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TxBuilder 03-07-2006 04:17 PM

Asbestos linoleum
We have linoleum from the 60's or 70's. What are the chances it contains asbestos? Can I remove it myself if it does or do I need to call in a company that does that removal for health risks?

inspectorD 03-07-2006 08:53 PM

Have it tested at an environmental co. or your local health dept.
Another option is to go over it.

kenny k 03-15-2006 09:38 PM

I have installed flooring for 14 years and my advise is if you are not sure about the vinyl then you can cover it with another vinyl or use a 1/4 inch luan board as a subfloor eather way its leagle to do.

BillsCatz 03-16-2006 05:02 PM

May or may not be asbestos, tho it was more common in the 60s than the 70s. Might be plain old linoleum, too. Is it glued down, is the main question in my mind. If so, it's almost impossible to remove anyhow as they typically used an asphalt-based black adhesive. I'd vote for the go-over method.


birken 03-16-2006 07:13 PM

If your going to tile then tile over the linoleum. It makes a barrier incase the foundation cracks or moves so your tile won't.

Jaz 03-20-2006 10:20 PM

Hi All,

You can be assured that your sheet vinyl contains asbestos. Most of it is in the backing if it's white in color. (The backing I mean). Asbestos was widely used until the ealry to mid '80's.

You didn't mention if the subfloor is wood or concrete. If wood, there should be a thin layer (1/4") of some type of underlayment under the flooring. This is what you want to remove, along with the attached flooring. Cut the vinyl and the 1/4" stuff into smaller sections and remove both in one operation. This way the asbestos is not disturbed.

What will you be installing in its place?

BTW, linoleum or sheet vinyl was never installed with black adhesive.

As for the idea of installing tile (ceramic) directly over sheet vinyl, I don't think much of that at all.


TxBuilder 03-20-2006 10:47 PM

It is glued to the concrete. We will be installing satillo. I thought of tiling over it. I read it creates a good barrier if the foundation settles the linolum will prevent the tiles from cracking.

Not true?

Jaz 03-21-2006 10:15 PM

It's a terrible idea, but it will work out most of the time if the lino is stuck well in the begnining, and if it's not one of those soft sheet vinyls. If you're willing to take a chance...go ahead. Not something I'd recommend.


birken 03-23-2006 04:51 PM

Why is it a bad idea exactly?

Jaz 03-23-2006 08:10 PM

There are many reason not to rely on the old sheet vinyl to make a satisfactory base for ceramic or stone tiles. Most would think the main reason not to try this type of installation is the inability to achive a satisfactory bond to the vinyl. With modern mortars, this is no longer a problem, a good bond can be attainable with these special mortars.

I think the main cause of failure is that vinyl flooring will not stay 100% stuck over the entire area for ever. After all. these coverings are installed with water soluble adhesives which can become loose without showing signs that they are loose unless you do some close investigation. More often than not, the desire to just go over vinyl floors is when the substrate is concrete because it's more difficult to remove than if the substrate was wood. Most of these floors are on or below grade which means there is often moisture wicking up which results in a poor bond, and as mentioned before it's sometimes impossible to know if the bond is good or just hanging by a thread.

As for the crack-isolation value, there are many products that are designed for that purpose, and that actually work. :D

Other reasons not to; The old vinyl should be scarified to get a good bond. Some older vinyl floors contain asbestos and they should not be sanded. Many, perhaps 70-80 % of vinyl floors are too soft and so ceramic over them is a no-no. Most sheets vinyls are not made by the old 'inlaid' method, (hard) rather they are 'printed' and those have a thin foam layer which makes the pattern. Many floors are 12' wide, some 9' wide, those are ALL too soft. The inlaid type come/came no wider than 6' wide.

In addition, some vinyls in the last 20-25 years were installed using the 'perimiflor' method. That is glueing only around the edges and the seams. They appear to be full spread, but they are not.

Having said all that, yes, it is possible, but only if the old is not one of those soft sheet goods. It has to be stuck real good, especially around the edges, and you have to be willing to take a chance that it might fail 20-30 % of the time within a few years, often within the first seasonal cycle.

If you are a tile contractor and want to do it by the book, you'll pass and go to the next job where the people want the work done the way it should be done.


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