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nowwhatdidIdo

05:29PM | 11/30/02
Member Since: 11/29/02
12 lifetime posts
Bvbasement
All,

It ends up that this great, dry, carpeted basement that we envisioned as a playroom for our baby daughter in our new house is lined with tiles that contain asbestos. The previous owners added padding and carpet over these tiles. The tiles on their own, don't bother me much because I don't believe the baby will be breaking up or sanding the tiles. However, it's my understanding that the glue used to lay the tiles also contains asbestos and as the tiles become loose (and I can tell some are loose under the carpeting and padding)the asbestos fibers are released.

I am not sure what to do. Certainly, dropping a mint on professional removal is an option, but I know I can also try to cover it some more or encapsualte it. I was thinking about ripping up the carpet (which is not in bad shape) and cementing over the tiles and then re-carpeting. Is that stupid? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Piffin

01:06PM | 12/01/02
Member Since: 11/06/02
1281 lifetime posts
If these are not loose/friable, there is no reason to be alarmed. With the carpet over them, there is little liklyhood that they can be turned into dust producing asbestos factories.

The two ways of dealing with asbestos are removal or encapsulation. The carpet is not a perfect capsule, but the tiles are not the easiest thing to turn into dust.

In schools where remediation has been done because of the big scare, free asbestos fibrres in the air three years after remediation are testing at higher levels than before the remediation. In other words, it may be better to leave sleeping dogs lie.

Another fact to consider, in the lawsuits against manufacturers of asbestos used in the shipyards, testimony was disallowed under technicalities that substantially proved that the workers who smoked cigarettes and worked with asbestos developed asbestosis while those who did npot smoke and worked in the same conditions, did not. It appears that in adults, the cig smoke impeded the natural capacity of the human body to overcome the irritation and the scar tissue was formed. Children have more sensitive systems but this fact is worthy of your consideration. If you smoke, you will do moire damage to your child than letting him/her crawl on an asbestos floor.

nowwhatdidIdo

04:04PM | 12/01/02
Member Since: 11/29/02
12 lifetime posts
Piffin,

Thank you *very* much for your post. Excellent points all. You have made me calm down a bit, but you have also raised two other questions.

(1) There was asbestos wrapping around some duct work that was professionally removed. They came in, built an enclosure, soaked the ducts and then scrapped all of the wrapping off. The entire time they were working, they had what they called a negative air machine pumping whatever fibers, etc. outside of the house. I am now really upset about what I may have inadvertantly caused because I thought I was doing the right thing. Any suggestions? I am planning on having a professional come in and test the air. Waste of money or is it too late anyway?

(2)From your post and what I have read on the EPA website, among others, I have calmed down about the tiles being friable. but, there are definitely loose tiles under the carpet (as well as in areas where there is no carpet, but they would be used as storage.) What do you suggest I do, if anything, about those?

Your advice is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!


GlennG

02:39AM | 12/04/02
Floor tiles are not nearly as difficult to remove as asbestos pipe or duct insulation. The procedure will be to apply a solvent to the tiles to loosen the adhesive and wetting of the tiles as they are removed. It should not be as expensive as the duct wrap you had removed. If you have loose tiles your best bet is to have them removed. Once eliminated you will no longer have to worry about it. The bottom line is how much is your peace of mind worth?

Glenn

nowwhatdidIdo

12:48PM | 12/04/02
Member Since: 11/29/02
12 lifetime posts
Glenn, thanks for your advice. You are right about the value of piece of mind.


nowwhatdidIdo

05:58PM | 12/08/02
Member Since: 11/29/02
12 lifetime posts
But, with piece of mind, comes alternative searching... I know the tile is going to have to come out to make me feel better, but we are nearing the end of line when it comes to cash for house projects. The tile is pretty old, probably original or at least from the 50s (house was built in 43). Since I posted this message, I have been poking around some more down there. It looks like the tile is underneath every square inch of the carpeting. The previous owners actually nailed through the tile to lay the carpet tacking strips. Most of the tile, from what I can tell, is not in bad shape (including the ones they nailed through). Based on what I have read, I am not as concerned about those. But, there are quite a few tiles that obviously were soaking in water for a long time (somewhere along the line a drainage system was installed to fix the water problem). Those tiles are now disintegrating into dust. Those are the ones that have me freaking out. Is the above mentioned solvent available to everyone or just contractors? Am I nuts for thinking about doing this myself?

Piffin

06:44PM | 12/08/02
Member Since: 11/06/02
1281 lifetime posts
Calm down. What you did with the duct wrap was right and what you are about to do yourself is also right.
The duct wrap is extremely friable and having professionals remove it wet was the right way to accomplish it for your saftey. Leaving it in place would have contributed far more, in the long term, to your unease and the amount ingested by the next generation.
But on the other hand, the floor tiles pose little risk unless you paln to grind or sand on them to get them up. Keep your work area misted damp in case you create any loose fibres. The misting ( a little spritz bottle will do it or a damp mop occasionally) will prevent any loose fibres from becoming airborne. Double bag them for disposal. wear a dust mask (N100 if you can find one) and change clothes when done working there. Use a wet/dry vac often.

Cheer up! Some houses have ghosts but there are few, if any Nightmares on Elm Street.

Enjoy the season

GlennG

02:58PM | 12/09/02
The solvent used would depend on the type of adhesive used. If it is black it is likely asphalt based. Mineral spirits may work but for starters you might try an ordinary adhesive remover available at most home improvement stores. Let it soak in for several hours before trying to remove the tiles. Apply more solvent as needed. Keep the tiles wet to eliminate any dust when removing them, be careful when using flammable solvents, and keep the area well ventilated.

Another thing to take into consideration is that asbestos is not permitted in your ordinary landfill. It will need to be disposed of in the same manner as other toxic substances and the bags containing the waste may need to be labeled.

Glenn

johnmar

03:57PM | 12/09/02
Member Since: 11/22/02
13 lifetime posts
How does one find out their tiles contain asbestos? I am in the process of renovating my 1950's basement and found tiles underneath the carpeting. Should I be concerned????

nowwhatdidIdo

06:42AM | 12/10/02
Member Since: 11/29/02
12 lifetime posts
Piffin and Glenn, Thanks very much (again)for your advice. I am going to go for it. I am assuming the ventilation is for the solvent? I'll do the best I can, but there are glass blocks on the basement windows and only two of them have vents in them. I also believe there are special tools that are used for lifting the tile available at local home improvement stores.

One other question, when I start rolling up the carpet and padding, do I need to be worried about any trapped fibers in there? Will the same precautions I take with the tile itself be sufficient with the carpeting? Thanks again and happy holidays!

John, all the stuff I have read indicates that if the tiles are 9x9 they most likely contain asbestos fibers, but they are bound in a matrix that makes it extremely difficult to actually release the fibers (unless you are grinding or sanding the tiles). Glenn and Piffin, who have responded to this post, are the people to ask though. Like Piffin says, enjoy the season and keep your worrying to a minimum.

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