How do you remove asbestos when you're broke?

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JanglesFam

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I know the most popular answer might be "You don't", but there is a multi-layered flooring debacle (squeaking, groaning and possibly rot) going on in our kitchen and I wanted to know if there are any leads or insights on how to remove asbestos (bottom layer above subfloor) without paying 20k. The top flooring material is a nice-in-its-day metal sheathed click flooring that looks like wood.

Could I at least drive some screws in through all the flooring without stirring up asbestos dust? Can I pry up flooring without sawing through it, making just cracked portions?

Any help is appreciated. We're new to the forum, so hello all!

Thank you!

The Jangles Family
 

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Flyover

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This is a totally wild guess and someone who knows even a little more than me might say "obviously not", but I wonder if there are programs in your state that subsidize this kind of thing? Maybe check with your nearest public environmental law or housing law agency?
 

Eddie_T

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If it's vinyl asbestos tile I would't worry too much about just driving screws through it. There are many people that still have VAT in their kitchens and may even remove it thinking it's just vinyl.
 

kok328

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As I understand, 8"x8" tiles are asbestos but, 12"x12" tiles may have asbestos mastic holding them down.
Installing screws would be the least invasive option if it does the job.
 

Snoonyb

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"CUTBACK" is the term used for VAT adhesive, and it is easily tested by pouring boiling water on the adhesive. If the mastic is cutback, the water will just pool on top, and if the mastic melts or is otherwise deformed, the adhesive is not cutback, and contains no asbestos.
 

JanglesFam

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This is a totally wild guess and someone who knows even a little more than me might say "obviously not", but I wonder if there are programs in your state that subsidize this kind of thing? Maybe check with your nearest public environmental law or housing law agency?
That's a fantastic question! I'm going to ask the village hall tomorrow.
Welcome.
How did you/was the determination made, that there was asbestos?
My wife's uncle, who made the determination, has been a contractor for decades, so I guess that convinced me. He broke a piece of tile in his fingers and said, "Yep." Now, it would be great if he were wrong but I'm erring on the side of caution and perceived expertise.
If it's vinyl asbestos tile I would't worry too much about just driving screws through it. There are many people that still have VAT in their kitchens and may even remove it thinking it's just vinyl.
That's good news! At least I could try that if I can't remove it.
As I understand, 8"x8" tiles are asbestos but, 12"x12" tiles may have asbestos mastic holding them down.
Installing screws would be the least invasive option if it does the job.
Thank you for the quick response! I measured a side of these tiles and it came out to 9". I was hoping for some closure either way but the mystery deepens.
Unless you grind this stuff you're not going to release asbestos into the air. It is pretty solidly embedded in the tiles and not friable.
Would sawing through count as grinding? I assume so. I might try and find each tile's edge and pry from there. How much asbestos dust is too much? Just kidding.
"CUTBACK" is the term used for VAT adhesive, and it is easily tested by pouring boiling water on the adhesive. If the mastic is cutback, the water will just pool on top, and if the mastic melts or is otherwise deformed, the adhesive is not cutback, and contains no asbestos.
Thank you so much for the test! I shall start a test as soon as possible. This community is amazing!
 

Rusty

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As I understand, 8"x8" tiles are asbestos but, 12"x12" tiles may have asbestos mastic holding them down.
Installing screws would be the least invasive option if it does the job.
They made 12 x 12 asbestos tiles for years. The adhesive, cutback, always had more asbestos than the tile. If you don't mind a mess you can scrape up the cutback as long as you keep it wet so there is no dust. If you pull up the tiles and are afraid of dust, then keep them damp. A spray bottle works good. I have taken up many through the years and my lungs are clear. And to get rid of squeaks, just screw through the tiles, it won't hurt anything.
 

tomtheelder2020

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As implied, but not stated, asbestos is hazardous only if inhaled. Asbestos removal is expensive because of the precautions required to keep employees safe. An owner/operator, or homeowner, can take risks that are not acceptable for employees. If asbestos particles do not become airborne there is no risk - which is why Rusty's suggestion of keeping them wet works. An electric saw would certainly create airborne dust but a handsaw - not so much. A HEPA respirator would be a good precaution while cutting or scraping, then vacuum with a HEPA filter, then damp mop up any residual dust. Keep anyone else away until cleanup is complete. Check your local jurisdiction but it is likely legal in your area to dispose of ACM (asbestos containing material) by putting it into plastic bags and taking it to a landfill.
 
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