When you decide to get new flooring, you may be surprised about the type of floor you find when you rip up your old carpeting or sheet vinyl. If your house is several decades old, there's a chance you have old floor tiles that contain asbestos. At one time, asbestos was an extremely common building material used to make floors, roofs, pipes, and siding. Today the danger of breathing asbestos fibers is better known, so safer materials are used. The only way to know if your floor has asbestos is to have it tested. If it's found to have asbestos, these are your choices on how to proceed.
Cover It Up
If your old asbestos tiles are still in good shape, then they shouldn't pose a danger to your health. Asbestos is only a problem when it crumbles, or is otherwise damaged, so tiny fibers are released into the air. Covering the tiles with carpet or a floating floor is probably a safe and acceptable method of dealing with your problem. However, it's best to get professional advice first, so you make the best decision for your family's health.
Use A Sealer
The three ways to deal with asbestos in your house is to remove it, cover it, or seal it. The idea is to keep loose fibers from escaping and floating through the air in your home. It may give you peace of mind to seal your old vinyl tiles with an epoxy sealer before you cover it with new carpet. Even if you apply sealer, it is still a good idea to cover the old asbestos tiles, so they won't be scratched or damaged by everyday living.
Remove The Asbestos
One sure way to eliminate your asbestos floor problem is to have the floor removed. Asbestos removal is not a DIY job, even if you take safety precautions. Because the risk is so high of releasing fibers into the air when you rip up the tiles, it's necessary to set up a ventilation system and wear protective gear. Not only that, once the tiles are removed, they have to be disposed of properly since they are considered dangerous building materials. You definitely want to hire a licensed, experienced professional for the job (such as American Abatement).
Before taking any action on your old asbestos floor, you should get advice from an asbestos abatement professional. If you've already uncovered the floor, try not to disturb it until you decide what you're going to do. While having asbestos in your home is an unnerving thought, it's also wise to keep things in perspective. As long as your floor is not damaged in any way, your risk of exposure to loose fibers is low.