Abestos floor tile prep for LVP install

Discussion in 'Floor Preparation' started by StephK10, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. StephK10

    StephK10 Member

    hello! I previously posted a long thread in the Vinyl Q&A section and figured it best to transition here as this applies now more to floor prep. Admin- if this is wrong please let me know. (I posted an update in that thread as many responders wanted some but got no responses)

    Short story: ripping up old stinky carpet/padding to install LVP (CoreTec plus). Knew about 9x9 tile underneath (late 1950's). Now need to tackle some floor prep.

    Here's what we got to: ripped up one room so far. First headache is they drove the tack strips right into the tile, so that's going to be a delicate procedure and needing to keep things moistened well. Did one test and the tile broke at the edge into several pieces. Will be as careful as possible.

    My biggest question is how to deal with a particular dip in the floor. Doesn't seem huge, but noticeable to me when walking on it and I included a photo of it so you can judge. My contractor has talked about using self leveler as needed but in my research, won't bonding be an issue? You can see in other photos they used a patching compound to fill in missing tiles previously. I will have to do that as one tile came up when we pulled the carpet pad aggressively (before we honed our technique) as it is adhered to at the perimeter. I just put it back in place for now, no breakage. I was thinking we should just use Henry 547 to patch as needed (like they seemed to) as it seems very versatile in what it can be applied to. Would we be able to essentially 'skim coat' this dip with the same 547 UniPro? Or will adhesion be an issue?

    Side notes: (1) you can see we have some mat tests going to see what will happen when we lay a 6mil barrier down underneath. So far no moisture build up but hasn't been 24hrs. Have some rain coming tomorrow plan on leaving at least 72hrs.
    (2) the carpet pad adhesive is a PAIN. Trying to scrape the remnants off safely without disrupting the tile surface but wanted to pause and see if there were any suggestions? I know CoreTec highly advises against use of solvents/citrus agents as the residue will react with the flooring but since we are planning to put barrier down it might not be an issue. Any tips please

    Attached Files:

  2. Incognito

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

    That tile is VERY loose. I can assure you it will pop off the slab like nothing. SO.............you're legally allowed to remove asbestos flooring as a home owner. There's asbestos in the tile and the glue underneath. Here's my recommendation. Do a little online research into the local and state handling requirements. In most states you just need to use heavy duty CONSTRUCTION trash bags, double bag and seal the waste with duct tape.

    Wet everything with a spray bottle-----mist-----as you work. Pop the tiles off with an ice scraper trying to get them up in full tiles. Usually, coming into the corners at the lowest angle "pops" the tile loose. Put on a pair of work gloves if your hands are smooth and soft like a baby's ass and you want to keep them that way. I'm so calloused by now that my callouses have callouses. So I laugh at work gloves.

    Stack the tiles about 10 high and toss them in the bags. One square foot weighs about a pound and a half. So 50 square feet equal about 75 pounds. That will rip through even a double bagged system so take that into consideration.

    Here's my point. It's SAFE and EASY to get those tiles out of there. If I'm wrong and they don't pop loose then my all means use the Henry's patch after STRIPPING any wax/finish off and then go ahead as planned with your underlayment and install.

    If those tiles are seriously STUCK after 50-75 years you don't need a moisture test. That IS the moisture test. I'd lay 20-1 odds they're just laying there with gravity holding them from getting up and running out to the trash bin by themselves.

    • Like Like x 1
  3. StephK10

    StephK10 Member

    I'm not second guessing anything you're saying since you're the pro and I'm not but I will say I am curious how you can say from that photo that those tiles are loose as a goose. Walking around them we have no sounds or sensations on them to think otherwise. No shifting. No hollow sounds when tapped. Dance a little jig on it nothing seems to be giving any problematic indications. Or was that based on the fact that pulling hard on the carpet pad at was firmly adhered to a tile it popped off?

    Secondly, why should we remove it if it's just going to be covered with a poly barrier and flooring floated over that? The tile will remain as it is...just chilling...dormant from the 50's. Why risk disruption? Not trying to be a wise butt or anything so please don't take it that way. Just an honest question?

    Also as a follow up, another room of the house: tile is already gone. Found it that way. See photo.

    Attached Files:

  4. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I can't speak for his experience but I can speak from mine. They will fall off the floor with a wee bit of vertical lift. The adhesive they were installed with is likely old cut back, it just crystallizes after about 10000 years and has no hold left. As for the why of it all, it is just always better to get them off the ground. Anywhere they are lifting or loose will affect patching, not to mention movement after patching could cause things to get loose under your floating floor causing failure. Not to say asbestos isn't a bad thing but if you aren't sanding or pulverizing those tile your likely hood of exposure is greater crossing the street due to people's break pads than it I's from those tile.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I’d equate our meaning of loose as flipping a flap jack. Get a scraper under it and the tile wants to flip itself. Down like “Iron” I believe is Incognito’s opposite term.
  6. StephK10

    StephK10 Member

    Ok let's play the game of I'm not popping up all this tile.

    (1) Any suggestions on how to best remove thin remnants of carpet pad off other than just scraping what I can and saying oh well 6mil is going over it all?

    (2) as far as 'stripping' the finish off the tile to patch...how would one do that without being abrasive as to cause fiber disruption?
  7. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    Scraping old pad off with razor scrapers is about the only option. This however will create a greater risk of exposure. It was probably installed with either a latex based adhesive OR xylene based contact cement. Either of those are not going to be simple to remove with chemicals. The old finish if there ever was one on a residential tile isn't something I would try and address. Likely ammonia would be the best choice but it is vile and not worth it.
  8. One of the reasons you have over 100 years of experience in the three previous pros telling you to remove the old tile is that there is no good way to remove those remnants without causing more problems for you to deal with such as Mark just stated. While it's not a great scenario to disturb asbestos it's the better of two evils for the longevity of your floor.

    As Mark alluded to, there are multiple problems that can occur when you start just covering things up. For example, and I've seen this occur many times with this same scenario, when you patch over that tile with the floor patch in about 30-60 days as the product cures out completely it develops a tensile pull and will literally disbond the tile from the subfloor. That may not seem like much of a problem because you think that the product on top is going to hold everything in place - let us assure you it will not. As you live and traffic on that floor these loose tiles underneath can begin to move, resulting in cracking an popping sounds. In extreme circumstances, they could move enough to cause a problem with the new floor as well. Remember, that patch is wet when you're using it. Some of the moisture from that patch is going to get into the joints between those tiles and start to work on the underlying adhesive.

    I see you're doing a mat test to try and detect the presence of vapor emission. That's good, BUT you're doing it incorrectly. That plastic has to be attached TO THE SLAB. You will not get a realistic measurement doing it the way you're doing it. There is enough air exchange occurring through the joints of that tile, underneath the tape that it will not give you the proper indication to proceed with further testing if there is a problem. In all honesty, it's not an accepted test in the industry any more to determine suitability to proceed with the installation. It's merely a trick of the trade that some of use and ONLY WHEN THE RISK OF FAILURE IS MINIMAL to determine if we need to do further testing.

    The proper way to do a mat test is to expose the slab in a 20" x 20" area. Grind the area to remove the "carbon concrete" layer (typically about 1/32") and then set your testing material (6mil poly and duct tape). Watch that over the next 72 hours and see if any moisture develops.

    With all that being said, one reason we, as pros and an industry, don't solely rely on this is that it's too easily effected by other factors. For example the sunlight coming through the window above your test site can provide enough heat that with the minute gaps between the joints of the tile it can literally keep any moisture vapor from showing up. It can also be drastically effected by ambient relative humidity in the area as well as the weather. Since we know this slab is prior to the 50's as you stated there is absolutely no way you have any type of intact vapor retarder underneath. My point in saying that is if you're not currently experiencing wet conditions in your of the country, then you're not really ruling out a problem if you begin to get into a wetter condition down the road.

    You asked about how we know from looking at the picture whether the tile is loose. And I would agree with Mike's comment that the term is relative. Because after literally looking at thousands of jobs of the same product and knowing the conditions you can develop a "sense" of what that material is going to do. Much like a mechanic listens to your car and knows pretty quickly what's wrong. It comes from experience.

    So all that being said, when you tell us you're going to disregard what we are telling you on a major issue such as remove or don't remove, it makes it very difficult for us to provide you good information and advice on the other issues. This would be like walking into an emergency room bleeding profusely from your head and asking us to disregard that and treat the hang nail on your toe. Just trying to provide perspective and not be rude. None of us here are paid to do this. We do it because we like to help people like you, but the last thing any of us wants to do is to take you down a path toward failure.

    Hope this helps you understand what we're seeing from our perspective a little.
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  9. Incognito

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

    OK, probably not THOUSANDS of jobs where I've se loose asphalt-asbetos tiles like yours. HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS for sure though. But as I said, 20-1 is where I would put my money assuming they're barely adhered. There's always that one job where you expect it to pop loose and it's DOWN LIKE IRON.

    We're frequently wanting to overlay asbestos flooring under the assumption that's it's fairly well bonded. Then upon closer examination we come to the conclusion that it's going to be a HORRIBLE idea to try that. In the commercial flooring industry no one, the business/customer, general contractor or any licensed contractor can so much as TOUCH asbestos materials and it can cost tens, hundred of thousands, even millions of dollars to get the asbestos out of the picture by hiring a specialized abatement contractor. Many floorcovering plans are canceled when they understand the costs and time constraints. (Shutting down an entire facility to prevent contaminating the HVAC system)

    So I know what you WANT to do. And I know why it's a bad idea.

    Tap around with a hammer. It'll take 2-3 seconds before even you can tell whether the tiles are secure or loose. I persoanlly would not be afraid to razor scrape the residual pad adhesive and strip off the finish. There are janitorial supply stores where anyone at the counter can recommend a decent product. That's a simple process (mop on, lightly scrub, mop up----RINSE thoroughly. THEN you can use that Henry patch and go to town. But if the tiles are loose, just pop them up for crying out loud. It's easy money and you are lucky they're not stuck down like iron.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. mgd

    mgd Pro Member

    adding my 30 years to that 100, flip those flapjacks and start fresh
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I am paid to do this. This is my only full-time job. With all the ad revenue and donations, last month I made $2.11 per hour (av. 40-hour work week). That's right, no typo - two dollars and eleven cents an hour. This month hasn't totaled out yet, but it looks like I got a raise and I might break the 2.50 mark. That's all BEFORE expenses; gross, not net. And yeah, it is pretty gross. :blink:

    If anyone wants to throw my averages all outa whack, click here. ;)
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  12. I clicked Jim. Maybe that'll get you to $2.51. ;)
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  13. StephK10

    StephK10 Member

    I tried my best to affirm earlier I wasn't trying to be a wise butt, and I genuinely appreciate all of your feedback and information. It is EXTREMELY helpful and I'm really glad I found this site. All I was doing was playing devil's advocate and seeing what the scenarios were going to be presented like in your opinions. Trust me when I gueinely say I am taking all of this into consideration. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't.

    I also fully understand that that not is not a 'formal' mat test. We felt it was at least a good idea to try it out in a few spots and see what happens to get a read on what kind of moisture, if any, is working it's way up through loose edges in the tile or not. One floor guy I brought it advised against using a barrier (the whole 'why trap moisture vs. let is breathe' argument) and others said go for it. This was just a quick way to see what was happening at this point in to,e.

    Shifting gears to a follow up question regarding the room that we found the tile has already been ripped up: what's your advice on dealing with that? We got lots of thin layer of fuzz from the glued carpet pad that I don't just want to ignore. We plan on dedicating some more elbow grease to it but there's likely no way it's all going to get removed. Maybe just a good wet scraping? Can one even skim coat, if that's a recommendation, over something as 'imperfect' of a substrate like that? Photo attached again so you don't have to scroll back...

    Attached Files:

  14. StephK10

    StephK10 Member

    Also as another follow up question, no one mentioned then what to do after we've scraped up all these tiles. Whether we then have to do some other treatment to the floor or if that layer is smooth and sound to just proceed over the top?

    In other research I believe I've seen that they say laying vinyl fdirectly over this black layer of adhesive (cutback, mastic, blackout, whatever you wanna call it) result in a reaction that could over time discolor the vinyl. I assume this applies more so to other flooring types but obviously LVP still has a vinyl layer.

    I'm using the CoreTec plus so I have that cork layer between the substrate and the core of the flooring. I was hoping to get away with laying down 6mil plastic sheeting and then proceed as planned so there is a barrier between both against any direct contact and vapor as well.

    I feel like from what we've seen at least in the room where the tiles were already ripped up, this old adhesive layer is very smooth... no tacknyess it is very hard. Do we need to consider skimcoating it or can we lay the barrier down and proceed?
  15. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Me, I would use an approved patch to skimcoat over top of cutback just to improve the possibility of it creating noise of the plastic. When moisture vapor from below gets stopped atop the plastic barrier it could soften and sticky the old cutback.
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  16. StephK10

    StephK10 Member

    Henry 547 Unipro states on its brochure it's acceptable for 'almost any substrate, including metal, existing floors, and cutback residue'.

    Seems good to me. Contractor and I hadn't talked about skim coating but I'm thinking it might be the wisest of choices. Skim it, 6mil plastic, then flooring. Thoughts?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Uh, yes. I feel better already!
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Incognito

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

    Yes, demo, skim coat, approved underlayment/barrier then flooring.

    That's standard operating procedure for your deal. Whatever prep is needed will bond much better and perform better over existing adhesive as compared to overlaying existing floors. The only good reason to lay over asbestos flooring is when it's "down like iron".
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    You say that with Accent?
  20. StephK10

    StephK10 Member

    Thanks so much. We just ripped up another room tonight and the tile is intact but wouldn't say it's in a good condition to operate over. Lots coming up in a full piece when carefully trying to get carpet pad of adhesive areas. Looks like it's time to check into NY state laws as far as what I can legally do. Giving how tough NY is on so many things I'm a little worried...

    Attached a few pics of the section of tile we uncovered for your viewing pleasure!

    Attached Files:

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