Vinyl flooring/possible asbestos

Discussion in 'Health & Safety Forum' started by Mimche, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. Mimche

    Mimche New Member

    Hello there. We hired a contractor to redo out downstairs bathroom. Once he started demo he said there are 3 different floors on top of each other. The house is built in 1962. While the tile looked reletivley new, the vinyl flooring looks older.
    It's mostly ripped off now and I'm freaking out it could have asbestos in the backing as it does have a paper looking grey backing. It wasn't that original floor but I can't tell how old it is. Picture is attached. I have my kids sleeping upstairs this whole time.. What do you think?

    Attached Files:

  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Me, I wouldn't be concerned for myself, I think my lungs are well insulated by asbestos over the years. There is minimal disturbance, people use to rip the insulation off piping dusting entire spaces, there is asbestos in products still today. Not to say they should create a cloud, the demo crew is way more at risk due to breathing particles year after year.

    Only way to know for sure is test it. Usually 2-5% content, then has to get in air and get in ventilation, thru filters, into airways which catches a lot, then finally lungs at a certain micron size.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Small levels of exposure (one-time reno done unwittingly) rarely - if ever - pose a health risk to those living in the home. The health protection is for the poor workers who do this day-in and day-out for YEARS (ahem decades for some) on end without *knowing what they disturbed.

    That's where the REAL health concerns come in...the people doing this for a living not the homeowner who has thrown some dust into the air.

    I would go ahead and test it - for peace of mind. Each sample (flooring and adhesive are tested separately = separate tests = separate samples) costs roughly $100. Results are available within 2-3 days.

    The "not knowing" can be more damaging than the minute amounts of asbestos that *might be in the air. For $100 - $200, you can get the answers. And yes...there are ways of getting rid of that dust by changing air filters and having the air ducts properly/professionally cleaned. There are ways to deal with the test results should they come back positive...but there is no way to deal with the anxiety of not knowing.

    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Asbestos doesn't harm anyone by merely being near it or coming into contact with it. It's a problem when the material containing the asbestos fibers is pulverized and they become airborne. You then breath them in. There are literally millions of sq. ft. of old flooring and adhesive that contain asbestos in all kinds of installations from residential to commercial hospitals that are absolutely safe, as long as they aren't pulverized or ground up in a dry environment and allowed to become airborne.

    There is a really well done pamphlet by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute that covers the topic. Here's a link to it:

    In my opinion one should always err towards the side of caution in working with any unknown flooring to assume that it does contain asbestos but it's not like it's nuclear material. Just make sure you follow the recommended guidelines and do your homework on what the state and local regulations are regarding removal and disposal. I know you use to be able to call the RFCI at the number listed on their site and they could also help guide you towards the proper information for where you live. You may want to try that and see if they can offer guidance to help you get it taken care of. In many places all that need be done is to work with the material in a wet state and dispose of it in a puncture resistant container in your regular trash, but you should always check because some places are heavily regulated and getting caught not following the guidelines could result in some pretty stiff fines and penalties.

    At any rate, don't panic. This is a very common issue and it's pretty easily resolved when dealt with properly without any risk to your family.

    Take care and I hope the rest of your project goes smoothly!

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