Asbestos Floor Tile: Is It Safe to Remove on Your Own?

Aug 18, 2021
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Other than the walls and ceiling of your house, asbestos can be found in the floors of your building as well. In most cases, it is because vinyl asbestos flooring is the safest, although that fact changes as soon as you plan to remove it. 

Vinyl is a very popular ingredient that is used on the floors of buildings for a long time now. It is a type of plastic and in the old times, vinyl products used to contain asbestos too, which are present in a good lot of buildings across entire Australia. 

Why Is Asbestos Flooring So Dangerous? 

Asbestos is a very toxic material and it was used in ingredients used for building houses and commercial buildings by manufacturers from the ‘40s to ‘70s at a vast rate. The toxicity among them starts to affect humans when these materials are disturbed and asbestos starts to mix in the surrounding environment in the form of minute fibres. These fibres get inhaled quite easily and result in several types of chronic and terminal diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, etc. 

 

Friable Vs. Non-friable Asbestos Materials

The building materials made from asbestos are categorised into two types depending on their level of affecting humans. 

 

  • Friable Materials: These types of materials break and crumble very easily and pollute their surrounding atmosphere. They are considered too dangerous as they are extremely fragile and release asbestos in the form of toxic fibres that get inhaled by people staying in that environment very easily. Asbestos pipe insulation is one such kind of friable material. 
  • Non-friable Materials: These types of asbestos-containing materials are quite durable. They keep the asbestos in the contained very safely and do not crumble without any irresponsible human intervention to release the asbestos fibres, polluting the surrounding atmosphere. The floor slabs made out of asbestos-containing cement is an example of non-friable materials. 

Vinyl flooring that is damaged or is crumbling, can release asbestos fibres quite easily, affecting people who live there. Such damaged vinyl flooring needs to be removed very carefully by a licensed asbestos removalist

 

Although when the vinyl flooring is in sound condition and contains no damages, it is considered as non-friable as there are minimal to no chances of asbestos fibres getting released from them. These floors are safe to walk on or live around. But, if you plan to scrape or use power tools on them, then that is not a good idea. 

You can just put a new layer of flooring on the top of your damaged vinyl asbestos floor so that the asbestos gets contained in the same. You can also apply an epoxy coating or floor paint on top of it. But, this will help you till there is no demolition or renovation work going on on that floor in the future. 

 

How to Remove Asbestos Floor Tiles Safely

It is the best and the safest to remove asbestos-containing building materials with the help of an asbestos tile removal specialist or licensed asbestos removalist. People working should always wear protective gear that can help them stay out of asbestos exposure or getting in direct contact with this toxic substance. They should also follow special measures and procedures that can help avoid the contamination of the whole building or the surrounding environment. 

You should always depend on professionals who deal in asbestos abatement or are professionals in asbestos tile removal. But, there are no provisions that do not allow you to perform asbestos removal all by yourself at residential buildings. Although that is not recommended at all. 

Even if you are about to start removing asbestos floor tiles by yourself, then you should definitely go through the guidelines issued by the government on asbestos tile removal

Once you are done with all these, take these precautions and equipment so that you do not end up putting your family and your neighbourhood at risk of asbestos contamination. 

 

Precautions and Equipment That You Need to Take: 

  • Plastic Sheets: These sheets will help you seal the work area. Before you start working on removing asbestos tiles all by yourself, you need to make sure that you have covered the entire work area so that there are no chances of asbestos spreading and contaminating the surrounding area. Make sure you have covered the windows, doors and vents as well as keep in mind to turn off the air conditioner, heating, and ventilation system. 
  • Respirator with HEPA filter: normal masks or surgical masks are not enough to save you from inhaling the minute asbestos particles. It is best to cover your entire face with a mask that has a HEPA filter. 
  • Disposable PPE Kits: Personal Protective Equipment or PPEs are extremely vital when you are working in such close vicinity to asbestos fibres. This is important as it is very tough to get rid of asbestos fibres from your clothes just by washing them.
  • Water Sprayer: Keep the work area wet so that you can prevent the asbestos from contaminating the air as much as possible. 
  • HEPA Vacuum: Clean the entire work area and all your equipment with a HEPA vacuum after the work is done. 
  • Plastic Bags For Disposal: Use these bags to dispose of the removed asbestos. 

 

Follow these steps carefully when you are working on asbestos removal all by yourself. Although it is best to hire an asbestos abatement specialist like Myers Asbestos Removal to perform the entire procedure.