Asbestos floor tiling was once affordable and extremely popular, but as it deteriorates, it presents many dangers to homeowners. The mineral asbestos is known to cause cancers in many parts of the respiratory system, and it is nearly impossible to cure. Because asbestos fibers are impossible to destroy, exposure to them may cause health complications for many years to come.
It may be challenging to tell if old floor tiles contain asbestos or not as there are no visual indications of its presence. The simplest way to determine the composition of a tile is to collect a small sample of the surface in question and mail it to a testing center for analysis. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can provide directions to the nearest certified asbestos testing center. A small fee is charged for the testing service, but the relief that will come from knowing the make-up of potentially hazardous tiles is well worth this minimal cost.
Asbestos tiles were commonly produced and used by building manufacturers in the United States until the 1980’s. They pose no danger if the tiles are in good condition because of protective measures taken during production. The tiles are sealed with a protective coating to prevent the breakdown and release of asbestos particles, and since asbestos exposure is dangerous only if the particles are ingested through the lungs or mouth, this provides a small measure of security against contamination. Despite this, removing dangerous materials is the only way to insure total protection and getting rid of old asbestos tiles in a house can be a challenge. If they are to be removed, it must be done by a professional company that is trained to deal with the hazards these tiles present. Even after tile removal, the adhesive residue left behind can contain asbestos particles. Sanding this residue away will release the particles into the air. An easier alternative is to simply cover the old tiles with a new flooring surface, such as carpeting, vinyl or linoleum. Covering a surface that has asbestos tiling will prevent any of the dangerous fibers from becoming airborne.