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Congoleum Gold Seal linoleum flooring, Life Magazine 14 Feb 1955Asbestos-Containing Sheet Flooring FAQs
Questions & answers about how to identify & what to do about sheet flooring / resilient flooring containing asbestos

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Asbestos-containing sheet flooring or resilient flooring FAQs:

Questions & answers about how to identify sheet flooring or resilient flooring that contains absbestos & what to do about asbestos in sheet flooring, resilient flooring or what some readers call "linoleum". True linoleum flooring does not contain asbestos but some other sheet flooring products do. 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.

This article series describes sheet flooring products known to contain significant levels of asbestos. We also include photographs for identification of known asbestos-containing resilient sheet flooring as well as unknown flooring submitted for identification. The article gives safety and asbestos testing advice for sheet flooring products.



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FAQs about Asbestos in Resilient Flooring or Sheet Flooring

Asbestos suspect sheet flooring from Justin Morrill Homestead[Click to enlarge any image] Shown at left, antique jute-backed sheet flooring.

Article Contents

Older sheet flooring products: example of floors that do not contain asbestos

This sheet flooring covering backed with burlap fabric is probably more than a century old.

We examined it in an non-public area of the Justin Morrill Homestead, a historic building in Vermont.

The material has not been tested for asbestos fibers, but where we see what is obviously a jute backing it's not likely that the product contained asbestos..

The possible origin of this product is discussed at Asphalt & Vinyl Floor Tile History - history, dates, and description of the production process and ingredients in asphalt floor tiles, asphalt-asbestos floor tiles, & vinyl-asbestos floor tiles 1900 to present.

Also see LINOLEUM & SHEET FLOORING

Question: ugly green flooring in an 1800's home - likely to contain asbestos?

Linoleum-like floor covering - linoleum rug (C) InspectApedia CW(Sept 27, 2015) Amanda Yorck said:
I started tearing up flooring today and in the throws of it I realized I should be concerned about asbestos. My house was built in the early 1800s and I have no clue when the floor was put in. It is sheet flooring, vinyl I assume.

There are 2 layers of black backing. The floor itself is a very ugly green, intentionally splotchy in design. It is probably a mute point at this point, but is this floor likely to contain asbestos? I have a picture but I don't see a place to upload it. Hopefully you can work with my poor description.

Reply:

Please use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to send us photos for comment.

Question: 1960's Sheet Flooring Asbestos: the manufacturer said if it wasn't black mastic, we are probably fine

(July 8, 2015) Ros said:
Hi. we recently purchased a home built in about 1965. It had multiple layers of flooring. We removed top layer of old hardwood, then a layer of cushion floor and layer of plywood and beneath that were tiles I am fairly certain are asbestos. Tiles were intact so we left it and covered with plywood again as we plan to tile. Then I got to worrying whether the vinyl contained asbestos too. It came up generally intact but some pieces ripped and a bit of the backing remained behind.

I scrapped it up after wetting down with water. The adhesive was a light colour. The vinyl was imprinted with Domco Series 46. I called the manufacturer and they can't tell me if it has asbestos or not. I would guess it was installed in the early 80's given the age of cabinets which sat on top of the vinyl. Any idea about this product?

The manufacturer said if it wasn't black mastic, we are probably fine. however, my internet search yields articles where this is a full on biohazard to don't worry about it, IF there is asbestos, the exposure is minimal. (unlike my grade school which allowed us to freely handle asbestos rocks in the classroom). Anyways, I may try and get this tested but since it is already up, there's not much to be done about it, I am more curious to know in case this stuff is also in other parts of the house which we have yet to renovate...like bathrooms.

Reply:

Ros

I don't know what has happened to Domcor flooring but their website, as of the moment, is DOA. I'd appreciate any contact information you have for the company, by post here or by email found at our page bottom CONTACT link. Use that email also to send me some photos of your flooring for further identification research.

In my OPINION if a company won't give a yes or now answer to asbestos in their products then something has made them nervous. Or put another way if I knew that my flooring never contained asbestos I'd be a dope not to say so.

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.

Watch out that the mastic used to adhere old sheet flooring may also contain asbestos. After trying various solvents on a black mastic years ago I discovered that it was water soluble and came up easily once I let it sit wet for a few hours. Try that.

Red brick pattern flooring without asbestos (C) InspectApedia PC Brick floor tile pattern containing asbesto (C) InspectApedia.com

J.W. Indeed I've found other similar flooring patterns to those in your photo that by date, records, tests, were confirmed as having asbestos in the vinyl backing; it would be prudent to treat the material as presumed-asbestos-containing material. Don't panic; non-friable materials like this can usually be handled with a minimum of dust and debris - provided the floor was not glued down.

The flooring shown at above left, installed in the 1980's did not contain asbestos. Details are at SHEET FLOORING BRICK PATTERN ID

The flooring shown at above right in a white brick pattern (these are tiles not sheet flooring) contained asbestos. Sheet flooring in the same pattern also contained asbestos.

Reader Question: does this sheet flooring from a 1975 house contain asbestos?

1975 sheet flooring that may contain asbestos (C) InspectApedia.com JR

I am hopeful you can help me determine if this sheet flooring found in a house built in 1975 might have asbestos.
I didn't see any patterns like it in your images in the asbestos area. I wondered if maybe you would recognize the pattern and be able to help me. - Anonymous, by private email, 2016/05/31

1975 sheet flooring that may contain asbestos (C) InspectApedia.com JR

Reply:

I don't know this exact pattern but some 70's sheet flooring very similar to it has tested and shown an asbestos content in the backer.

If you can remove it without making a dusty mess, intact, then the risks are probably low; if you need to do more aggressive demolition it's worth the $50. to have a confirming test - or to be safe just treat it as presumed to contain asbestos.

We discuss how to identify asbestos-containing sheet flooring at RESILIENT SHEET FLOORING ID GUIDE

At the end of any of our asbestos-related InspectApedia pages, at More Reading you will find a complete ARTICLE INDEX to ASBESTOS HAZARDS
See therein
ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION
and
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

Reader follow-up:

... thanks a lot for getting back to me and providing these details. I pulled the flooring out of a basement bathroom not even thinking about asbestos until I was done. I am planning on having it tested because this same flooring is in two other areas.

It mostly came up in large sheets, and did not seem dusty to me at all during the removal process. But, I am still concerned. I suspect the small amount that may have come from the removal is not significant and I should be ok, I hope.

Anyway, thanks for the lab list, if you have a specific lab you would suggest please let me know. Please post the photos on your site. I will let you know what the test results are as well.

Reply:

Just be sure to use a certified lab, and do let me see the results, as they may help others.

Armstrong sheet flooring (C) InspectAPedia.comQuestion: 1978 Armstrong Celarian sheet flooring has asbestos? Armstrong Premium Excelon Vinyl Composition Tile, product number 52127?

(Sept 1, 2014) From Faribault said:
We built our house in 1978, and put in Armstong Celarian inlaid sheet flooring.We are in the midst of a remodeling project. What is the likelihood that it has asbestos?

(Aug 5, 2015) Katie F. said:
We bought a house in 2012 from someone who had owned it for 20 years and laid tile flooring when renovating the basement. We found two boxes of these tiles - they are Armstrong Premium Excelon Vinyl Composition Tile, product number 52127. The box has a side panel warning indicating that these should not be sanded as there may be undetectable asbestos. I need to have work done in the basement because we have moisture issues - what is the risk if these tiles need to be removed for this work? Do I need to hire an abatement firm

Other readers ask about asbestos content in various sheet flooring products

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

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

(Apr 29, 2015) Brent said:
I have a 1988 Hino school bus that i am converting to a house bus and am wondering if the vinyl floor has asbestos or not.
Does anyone have any ideas on that? The flooring is sheet vinyl lino and not tiles. Cheers

Reply: Basic Advice for Floor Tiles or Sheet Flooring that Might Contain Asbestos

For Matt, Faribault & Katie F and other readers:

​Thank you for the question about possible asbestos in flooring.

I do not recognize the exact pattern of your flooring, though you may find a close match in the library of asbestos floor tiles and sheet flooring beginning
at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION

Because there are so many manufactures and floor tile patterns, types, sizes, and colors over many decades just looking through catalogs organized by even color or pattern can be a daunting task.

Better is to narrow the question by forming a reasonable guess about the age of the floor tile or sheet flooring. We can at the very least narrow this down by knowing the age of the building and sometimes 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 give above.

PHOTOS: You are welcome to send me photos of floor tiles, and where loose tiles or packaging are available I'd want to see the back side of tile and all sides of packaging and labels. Knowing the tile dimensions and thickness are also useful. Our email link is also found at the CONTACT link at the top or bottom of any InspectApedia.com page.

Basic 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.

Watch out: do not grind, cut, saw, chop or otherwise demolish flooring that may contain asbestos: you don't want to use methods that create a dusty mess.

On any of our asbestos-related InspectApedia pages, at More Reading you will find a complete ARTICLE INDEX for dealing with asbestos containing materials.

See in that list
ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION

and
ASBESTOS FLOORING REMOVAL GUIDE

IF however you are faced with a requirement for a dusty messy demolition and if you are uncertain about the flooring's asbestos content and cannot identify it through our guides, then you may want to have a sample tested.
In that case
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.

Angela W

Don't confuse asbestos hazards with asthma and allergies, nor with condensation.

Unless you are grinding, chopping, hacking your vinyl asbestos floor tiles, with them just sitting there the probability that you can measure a harmful level of asbestos release is nearly zero.

The moisture problem is a separate one to correct. Find and fix the moisture soruces, run a dehumidifier if necessary;

When the floor is dry you may want to seal it or cover it with something less horrible for allergy.asthma sufferers than carpeting.

Question: asbestos in 1970's sheet vinyl, "white shield backing" & congoleum seam sealer SU92

(Mar 31, 2016) Lynne said:
We have sheet vinyl laid in the early 70's.
Looking at the white backing, it has markings of "white shield backing" and "seams must be sealed with congoleum seam sealer SU92".
It's in need of replacing as joins are lifting up.
We were wondering if we can do this ourselves as it is adhered completely to the concrete floor not just the perimeter.
Tried to enclose a few photos for identification regarding possible asbestos, to no avail :( any tips here would be gladly welcomed.
Many thanks.

Reply:

Lynne

You can send us photos for comment using the page bottom CONTACT link.

Most likely you'll want to have a sample of the material tested, possibly also testing the adhesive as some of those also contained asbestos in the 1970's.

Search InspectApedia for ASBESTOS TEST LABS to see how to find a certified lab if you decide to test.

We also describe proper flooring removal procedures at ASBESTOS FLOOR REMOVAL found by searching this site.

Question: probability of asbestos in sheet flooring in a 1990 home?

(Oct 22, 2015) Dennis said:
The house I live in was supposedly built in1990. I started removing old flooring in the bathroom when upon an internet search on how to, I started seeing articles about asbestos in vinyl flooring. It is sheet vinyl with a paper type backing. At this point I'm treating it like it does. Do I have to worry?

Reply:

Dennis we can't know by e-text precisely what material you're disturbuing, but certainly if it dates from 1990 in the U.S. that's past the date that one would expect to find new asbestos-containing floor coverings being installed.

Question: floor at my job looks hot but I'm told it's safe, I want to send a photo

(May 12, 2016) Anonymous said:
The floor at my job looks hot but they're telling me it's safe but it doesn't look safe to me I'm trying to send a picture but I'm

Reply:

You can use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to send flooring photos for comment.

Question: how to send flooring photos to InspectApedia

(Oct 5, 2014) Karen Jarvis said:
I need help identifying my vinyl sheet paper backed flooring and whether it might contain asbestos.

(Oct 23, 2014) Anonymous said:
I can't figure out how to look up a picture of my sheet flooring to help determine whether or not it may have asbestos. The links don't seem to have a date nor picture catalog of materials. DAF

(Dec 31, 2014) jen said:
I have a pic of flooring that looks similar to swirl chip. How can I send a pic for identification

Reply:

use the email at our CONTACT Link seen at page bottom or top.

Other Questions about Asbestos in Sheet Flooring

Question: did asbestos flooring come in just tiles or also in roll or sheet flooring?

Can the asbestos flooring come in tiles only or does it come in a role? - P.H. 12/31/12

Reply:

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.

Article Series Contents

If you are facing a large cost or have other reasons to be concerned about asbestos contamination in the building it would not be costly to have a small sample of the floor tested. The advice at these 3 articles should be helpful.

...


Continue reading at RESILIENT SHEET FLOORING ID GUIDE - home, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see SHEET FLOORING INSPECT / TEST - home

Or see FLOOR, RESILIENT VINYL or CORK - best installation practices for modern sheet or resilient flooring

Or see SHEET FLOORING BRICK PATTERN ID

Or see LINOLEUM & SHEET FLOORING

Suggested citation for this web page

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

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to ARTICLE INDEX to ASBESTOS HAZARDS

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