Fun with Carcinogens

Well, tonight's work came to a sudden, screeching halt. Why?

Floor tile sample off to a lab

It looked like the floor tiles in the Accordion Room were both put down in the 1980's, but when I started scraping the top layer off it became clear that the bottom layer was much, much older. 95% of old floor tiles/the glue used for attaching those tiles contain asbestos, and scraping them up can loosen the material. I'll play fast and loose with lead all day long but asbestos is not fun, so we're sending a sample off to a lab to be tested.

Our first, stupid thought was to try to find a lab that would be open on a Saturday, but it's not as if there's a huge amount of walk-in testing business. Eventually a yellow pages search revealed HMA Asbestos and Lead Sampling over in San Leandro, who will accept mailed in samples, so a chunk of floor tile is heading over there in the mail tomorrow.

And in the meantime we will work on other projects and keep our fingers crossed. Asbestos removal is not impossible or even particularly dangerous, but it is a huge pain in the butt.

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posted by ayse on 03/21/08


Can you talk about what you'd need to do if the tiles are asbestos? We may be facing a similar issue in our house.

I watched an episode of TOH East Boston project (which btw is currently re-running). They had floor tiles in the kitchen that contained asbestos. The process to remove them was absolutely incredible and very involved. Unfortunately, asbestos was used in just about EVERYTHING for about 50 years. I wish you luck and hope your tiles are asbestos-free.

Eric, I'll go into more detail when I have some time to write it up, but a lot of companies around here will apparently draw up a removal plan for homeowners to follow. It centers around an ample supply of plastic and duct tape.

Patricia, I've seen a couple of TOHes that had asbestos tiles or insulation, and the process is more or less complex depending on the stuff that is there (more complex for looser materials). Our tiles are, fortunately, mostly intact, and the process of removing them will mostly be about keeping them that way. Of course, I'm hoping they're pre-war and non-asbestos so it's a non-issue.

Bleh, best of luck that your tiles will turn out to be asbestos-free. We've got those all over the basement, and much as I don't care for brownish-beige linoleum with sparkles, they're too much of a PITA to cope with right now. The popcorn ceilings o' death come first.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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