07:51PM | 06/30/06
Member Since: 06/29/06
1 lifetime posts

I bought a house a year ago that was built in 1913. We decided to pull up carpet that was relatively new to install interlocking wood laminate. In pulling up the carpet and padding we found black tacky mastic. As home remodeling novices, we didn't think anything of it, and laid the laminate.

We also removed peel and stick 12" x 12" vinyl tiles in the kitchen that were coming up. They were old, but I wouldn't think older than 10-15 years. Under these were some ceramic tiles and the same black tacky mastic. We removed the tiles, but did not attempt to remove the mastic. We then laid new tiles, but can still see a crack of the dark mastic between some of the tiles.

Recently I've been hearing about the possibility that these materials could contain asbestos. I am very concerned about this, and nothing I read is very reassuring. Are we in danger? We all walked around on this mastic during the process of laying down new tiles and this scares the heck out of me. We also have a young daughter who was in and out of the room during this. I think I will get my asbestos level tested, but surely there have been a lot of people who were exposed to these types of materials for a much much longer amount of time, and a lot larger area, who turned out fine, right?? Sorry for the panic, any help is greatly appreciated.


12:58PM | 07/02/06
Member Since: 02/17/05
43 lifetime posts
I've been working the in the asbestos industry for nearly 20 years and the most important thing I tell people is this: asbestos is most hazardous when it is airborne. This happens when it is dusty or so badly damaged that it can float through the air. I'm relatively sure that your black mastic, if it is asbestos, is NOT airborne. Short of having it professionally removed, the best thing you could do is put other tile over the top. Professionals call that "enclosure" and it is a recognized method of controllng an asbestos hazard. Now, if you tell me you want it removed, that becomes another issue to do is without creating a hazard. So, if possible, just cover it up and leave it alone.

Fortress Environmental Solutions


05:59AM | 04/18/08
Member Since: 04/17/08
1 lifetime posts your post.

I work in the construction industry in NYC, specifically in school construction.

The city runs into asbestos containing materials "(ACM)" everyday. Your situation is not unlike most where there was either an ACM floortile or ACM mastic @ the molding. In those cases putting down another layer of floor tile is perfectly acceptablable & in accordance w/ city specifications pertaining to that work.Bear in mind that these are schools and the risk is not takien lightly. Thus, if it good for the most it should be safe for you as well.

ACM comes in many shapes and sizes. & as the gent said before me, when it's airbourne that is when there is the greatest risk. On the risk spectrum gummy sticky substances (mastic & caulking) are on the low end in that they hold on the asbestos and are less inclined to release fibers. A higher risk situation is where the ACM is what is known as "friable" in that it crumbles, creates dust and releases fibers into the air. This is usually the case with plasters, cements, wire & duct insulations.

If you go the removal or "abatement" route. You should obtain quotes from 3 plus contractors. In that quote should include "air monitoring" results for the house, "airlock containment" for the area of work.

The air monitoring is exactly that. Your contractor sets up a apparatus that sucks in and samples the air. The air passes thru a cassette and is sent to a lab for review. When the results come back "all clear" or negative result. it means the air is free of fibers. If the air doesnt come back all clear or comes back positive. The house is dusted and cleaned and the air sampled again until an all clear is achieved.

Note; in your case since the condition is mastic and not friable there is a very low chance getting a positive air result. In the case where a positive result has come back it is usually due to a dusty, construction condition triggering a lab finding and not asbestos fibers.

Hope this helps. your gut has been accrurate thus far. Dont do what most people do when they hear asbestos...that is freak out. There are protocols and methods for restoring areas to safe occupation after ACM has been discovered.


Froggie 99
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