Flooring and Carpeting/aesbesto


QUESTION: I have asbestos tiles I want to replace. some contractors say cover tiles with adhesive. others say to use laminate. the house is built in 1900.  I don't want to spend too much, but want to be safe and increase resale value. what do you recommend?

ANSWER: They are telling you to cover with adhesive and then what?

First, are you sure they are asbestos?  Asbestos was used in tiles around 1960 to 1980.  Not all vinyl tiles are asbestos.  

There are no health issues with the tiles as is.  The issue may occur if you start tearing them up.  Most just lay another type of flooring on top.  Laminate, carpet, and other flooring products can be installed over the tiles.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: To clarify, they want to put adhesive on top of the asbestoes tile and then put tile or vinyl sheeting on top.  another contracter says if that's done and the house is sold and the new owners find out there is asbestos under the new tile, i can be sued.  Is there any truth in that, or can i just tile over the asbestos.   The second contracter says to put laminate down, but since it's a house built in 1900's I don't want to spend all that money.  What do you think?

Do you possibly think it might not be asbestoes.  i have had a house inspector and contractors over and they all say it's asbestos.  Should i have the tile checked to make sure?

Thank you,

I am not a lawyer, but I can tell you a lot of buildings-- commercial buildings, deal with asbestos tile in this manner.  This is an article I found about landlord obligation.  I know you aren't a landlord, but this information is still relevant.  Note per the article, if a home is built within a certain time period, it is assumed it has asbestos.  Not just tile, other common building materials were made with asbestos.  Again, you aren't a landlord, you don't have any responsibility to test.    


Tiling over tile is very commonly done to abate asbestos.  As I said, many commercial buildings go this route.  As far as cost, skim coating the tile then the floor prep to make a good install often exceeds the extra cost of laminate.  The contractor coats the tile, and must make it very smooth, otherwise any subfloor imperfection will telegraph thru the new vinyl.  So when you evaluate, make sure you are looking at total cost.  Laminate needs virtually no floor prep.  

Good Luck.  

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Carol Blaha


Flooring questions: Specification, Warranties, Inspections, Product Knowledge, Enviromental Issues


I have been in the field 25 years, first as a specifier, then retailer and currently manufacturer representative on contract with 8 manufacturers, independent inspector and conduct moisture testing. Founding board member of the CO Chapter, US Green Building Council

WFCA (World Floor Covering Association), NTCA (National Tile Council America) SCRT (Society of Cleaning & Restoration Technician), ASTM F60, (Environment) and F06 (Resilient Floor)

Colorado Real Estate Journal, Smart Buildings

MBA, CTC (Certified Tile Consultant), RRT (Carpet Repair & Reinstallation), CCT (Carpet Cleaning Technician, ISSI (Substrate Inspection) and completed coursework for Independent Ceramic Tile Inspector, Hardwood/Laminate Inspector and Senior Carpet Inspector. Scheduled to complete Independent Resilient Inspector in April.

Awards and Honors
Multiple Awards for Salesperson of Year and President's Club

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Clients include Fortune Co's to mom and pop

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