For those remodeling old homes asbestos is a potential health hazard. There are few people working on houses built before 1980 who didn’t encounter some asbestos. Many old houses contain asbestos in old ceiling tiles, siding, insulation, joint compound, pipe cement, roof flashings and shingles, and floor tiles.

Why do people accidentally remove asbestos tiles?

Unfortunately, many people accidentally remove old vinyl floor tiles. They don’t know that asbestos was a common ingredient in old vinyl floor tiles. Instead of removing these old asbestos tiles, the best approach is to install a new layer of tiles on top of them.

If you accidentally removed asbestos tiles, you should know the dangers. Asbestos fibers pose a danger if you inhale them. It’s important to note that DIYers aren’t dropping dead from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by extended exposure to asbestos fibers, after accidentally removing a few asbestos tiles.

What if I accidentally removed asbestos tiles?

If you have accidentally removed asbestos tiles, you should let the air out. Because asbestos particles are lighter than air, they can stay airborne for a long time.

You could also take a small part of the tile and have it tested for asbestos. The test is inexpensive and you might find out that it wasn’t even asbestos. And if you really accidentally removed some asbestos tiles, you could hire a licensed abatement company for advice about the remaining asbestos dust.

Also, you may want to mention it to your doctor at your next visit.

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What are the risks of accidentally removing asbestos tiles?

Asbestos tile removal poses a high risk of fiber release. This is especially true when someone accidentally removes asbestos tiles without the proper protective measures. Asbestos tiles must be removed properly to ensure the safety of the homeowner.

How to avoid accidentally removing asbestos tiles?

Before you start removing old tiles, it’s best to test them for asbestos.  Air samples should be taken after removing asbestos tiles. Only hire a contractors that is using the proper protective equipment such as disposable clothing, and HEPA approved respirators and vacuum.

Choose a qualified professional to remove asbestos tiles from your home. You shouldn’t handle asbestos abatement in your home without the help of a professional who is certified to do asbestos abatement work.

Not every handyman or remodeling contractor has asbestos certification. Make sure that the person you hire to remove asbestos tiles from your home has completed a federal or state-approved asbestos safety course.

What to do if asbestos floor tiles are broken?

If asbestos floor tiles are broken, the critical thing for you to think about is that asbestos dust is only a hazard when it is airborne. Asbestos dust could be a real problem, but it would be rare. It would require someone to intentionally make asbestos dust with a mechanical tool such as a drill or saw.

Removing a few broken asbestos floor tiles would not present a health hazard. If you want to have the air quality tested in your home for asbestos, you could, but it’s most likely unnecessary.

What happens if you rip up asbestos tile?

The best approach is to cover up asbestos tiles when you rip up asbestos tiles. When you rip up asbestos tile, it can release toxic dust. If you have crumbling asbestos flooring in your house, you deal with friable asbestos. Friable asbestos is particularly hazardous because it can quickly release toxic dust into your home.

Can you cover broken asbestos floor tiles?

You can cover asbestos floor tiles to prevent toxic dust from the old adhesive from getting into the air inside your house. Covering asbestos floor tiles is enough to prevent further damage that could release asbestos fibers into the air.

What can you cover asbestos tiles with?

You can cover asbestos tiles with carpeting. Don’t use a fiber pad to cover asbestos in a basement. Instead, cover it with a rubber-based carpet pad.

When you sell your house, you should note that you have covered up some asbestos tiles. It will protect the new owner if they decide to remove the asbestos tiles in the future.

You can tile directly over asbestos tiles. Ceramic tiles are excellent for covering old asbestos tiles. Make sure you select floor-rated ceramic tiles and thin enough not to create a problem.

You can cover asbestos tiles with a porcelain floor cover if the thickness isn’t an issue. Porcelain is an excellent floor covering due to its extreme durability.

You can cover asbestos tiles with laminate. They easily snap into place, making for a quick installation. Also, using laminates instead of hardwood flooring, you don’t need to pierce the asbestos tiles below during installation.

You can even use granite or marble flooring to cover asbestos tiles as long as it’s not in a basement or another area prone to moisture. The best approach is to use an epoxy-based thin set of mortar to keep the flooring thin enough to work in your home.

Can you put vinyl flooring over asbestos tiles?

You can put vinyl flooring over asbestos tiles. As long as the old tile isn’t loose, vinyl tiles can adhere to old asbestos flooring. You could even use peel and stick vinyl tiles because they don’t require an additional adhesive layer, making the flooring too thick.

How do you clean up broken asbestos tile?

You can clean up broken asbestos tile with a hammer and putty knife. Work the putty knife under the edges of the tile and pop it loose. After removing the first asbestos tile, you can work the putty knife at a 45 degree angle to gently pop the remaining asbestos tiles loose.

Avoid breaking asbestos tiles during removal to keep asbestos from getting into the air. Asbestos becomes a hazard when it is airborne. If asbestos is pulverized in the home, it may release asbestos fibers. A great way to reduce asbestos dust is to wet your work area.  As water is the natural enemy of dust, it is an effective way to control dust in your work area.

Only asbestos abatement professionals should clean up broken asbestos. This is because they are trained to handle asbestos materials safely.

You consult the United States Environmental Protection Agency to find out about safe working practices when cleaning up broken asbestos tiles.

Can you cover broken asbestos floor tiles?

You can cover broken asbestos floor tiles with self-stick tiles. Using self-stick tiles is an effective yet inexpensive way to cover broken asbestos floor tiles.

What percentage of asbestos in floor tiles?

Asbestos tiles could contain up to 70% asbestos by weight.

Final thoughts on removing asbestos tiles

If you accidentally removed asbestos tiles, it’s not the end of the world. But whenever removing asbestos tiles, you need to be aware of the potential dangers, take the necessary precautions and test everything in the house.

Asbestos tiles may be repaired or isolated rather than removed in some cases. If they are in good condition, they may be isolated from potential damage by using a sturdy, airtight barrier. You can think of this as a temporary solution to some asbestos problems.

But, if you have accidentally removed asbestos, you could test the tile for asbestos. If the tiles are indeed asbestos, the best course of action is to remove all of the tiles or at least cover them.