this material contains asbestos? - Dan 1/10/12
the tile in the place I work appears to be asbestos tile. there are some squares that are damaged, and appear to be chipped out. there are small particles, chunks, etc. in the place where the tiles are missing. is this a danger to us? - Lynn 1/12/12
I want to renovate this ranch soon and am not sure what the tile is and who do I call? I want to renovate this ranch soon and am not sure what the tile is and who do I call?Ceiling tile is from 1940 - Jo 2/7/2012
I have an old ranch home w/ sheet lino.x2 layers, over OSB board, over another type of flooring over old hardwood. From what I can see so far. The hardwood has blunt square ends, and is about 3-4" wide and appears to have paint on it. I know there is some rot in that area and would need replacing from reclaimed wood. My question is what is the best way to remove all the lino and OSB and floor below that to get to the hardwood? I know it's going to be labor intensive but not sure how to go about it. - Tracey 2/13/2012
Utility room floor installed 1971 is Armstrong Excelon vinyl asbestos place and press tiles. Some of the tiles are loose. they are whole..just loose. Please recommend what glue to use to re-install them. - Anne 2/13/2012
I work at a Petland Discounts location that's over 20 years old. I've gotten severe breathing problems at this store. The floor polishing company comes in and polishes the floor every month and there is this thick dust in the air and then it gets all over the products. I am concerned that it contains asbestos. There are also many broken tiles in the store. - Despina 5/22/2012
In my kitchen we have a sub floor, then asbestos tiles, then another sub floor and then a layer of linoleum flooring down. We want to lay another floor down but our floor is already up an inch with everything on it. We want to removed the whole flooring but have no clue how we should go about doing this without getting the asbestos in the air. It is also laid in our hallway and our whole basement. Thank you so much for any help you can provide. - Gigi - 6/11/2012
I was going to put new ceramic tiles in the kitchen floor, but when I removed the transition between the wood floor and ceramic tiles I saw vinyl tiles under the kitchen floor. My question is how I would know that the vinyl tiles are asbestos or not? - Mike 7/10/2012
i removed floor tiles by hand that look very similar to some of the ones you have pictured on your web site about 9 years ago. basically i used an old grill spatula to peel them up off of the cement floor. i did use a dust mask but i was unaware at the time that some older floor tiles contain asbestos. do i have anything to worry about? - Joe 8/1/2012
Hello I scraped up a tile floor in my house and I now fear that it was asbestos. The backing is black not white. It did not grind to dust, but it came off in pieces. The floor is covered in the black backing still and I don't know how I should remove this. Should I be concerned about removing this part? Also I suspect these tiles continue into another room under a rug. I would like to remove them eventually if possible. What do you recommend? - Mandy 10/29/2012
My husband and his family were doing some remodeling on a home we just bought (built in the 1930's). When I stopped by the house i saw that they had ripped out the old flooring in the kitchen and bathroom. Underneath the old carpet and flooring were 9x9 squares that were on top of the original hardwoods. I freaked out because i remembered hearing something about 9x9 tiles and asbestos on hgtv. These squares are black, but they are flexible, almost like a thick paper or a cardboard rather than a hard tile. We aren't sure if it is just some sort of backing, or an asphalt asbestos tile. They had already spent the weekend tearing most of it up and it is all over the place right now. any info/suggestions etc would be very greatly appreciated. - Jennifer 10/29/2012
Asbestos-containing flooring in good condition does not have to be removed from a building, and worse, inept removal can create a much greater hazard than leaving most asbestos materials in place.
Asbestos was widely used as a filler in both asphalt-based and some vinyl based floor tiles of varying thicknesses, and extending to some thin, flexible self-adhesive backed tiles as well as some sheet flooring.
See ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS 1951-1980 for an extensive photo guide to asbestos-containing flooring materials.
We recommend taking a look at the suggestions found at ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION
Comment from reader: anonymous:
Hey Joe there's always a "risk" when removing anything that has to do with Asbestos. I understand that you probably didn't take caution at all with the removal and you probably weren't wearing the proper protection. There's two things that could be red flags. 1. I'd be worried if you were a constant to heavy smoker. 2. I'd also be worried if you've done this type of removal many times before or after without protection. The only way to know for certain if true damage has been done is tell your Doctor or care provider about this incident and ask for their advice.
Can the asbestos flooring come in tiles only or does it come in a role? - P.H. 12/31/12
Asbestos-containing flooring was sold in both individual floor tiles and in rolls of sheet flooring. But just as with vinyl or plastic floor tiles, not all flooring contains asbestos. LINOLEUM & Other Sheet Flooring includes examples of sheet flooring that often did not contain asbestos. To treat floor coverings in asphalt-based floor tiles or sheet flooring, or vinyl (plastic)-based floor tiles or sheet flooring, it is reasonable to treat flooring sold in the year ranges described in the article above as PACM (Presumed Asbestos Containing Material). Also the mastic or adhesive used to install flooring may also contain asbestos. Keep in mind also that very often it is not necessary nor even recommended to remove PACM floor coverings. But if conditions require that it be removed, see ASBESTOS REMOVAL GUIDE, FLOORING.
We had a radon abatement system installed in our basement laundry room before we moved in. During our home inspection, the inspector told us there might be asbestos tiles in the basement. We confirmed this is probably the case, even though there is a new floor down there, because under the hot water heater you can see a reddish tile (you can't tell the size), followed by a layer of concrete, followed by the new vinyl tile (current day).
To install the radon system they drilled a four inch diameter hole through the floor and then another 4 inch hole through the brick and mortar of the wall to the outside. Now I'm concerned about the asbestos that may have been released into the air from the disturbance.
I've been told there wouldn't be a lot of asbestos released into the air from an event like this one because of the small surface area. Is this true? Also, I've been reading that amphibole types of asbestos were used in mortar as well. If it was just chrysotile from the vinyl tile then it would be less concerning than the "worse types" of amphibole asbestos. However, perhaps they also used amphibole types of asbestos in vinyl tiles? Btw, the house was built in 1948. - B.B. 2/07/2013
With the reclama that no one can perform an environmental risk assessment by email, in general, the total dust created by a single hole drilling event should be quite small compared with projects involving demolition of a floor.
It is reasonable to treat the flooring as presumed-asbestos-containing material (PACM); as virtually all of the old suspect floor has been covered, in normal use and occupancy the remaining asbestos-exposure risk to occupants is probably beneath detection.
If you wanted to investigate the asbestos dust risk created by drilling a hole for the radon abatement system more scientifically you'd collect what you think is dust left undisturbed from and settled near the area where the work was performed. Send that dust sample to a certified asbestos testing lab and ask them to screen it for you. You can use the procedure at MOLD TEST KITS for DIY MOLD TESTS [Do not send your sample to us.]
Air testing is probably less reliable at this juncture.
I am emailing you after reviewing your very informative website. I have a question about the tile in my basement. We are looking to renovate the space and are concerned about the tile possible containing asbestos. I live in new Jersey and my house was built in 1964. A form of asphalt tile was glued down in either 1964 or 1965. After reviewing your website and the photo section. I do not see our particular tile shown.
My question is: Is your photo gallery all inclusive of tile containing asbestos? The tile can be popped up without breaking any of the tile. Would the adhesive used in laying the tile also contain asbestos? It seems to be a black tar like substance. I would be able to send you a picture of the actual tile if that would be helpful.
- E.T. 4/10/2013
Thank you - your question is helpful to me too.
No my photo lib of asbestos containing tile is not exhaustive, though it's the largest one that's been published. There are some companies for whom I cannot find a comprehensive catalog showing all of their tile patterns (Armstrong was the most thorough), and there are companies out of the U.S. whose catalog data is even more scarce. But given how these products were made, it's reasonable to treat old asphalt-asbestos and vinyl-asbestos floor tiles of the appropriate age range as "PACM" or presumed-asbestos containing.
Nobody should panic about this flooring - doing so can result in spending inappropriately. But at the same time some caution is in order such as avoiding making a dusty mess by grinding, steel power buffing, and incompetent demolition. As well, in public spaces such as schools additional regulation may apply.
Where the floor is in good condition there are low cost options that help minimize the risk of asbestos release such as hard coatings.
For floors such as the one you describe, where whole tiles pop up, one can remove such tiles with minimal disturbance of the tile itself, thus minimal asbestos dust release.
But you are right to worry about the tile mastic or "glue" that was used: indeed some mastics, particularly the black asphaltic mastic, often contained asbestos. Asbestos fibers (and possibly asbestos dust filler) were widely used in asphalt-based mastics, glues, and in roof flashing cements. The same caveats apply: if you avoid making a dusty mess you will minimize the risk and hazard of asbestos. We have published wetting guidelines and flooring removal guidelines citing expert sources to help minimize risk as well as cost.
If you are facing a costly demolition job then it may be appropriate to have both the mastic and a section of floor tile tested by a certified asbestos testing lab. The cost is usually around $50./sample or less. If you have other specific questions please let me know. Working together makes us both smarter.
Please keep me posted on how things progress, and send along photos of the flooring you described as well as where it's popped up showing the asbestos if you can. Such added details can help us understand what's happening and often permit some useful further comment. What we both learn may help me help someone else. And by publishing a photo of your unidentified floor tile we invite other readers to comment if they know the pattern, age, and manufacturer.
(Aug 25, 2014) micky said:
Help! Took off my 5 year old armstrong tile. Started pulling off the next layer not knowing of potential hazards. Found out when researching easiest ways to remove tile as it is harder to get up. Can you help me date this tile pattern?
(how to post picture?)
Oct 1, 2014) Rodney... said:
Can someone please help me with a tile identification?? I would like to know if it looks like it will have asbestos.. My landlord asked me to pull up the carpet and this was below it. I have photos but I do not see a way to attach them to my comment here. I sent a few photos for the general email "contact" here a few days ago... I am sorry for the short notice but I have a city inspector scheduled for Monday
Micky, Rodney and others: you can use the email at our CONTACT link to send us some photos of your floor for comment.
Rodney you can use the email found at our CONTACT link but it may not be necessary. If you've got vinyl or asphalt floor tiles installed before the 1980's it would make sense to treat them as presumed to contain asbestos - and to avoid making a dusty demolition, sawing, grinding mess.
(Jan 14, 2015) Alan Vande Vusse said:
What manufacturer made these tiles 1930-1980
Flooring manufacturers and photos of their flooring are in the More Reading links just above.
(Mar 13, 2015) Anonymous said:
We have carpet over sheet vinyl, the vinyl is attached to a mdf subfloor which all comes up together. Under that we have 6x6 linoleum tiles in a black and white checkerboard pattern. The black and white 6x6 tiles are original (glued on top of pine subfloor) the house was built in 1927. Black and white 6x6 linoleum tiles have a tan color paper backing and were stuck to the pine subfloor with a black adhesive. I read about asphalt tiles bit these are definitely linoleum, and some are white. The backing seems like paper, not burlap. Trying to figure out if we can take off the 6x6 tiles and wet down the paper backing and glue to remove before we refinish the pine floors beneath. I do not see any very old tiles like this in the identification section. Thanks!
Really? Linoleum tiles? I've not come across linoleum - a sheet flooring - in tile form. Given the age I'd be careful about possible asbestos including in the adhesive mastic. True Linoleum sheet flooring itself is not an asbestos material.
If you'd like to send us a photo I'd be interested. Our email is at the CONTACT link at page top or bottom.
(Apr 6, 2015) Victoria said:
I'm very new to this and have lifted the carpet of our 1920's home and we have red 30cm x 30cm vinal tiles glued to what looks like a wooden floor. Can i send a picture to you please?
(June 23, 2015) sara said:
Hi, I have sent you an email with a photo of my flooring. I never knew flooring could contain asbestos :( I hope you can reply. Thank you
(June 26, 2015) Anonymous said:
Hi - I'd like to send you pictures of the tile I found when I pulled up the carpet in my 1920s home in Eugene Oregon. How do I get it to you? Thanks in advance, Maggie steel
(July 31, 2016) Deb said:
Can I send you a picture of some insulation from my ceiling tikes and ask if you can tell me whether or not it is asbestos?
The CONTACT link at page top or bottom provides our email
Deb you can use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to send us photos. Some insulation materials can be reliably identified from sharp photos, others, perhaps not; a photo won't show other possible contaminants: insect or mouse fragments and debris, for example.
(June 28, 2015) Anonymous said:
Around 1980 solarian(sp) flooring was put into the house with tar paper under it and some kind of adhesive was used to stick everything together. Over the weekend workers replaced the kitchen floor but cut up a piece of the solarian to check the wood underneath. This cut fine and did not appear to crumble.
They placed new wood over that and then the tiles. I would like to replace the solarian in the entryway with the same tiles as were put in the kitchen. I was going to remove the solarian which is backed by tar paper and adhesive. I pulled a bit up to see how easy it would be to remove, and then I read the back of the tile box where it talked about old flooring and asbestos.
The solarian is cracking and I am not sure what to do. I cannot place wood over it because then my door will not open, and I cannot place tiles over the solarian because of the same issue. Is there a chance this contains asbestos? Since I already ripped some up, am I already in big trouble?
Continuing with the previous post. I do not remember glue or tar paper in the kitchen but it is used in the entryway. When they redid the kitchen floor, about a 2 ft. section of the entryway started to come up. Several times I pulled that piece back (maybe 3 or 4 inches) to see how easily it would come up and to see what kind of wood was underneath.
The solarian is one big sheet so it did not come up easily since it is glued to tar paper, but the tar paper came up easily and that is when I saw the black adhesive left on the board. I am sure the tar paper and adhesive contain asbestos because it was 1980 when that was put down. I hope that I did not do much harm by pulling things back a few times.
So if I do place wood over this area without taking the rest up, how am I supposed to do so without nails or screws? Everything I've read says to place wood and new flooring over the old area but not cut, saw, or screw anything into the old area. The workers placed plywood and an underlayment and had to screw and nail those in. I'm unsure how to place a new floor over the new floor without properly securing it. Thanks.
From 1980 flooring could certainly still contain asbestos in the backing as well as in the mastic adhesive.
If you have avoided making a dusty mess I doubt that you're in big trouble (but I am in big trouble for guessing when I don't know a thing about your home, so strike that remark).
I'd check first to see if the mastic used is water soluble as if so it's cheaper and easier to remove. There are ASBESTOS FLOOR REMOVAL GUIDES here at InspectApedia if you want that detail.
(June 17, 2016) Annie said:
We have a 1968 home. Found Tarkett No-Was Floor Tile, Elite, , Seville, S9017 tiles. Are these asbestos?
We provide research on Tarkett flooring at
SWEDISH TARKETT FLOORING POSSIBLE ASBESTOS = inspectapedia.com/hazmat/Sheet_Flooring_Tarkett_Sweden.php
You're welcome to use our page top or bottom CONTACT link to send us some photos and we may be able to comment further. Meanwhile it would be safe to treat the flooring as presumed to contain asbestos. InspectApedia has much advice about minimizing risk from asbestos-containing flooring, as you'll see in this article series. Usually the preferred approach is to leave the floor alone, covering it as needed.
(June 20, 2016) Annie said:
we have two layers of tile in the utility room. I'm guessing the bottom layer is the original tile. Home is 1968 bilevel in illinios. Was asbestos used in home building then?
(July 18, 2016) Mike said:
Hi our basement has 2 layers of vinyl flooring. Looked through the photos to try and ID this tile: cl.ly/1L0n1t2s2D0c
House was built around 1965. Was wondering if you can ID and tell if this vinyl contained asbestos and form what year it was from.
I do not recognize the exact pattern of your flooring, Mike, but you may find a close match in the ID-library of asbestos flooring beginning
at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION (floor tiles) [Simply search Inspectapedia for that article title]
There are so many manufactures and floor tile patterns, types, sizes, and colors over many decades that just looking through catalogs organized by even color or pattern can daunting task.
One can narrow the question by a reasonable guess about the age of the flooring. At the very least, narrow this by the age of the building. We can narrow the guess further if we know when a building was renovated, or by observing the type of tile adhesive or mastic used.
With that data we can choose among our floor tile or sheet flooring photo ID guides that are organized by year beginning at the link I gave above.
ADVICE: For buildings with floor tiles or sheet flooring that can be assumed to have been installed in North America before 1986 it would be prudent to treat the flooring as "PACM" or "Presumed Asbestos Containing Material".
That does not mean we should panic nor undertake an expensive and dangerous asbestos removal project.
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.
Generally the safest approach is to leave such flooring alone and to cover it over with a coating or with another layer of flooring.
On any of our asbestos-related InspectApedia pages, at More Reading you will find a complete ARTICLE INDEX to ASBESTOS HAZARDS
See also therein
ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION
ASBESTOS FLOORING REMOVAL GUIDE
IF you are faced with a requirement for demolition and if you are uncertain about the flooring's asbestos content and cannot identify it through our guides, then you have a sample tested.
See ASBESTOS TESTING LAB LIST
We would much appreciate hearing any comments, critique, suggestions, or further questions that you may have after you've taken a look at the articles I've cited.
InspectAPedia is an independent publisher of building, environmental, and forensic inspection, diagnosis, and repair information provided free to the public - we have no business nor financial connection with any manufacturer or service provider discussed at our website.
(July 22, 2016) tony elicati said:
who manufactured the asbestos floor tiles in the levitt ny homes in 1948
ony I have not found any Levittown home literature that names one single flooring supplier; But if your flooring dates from the 1940's it would make sense to treat as presumed asbestos-containing materials - PACM.
You can use the photo ID guides given in this article series to (almost always) match the flooring in a 1940's NY home. The advice I'd offer was given in a post just above
July 27, 2016) Malcolm said:
If you put new floor tile over top of old tile (that could contain asbestos) should you be concerned? Drilled 1/4 inch plywood on top, then laid down ceramic floor tiles. Could the drilling cause a problem in the basement? Thanks
Malcolm, while nobody can inspect your home by e-text to know exactly what's going on, generally, covering over vinyl or asphalt-asbestos flooring is a safe and recommended procedure. I've no idea how much drilling occurred, how much dust was created, how that dust was or was not blown about, nor whether it contained hazardous asbestos or not. Normally I'd not expect drilling to put down plywood over an existing floor to drill holes through into a basement below.
(Aug 2, 2016) Anonymous said:
Am i likely to have asbestos in 300mm square floor tiles laid in about 1986
(Aug 4, 2016) happytobealive14 said:
Hello! We just purchased a home that was built in 1953. Upon pulling up very old carpet, we came across a vinyl flooring that we are unsure of. It is in one big sheet, not tiles. We were wondering if someone could identify this as flooring with asbestos in it? It is a cream colored floor with little squares all through it. They aren't really a pattern, just squares on top of one another going sideways, diagonal, etc..
Is there a place I could post a picture of this? I tried to copy and paste one here, but it didn't work.
Also, we are pulling the original paneling off the walls in the dining room. Is there a possibility that the glue used for the paneling on the walls has asbestos in it? Thanks for your help! We didn't want to start sanding the walls if there could be asbestos in the adhesive.
(Aug 19, 2016) terrypascall@outlook. com said:
If we cover a asbestos floor with carpet is that ok the asbestos is stable
Probably though of course unlike the great Carnaugh, I can't see your floor from my remote location. Generally floors are not pure "asbestos" but more likely vinyl-asbestos or asphalt-asbestos floor tiles or sheet flooring; those materials are not particularly friable - you can't make airborne dust by rubbing a piece of flooring between thumb and forefinger. So if a floor is in good condition, sealing its surface or covering it with a new layer of any flooring material is a good practice and one that probably puts the building occupants at lower risk of asbestos exposure than if some character tried to remove the old flooring entirely.
(Aug 30, 2016) Asbestos tiles? said:
I just purchased an older home with these questionable vinyl tiles. Could you please let me know if these tiles are asbestos tiles? Under the tiles is the orginal hardwood floors. What do I do? I cannot afford to pay for someone to remove them. Thank you.
For homes built before the early 1980's it would be prudent to assume the floor tiles contain asbestos.
Search InspectApedia.com for ASBESTOS FLOOR HAZARD REDUCTION to see some very inexpensive things you can do that virtually eliminate risk for an asbestos-suspect tiled floor in good shape.
I have an old peelband stick Armstrong floor.I was wondering if it contained asbestos fait au 16530817988 it was done in the 1980's
Matt some reader test results on later 1980's peel and stick did not find asbestos while early 80's and before often do.
I uncovered this sheet of vinyl flooring in my 1920's apartment, the pattern is bizarre . . . does anyone recognize the era or maker? It is broken in a few places, I am worried I have uncovered asbestos flooring, thanks for any help, I am including a link to photos:
Jason I took a look at your photos - they look like asphalt-backed sheet flooring, similar to linoleum ( inspectapedia.com/interiors/Linoleum_Flooring.php) . True linoleum wouldn't be expected to contain asbestos but some other asphalt-paper-backed sheet flooring might, as asbestos was used as a reinforcement in some asphalt paper products and backings including for flooring. Asbestos might also be in the black mastic flooring adhesive one sees in your photos.
If you are going to remove the flooring and adhesive I would treat it as presumed to contain asbestos: avoid making a dusty mess, wear protection &c. A good option is to leave such flooring in place and simply cover it over: less risk, less cost.
Let me know if you're OK with adding some of your photos here and we can post them for others to comment. - Daniel
(Sept 19, 2016) Jason said:
Wow, yes thank you for replying so quickly . . . yes, you are welcome to share photos, they might help someone else in their ID quest with these older floors. Thanks again
(Sept 28, 2016) Dina said:
I started removing ceramic tiles today and started worrying and wondering about asbestos when I saw some black mastic/tar (guessing on the material). Was asbestos still being used in flooring construction products in the 1990's (when my condo was built)?
Wanted to add, the black stuff seems like a thin paper.
Indeed some tile mastics contained asbestos. Asbestos used in new flooring work in the 1990's would be quite a surprise.
(Oct 6, 2016) Anonymous said:
How do you know if floor tiles or adhesive contain asbestos. I am currently removing old Red and black flook tiles that could be 40 to 50 years old..
It would be prudent to treat pre 1984 or 1985 flooring as presumed to contain asbestos, but to know for certain you'd have to have a sample of flooring and its adhesive tested by a certified asbestos test lab.
(Oct 25, 2016) Gordon said:
I've been a contractor for almost 2 decades and I've seen these 9x9 tiles on multiple occasions and even had some professionally tested in a lab and they are definitely asbestos. I'm always amazed how homeowners react when I tell them what they have in their house. They get defensive and most the time they get angry with me and act like I'm somehow attacking them like telling them their kid is ugly.
Since I've been a contractor so long, myself along with many, many other contractors are exposed every year to asbestos by careless homeowners tearing apart their houses and then calling us in to finish out a job. They don't get suspected materials tested and then get angry when I show up and ask "Have you had all this tested?" and in most cases they say "Blah, blah there's no asbestos in this house". H
ere's another thing to remember: Asbestos may have been outlawed in 1977 but don't you even go thinking your house built in the 80's or 90's is safe. Ever hear of a material called "vermiculite"? Its another material used in the same manner as asbestos. It's a binder, a insulation and also a form of fireproofing.....and guess what? Up until 1998 80% of the worlds Vermiculite came from Libby Montana and that same vermiculite was contaminated with asbestos since it was mined in locations that also contained the "serpentine" rock. If you have any further questions you can call me at 719-439-1697 Gordon/ Colorado Interiors LLC
Thanks for the interesting comments, Gordon.
Happily the flooring we're discussing is not "friable" - you can't crumble it to airborne dust by smushing it between your finger and thumb. So the real risks come when someone is doing demolition, grinding, chopping, sawing the material.
You'll also want to see ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION - Hazard Reduction alternatives & procedures for buildings with Asbestos Floor Tiles - found at inspectapedia.com/hazmat/Asbestos-Hazard-Reduction.php
We discuss vermiculite asbestos hazards separately at inspectapedia.com/insulation/Vermiculite_Insulation.php - VERMICULITE INSULATION -
(Nov 6, 2016) Nelson said:
I ripped out what possible have been asbestos sheet flooring. In my bathroom. My house was made in the 30s.how long do me and my family have to live?
The health impact of exposure to any harmful substance depends on quite a number of variables including
- the level of exposure - just how much asbestos was in the air you and your family breathed
- the duration of exposure - how long did you breathe in asbestos at that level
- individual health conditions - people who have other health limitations may be at greater risk
Those are questions to take to your doctor.
While we cannot know even the level of asbestos exposure in your home from the flooring removal, chances are, if you didn't make a dusty mess by sawing, grinding, chopping, the airborne particle level was comparatively low and so the potential asbestos hazard would be lower too.
If there is a chance that substantial amounts of demolition dust remain in your home you might want to collect a simple tape sample of representative dust to have examined by a certified asbestos test lab to see if the dust contains significant proportion of asbestos particles. That would be information to also take to your doctor.
Use the search box just above to search InspectApedia for ASBESTOS TEST LAB and also for DUST SAMPLE COLLECTION to see how to proceed.
Bottom line: barring an unusual situation such as the dust-creating process I cited earlier, people are in general at greater risk from smoking, not wearing seat belts while in a vehicle, and from falling down the stairs than from typical conditions around removing asbestos-containing sheet flooring.
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