An Asbestos Inspection Could Be Important Before Tearing Out Old Vinyl Tile Flooring

Environmental Blog

If you're planning to tear out old flooring to put in hardwood floors, you'll need to take out everything down to the subfloor. If your old home has a few layers of flooring, the original flooring might be vinyl tiles with asbestos in them. Before you disturb the floors, you will want to have an asbestos inspection done. Here's why.

An Asbestos Inspection Verifies If You Have A Problem

When you have an asbestos inspection done, the inspector will collect dust samples and samples from the tiles. These samples are then tested in the lab to determine if asbestos is present in the tiles. A visual inspection can help confirm if the asbestos is a health hazard.

As long as asbestos is not disturbed, it shouldn't threaten your health. However, if you proceed with ripping up the old tiles, you might be exposed to asbestos, and you might inhale the fibers and have health consequences, or your home could be contaminated with the floating asbestos fibers.

You'll Usually Have The Results Within Days

Waiting to get results from an asbestos inspection and testing shouldn't take too long or hold up your flooring project. The inspector should be able to tell you right away if the flooring has asbestos that could release fibers. The results from the lab should be back in a few days. When you have your inspection report, you can show it to the flooring installer and discuss your options based on the advice you get from the inspector.

You Can Have The Rest Of Your House Checked Too

While the inspector is checking on your old vinyl tiles, you may want them to check other parts of your home for dangerous asbestos. Asbestos was used in many building materials for a few decades, and it is still found in some materials.

Asbestos could be in several places in your house, but you can't always tell by looking. The inspector can make an educated guess based on the age of your house and building materials used in similar houses, but the only way to know for sure if asbestos is present is to have testing done.

If the inspector verifies the old floor tiles are made of asbestos, and you want to have the tiles removed, you'll probably need to hire a licensed asbestos removal contractor. However, another option could be to seal the old tiles in place.

You might want to change the type of flooring you want so you can just cover up the asbestos tiles, but if you still want hardwood floors, the flooring installer might be able to help. An option might be to float engineered wood planks over the sealed tiles or cover the tiles with new cement and subflooring so hardwood planks can be installed.


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