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Old 04-19-2005, 11:03 PM   #1
gianlucadeluca
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Red face removing resilient floor tiles

Hi folks:

I'm starting my kitchen renovation (bathrooms came out great, thanks for all the help).

Kitchen is approx 9x20 ft. and has 2 layers of resilient flooring (which tested positive for asbestos, 10-15%). The flooring is attached to the cement slab with some kind of mastic that is peeling in certain areas.

I would like to carefully pry this flooring from the cement, ideally without breaking it. The game is to keep everything wet so as to minimize any resulting dust.

I have tried acetone, lacquer thinner, acid cement prep, vinegar and boiling water to varying degrees of success. The boiling water is an attractive solution since it keeps the dust and vapors to a minimum and seems to make the mastic quite soft. The problem is that it gets very gummy and does not peel from the cement cleanly.

Does anyone know of a chemical that attacks mastic so that this flooring can be removed cleanly?

Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I am fully aware of the potential health risks associated with asbestos removal. Appropriate precautions will be taken.

The other option of coarse would be tile overtop the flooring, but the last time I floated that suggestion on this forum, it seems that everyone was more inclined to risk uncurable lung cancer and remove the tiles instead .... - has this position changed?

Thanks in advance,

Gian.
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Old 04-19-2005, 11:19 PM   #2
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Gian
Is there anyway you could get a couple bids on this from an abatement contractor?
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Old 04-20-2005, 12:16 AM   #3
ChasR
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Gian

Something to consider is that the people who have had asbestos related problems have worked with asbestos on a daily basis for several years with no protection. If you wear a good mask, emply methods to minimize dust and vacuum the area with a "Hepa" filter your risk is not that great.
The most common method for removing tile from a slab is to heat it with a propane torch and use a large scraper to remove it.
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Old 04-20-2005, 12:41 AM   #4
Colt
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Not totally true Chas,
It can effect people at different levels, Age(small children) elderly or people with resperatory illnesses
Will you get sick from a demo of a 9x20 area? maybe not
But I would not like to have my kids or anyones for that matter breathing asbestos fibers, and without a proper air sample you will never know if that house is clean (airborn fiber free)
The containment and the air filtering and sampling is not something a home owner can do.

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Old 04-20-2005, 01:55 AM   #5
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while I gotta agree with the basics of ChasR (I would doubt you will get asbestosis from ripping up one group of tiles) and while I personally feel that asbestosis, while a real problem for some, has been grossly overdiagnosed for $$ reasons...
I gotta go with Colt. Don't risk it. Life's all about risks-I'd punt on this one and hire someone to do it for you...then tile yourself
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Old 04-20-2005, 11:59 AM   #6
gianlucadeluca
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what about tiling on top of this stuff?

Thanks for the thoughts:

I am looking into the abatement option- however, I have seen these guys in action before, its not at all clear to me that they do more good than harm. Sure, they have the equipment and maybe even the technique, but they are often in a rush to finish a job- they make mess, "clean" it up and leave. Then the homeowner is filtering undetectable dust particles with his lungs....

Has anyone had personal experiences with abatement contractors? Good? Bad? Ugly?

What above pouring SLC over the floor, then a Kerdi layer for crack isolation and then tiles? Is there really no way to work this option? Maybe laying backerboard on the floor and driving nails thru to the slab?

Will I get a blessing from anyone out there for this approach?

Thanks,

Gian.
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Old 04-20-2005, 12:11 PM   #7
gianlucadeluca
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One more thing on asbestos

Another issues that I've been grappling with on my asbestos problem-

This resilient flooring has been in place in the house since 1950. Everyone who has lived there has walked on this kitchen floor and scuffed it down a bit (not a lot, but 50 years does take its toll). Doesn't this release asbestos dust in the air? Does this dust eventually clear or should I just consider moving? This must be a problem for all the houses in my neighborhood, since they were all built the same way.

I guess my concerns boil down to the following questions:

1) From a health perspective is it better to leave the flooring in place or have it removed (professionally or otherwise)

2) Can dust that has been released (either thru wear and tear or thru removal) ever be removed to safe levels.

I don't want to lose perspective on this issue- I am aware that my (and my family's) exposure is minimal compared to many other people, however, I already have removed most of the tiles in the 3 bedrooms and in the living room- unlike the kitchen floor, these tiles were essentially loose already and needed very little prying to remove.

Thoughts are welcome, thanks again.

Gian.
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