Asbestos Floor Tiles
From 1945 to the mid-1980s, asbestos was a predominant material used in many different construction items both internal and external. Examples include asbestos popcorn ceiling, and asbestos sidings. The fibres have some excellent properties such as fire-resistance that saw a surge in use during this period.
However, advancements in technology and science uncovered potential dangers with the asbestos fibres. Therefore, things like asbestos floor tiles can be hazardous and it is important to check your home to see if any traces remain. Below, we provide useful information on asbestos floor tiles including what they look like, and what you can do with them.
What are Asbestos Floor Tiles?
Asbestos was added to multiple materials as a mixture to create composites that would have a plethora of beneficial properties for homes. One such material it was combined with was vinyl and asphalt. Vinyl or asphalt and asbestos were mixed to create asbestos floor tiles.
Vinyl is still used today for laminate floorings due to its versatility but it is combined with other, more safer substances as opposed to asbestos. Asphalt is not as popular anymore for homes and is more commonly used for road surfacing.
What do Asbestos Floor Tiles Look Like?
Unfortunately, without testing kits and professional knowledge it is difficult to identify asbestos floor tiles. This is because like with most construction products, they were made in a large number of different sizes, designs, and styles.
Vinyl asbestos floor tiles were popular between the 1930s and 1970s, while asphalt asbestos flooring phased out earlier and was popular between the 1920s and 1960s. There are some things you can look for or consider that will point towards the presence of asbestos:
• Tile Size: Typically flooring in the asbestos era came in sizes of 9, 12, or 18-inch squares.
• Property Age: If your house was made between 1920 to the mid-1980s, there is a higher change it will have asbestos flooring.
• Flooring adhesive: Asphalt adhesive was used during this era. If the flooring adhesive is thick and black, there is a higher chance it is asphalt adhesive and that the tiles will contain asbestos.
• Flooring color: If your tiles are grimy or have some black stains, this could mean the presence of asphalt which was a primary substance of asbestos floor tiles.
Aside from that, you can use one of our asbestos testing kits which we discuss below. Other than that, there is no real identifier due to the variance in style and design from manufacturers like American Billtrite, the Fibreboard Coporoation, and Kentile Floors who all produced asbestos flooring in the USA.
When Did They Stop Using Asbestos in Floor Tiles?
Asbestos was widely used in construction for many decades – particularly from the 1940s to the mid-1980s. Initially, the potentially dangerous side effects and hazards associated with asbestos fibres were unknown.
It was not until the late 1970s that the dangers were uncovered. Nowadays, we know that if inhaled, asbestos fibres can cause a range of breathing and lung issues including asbestosis and even lung cancer in extreme cases.
Therefore, the use of asbestos was outright banned in 1978. However, manufacturers and stockists were still allowed to sell their existing suppliesof asbestos – just not produce any more. As a result, there was some overlap between the banning of it, and when houses stopped being constructed with materials containing it.
How to Deal With Asbestos Floor Tiles?
If your home was built after 1990, there is virtually no chance that it will contain any asbestos products. The substance was banned long before this and went out of circulation too earlier.
However, if you have an older property – either that was fully built before 1990, or that has older parts of it from that period, there is a chance that there could be traces of asbestos in the floors. Therefore, you must know what to do including testing, keeping your floors, and replacing them.
Use a testing kit to find asbestos
The first step is to find out for certain if any of your floors contain asbestos. You can use our asbestos testing kits to do this process yourself without the help or expense of professionals.
Our kits include everything you need to safely carry out the procedure including masks, PPE, and storage to send off the floor tile samples. Once you have sent the sample off, you can expect to receive the results back within 72-hours from the point they are received at the lab. You can then know for sure if you do have asbestos floor tiles and decide what to do with them.
Keeping your asbestos floor tiles
It is possible to keep your asbestos floor tiles. The danger is not the tile, it’s the asbestos fibres. Therefore, if your floor is in a great condition with no broken or cracked tiles, it should be safe. Providing that you are careful, regularly check the quality of the tiles, and maintain it, asbestos fibres shouldn’t escape.
Replacing your asbestos floor tiles
You may, however, simply want to replace the floor tiles to remove any potential danger which is understandable. If so, under no circumstance should you try and do this yourself. Asbestos floor tiles should only be remove via qualified professionals as they will have the correct gear and know how to cordon the room off properly.
If you notice any damage to the floor tiles such as cracks, chips, or crumbling corners, we advise evacuating the room and stopping anyone from using it until professionals can assess it. Any damage like that could release the asbestos fibres and cause health issues.
Don’t worry if you think that some of your floors do contain asbestos. The first step as mentioned is to get a testing kit and find out for sure. You can then decide what to do depending on the quality of the floor tiles and if you think there is any immediate health risk. We can provide advice on how to use our kits and what you can do to remain safe in your home so don’t hesitate to contact us if you need assurance.