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1958house

07:51PM | 03/19/05
Member Since: 03/19/05
7 lifetime posts
Bvmisc
I have asbestos tile covering my basement floor. I know that water has come into the basement in the past, and may do so again. I think from the water and maybe temperature changes (?) the tile has begun to come up and crack/warp around the edges next to the wall. I had not been concerned about the floor, but lately the tiles seem to be more broken up and damaged by water. I think I may need to remove them. If I do it myself, what is the best way to do that? Do I need to have the tile tested? I know it is asbestos tile because there is an old box of "new" tiles still in the basement.

Fortress

01:46PM | 03/21/05
Member Since: 02/17/05
43 lifetime posts
I do asbestos training for a living so I will give you the scoop! This is how it's "supposed" to be done according to OSHA regulations. Of course, as a homeowner, you are not under OSHA for work done in your home. But for the safety of yourself and family you should follow these regulations as much as possible.

1.) Wet it down. Saturated asbestos won't become airborne.

2.) Lift it up "intact". The safest way to take care of it is to guard from breaking it in pieces. You can use a chisel to carefully pry up the ends. Failure to take it up intact may endanger you and your family.

3.) HEPA vacuum. Professionals are required to complete the project by thoroughly vacuuming the entire area with a special high filtraiton "HEPA" vacuum (99.97% efficient).

4.) Dispose wet in waterproof bags. Seal them shut. Use the heavy 6 mil bags. Tape them shut with duct tape. Theoretically, tile is supposed to go to specially certified landfills as "non-friable construction debris."

Hope this helps.

Fortress Environmental Solutions

www.fortressusa.com

1958house

05:47PM | 03/24/05
Member Since: 03/19/05
7 lifetime posts
your info is helpful. Since some of the tile is already broken, I'm thinking I need to have a professional do this--and I'm not sure how easily I could remove the mastic or whatever is under the tiles. If the tiles are cracking or breaking up, are they considered friable, or is it if they can be pulverized into a dust? (not something I want to test at home!)

njhouse

05:23PM | 06/18/05
Member Since: 06/17/05
1 lifetime posts
Hi,

Just wondering if you ever found an answer to your last question - is it friable if the tile is broken/cracked or only if it is crubling/turns into a powdery substance?


tomh

06:51AM | 06/22/05
Member Since: 07/01/03
550 lifetime posts
Friable asbestos is a defined term, and it really makes common sense. If a material is easily pulverized, crumbled or reduced to dust, it is friable. Materials that fracture are not friable, but may represent different degrees of fiber release risk. In general, floor tile poses some of the lowest risk of fiber release. When the tile was manufactured, asbestos fiber was mixed in to the liquid slurry, then the tile was formed. As a result, the fiber is not only contained in the matrix, it is also coated. This makes any fiber released by breaking relatively heavy and large. The means it is generally not respirable. By using wet methods during removal, dust risk and exposure is further mitigated.

As materials become more brittle (think asbestos cement), there is a higher degree of risk for dust release. So non-friable material can be considered to have degrees of risk. This is reflected in the current regulations which classify non-friable as class I and class II. I would not hesitate to remove vinyl or asphalt asbestos tile. I would use greater precautions and personal protective measures if removing asbestos cement containing chrysotile fiber; and finally, I would only recommend a professional deal with friable insulation or acoustical materials, and especially those materials containing more hazardous amphibole (amosite or crocidolite) asbestos fiber.

Fortress

03:32PM | 06/22/05
Member Since: 02/17/05
43 lifetime posts
I agree with everything tomh said, but I will add a little side comment about friability and floor tile. I can only speak for my State (Michigan) but OSHA is no longer talking about friability or non-friability of floor tile during removal. Rather, they talk about "intact" or "non-intact". As long as tile can remain "intact" during removal it is considered a Class II (8 hours), non-friable removal activity, with minimal personal protective equipment required (as long as wet methods are utilized). On the other hand, if tiles come up in tiny pieces (they define this as more than five or six) they call this "non-intact removal" and, for OSHA regulated jobs, require Class I training (32 hours), procedures and equipment. While OSHA does not regulate homeowner done projects, I did feel the need to clarify this point for any who are doing asbestos floortile removal as subcontractors.

Fortress Environmental Solutions

www.fortressusa.com

tomh

09:44AM | 06/23/05
Member Since: 07/01/03
550 lifetime posts
Thanks for the clarification. You have certainly brought much expertise to the forums on this subject. Your comments on floor tile remind me of a job I once inspected at an Ohio State University Dorm where the contractor was dry-removing floor tile using a floor machine. As you know it breaks the tile up into small chunks with spinning blades and vacumms them. This was the only tile removal job I saw in many years that actually exceeded the TLV in effect at that time (5 /cm3). As a former regulatory inspector and certified contractor, inspector and management planner, I got to see it all. We should trade horror stories sometime.

sguire

08:57PM | 06/23/05
Member Since: 06/11/05
1 lifetime posts
Tomh, I've read many of your posts re: Asbestos tile removal and, as someone who is willing to balance risks in the right situation, I have no problem removing my tile and have, in fact, already started to do so (albeit unwittingly). I do have several questions for you though.

Here's a brief history of my project. A prior owner of my 1939 home removed most of an entire basement worth of 9x9 asbestos tiles except under the washer/dryer and in a dingy basement bathroom. When I started my whole basement remodel I tore down some plywood ceilings in the old basement only to discover that was where the prior owner threw all of the removed tiles. So when I pulled the plywood down, my friends and I were covered in old tile and dust. It didn't occur to me that these tiles were asbestos at the time.

The tiles under the washer/dryer (about 12 tiles total) came off whole very easily, but the tiles in the old bathroom are very hard to remove. Before I realized they were asbestos, I had chipped up about a dozen tiles, but it got progressively more difficult. After unsuccessfully trying to loosen the black mastic with various orange cleaners and mineral spirits, I turned to heating the tiles with a heat gun, which allowed the tiles to be scraped up in large pieces (not whole tiles). Of course, the smell is atrocious, and it was still very slow work.

At this point I only have 20 whole or partial tiles left.

Here are my questions.

1. Is using a heat gun or iron safe with this material? Is using dry ice for the opposite effect better? If I can't seal the remaining 20 tiles what is the best way to get them up? It seems like using a heat gun won't work well with wetting the tiles down.

2. Considering all I was exposed to before I realized they were asbestos, should I just finish this last part or should I call a contractor? Does the fact I now have a newborn matter? (I send him out when I work on this stuff, but he has to return to the house sometime)

3. Am I going to die? From reading your posts, it seems like the dust in the old ceiling was more likely 30 years of house dust and not asbestos dust. Even though I can no longer do anything about that, do I need to have someone come in and test my whole house for airborne particles?

Thanks,


tomh

07:37AM | 06/24/05
Member Since: 07/01/03
550 lifetime posts
1. Is using a heat gun or iron safe with this material? Is using dry ice for the opposite effect better? If I can't seal the remaining 20 tiles what is the best way to get them up? It seems like using a heat gun won't work well with wetting the tiles down.

Heat increses the resiliancy of the tile and prevents fracturing. This binds dusts and minimizes contamination. Cold breaks the adhesive bond by causing the surface to contract relative to the substrate. Tiles tend to pop off whole. Whatever works is your solution.

2. Considering all I was exposed to before I realized they were asbestos, should I just finish this last part or should I call a contractor? Does the fact I now have a newborn matter? (I send him out when I work on this stuff, but he has to return to the house sometime)

Your exposure theroetically increases lifetime risks for mesotheleoma only. This risk cannot be quantified for low (non-occupational) exposures. Due to latency (long period of time for disease development) and low potency and dose, this risk is minimal. Avoid smoking and don't worry about it. Kids should not be exposed because their expected lifespan greatly exceeds the latency time. To prevent contamination in the house, isolate and ventilate the work area with exhaust fans to ensure air is pulled away from the occupied areas of the house. Completely clean all surfaces of the work area when complete using soapy water and lots of rags. Latex paint is a great encapsulant and besides brightening the basement can seal down any stray fiber.

3. Am I going to die? From reading your posts, it seems like the dust in the old ceiling was more likely 30 years of house dust and not asbestos dust. Even though I can no longer do anything about that, do I need to have someone come in and test my whole house for airborne particles?

Eventually, but probably not related to asbestos. Relative to other daily risks, asbestos exposure of this nature ranks pretty low. I agree the dust could not have evolved from stored tile. From now on use a respirator with HEPA cartridges and disposable clothing so you don't have to bring contaminated materials into the house.

Testing would not be conclusive. Asbestos is an environmental contaminate and may be present in trace quantities even without prior work on ACM materials. Air testing would require aggressive methods (air blowers during test) and would have a great deal of interference from other fibers in the home (insulation, fabrics, carpeting). Most air sampling methods only measure fiber, not fiber type. You would pay through the nose for testing using definitive methods like X-Ray difraction or electron microscopy. Results would only be significant if you could compare them with a control site, like neighboring homes. Invest your money in a good cleaning. Have the carpets extraction cleaned by a commercial unit, and give the house a top to bottom wet cleaning, or paint.

Hope this helps. Keep us posted on your progress.

mtkramer

02:29PM | 08/02/07
Member Since: 08/01/07
1 lifetime posts
what is the best product to seal the asbestos tile in a basement, prior to carpeting over it.

mtkramer
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