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ejhershberger
working with asbestos tiles

Our vinyl tile may have asbestos(put in 60's/70's). We'd like to build a tongue n groove oak floor over the vinyl tile but the tile is brittle. So my husband wants to remove the tile because he is afraid the tile will cause the wood floor to creak. I say just seal the tile and not take the chance of disturbing the asbestos if it has it. My question is will the brittle tile make the wood creak, make noise or cause any trouble if we build over it? Whats the correct way to seal the tile? Thank you

MLBSF
Re: working with asbestos tiles

#1 i wouldn't install hardwood floors over any tile and if it is asbestos, the nails puncturing it would break the tile and make the dust go airborne. #2 the only way to tell if is asbestos is to have it tested. #3 there is no way to seal the vinyl tile and if there was a way, it would be pointless. #4 if you're installing a floating wood floor, you can install it right over the existing tile without sealing anything.

also keep in mind that if you are installing hardwood flooring over the tile, there will be a 3/4" step up or down where it meets the other floors that abut that room. i would recommend (assuming that this is 3/4" thick hardwood) removing the tile and the tile backer down to the subfloor and doing it right from the start. cutting corners is something that always comes back to bite people in the long run.

Re: working with asbestos tiles

Hardwood flooring CAN be installed over vinyl tile, if the substrate is flat and sound. Unfortunately, some commercial type tile is very dense and hard to drive a nail, staple or cleat into. The danger is not so much causing an asbestos hazard, but in bending the fasteners.

This is not to minimize the danger of asbestos, but it's pretty difficult to get chunks of VAT up your nose when installing hardwood. You do have to be very careful you don't create dust from the tile. No sanding, s c r a p i n g or pulverizing. Driving a fastener through the tongue of hardwood is not considered a dangerous operation on vinyl asbestos tile.

Although it's true the only way to tell if a floor contains asbestos, it's best to just assume a vinyl time that old IS asbestos. Do NOT attempt to remove it yourself. You can contract with a reputable asbestos abatement company to do the chore. But there are other ways too.

One way to deal with an old asbestos floor is to encapsulate it. There are several methods of doing this. One common way is to put an underlayment over it, like plywood. There is still the possibility that nails or staples will bend when installing it, but the fasteners are not driven at an angle like with hardwood, they are driven straight in vertically.

Here's a link to a whole bunch of flooring professionals that love to help the consumer and DIYer through their flooring projects: http://www.thefloorpro.com/community/hardwood-and-laminates-q-and-a/ Ask them about other ways to encapsulate your VAT, or anything else about installing - or even buying hardwood flooring. That site does not sell flooring though, but there is a business directory to help you find a dealer.

Jim

MLBSF
Re: working with asbestos tiles

i do agree that the amount of asbestos released would be minimal if nailing through the tile and it wouldn't bother me or stop me from doing it but "technically" you should not do it. the other thing to consider, if installing 3/4" hardwood, is that vinyl will hold moisture in the bottom of the wood. meaning that if the floor is in a high traffic area with wet/snowy shoes, or a kitchen and something is spilled on it. the chance of damaging the hardwood is greater because any water that gets onto the tile below the wood floor will take much much longer to dry up than if it was on rosin paper on top of a wood sub floor.

all i can say is that i'm a huge proponent of doing something right the first time, the chances of something going wrong are lessened greatly and the long term money saving is huge. pay a little more to do it right the first time and you won't have to pay to have it done twice.

Re: working with asbestos tiles
MLBSF wrote:

i do agree that the amount of asbestos released would be minimal if nailing through the tile and it wouldn't bother me or stop me from doing it but "technically" you should not do it.

And "technically" you shouldn't go outside without 45 SPF sun blocker. Too many people confuse or equate the asbestos dangers of VAT (Vinyl Asbestos Tile) with that of the insulation wrapped around pipes or used in old ceiling tiles that could be shredded with your hands. Nailing through a product like vinyl tile when the entry point is under the wood you are nailing, is not going to create a health hazard. Encapsulating VAT with wood flooring, liquid sealers or floor patching compounds is an acceptable way to deal with the asbestos danger when removal is not available or desirable.

Quote:

... vinyl will hold moisture in the bottom of the wood. meaning that if the floor is in a high traffic area with wet/snowy shoes, or a kitchen and something is spilled on it. the chance of damaging the hardwood is greater because any water that gets onto the tile below the wood floor will take much much longer to dry up than if it was on rosin paper on top of a wood sub floor.

Yet many hardwood manufacturers and organizations suggest that a good option is to install 15# saturated felt paper (roofing felt) under the hardwood. Even floating floor underlayments have plastic moisture barriers that keep any spills from going through to the subfloor. I wonder if the possibility of mold might be a concern? There are many inconsistencies in the flooring industry. Flooring is not carpentry. I dealt with many building contractors in my 35 years installing floorcoverings and very few of them understood the intricacies and properties of flooring installation. Most thought they were doing us a favor by using OSB subflooring and using particleboard for underlayment.

Quote:

all i can say is that i'm a huge proponent of doing something right the first time...

Then the first suggestion should be to follow manufacturer recommended installation practices.

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