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Unread 11-18-2006, 12:08 AM   #1
chipper
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asbestos in linoleum?

Our house was built in 1985 and has linoleum in the kitchen that I'd like to remove and put tile down (don't want the build up if I keep it). I've seen tests for $15-$25 and $40-$50. Anyone know if the latter (more expensive) tests are worth the price considering the year the house was built? Thanks in advance.

Randy
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Unread 11-18-2006, 10:08 AM   #2
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Hi Randy.

For piece of mind, get it tested. I'd be leery of an 'el cheapo $20 test.
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Unread 11-18-2006, 10:44 AM   #3
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definitely get it tested, recommended lab

Randy,

Chances are from '85 it's probably ok, but spend the money and have it tested. Don't do what I did and start tearing it out before. Mine tested positive for asbestos and I had to go into full remediation ($2500). Probably the dumbest thing I've done to date.

I used this lab:

Western Analytical Laboratory
(818) 899-0949

Best regards, Jon

Last edited by scoobs; 11-18-2006 at 10:49 AM.
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Unread 11-18-2006, 05:53 PM   #4
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Linoleum itself does not contain asbestos, but the adhesive that is used to hold it down might.
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Unread 11-18-2006, 07:21 PM   #5
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Remember that asbestos containing materials are only dangerous when friable and become air born. I serisouly doubt that you will have an issue with asbestos. Most residential uses of asbestos was banned by the early 80's.

Good luck!!!!
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Unread 11-18-2006, 07:36 PM   #6
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My experience has been that the only truly questionable "Vinyl" are the smaller tile squares.....generally about 7 or 8" in size, and, as was said above, they are only dangerous if you grind them in some manner as to release dust & fibers into the air. Popping them free or chipping them up in pieces poses no real risk. Having said that, typically the homeowner has to do it. Hire a big company and they want to go the "remediation" route....$$$
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Unread 11-18-2006, 08:01 PM   #7
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To clear things up a bit..... Linoleun was a specific type of sheet goods made from cork (Armstrong Cork Co.) and other materials for decoration. Linoleum hadn't been used much since the '50's. The backing of linoleum was made of paper, usually black/brownish or sometimes it was greenish in color. You may have heard the term "battleship linoleum"? It was used on military ships to reduce the splintering of wooden decks when enemy shells hit their mark. I doubt if linoleum contained asbestos in its surface layer, paper backing or the water soulable paste usually used to install it?

What is often reffered to as linoleum is really sheet vinyl. Sheet vinyl came (comes) is many grades and widths. The very tough type of sheet vinyl is made by aranging tiny particles of vinyl chips/flakes into a pattern, this type of sheet vinyl is called "inlaid vinyl". Inlaid vinyl comes only in 6' widths because of its weight and therefore would be impossible to handle in wider rolls. When "experts" say you can install other floors directly over sheet vinyl floors in good condition, they are talking about this type of 'hard-non-cushioned' sheet vinyl.

The other type of sheet vinyl is made by the 'rotogravure' method. Rotogravure is like printing a newspaper. This type of flooring starts with a backing, to which a thin foam chemical is applied. As the chemically uncured foam is applied, another chemical is also applied in the design pattern of the desired flooring. It is them 'baked' to cure. The foam rises as it cures except where to 2nd chemical was applied preventing that area from rising, thus the texture of sheet vinyl. The material continues to the coloring/printing process and finally the wear layer. The wear layer is a clear sheet of vinyl anywhere from 2-3 mills upto maybe 20 mills thick. This type of flooring is 'cushioned' even though it doesn't feel all that soft in many cases. These floors can be 6', 9' 12' even 13'6" wide. DO NOT install good flooring or CBU"S directly over this type of flooring.

In the 1960's the flooring industry developed a 'better' backing for their mid to upper grade sheet flooring. The old basic paper backing was suseptable to heel and appliance indentation because to paper was soft. Armstrong introduced 'hydrocord' as their better backing. Hydrocord was made from asbestos, it was off-white in color, about 1/16" thick. This type of backing was replaced by other types in the early to mid '80's.

Although these backings contain asbestos, most do not believe they create any danger unless you sand and breath the dust over a lengthy period of time, or eat the material. (dogs) Having said that, I DO NOT suggest anyone dry sand or scrape materials that might contain anything harmfull. Procedures have been developed for the safe removal of certain flooring materials that contain asbestos. As far as I know the adhesives used for sheet vinyl do not and did not contain asbestos. Adhesives for sheet vinyl were either water-based, (old linoleum paste) or latex based. As far as I know only some of the old black asphalt-based (cut-back) contained asbestos. Again not a problem, just don't sand it.

Randy; is your house build on a slab?

Jaz
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Unread 11-20-2006, 09:44 PM   #8
chipper
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JAZ,

Wow! Thanks for the thorough reply. No, house isn't built on a slab.

I'd like to peel, scrape, cut the vinyl away but was worried about the adhesive and the vinyl itself. Can the scraping, peeling, cutting and subsequent breathing of particles be of concern? Guess even the more expensive testing is worth the expense compared to "remediation" and a longer life to spend with my daughter.
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Unread 11-20-2006, 09:47 PM   #9
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No, only if you "grind" it...in other words, produce clouds of smoke in the process of removal. Chipping it or peeling it up (try a heat gun) is no problem, IMHO.
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Unread 11-20-2006, 10:35 PM   #10
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Randy,

I asked about slab 'cause if the flooring is over a wooden subfloor, the 'linoleum' should have been adhered to an underlayment, and not the subfloor. These underlayments are usually just 1/4" thick or a little less, and add no strength. You need to remove this underalyment when you intall the next floor. You remove the vinyl and underlayment in one operation still attached. No worries of asbestos.

Check how the floor is built and confirm multiple layers.

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Unread 11-26-2006, 09:31 PM   #11
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Jaz,

I would also assume that there is a layer of luan or similar underneath. The next question I have is how do I remove the underlayment with the vinyl attched?

Thanks for the responses.
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Unread 11-26-2006, 09:59 PM   #12
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Asbestos can be a hot topic, but I feel compelled to speak my peace against a couple things that have been mentioned .

Dates can help you in determining the probability of asbestos in a floor, but DON'T LET THAT FOOL YOU. Asbestos has been in some flooring up into the 90's.

And "grinding" asbestos fibers doesn't necessarily entail using a high speed grinder and producing a cloud of dust. Sanding them with sandpaper, a belt sander, a hand scraper.....it all does the same thing. The important part is not grinding a non-friable asbestos fiber out of its matrix and floating it into the air where your lungs will be exposed to them.

If you are really interested in proper removal of asbestos safely for little cost, do and internet search......and talk to your city. If you live in a sizable city, chances are they will help educate you in the proper removal of asbestos and where to get rid of it. The city is on your side to help you out here. Some even have hepa vacuums (the only vacuum that you can use with asbestos) available for a nominal rental fee. The laws for a homeowner to get rid of asbestos from their own homes are very friendly compared to what an asbestos abatement company needs to go through.
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Unread 11-26-2006, 10:11 PM   #13
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Yep
Listen to what Bubba says. and I will add that if you are going to remove the underlayment under the vinyl you will need to set your circular saw to that depth and cut the floor up in sections that you can pry up. Hope that the underlayment is not screwed down or has a million staples in it. I always say a prayer "I hope I don't ever have to take this subfloor back up"
So anyway if you cut the flooring with the saw you fill the room with dust and it could be asbestos dust.
Get a test done they are cheap and quick.
If you don't have any place to get it done in your area call NVL Labs 1-888-685-5227. www.nvllabs.com. They can tell you how to prep and send a sample to them. It is cheap for the peace of mind you will have.
Make sure to tell them that Jerry The Tile Guy, Seattle, Tile installer told you to call.
Good Luck
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Unread 10-12-2007, 11:43 PM   #14
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asbestos questions

I have a house built in 1977, so that appears to be in the range of probable asbestos applications. The flooring in question is vinyl sheet flooring on concrete slab. I am aware that most likely it is of the "asbestos backing" variety, or am at least assuming so. I haven't yet had anything lab tested. I have a couple of questions:

- Is it true that the black mastic, "cut-back", adhesive used on tiles is the only flooring adhesive to contain asbestos? In other words, if it is sheet flooring and the adhesive is not the black stuf, is it asbestos free?

-What are the real dangers in cutting the sheet with a razor into strips, using a heat gun to soften the adhesive, and then pulling up the sheet flooring in strips with little or no damage. Wouldn't this eliminate the dreaded "sanding and grinding" of the asbestos backing, while keeping the sheet intact?

Thanks in advance, I'll be checking back...
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Unread 10-13-2007, 12:29 AM   #15
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Oh, and...

Jaz, I did read your informative post, and I realize that you addressed one of my questions by stating you didn't think that sheet vinyl used asbestos adhesive. I was just looking for more input/confirmation.

Also, I know most folks advise against it, but if I have a solid concrete slab, is it feasible to just lay ceramic tile over the existing sheets(2)? It seems as though the main reason for not is foundation settling/movement of subfloor which comprmises the new tiles' setting. I also know that it is just generally undesirable to continually build up and up...
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