Unwhitening, Part Two: Now! With Asbestos!

First, we painted the walls yellow on Tuesday evening, which was a pretty awesome undertaking. It went fast and fairly easy, though I have to say that cutting in is not a whole lot of fun. I always seem to get the hang of using the little tool that makes it easier about halfway through the last coat of paint.

Also, Rosie helped.

Painter dog

I think it came out fairly well. One more coat, and the walls are done. I'm not 100 percent into the particular shade of yellow -- something a little warmer would have worked better -- but I really don't feel like messing with fifteen repaintings in the guest bedroom.

White walls

Especially because this fine yellowing tile appears to have asbestos in it. The report came in today, and showed 3% chrysotile asbestos (above 1% means it is "asbestos-containing material" in the eyes of both EPA and Cal-OSHA). There's some debate about whether this is as dangerous as the other form of asbestos (amphibole), or whether it is dangerous at all. So basically, if you have to have asbestos in your house, this is the kind you'd rather have, and at a fairly low level.

But still, note that everybody writing about it says it is safe when handled correctly. So it's important to know how to handle it. Asbestos is not something I want to mess around with, so we will be doing an abatement according to current recommendations.

Also fortunately, there was no asbestos in the mastic used to stick it to the floor, so once we get it up and everything cleaned out, we can sand with impunity.

Fun with asbestos tiles

Now I'm going to do some research and when I am ready to get started, I will post about what I'm going to do to get this stuff up and out safely. I know it will involve a lot of plastic.

Edited to add: To clarify, the stick-on tiles on top are fine; we can remove them with a heat gun without any issues and will likely do that soon. It's the bottom layer of tiles that are the problem and require protective steps, and that mostly to ensure that they don't keep breaking into pieces.

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posted by ayse on 03/26/08