How to Identify Asbestos Flooring and What to Do Next
Asbestos continues to be a serious concern for homeowners. Dangerous asbestos fibers are still found in construction materials in older homes, and asbestos flooring is still common in styles like laminate flooring.
You don’t want to be in a situation where you don’t know if you’re buying a house with asbestos flooring, or you’re removing a floor in a DIY project, without performing asbestos testing first.
There are a lot of questions that come with potential asbestos floors. How do I tell if I have asbestos flooring? Can I cover asbestos tile with another flooring? When was asbestos used in flooring and could my flooring contain asbestos?
These questions and more are all important when it comes to removing asbestos flooring from your home. This asbestos flooring guide walks through a brief history of asbestos, how to identify an asbestos floor, and why you should pay close attention when taking on a project or buying a home.
When Was Asbestos Used In Flooring?
Asbestos was first used in building projects in the late nineteenth century. It was considered a very effective insulation material, so it became popular for everything from pipes to walls to roofing to asbestos flooring.
However, in the mid-1900s, asbestos was found to cause health ailments because of the fibers released when asbestos materials are damaged. These particles can stay in the air for long periods and cause serious problems like lung cancer, mesothelioma, throat or kidney cancer, asbestosis, and more. Learn more about asbestos-related health issues in our blog, “How Can Asbestos Affect My Health?”
Asbestos was banned from being used in the 1970s and 1980s, but homes built during or before these periods often still have asbestos-containing material. When it’s destroyed, the hazardous particles are released, and you can breathe them in.
What Does Asbestos Flooring Look Like?
After being so readily used, older flooring commonly contains asbestos. But how are you supposed to know what asbestos flooring looks like?
While asbestos testing is always best, there are a few characteristics to watch for when you suspect asbestos flooring is underfoot. The tell-tale signs are:
- Any older homes built before 1980
- Asbestos floors with an oily, greasy, or discolored look
- Asbestos flooring sized as 9-inch or 12-inch tiles
- Black asbestos flooring adhesive
Unfortunately, you can’t always tell if your flooring has asbestos just by looking at it. It is not visible, and the only way to know for sure is to get the material tested. However, knowing when your home was built and identifying the types of flooring used can help you get started living asbestos free.
Types of Asbestos Flooring in Your Home
Whether you own a home, are buying a home, or are renovating a home, most people know that finding asbestos is never a good thing. Being educated and remaining vigilant are the best ways to avoid this nasty material.
While the types of asbestos flooring present in the construction industry are too numerous to list, asbestos flooring is present in a few key flooring types. The most common materials used for asbestos flooring are:
- Laminate flooring
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Vinyl sheets
- Linoleum flooring
- Mastic flooring glue
Many of these materials are cost-effective flooring alternatives and thus were widely used when asbestos was prominent in building materials. Asbestos was very common in square tiles that were 9 inches or 12 inches, so be aware of older tiles in these size dimensions.
Knowing which floor types to look out for is important. Check out our blog for more information on what kind of flooring is more likely to contain asbestos.
While asbestos flooring is incredibly common, unfortunately, the asbestos scare doesn’t stop there for homeowners. Remaining knowledgeable about all asbestos material types and locations is the best way to avoid any asbestos on your property.
Where Else Can Asbestos Be Found In Homes?
When on the lookout for asbestos, don’t just look down – look all around! Due to the prevalence of asbestos materials, various locations throughout your home could contain materials made with asbestos. These other materials and places to check are:
- Asbestos in drywall and drywall joint compound
- Vermiculite insulation
- Asbestos ceiling tiles
- Popcorn ceilings
- Siding with asbestos
- Roofing shingles, siding, and sheets
- Asbestos-cement pipes
- Various types of pipe insulation
While these are the areas and asbestos materials that homeowners should check the most, you can never be too safe when it comes to making sure your home or property is asbestos free. With the prevalent use of asbestos in such a wide range of materials, many different types of properties can also be affected. Residential, industrial, municipal, and commercial buildings are all susceptible to the dangers of asbestos-containing materials.
No one wants to have the mental and physical issues that living in an unsafe asbestos environment can bring. If you suspect that asbestos is on your floors, ceiling, roof, or more, check out APM’s blog on the top 10 places you might find asbestos.
What Is At-Home Asbestos Testing?
If you’re still hesitant about whether or not asbestos flooring or other material might be in your home, we can see why you would be just as cautious to get an entire asbestos removal company involved. But, at Asbestos Project Management, we take your health and safety very seriously which is why we have an at-home test kit to make your testing options not so limited.
If your home was built in the 1980s or before, you need to test your floors for asbestos. Thanks to APM, it’s fairly simple to perform asbestos testing in the comfort of your own home.
All you have to do is get an at-home testing kit from Asbestos Project Management, send in your sample, and wait for the results. It’s that easy!
If an at-home asbestos test kit seems like the better option for you, and you’re wondering where to get the best test kit in Chicago, check out our recent blog to see why an at-home asbestos testing kit is a viable option for your asbestos flooring.
How to Remove Flooring With Asbestos
So let’s say you’ve become aware of what asbestos materials are, you choose to get certain areas of your home tested, and the results come back positive… now what?
Well, you have several options, the primary two being: asbestos removal and asbestos encapsulation.
With APM’s removal, all asbestos material is completely eradicated from the site using the latest and most detailed abatement methods. This ensures collection is done professionally and safely, eliminating the possibility of asbestos particles spreading.
With encapsulation, the asbestos material is only covered up to try to prevent it from being disturbed. Avoiding a serious problem instead of choosing the safest solution can get you in trouble.
Can You Cover Asbestos Tile With Another Flooring?
Unfortunately, many people avoid removing their asbestos flooring. This is due to the mindset that asbestos flooring is not harmful if it’s left alone, as this avoids the poisonous particles from being released.
Covering up asbestos flooring, or removing your asbestos floors yourself to avoid spending money, will only cost you more in the long run. As an untrained professional, you can be exposed to hazardous asbestos material. This can easily lead to numerous health issues resulting in expensive healthcare bills.
Plus, since you are simply covering asbestos up, cracks are bound to naturally occur over the years. Encapsulation doesn’t always work and it is only a matter of time before even encapsulated asbestos will need to be removed. Eventually, if you decide to redo your floors or sell your home you will be forced to confront the asbestos flooring.
Even if you are okay to have asbestos lurking in your home, other people may not be. If you should ever try to sell your home, potential buyers can request an asbestos inspection, and having asbestos results can lead to you getting a lower value on your home. This is why APM offers asbestos real estate services as well.
For us, the answer is simple: removal is always a better option than encapsulation. Plus, with asbestos removal, you should only ever remove asbestos flooring through a professional asbestos removal service – never by yourself!
Never start a DIY home project without addressing this important issue to keep everyone safe and avoid asbestos-related health problems. No matter what your test finds, you have options moving forward and Asbestos Project Management is here to help no matter what you choose.
Get Your Asbestos Floor Out The Door With Asbestos Project Management’s Removal Services
If you think you could be dealing with asbestos flooring, watch your step. Make sure you take the right path and call the professionals at APM immediately. We know a thing or two about asbestos removal, and how to make your space safe again.
With a 24-hour emergency call line, APM wants to be available 7 days a week for our local communities. All of our staff is fully trained and certified in OSHA, IEPA, and IDPH, making sure we deliver the highest quality service inside and outside of your home.
Your property should be safe for any to enter. For issues with asbestos flooring, popcorn ceilings, and more, contact Asbestos Project Management today for help with your asbestos abatement journey.Back To Blog