Floors Asbestos floor tiles

Published on January 15th, 2017 | by Henri

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Removing asbestos tiles

Q.  I have a question about 9″x 9″ tiles.  I was told that all 9×9 tiles had asbestos; is this true? The tiles are old, probably early ’80s, very thin, and I think it is the adhesive kind, no mud.  If what I’ve been told is true, how do I remove, dispose of, and replace the tiles? Is there any government plan, either federal, state or local, I could use to help pay for it? Thank you.

A.  Not all 9-inch-by-9-inch tiles contain asbestos; it depends on their composition; asphalt or linoleum. The mastic used to adhere them, whether as a stick-on or not, may also contain asbestos.

Your tiles are very likely older than the ’80s, as 9×9 tiles were no longer manufactured by then. They are more likely from the ’70s. There is no federal, state or local financial help available to help pay for removal and disposal, but there is also no federal law preventing you, the homeowner, from removing and disposing of the tiles yourself.

You can safely remove the tiles by keeping them wet at all times and prying them carefully with a putty knife. Place the tiles in large plastic contractor bags (they are usually very strong), tie the bags securely, and put them in the trash.

You can also take a sample to an environmental firm for testing; the cost is reasonable. Or you can have a professional floor covering firm take care of the entire job at a greater cost.

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