How to identify asbestos tiles

Last Updated: July 28, 2019 References

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Ingesting or inhaling the thin fibers of asbestos can cause cancer and serious pulmonary diseases like mesothelioma. [1] X Trustworthy Source National Cancer Institute An agency in the National Institutes of Health focused on cancer research and patient support Go to source Asbestos was once used in many building materials, so it is possible that your tiles contain asbestos, especially if they were installed before 1980. There are signs you can look for to identify asbestos tiles, but the only way to be sure if your tiles contain asbestos is to test for it. Some areas allow you to use home test kits to check for asbestos, but the best way to identify asbestos tiles is to hire asbestos professionals to inspect your building. If you do have asbestos tiles, never attempt to remove and dispose of the materials yourself—hire a professional who is certified to dispose of asbestos.

How to identify asbestos tiles

How to identify asbestos tiles

Tip: If you can’t confirm when the tiles were installed but you think they may have been installed before 1980, it’s better to be safe than sorry and have them checked for asbestos.

How to identify asbestos tiles

It’s now common knowledge that residing in or around environments where asbestos is present is harmful to human health. Even though you may hear people talk about asbestos or see buildings being treated for asbestos, it’s not some infestation like mold that develops over time.

Asbestos is actually a silicate-based material that used to be commonly used in building construction for surfaces as common as walls or floor tiles. The risk for many people who live or work in buildings with old flooring is it’s hard to know if the building has asbestos floor tiles just by looking.

While it can be costly to do so, the safest course of action is to assume there is in fact asbestos in your tiles and get it treated, especially if your floor was installed in the 1980’s or before, the heyday of asbestos tiling.

Step 1 – Examine the Tiles Closely for Decay

You should examine the material closely to determine its condition. Asbestos will not be harmful if it is fully intact and in good condition. It’s when the material is broken up that you risk releasing the dangerous asbestos fibers into the air, which can then be inhaled. So, if you find the asbestos is in a bad condition or there is any kind break in it, it would be best to contact an asbestos professional and have them come in to remove the materials before you begin the work of putting in a new floor.

Intact Tiles

If you don’t find there’s any cracking or other signs of decay, you can probably safely build over the asbestos with a different material. Again, the stuff isn’t wildly radioactive or anything, just harmful when broken down and inhaled. However, if you can seal intact asbestos underneath a fresh layer of flooring, the overall effect is about as safe as removing the tiles all together.

In fact, replacement may be even safer than removal if you can vouch that the old tiles are in good condition, since the process of removing them runs the risk of breaking them and releasing the harmful fibers.

Step 2 – Check for Discoloration

How to identify asbestos tiles

When inspecting the tiles, look for parts that are grayish brown, dark gray, dark brown, or black. Vinyl or asphalt tiles that have these colors in it have a high likelihood of asbestos fibers. One of the main ingredients used in old asbestos tiles was asphalt, so they were primarily made in dark colors only.

Step 3 – Date the Tiles

Another time period asbestos floors were popular was between the years of 1920 and 1960. The flooring during this period was usually made in nine-inch squares and is quite a bit thicker than most of the modern vinyl tiles. Keep in mind the mastic used as an adhesive for these older tiles might also contain some asbestos.

Step 4 – Laboratory Testing

You can easily eliminate all doubt and send a sample of any tiles you suspect to contain asbestos to a special laboratory for testing. The lab will usually require you to send at least three samples.

Since there is still a chance asbestos is present in this case, be sure to use a mask when you’re cutting out your samples.

Step 5 – Collect a Tile Sample

Use a utility knife to cut your samples free and put them into a plastic bag. Then seal it very tightly before sending out. You can cover the area you cut the sample out of with a large piece of duct tape.

Alternatively, they do sell home testing kits, but given that if the tiles are intact, you’re going to have to make an incision to test either way, the lab may just make more sense.

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Asbestos was widely used in the 1970s and 1980s due to its durability, resilience, and heat-resistant properties. But over time, the use of this material was banned because of the health risks associated with being exposed to asbestos ranging from allergies to the dreaded cancer.

Even so, asbestos products that were previously installed at some houses are still not removed even to this day. So how will you be able to know if asbestos is still present inside your home? And to be more specific, how to identify asbestos tiles in your home? Stick around as we are going to tackle more about this topic in today’s blog entry.

Why Is Asbestos A Health Hazard?

Asbestos, in its dormant state, is considered harmless. But the main reason why this material is banned in house construction and insulation is that asbestos is “friable”. In short, asbestos can be easily crumbled and release tiny fibers into the air, which if inhaled or ingested, will lead to these primary health hazards: asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

In addition, some scientific studies also suggest that prolonged exposure to asbestos can also cause cancer in the stomach, esophagus, oral cavity, larynx, colon, and kidney.

Tips In Determining Asbestos Tiles Inside Your Home

Here are some things you need to follow to determine the presence of asbestos tiles inside your home:

How to identify asbestos tiles

  1. Identify The Tile Size – Floor tiles that are made before the 1990s and the 2000s have 9”, 12”, and 18” sizes. If your home tiles have any of these sizes, then it’s most likely made from asbestos.
  2. The Date Of The Flooring – If the flooring inside your house was installed sometime between the 50s and the 80s, then the vinyl flooring might contain traces of asbestos.
  3. The Location Where The Tiles Were Installed – Since asbestos is known for its durability, it was often used in tiling floors inside the kitchen, along the doorways, and mudrooms. So make sure to particularly inspect the tiles in these areas as the tiles are most likely made from asbestos.
  4. The Adhesive Being Used – Black mastic and cutback adhesives were extensively used in the early decades before the 90s. So if the adhesive used in a damaged floor tile is black, then there’s a possibility that your tile flooring contains asbestos.
  5. The Color And Damage Of The Tile – If the color of the floor tiles looks heavily stained, and oil residue is seeping through, then you can suspect your tiles to contain asbestos as asphalt tiles that are grimly discolored indicate the traces of this material in your tiles.
  6. The Brand Of Tiles Installed – If you have vinyl tiles are made by Armstrong, Montgomery Ward, KenTile, Sears & Roebuck, and Ever-Wear brands, then they probably contain asbestos.So it’s best to search for documentation of the previous homeowners (if available) or any excess tiles left by the tile installers below the crawlspaces, basement stairs, attics, etc. to confirm if your tiles are really made from asbestos. Just make sure not to break it as it will release the tiny fibers which can be released into the air and cause you to inhale it.
  1. Through Lab Testing – And finally, once you have gathered the samples, the best thing that you can do to confirm the presence of asbestos inside your house is to have the tiles tested inside a laboratory.

Local testing labs are more than willing to have your sample tested at a reasonable price. All you need to do is seal the tile sample in a bag (a Ziploc bag is recommended) and mail it to the lab facility with the $50 to $100 fee. Then wait for a couple of days or a week to get the lab result.

And there you have it, the things you need to do to identify the presence of asbestos in your house.

How to identify asbestos tiles

Wall paintings, picture frames, hanging decors, and shelves – these are just some of the common things you attach to Read more

How to identify asbestos tiles

Tile painting is resurging in popularity these days. In fact, more and more people are embracing this trend in their Read more

How to identify asbestos tiles

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How to Identify Asbestos Ceiling Tiles – Tips For People Who Have Exposure Problems, asbestosdefinition.com | How to identify asbestos ceiling tiles is an important question that you should be asking if you are living in a building where asbestos was used and not in compliance with the law. The government has set up a standard for flooring to prevent exposure to asbestos.

There are different manufacturers who make ceiling tiles that may contain asbestos. This is true even though the company does not have asbestos products, they may have products that are made from asbestos. You need to understand the cause of your symptoms before you start treating yourself with home remedies.

Asbestos is a silicate mineral. It was first used in England in the 1800s as an insulator. It was used in materials like roofing shingles, flooring tiles, insulation, and pipe insulation. When an individual inhales asbestos fibers they become trapped in the lungs.

There is a certain risk when someone encounters this type of material on the surface of their body. Exposure to asbestos fibres can cause mesothelioma. It can also cause the same type of disease in the lungs of people who work in places where asbestos is used.

How to identify asbestos ceiling tiles? It’s really simple. If there is a coating on the tiles that contain asbestos, it is not safe to touch or walk on.

In order to determine if a coating contains asbestos you should check for the number of the EPA asbestos registry. The registry will tell you if the tile has been tested and verified as containing asbestos. On the registry, you will also find the name of the manufacturer and the company who manufactured the tile.

You should also look for products that use a glue, rather than paint, in order to ensure that the coatings are not made of asbestos. Carpet coating does not contain asbestos, but paint coated over it does.

You might wonder if you can protect yourself from asbestos through the use of hardwood floors. Hardwood floors do not contain asbestos. As long as there is no adhesive in the paint or the floor covering, it should be safe to walk on.

The most common way to prevent asbestos exposure is through protection. Products that contain asbestos include shingles, insulation, piping, and tile. It is best to protect yourself and your family by wearing protective gear that will protect your body and also protect the area you are in.

Isolate yourself from any areas where asbestos has been used. If you suspect that an area you are in has been exposed to asbestos, you should stay out of that area.

Try to see if the source of the asbestos has been properly removed. Do not trust the newspaper to tell you if the area is contaminated. If you see the warning label and the name of the manufacturer and the company who manufactured the tile, that you are safe to go into the area and do anything that you want to it.

Know your limits and know how to protect yourself. If you can’t do that, get help.

Asbestos was widely used in the 1970s and 1980s due to its durability, resilience, and heat-resistant properties. But over time, the use of this material was banned because of the health risks associated with being exposed to asbestos ranging from allergies to the dreaded cancer.

Even so, asbestos products that were previously installed at some houses are still not removed even to this day. So how will you be able to know if asbestos is still present inside your home? And to be more specific, how to identify asbestos tiles in your home? Stick around as we are going to tackle more about this topic in today’s blog entry.

Why Is Asbestos A Health Hazard?

Asbestos, in its dormant state, is considered harmless. But the main reason why this material is banned in house construction and insulation is that asbestos is “friable”. In short, asbestos can be easily crumbled and release tiny fibers into the air, which if inhaled or ingested, will lead to these primary health hazards: asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

In addition, some scientific studies also suggest that prolonged exposure to asbestos can also cause cancer in the stomach, esophagus, oral cavity, larynx, colon, and kidney.

Tips In Determining Asbestos Tiles Inside Your Home

Here are some things you need to follow to determine the presence of asbestos tiles inside your home:

How to identify asbestos tiles

  1. Identify The Tile Size – Floor tiles that are made before the 1990s and the 2000s have 9”, 12”, and 18” sizes. If your home tiles have any of these sizes, then it’s most likely made from asbestos.
  2. The Date Of The Flooring – If the flooring inside your house was installed sometime between the 50s and the 80s, then the vinyl flooring might contain traces of asbestos.
  3. The Location Where The Tiles Were Installed – Since asbestos is known for its durability, it was often used in tiling floors inside the kitchen, along the doorways, and mudrooms. So make sure to particularly inspect the tiles in these areas as the tiles are most likely made from asbestos.
  4. The Adhesive Being Used – Black mastic and cutback adhesives were extensively used in the early decades before the 90s. So if the adhesive used in a damaged floor tile is black, then there’s a possibility that your tile flooring contains asbestos.
  5. The Color And Damage Of The Tile – If the color of the floor tiles looks heavily stained, and oil residue is seeping through, then you can suspect your tiles to contain asbestos as asphalt tiles that are grimly discolored indicate the traces of this material in your tiles.
  6. The Brand Of Tiles Installed – If you have vinyl tiles are made by Armstrong, Montgomery Ward, KenTile, Sears & Roebuck, and Ever-Wear brands, then they probably contain asbestos.So it’s best to search for documentation of the previous homeowners (if available) or any excess tiles left by the tile installers below the crawlspaces, basement stairs, attics, etc. to confirm if your tiles are really made from asbestos. Just make sure not to break it as it will release the tiny fibers which can be released into the air and cause you to inhale it.
  1. Through Lab Testing – And finally, once you have gathered the samples, the best thing that you can do to confirm the presence of asbestos inside your house is to have the tiles tested inside a laboratory.

Local testing labs are more than willing to have your sample tested at a reasonable price. All you need to do is seal the tile sample in a bag (a Ziploc bag is recommended) and mail it to the lab facility with the $50 to $100 fee. Then wait for a couple of days or a week to get the lab result.

And there you have it, the things you need to do to identify the presence of asbestos in your house.

How to identify asbestos tiles

Wall paintings, picture frames, hanging decors, and shelves – these are just some of the common things you attach to Read more

How to identify asbestos tiles

Tile painting is resurging in popularity these days. In fact, more and more people are embracing this trend in their Read more

How to identify asbestos tiles

Drywall cracks are some of the common problems you can encounter on your wall. And without a doubt, they can Read more

How to identify asbestos tiles

Tile sealing and regrouting are essential for maintaining the aesthetic appeal of tiles, especially in places such as your bathroom Read more

How to identify asbestos tiles

Many older homes have asbestos tiles for flooring. As time goes by and more homes are remodeled, fewer homes contain asbestos tiles. But if you have a home built before the mid-20th century, there is a good chance that the floor tiles contain asbestos.

What Are Asbestos Floor Tiles?

For about 35 years, flooring companies included asbestos when they manufactured the vinyl tiles. Asbestos is a mineral that lends fireproofing qualities to any substance it is mixed with. But the flooring companies’ aim wasn’t so much to make the floor tiles fireproof as it was to make the tiles more durable. Another draw was the appearance: some asbestos tiles had the texture of a hand-crafted stone-chip design.

Asbestos vinyl floor tiles were far from rare. Asbestos tiles were popular, widely advertised products found in all parts of the U.S. at the time.

Identifying Asbestos Tile Flooring

By Date

If the flooring was installed between 1952 and 1986, your vinyl flooring might contain asbestos.

By Location

Since asbestos tiles are highly durable, they were installed in high traffic areas such as kitchens, hallways, and mudrooms.

By Brand Name

Armstrong, Congoleum-Nairn, Ever-Wear, KenTile, KenFlex, Montgomery Ward, and Sears & Roebuck are some of the brand names of vinyl tile from that period that might contain asbestos.

Because floor tiles are not imprinted with brand names, look for previous owners’ documentation or for excess tiles left by the installers. Extra tiles are often tucked away in unusual locations, such as the triangular storage area below basement stairs, work sheds, crawlspaces, attics, or on high shelves in closets.

By Looking Underneath Other Flooring

One method of dealing with the asbestos problem was—and still is—to cover the asbestos floor tiles with a second layer of flooring. This effectively encapsulates the asbestos and renders it safe, as long as it is not disturbed.

As long as the asbestos tiles are solid, you can cover them with sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl plank, laminate, engineered wood, solid hardwood, or just about any other type of flooring. If the tiles are not solid, you can insert an intervening sheet of underlayment: thin luan wood or cement board.

The presence of one type of floor covering another type of flooring does not necessarily mean that the lower flooring has asbestos. Often, covering over other flooring is done out of convenience: to avoid demolition.

By Lab Testing

Lab testing is a far better option than trying to identify asbestos-containing tiles yourself.

Local testing labs will test your vinyl tile for reasonable fees. To get an entire home tested for asbestos might cost in the hundreds of dollars. But to test an individual sample of vinyl tile, if mailed or dropped off at the facility, will cost between $50 and $100. For the lab to come to your house and take the sample, you can triple the price.

Taking a sample usually involves little more than safely cutting out a one-inch square of the vinyl tile in question and sealing it up a bag for mailing.

Treating or Removing Asbestos Tile Flooring

Should you be worried if you have vinyl tiles that contain asbestos? As long as the tiles are not disturbed in any way—removed, sanded, cut—there is little need for concern. Only by disturbing the tiles will the asbestos fibers be released into the air. If at all possible, leave the tiles intact and avoid removing them.

In some instances, you may want to remove your asbestos tiles before installing another type of flooring. One notable instance is if you plan to restore the wood flooring underneath the asbestos vinyl tile. This is a highly invasive project that will break up and scatter asbestos fibers, so you need to take the highest level of caution.

Seal the work area, protectively suit yourself up, and remove the asbestos tiles while keeping them as intact as possible. This can be difficult with older asbestos tiles, which will be stiff, brittle, and friable, not flexible.

You can easily install ceramic or porcelain tile, laminate flooring, and solid hardwood or engineered wood over asbestos vinyl tile, without removing the vinyl flooring first.

Any kind of grouted tile can be installed directly on the tile (do not sand down the asbestos tiles first, as is customary with this type of installation). Install a cement backer board first. For laminate flooring, you may wish to smooth out the surface by first installing a thin plywood underlayment. Hardwood or engineered wood flooring may be installed directly on the vinyl flooring.

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How to identify asbestos tiles

It can be a bit difficult to recognize asbestos ceiling tiles. If you have an old home with old ceiling tiles, there may be a good chance that they contain asbestos. Also, certain types of ceiling tiles are more likely to contain asbestos than others. It is nearly impossible to tell if your tiles contain asbestos just by looking at them, however, and hiring an asbestos expert may be necessary.

Asbestos was once a very popular building material, particularly because it is fireproof. This material was often used in the United States from the early 1900s until the early 1970s. In the mid-1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the use of asbestos in construction. Despite this, some homes constructed a few years after this may still contain asbestos in their ceilings. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), individuals should suspect that any ceiling tiles installed before 1981 contain asbestos.

A suspended ceiling is more likely than other types of ceilings to contain asbestos tiles. These types of ceilings are also referred to as dropped ceilings or acoustic ceilings. They are created by suspending a framework from the roof or upper floor and inserting ceiling tiles into the open spaces, thereby creating a space between the ceiling and upper floor or roof.

Some asbestos ceiling tiles may be labeled. If these labels exist, they will be on the top of the ceiling tiles. This is rare, however, and most asbestos tiles are not labeled in any way. They will almost always resemble regular ceiling tiles.

Since it is almost impossible to recognize asbestos ceiling tiles just by looking at them, you may want to hire an asbestos expert. These experts are trained in asbestos detection. An asbestos inspection will typically involve the contractor coming to your home and examining any areas that may contain asbestos. He will also usually obtain a sample of the ceiling tiles.

These samples will typically be sent to a laboratory for further testing. Testing these samples is considered to be the only way to positively identify asbestos ceiling tiles and other materials containing asbestos. Polarized light microscopy is a technique often used to identify this substance.

As a general rule of thumb, any old ceiling tiles should be treated as though they contain asbestos. When removing asbestos ceiling tiles, it is important to follow a number of safety guidelines outlined by OSHA. It is often advisable to hire an asbestos removal specialist, as opposed to trying to tackle the job yourself.

How to Identify Asbestos Floor Tiles, asbestosdefinition.com | Many people want to know how to identify asbestos floor tiles. This type of flooring is highly flammable and must be avoided if at all possible, even with strict safety precautions.

How to Identify Asbestos Floor Tiles – Important Facts You Need to Know

Asbestos tile floors can contain asbestos fibers in the form of dust or powder. It is these fibers that cause the problem. When they are wet, you can rub them on your skin, but once they dry out and are solid, you can’t breathe on them.

You will also find that asbestos floor tiles do not usually come with the kind of ventilation holes that you would expect. There is a great possibility that your neighbor, or an occasional friend has asbestos exposure on their property. They may have inadvertently inhaled it.

If you suspect that you have asbestos exposure due to a floor on your home, you should call a certified inspector. An inspector will be able to test for the presence of asbestos in your home. If they find it, they will remove it and contact you to get more information on how to identify asbestos floor tiles.

When the inspector looks at the tile, they will be looking for several different things. The first thing that they will look for is that it has a surface that is flat and smooth. They will also look for any dark specks or areas of coloration. Finally, the inspector will check for any bubbles or bumps that might indicate a covering has been on top of the tile.

Bubbles can indicate where someone worked in large areas. If a person who is high up in the building had a container or box that they carried things out of. That container or box could have had asbestos fibers in it and have been covered up by the air and dust that circulated around the area where the containerwas located.

If the inspector looks at any seams, there will be one that they will look for. An area that has many seams could have asbestos fibers within them. Also, if the seams were not perfectly even, that can mean that someone in the home is getting a lot of stress when walking on that area.

Asbestos is a deadly, cancer causing mineral. It is the material that is most often used in the production of new homes. It is also the material that is most likely to be found in old homes.

If you are concerned about the health of yourself and your family, it is important that you learn how to identify asbestos floor tiles. Once you know what you are looking for, you can then ensure that you are in the clear. This is a valuable tool that can make your life easier.

If you suspect that you have asbestos exposure in your home, you should talk to a certified inspector as soon as possible. This can help to identify your problem faster and provide the needed information that you need to be able to return to your home and be safe.

Once you determine that you have asbestos exposure, you will want to return the house to its original condition. You will want to repair any areas that were likely to be high risk. Once this is done, you will want to make sure that you go back to the inspector to have any further work completed on the home.

If you are going to do certain work, such as having the floor refinished, you will want to make sure that you only hire an asbestos abatement company. This is because they can remove the asbestos and take the fibers away with a vacuum cleaner that uses heat to break them down. You can then easily remove the remnants of the old flooring and re-cover your home with new tile.