Flooring can be rife with asbestos
Floor tiles and sheet flooring are a common material where asbestos can be found. Even if your home or premises is carpeted then this type of flooring can be hidden underneath what you believed was a safe comfy flooring – have you checked?
When you are lifting up old carpet or vinyl flooring it is very important to check that the previous floor does not contain asbestos. The flooring may not have to be removed as if it remains undisturbed it isn’t dangerous to a person’s health. Asbestos containing material is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or fibres into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested. However, it is best to have the suspected flooring tested so it can be monitored and managed over time and in a safe manor. Employing a qualified asbestos testing company is the best way to test for asbestos. They will then recommend the most effective way to proceed, whether that means leaving the floor intact or removing the affected or entire flooring area.
Many buildings have flooring that contains asbestos that never need to be fully removed. They do however need to be managed and monitored. Regular washing, waxing, stripping and buffing of tiles containing asbestos will not release the dangerous fibres into the air. If you are aware that your home or premises contains flooring where asbestos is present, then in order to prevent the release of these fibres you should stick to the following rules:
- Never sand the floor.
- Don't use abrasive pads or brushes on power strippers to strip wax from asbestos flooring.
- Burnishing or dry buffing can be done but only when the flooring has enough of a finish so that the pad cannot contact the asbestos-containing material.
- If you find any broken and/or damaged asbestos floor tiles, you should contact an asbestos abatement company.
If you are considering an entire floor renovation then testing for asbestos is essential before any work is carried out. If asbestos is disturbed it becomes airborne and deadly to a person’s health. If the old flooring is found to have asbestos present then the safe removal of the flooring needs to be managed by a qualified company, who can then dispose of the material appropriately.
Major repairs must always be done only by a professional trained in methods for safely handling asbestos. We recommend that even minor repairs should be done by professionals since there is always a risk of exposure to fibers when asbestos is disturbed.