You’ve finally decided to replace that outdated flooring in the kitchen. But before you start chipping away at the old tiles, you should ensure that you’re not unknowingly exposing yourself to asbestos mastic – a black, oily, fibrous substance used to adhere tiles and vinyl flooring to the subfloor. To make sure you and your family are protected, be sure to learn the steps to identifying asbestos mastic in your flooring.
Determine When Your Home Was Built
Federal regulations have banned the use of most asbestos products for construction after having discovered its harmful effects. However, if your home was built before 1990, there is a chance asbestos mastic was used for your floor tile. Fortunately, as long as your tiles or vinyl flooring are not cracked and the adhesive exposed, you are not in any imminent danger of asbestos exposure – unless you plan on renovating in the future.
Inspect the Tiles
There are a few easy-to-spot characteristics that can help you determine if there is mastic beneath your tiles. If you notice the following, it’s important to have your home tested for asbestos:
- Square tiles that are 9 by 9 inches or bigger: Mastic glues were thinner than other adhesives, making them easier to spread on bigger tiles.
- Dark discoloration in the tiles: Asbestos mastic is made with asphalt, which degrades tiles over time due to its abrasive nature.
- The discoloration has an oily texture: As the asphalt used in mastic wears down the tiles, it’ll make the tiles looks reflective and shiny and feel oily.
- Cracks in the flooring appear black: Asbestos mastic is black, but if exposed to air for an extended time, it may turn dark gray.
Beyond mastic, it’s a good idea to see if the vinyl tiles themselves contain asbestos.
Confirm the Adhesive is Asbestos Mastic
The safest way to confirm the presence of asbestos under your flooring is to hire an asbestos contractor. If you attempt to remove a piece of the mastic yourself, the disturbance can cause the fibrous asbestos to become airborne, potentially making its way into your lungs. Some may recommend mailing a piece of your tile to a lab to get tested, but this requires several precautionary measures and can be extremely dangerous without professional assistance.
The thought of having asbestos underfoot can certainly evoke a sense of restlessness, but fortunately, by becoming informed of these steps to identifying asbestos mastic in your flooring, you can rest assured that you’ll be cognizant of any presence of asbestos. With years of experience in the field, Fiber Control, Inc. has the experience necessary to help you with all your needs when it comes to asbestos and other hazardous materials. To learn more, contact us today.