New vinyl over old 9x9 asbestos concerns

Discussion in 'Health & Safety Forum' started by Jortyyard, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. Jortyyard

    Jortyyard Member

    Hello all,

    I have a late 1950s home and in the basement I have 1100sq ft of 9x9 asbestos that are glued down with black mastic and 2 drains which are sloped . I've had several flooring people in, and they all said I need to do a glue down luxuary vinyl plank floor because a floating floor wouldn't work because of the slopes by the drains .

    I had one company tell me that glueing a floor down would never work. There would be a chemical reaction between the old black mastic glue and the new glue. He said the vinyl tile contains asphalt and that wont mix well with the new glue either .and that the floor would eventually not stick and the glues could build up gasses that could harm my family . He said I'd need a cementing contractor to level and raise the drains then they could put a floating floor over. .everyone else said this is not true and they never heard of this in all their years of flooring.

    I've had so much go wrong in the basement already. I didn't know black mastic could contain asbestos and when we got a French drain put in They removed about 36 tiles along the wall and jackhammered to put the drain it. So I'm freaking out that we got exposed to aspestos from that and that all our stuff in the basement contains asbestos.

    I really don't want to make any mistakes with the floor . It seems like alot of people glue down floors on top of old floors but in my situation I'm not sure. There are some missing tile areas with exposed glue but most are in good shape .Would it maybe need an underlayment of some kind ? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm really freaked out over asbestos, glues and gasses and am having thoughts of abandoning my home over it. Its irrational I know but I have kids and am scared for their well being. Thanks
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  2. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    None of us Pros here at TFP are doctors or scientists and we don't know the building codes or laws of your particular area. We can't tell you what has asbestos with 100% certainty, but 9x9 vinyl type tiles almost always did have some asbestos in them. Also, there have been floor tile adhesives that contained asbestos. It usually takes years of exposure to friable asbestos fibers (fibers that float in the air) for it to become health threatening. Asbestos can be found in regular old dirt in some locations. It's a naturally occuring mineral, but yes, precautions should be taken and care should be exercised when working with or around it.

    Don't sell the house and don't spend any more time worrying. Just be careful going forward.

    The flooring professional who told you that new adhesives will have trouble adhering to your old mastic was right. He may have exaggerated the issue about adhering to the old tile and about gasses, but it can be a real problem for pros who are exposed to these substances for all the years of their careers.

    Your floor, the surface you will be laying your new flooring over, should be smooth and flat. The manufacturer probably says 3/16" in 10' flat, or something similar. However, pros have been known to install glue-down vinyl planks and tiles around those kinds of drains you mentioned. It's not easy and, depending on the slope and depth, could mean having to fill small gaps, use special techniques and tools - it's not a regular installation. The old tile needs to be free of any wax or other contaminants. You can't sand or scrape it, but it can be scrubbed when there is something there to prevent dust, like a mist of water.

    Other pros here at TFP will chime in. I don't have all the answers. Maybe until then, you could post a few pictures of the area and some of your concerns.

    PS: You are in the running for winning one of our 13-13-13 prizes: The Floor Pro Celebrates 13 Years | The Floor Pro Community
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  3. Jortyyard

    Jortyyard Member

    One concern is safety about the gasses causing a chemical reaction . We use our hvac in the winter and summer so everything's closed up. The flooring contractor told me they fill in over the mastic areas to level it out and pull the cracked or broken tiles up and fill those in as well. I cant tell if the floors waxed or not. I am concerned about him lifting some tiles. The picture in front of the laundry tub most of those tiles will need to come up because we changed a cement laundry tub out and we dropped it because we were unprepared for the weight. They aren't sticking down fully and crack when u walk on them. I asked all the contractors I spoke with to spray them with water before they pull them up but they look at me like I'm crazy and say that's not necessary. Maybe im overflowing the situation .

    So if they do appropriate floor prep before installation , do you think this would be an ok thing to do? Thanks

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  4. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    Gasses? :hmmm: Nothing to do with the floor will cause an explosion or dangerous gas fumes.

    If you don't know if the tile has wax on it, assume it does. There are wax stipping products available at most home improvement stores and even some grocery stores. Do it twice and rinse between.

    Pulling whole or large chunks of old tile is not dangerous to the installer or your family. It's scraping, sanding, abrading and pulverizing that can cause dust and friable asbestos. But again, dangerous exposure is something that takes a very long time. I can't give you guarantees, but it does sound like you are getting yourself all worked up over this and it's probably not warranted.
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  5. Incognito

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

    Doesn't appear to me that those tiles are well bonded enough for an "overlay". I see from the photo with a longer view and sunlight reflection curling at some of the seams. Where your concrete was patched it looks like the tiles came up whole--------EASY-PEASY.

    We're not going to lay over existing floors unless demolition is really too difficult as far as requiring heavy duty, specialized flooring demo equipment. I'm guessing I could pop those tiles up with an ice scraper or "slick" in a few minutes or hours. It takes longer to pick them up and haul them off half the time.

    So if you want vinyl (plastic) flooring in a basment then I would recommend having an asbestos abatement done by professionals. Check out the prices for that and consider other flooring options.

    Ask ten retail or local flooring guys how to handle your situation and you can expect ten different answers. Our industry is confused about asbestos so don't feel bad about your own confusion. And Jim is correct. Your exposure isn't what this whole asbestos racket is about. Primarily it's OSHA. We don't want workers handling asbestos regularly because it can be a health hazard. 36 vinyl asbestos tiles in a basement aren't something to stress over.

    A LOT depends on your budget concerns and your alternatives.
  6. Incognito

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

    Side note:

    VERY IMPORTANT to understand and realize that ASBESTOS tiles are very porous. The adhesive used was essentiall TAR. Your choice of PLASTIC flooring installed with a water based adhesive is as different as night and day as far as suitability to basment conditions.

    We're talking moisture VAPOR........not puddles of water. Also alkaline salts had very minimal effect on asbestos flooring. Modern adhesives and plastic flooring MELTS and otherwise FREAKS OUT under the exact same conditions your asbestos tile performed marvelously for over so many decades------a lifetime nearly, if I know my "spatter" pattern VAT. (and I do)
    spatter pattern asbestos tile - Google Search
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  7. Jortyyard

    Jortyyard Member

    Thanks for your reply. Sorry this stuff goes way over my head. So you don't think the glue down vinyl floor will work and my only choice is abatement? I hear that's extremely expensive but the floor itself would be 6k. Plus we are moving next spring . If I got this floor put down anyways would it just eventually come back up? Would the floor melt and freak out underneath the new floor ?Sorry again I really am not good with this. Thank you
  8. Jortyyard

    Jortyyard Member

    I reread your post what would you use instead of vinyl if you were in our situation ?
  9. Incognito

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

    You're fine. It REALLY is much more complicated (and expensive) than...........salesmen and manufacturers want you to think about. They just want to sell product/services NOW. Worry about the details later. Not saying they are sleazy and ignorant. Just...................motivated to sell.

    Sounds like you're best off letting this flooring issue become the problem of the next owner of your home. I understand your HOPE to upgrade the home and reap the appreciated home value. But it's doubtful that's a fair, honest proposition for you to offer the home buyer. Do you care? The "melting" and "freaking out" are somewhat hyperbole..............without testing for mositure and alkalinity one cannot know the odds of failure.

    Me personally, I just sold an older home and I'm not about putting lipstick on a pig to make a dishonest profit.
  10. Chris Mha

    Chris Mha Charter Member Senior Member

    The old cutback adhesive is actually a petroleum based adhesive. Today's adhesives are water based and we all know that oil and water don't mix. Why not have a tile sample and the adhesive tested? It is a relatively inexpensive test. The results may give you piece of mind and might help point you in the right direction.
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  11. Jortyyard

    Jortyyard Member

    Would it not stick to the old tile ? If the glue is under the old tile and the new floor is going on top of the old tile and not directly over the old glue would that not work? Ty
  12. Jortyyard

    Jortyyard Member

    I spoke to another guy today . He said the underlayment is already attached to the floor and some spots may need scuff sanded to make the glue stick . Just a little bit to rough it up. Also waiting to hear a quote from an abatement company. Just sent them alot of pictures. Not sure scuff sanding is safe or not. Another place I called said they do that if they find wax . Wanted to see what you guys think while I call more places. Thanks
  13. Chris Mha

    Chris Mha Charter Member Senior Member

    It may or may not adhere. I'm not going to say that I have never installed over 9" x 9" tiles but we try not to make a habit of it.

    Do not let anyone scuff sand the old. Especially not knowing it the tile is asbestos or not
  14. Jortyyard

    Jortyyard Member

    Agreed. Everything I read says not to sand them. 2 places I called today both said they would feather finish the entire floor before they place the new glue down floor so I'm looking into that option right now
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