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Unread 04-23-2021, 09:40 AM   #1
kirbyfloats
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Retiling over old broken tile AND old asbestos

Hello! I (& husband) have started a small bathroom renovation - my first - and it's been an adventure at every turn. My question is about the floor - roughly 40 sq ft or so. It had old ceramic tile, 1-2 of which were loose. We pried them up, assuming we'd be just pulling up all the tiles, grinding thinset down, and replacing. But under the few tiles we pulled up, we found linoleum...had it tested for asbestos...and yes, it contains asbestos.

So now we have asbestos linoleum and large tiles on top of it with some empty spots - where we pulled up the loose tiles, where some chipped, and where the vanity & toilet used to be (previous owners installed the vanity/toilet and then tiled around it). Decent layer of old thinset in the empty spots.

Quoted $4000 to remove the asbestos so we're not going to do that. I think we want to just proceed to tile on top of all this. We THINK the best way forward is to apply new thinset into the holes (with maybe some throwaway tiles to provide support), install backerboard on top of all of it, then proceed to tile on top of all these layers.

Any reason not to do this? Any creative solutions we're not thinking of?

& can we use normal thinset for this or is there a more appropriate mortar?
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Unread 04-23-2021, 10:04 AM   #2
John Bridge
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Hi Emma,

Knowing that the new tile installation would be only as good as the old, I would tile right over the existing tile. Forget the backer board. There is no approved way to attach it to the old floor.

Others here might get all over me for recommending this, but I certainly wouldn't spend four grand to have the old stuff removed. Once the asbestos is encapsulated again it'll be harmless.

I hope you do get some other replies to this post.
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Unread 04-23-2021, 10:15 AM   #3
cx
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Welcome, Emma.

Given that the existing tiles are coming loose on their own and that they were "bonded" to the linoleum to begin with, I'd not consider tiling over the existing tile. Perhaps John has a method of doing that with which I'm not familiar, but.........

What I would do is remove the linoleum while keeping it damp to prevent dust and never look back. I can't recommend that on a public forum, but that's what I'd do.

In the alternative, I'd do exactly what you plan. You must bed the CBU in mortar anyway, so smoothing over the existing old mortar after removing the ceramic tile would satisfy that requirement and you can certainly fasten the CBU over the linoleum. I think most, or all, the manufacturers of CBU will accept such an installation.

You'll need to make some sort of transition to adjacent flooring at the doorway, of course.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-23-2021, 10:40 AM   #4
kirbyfloats
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CX, do you think any risk of letting more asbestos into the air by pulling up the rest of the tiles?

(& thank you both for your quick ideas!)
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Unread 04-23-2021, 11:02 AM   #5
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Again, Emma, I would keep the floor damp or wet to help keep the particles from becoming airborne. I would also wear the appropriate PPE. A pump-up sprayer of water would be my constant companion and whatever scraper seemed to work well at the time.

But I certainly can't recommend any of that on someone else's public website.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-23-2021, 11:06 AM   #6
kirbyfloats
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Oops, I wasn't clear but possibly your answer would be the same - I was referring to just the ceramic tiles. Would it create more asbestos risk to pull the rest of the ceramic tiles up? Their mortar is not loose.

(I guess it's not a big deal to just keep everything damp anyway.)
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