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Old Tile Flooring in Basement


My questions may seem remedial, but I've never worked with flooring before.

There is one room in my basement that is approx. 9'x12'. It was built in the 1960s and has tile flooring. I don't know what kind of tile, but is that really old stuff that has the ****-looking flakes in it. There isn't any grout...each tile butts up to the other.

When whomever put the flooring in, they mis-judged the amount needed as there is about a 6" gap between the edge of the tile and the entire length of one of the walls. At the entry way, there are a couple of tiles that are chipped. Otherwise, it is in fairly decent shape.

I know that these tiles are probably asbestos, but I don't know how to tell. So, I am considering just putting some vinyl flooring over these tiles (and filling in the gaps and broken tiles so that is it all even).


1) The baseboards butt up to the tiles. Would I need to remove all of the baseboards or will it work to leave them in place?

2) There is a tiny hallway space just outside the room door that I'd like to do, too. What do I do to transition from one room to the next...is anything necessary?

3) This isn't a high traffic room at all. Do you have any suggestions for inexpensive vinly flooring that a smart novice could install?


Re: Old Tile Flooring in Basement

First a couple of questions. Is the vinyl installed on top of concrete? Is this basement dry? Did they just leave a strip of concrete when they ran short of the vinyl or did they fill it in with anything?

There are test kits you can get at the hardware store for asbestos. So, you might do that first. If there is no asbestos, you could remove the old floor.

The problem with putting vinyl over the old floor is that the texture of the old floor underneath will show through – any design or crack or crevice. You might prefer a laminate flooring as many can go down over vinyl and many are not very expensive. They are easy to install, especially the floating ones – lots of YouTube videos. Laminate floor installation is also not very expensive so you could even look into having it professionally done. (It’s about a $1 sqft I think.)

Whatever floor you put down, you will need to do something about evening up the area missing the floor. I will leave that to one of the guys.

As far as baseboards go you will want the edges of the floor covered. If you don’t want to take up the baseboards, you could put down the floor as directed (some require space around the edges) and add quarter-round to the bottom of the baseboard to cover the edges.

There are transition pieces to help one level of flooring to another. They usually go across the door threshold. You may need to trim the door and the door casing shorter so the floor and / or transition piece fits underneath.

A power miter saw would help with cutting laminate wood flooring and the quarter round. If you like to do some DIY work around the house then it is worth the investment.

Re: Old Tile Flooring in Basement

Good answer from Lily.

Re: Old Tile Flooring in Basement

Removing the old floor may be quite easy, usually flooding the floor with water loosens any adhesive and the tiles come off in whole pieces. No worries about asbestos then.

Re: Old Tile Flooring in Basement

This is great advice...thank you!

My first step is to figure out if the tiles are asbestos.

Re: Old Tile Flooring in Basement

Generally the asbestos tiles were 9x9, the 12x12's are not

Re: Old Tile Flooring in Basement

And wetting the floor down will eliminate any real hazard from airborne asbestos dust which is it's dangerous form. Solid dustless asbestos is quite safe to work with- the abatement pros use that technique. Wet- wait- pry up while still damp (or re-wet)- then into doubled contractor trash bags.

I officially recommend asbestos testing and a licensed abatement contractor if needed but I'd not bother- YMMV.

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