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Asbestos Floor Tiles

My husband I just purchased a home that was built in 1950. My husband started tearing up the kitchen vinyl floor (which has plywood underneath, then bakelite floor tiles, then hardwood). He pulled up a small section of all levels of the floor down to the hardwoods. He stopped because he realized that the bakelite most likely contained asbestos. He came home and started researching ****** and found out that the bakelite did contain asbestos and that probably the vinyl on top most likely contained asbestos also. His plan is to stop tearing it up and just cover it all with plywood and then put a new floor on top of the floating plywood. Would this encapsulate the asbestos enough to make it safe? Getting it removed by a professional is way out of our budget right now so we are trying to make it as safe as possible so that we can get moved in to the house. We have two little children so we need to do this right.

Re: Asbestos Floor Tiles

Asbestos only does you harm when it is "friable" which means in particles, floating in the air. It's when you breath in the fibers that they become lodged in your lungs and cause irritation and disease. As long as it sits undisturbed and intact, you face no serious health risk. However, if you leave edges exposed, or disturb it during any phase of construction, you run the risk of creating the fibers that will float around in the air.

Regardless of whether you pay a professional to do the job the right way, you also have a moral responsibility for making sure any asbestos removed from your property does not harm other people, including trash haulers and workers at the local landfill. Remember that before making any decisions.

One more thing...if you have to work around the material, but are still concerned, give yourself some piece of mind by acquiring a cartridge respirator mask that filters out fine particles. Make sure it is rated for asbestos.

Final thought...doing anything other than hiring a trained, certified professional puts you at some health risk. There are a lot of die-hards on this board who insist on paying through the nose for 100% quality, 100% professionals all the time no matter what, but in the real world we face decisions on risk every day and can't always do everything 100% right for various reasons. In your case, it's budget. Consider all these things before deciding how much risk you are comfortable handling.

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