9x9 vinyl tile w/ cutback on stairway to2nd floor

Discussion in 'Vinyl Flooring Q&A' started by Rmsobrian, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. Rmsobrian

    Rmsobrian New Member

    Hello all,
    My husband and I closed on our 1st house yesterday so we've spent the last day or so ripping up carpet. Nasty 30 year old carpet! We've found lots and lots of asbestos tile, almost all of which is in excellent condition, so we'll just cover it again. BUT, when taking the carpet off the stairs to the 2nd floor---we found that the treads and risers are also covered in this tile. And it's coming off, exposing the cutback. Who tiles a staircase?!
    We would like to seal what's there, if possible, level it out somehow with another compound to make up for the missing tiles, do an appropriate overlay and lay wood over the top of the overlay. Is this idea feasible? And if so, what kind of products should we be using? Thanks very much!
  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    As previously noted we do not give asbestos removal advice.
    How are you planning to attach hardwood , nail?
  3. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    That was a different topic, Mike, and it was more about giving medical advice, which I can be held liable for in the way it was asked.

    Asbestos advice can always be given because every visitor to the site is pretty much forced to read a disclaimer about asbestos. Those warnings should be taken seriously and no one here should tell people the warnings are wrong. They may not agree with them and they can share their own experiences of dealing with asbestos, but as the owner of TFP, I have to have the disclaimers and warnings.

    TFP's advice is to have any vinyl type flooring tested for asbestos to make that determination. No one knows for sure what material or substance contains asbestos without actual testing. We can usually assume materials over 30 (+/-) years old will contain asbestos. We can say that most resilient tile in 9x9" size contains asbestos. But none of us knows for sure what any individual's home has in its flooring without them telling us what the exact brand, style and year of manufacture, or if a test has been conducted.

    I don't want pros here to be afraid to give advice. I just hope they don't do it in a way that makes it appear they are right and medical professionals and the state or federal laws are wrong.

    That said, here's my personal advice: if you haven't already, have the flooring and the adhesive tested. If it proves to contain asbestos, either have it professionally removed, remove it yourself by following your state's own guidelines for asbestos removal for the DIYer, or encapsulate it with a floor patch and sealer that is labeled as an asbestos encapsulate.

  4. Rmsobrian

    Rmsobrian New Member

    I intend to encapsulate what is there, however, I need guidance on the products to use. Also, because some of the tiles came up with the carpet, I need to find a way to level out the surfaces...without removing more tile. Ultimately, I'd like to lay wood over the top, and yes-it would likely be nailed. Thanks
  5. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I hate that stuff in flooring and wish everyone would get rid of it once and for all, I realize it may be costly, but then another layer is bonded over and increases price. I know of one company in my area that removes it, and they do large schools etc.
  6. Rmsobrian

    Rmsobrian New Member

    I agree, it would be fantastic if there were a cost effective way to deal with this issue--I live in Maine, and this house's first owner also owned a flooring company. For his time period, 1930's to late 70's, HE was the expert. And for the most part he did a great job. There's tons of old tile and linoleum in this place, nearly all still in very good condition. The cost of getting all of it out would be very prohibitive for us as there's not much competition in the market up here.
  7. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    And the reason most of it is in good shape is quality or that asbestos thing, that stuff is durable.
    I'm in Florida and rarely do steps, never out of hardwood. I would be concerned not knowing exactly what your nailing into as far as holding power. I'm not sure how plank would look. I assume they are usually one piece for tread and one for riser , either painted or stained, and a chosen species of wood.
  8. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    You don't say if the tile that came up came off the riser or the tread or both. That could make a difference how we answer the question. The big thing is don't abrade it. There are a number of ways you could remove the tile. One would be freezing the glue.
    Each state is different on what a home owner can do. Some states allow you to remove it and just put the tile in a garbage bag and set it to the curb like regular trash.


  9. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    The products I most often used to encapsulate were Ardex Feather Finish and Lee's Everseal. Old VAT is very hard and dense, which makes driving a fastener directly into it difficult - the staple or cleat tends to bend easily against it. Covering the encapsulated tile with plywood is a very good way to add stability and guide the fasteners through the tile. But the drawback on steps is it changes the riser height at the bottom and top risers. It could become a trip hazard.

    Have you looked up the asbestos rules in Maine? In California, the home owner could remove 120sf (I think - it's been a long time) and dispose of it like every-day trash without incurring the wrath of the EPA. I don't know what the square footage of your steps is, or what the Maine rules are, but VAT has a reputation of being pretty easy to remove. You could then encapsulate the adhesive and nail your hardwood treads into that, with no appreciable change to the riser height.

    The risers may not need to be removed. Just glue some 1/8" material over them and paint it the trim color with a durable paint like deck paint.

    What needs to be discussed also is how you plan to do the nose of each tread. Many hardwood manufacturers make stairnose pieces, but you might also consider using actual stair tread hardwood for your steps - all one piece, just glue them in (some can also be fastened with finish nails, in addition to the glue). But a stair tread will require you to remove any existing bullnose on the steps with a saw. That would require the removal of the tile first. It's the dust created from sanding, dry sweeping, dry scraping, drilling, sawing, bead-blasting, and mechanically chipping or pulverizing products with asbestos in them that are the real concern.

  10. Rmsobrian

    Rmsobrian New Member

    Maine allows homeowners to remove intact asbestos floor tile with a heat gun or infrared tile machine. No sanding, aggressive scraping is allowed. And the tiles need to be disposed of in asbestos specific landfill. The tile is coming off both the risers and treads, both of which are wood. And the bullnose is aluminum. Looks like the stuff around my mom's old Formica table! It's funny, but this is the only sloppy tiling job in the place--every other tiled area is meticulous. I suppose I could try to remove the rest of the tiles and maybe seal the mastic. Then paint maybe? Aaaaaargh!
  11. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    It gets complicated when you can't just go get the POWER TOOLS to demolish existing materials and start fresh with whatever choices you dream of-----or even get some real aggressive hand tools that are specialized for removing flooring, plywood, adhesives, moldings and whatnot.

    Stairs can already be complicated enough JUST dealing with some of the issues Jim brings up like the CONTOUR of the bullnose----------heights of the risers and depths of the treads-----(they NEED to be consistent and within building code specs) then all the various constructions of wood flooring from one solid step made of solid wood to separate nosings for strip wood, planks, parquet. We haven't got to engineered products yet.

    Certainly to nail into the existing wood structure ideally you want the asphalt or vinyl asbestos tiles out of the way. There may be more expert wood installers here who can clarify that or indicate some work around solution but I'd want the tile gone. By all means take the heat gun to the tiles. Being as how you say they are already loose or came up on the back of the padding/carpet from staples or adhesive it may be a fairly easy task. A few states I've checked on has some ONLINE WEBSITE instructions on safe handling of SMALL quantities of asbestos flooring-----wet it down, be GENTLE and dispose of securely.
    At the same time they make it basically PROHIBITIVE for contractors who are not specialized in abatement. That means YOU have to take the tiles out of their way or they're handcuffed by very strict state and federal penalties. That's how it works in California.

    Ardex Feather finish is also what I'd use to skim coat over the adhesive to endure a clean, smooth surface for the finish wood.

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