Published on December 4th, 2012 | by Henri


Asbestos tiles loose in basement

Q.    I have a typical New England basement that is occasionally wet during heavy rains and spring snowmelt. It has 9-inch by 9-inch asbestos-containing tiles that were placed in approximately 1962 when our house was built. We have a sump pump that goes to work seasonally and removes most of our standing water. In the majority of the floor area these tiles are still well adhered to the concrete floor but in places they are lifting to some degree and in some places they are entirely loose. Is there a product to seal these tiles in place that will cover this surface permanently?

I don’t mind the occasional wetness and would like to avoid pouring an entire cement slab over them as it would decrease head space to less than 7 feet. I understand that removal will probably be considered an asbestos cleanup and I would like to avoid disturbing them as much as possible.

A.    Under the conditions you describe, the best solution is to re-glue the loose floor tiles. A store selling resilient floor tiles can sell you the appropriate adhesive;  take a sample tile to them to get the right adhesive. You will have to remove as much of the old adhesive as you can with a sharp putty knife.

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