06:02AM | 12/30/09
Member Since: 12/29/09
1 lifetime posts
Hi Folks,

I live in a house that is about 90 years old with a full basement. Half of the basement is finished and the other half is the laundry room/unfinished area. Thru the years, the flooring in both the finished and unfinished areas have deteriorated. I suspect that the finished portion of the floor, approx. 250 sq feet, is 9*9 asphalt asbestos tiles. A dozen or so of these tiles are wearing down on the edges with perhaps half a dozen cracked or missing small chunks. Under these tiles is concrete with black glue whoes chemical makeup is also unknown. The unfinished part of the floor (laundry room) is also about the same size, 250 sq. feet, and is concrete that has been previously painted ... the paint is peeling and coming off, I have scraped most of the old paint off with only a few areas still needing to be scraped and a few isolated areas where the paint is actually in good condition: the chemical makeup of this paint is also unknown, might be lead.

I think I understand that I would need to encapsulate both the finished part and unfinished part of the basement. What is adding to the problem is the fact that this is a basement: I have a dehumidifier running and it is dry now, but sometimes it can get humid, damp, a little wet at times.

I am torn between what to do about the finished part of the basement ... some have told me to cover the asphalt (probably asbestos) tiles with self stick vinyl tiles myself thereby encapsulating the tiles after I use some leveling compound to attempt to repair some of the damaged tiles. Some have told me to just cover the asphalt tiles with indoor/outdoor carpeting (100% ofelin) which would encapsulate the tiles under it. I have been trying to find other options as well; such as finding some sort of epoxy that can simply go over the entire area thereby encapsulating the tiles and making a new hard surface that I can either keep bare put anything over. In attempting to find a frugile but effective remedy to this problem; I am worried that if I chose the wrong option the fact that this operation is occuring in the basement will mess up whatever option I take? Can anyone tell me what option to take that does not cost a fortune that might work in this situation? Ideally, I understand that in a perfect system I would just simply remove the tiles and work with bare concrete underneath (seal it against water), and I wish I could do that but half the people tell me I shouldn't because of possible asbestos. Then I hear folks saying to lay an underlayment down over the tiles, but wouldn't plywood or concrete slabs rot or crack due to them being in the basement? A lot of the water proof boards are extrememly expensive as well.

Does anyone know of any other options? Would laying concrete over the tiles work and be feasible? Does some sort of epoxy exist that would work? Should I just use self stick tile squares or carpet? What about vinyl sheeting? I am worried that whatever I chose might get wet once in a blue moon and would be damaged as a result (by wet I just mean humid, damp, or 1/8th inch or less of standing water).

To further complicate the problem, in the past we have had water come up thru the floor, literally thru the floor (not near the walls) and mind you we have solid concrete underlayment. I have been told this is probably due to a backed up sewage pipe which we since fixed successfully ... but what if that is not causing this problem and something else is?

A side note: I have been told that I have a negative slope towards the foundation: it cannot be very severe as I don't notice it when I look at the foundation from the outside, but then again I do not have the 'trained' eye. I have also been told that as opposed to my eavesdrops going into the street/lawn they are re-directed back into the house. Are these issues involved in whole or in part to the possible issue of water coming up thru the tiles that the plumber said should now be resolved due to the re-opening of a blocked sewage line? Should I fix these issues and if so, how? I understand I can put sand bags all around the house to increase the slope? I can cut the eavesdrop and re-direct somewhere else?

Another side note: It appears that some possible asbestos tape is slowly coming off the furnace ducts in my laundry room ... it is not friable to the touch with what I can see ... I found this stuff called aluminum tape which is supposibily for ducts and can withstand high heat, high cold, and extreme temps ... should I just wrap the possible asbestos tape with that a few times thereby keeping it hidden and encapsulated?

Thank you for your opinions, suggestions, and help.

Confused and Worried,



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