If you are planning to redo the floors in your home it is important to be aware that some vinyl and linoleum flooring may contain asbestos. Asbestos became a popular addition to vinyl and linoleum tiles from the 1920s due to its flame resistance and high tensile strength. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 30 million US homes contain asbestos. In Australia, asbestos has not been used in domestic buildings since the 1980s; however, in Victoria alone up to 98% of all homes built before 1976 are estimated to contain asbestos.
Should you suspect the presence of asbestos in your vinyl flooring there are several things you need to do before deciding on a course of action.
Identify its Presence
Asbestos is difficult to identify through sight alone. First of all, work out whether or not the tiles were installed before the late 1980s, as many building materials of this period contained asbestos. Since the 31st of December 2003, products containing asbestos have been banned. If the flooring was installed after that, it won't or shouldn't contain asbestos.
However, whatever the case, if you suspect the presence of asbestos you should seek out an occupational hygienist to conduct a test before taking any further action.
Call Your Home Insurance Provider
Get in touch with your home insurance provider once you are sure that the tiles contain asbestos. Asbestos removal may be covered by your home insurance package.
Hire a Professional to Remove It
The safest way to remove the tiles from your home would be to hire a professional asbestos removal service. If you choose to remove it yourself there is a risk that you might disturb or damage the material, causing it to crumble and become friable. This means you may end up breathing in deadly asbestos fibers released into the surrounding air.
If you choose to remove the tile flooring yourself, keep in mind the following:
- Wear a respirator that is rated for asbestos to avoid breathing in the tiny but deadly fibers as you work.
- Keep the surface wet to prevent dust and fibers from being released into the air.
- Do not break, saw or grind the tiles as this will release asbestos fibers.
- Isolate the area to prevent contamination.
- Wrap the tiles in plastic taped at the seams and transport them to your local waste depot.
If you are about to start renovating and are worried about the vinyl tiles in your home, get in touch with a licensed asbestos removal service in your state and get a free asbestos removal quote. An asbestos removal expert will be able to fully remove all trace of the asbestos from your home so you can continue your renovations without fearing for your health.