Asbestos flooring was quite popular in the olden days because it is a mineral with properties like fire resistance, heat resistance, chemical resistance, durability and sound absorbing properties. Asbestos flooring was used extensively in the mid 80s.
The asbestos flooring is very cost effective and the vinyl asbestos floor tiles made the manufacturing process very easy too. The tiles, due to the presence of asbestos gained properties like abrasion resistance, durability, longevity, extra strength and flexibility and most importantly, characteristics important for a floor like resistance to oil, grease, heat, acids, alkalis and oil.
Asbestos flooring with the tiles was done because of the dimensional stability of the tiles too.
Asbestos flooring doesn’t pose direct threat of exposure to asbestos fibers unless the tiles are broken. A bigger problem surfaces if you have wooden flooring beneath that has to be restored or renovated.
Certified contractors are required for renovation of asbestos flooring because power tools should not be used to remove the tiles.
The asbestos flooring tiles have to be removed along with the glue beneath with extreme care. Sometimes the asbestos flooring is covered by non-asbestos flooring, to ensure that there isn’t any risk of exposure.
However, getting rid of the old tiles especially with brute force could be very dangerous. You need to take quite a few precautions while dealing with asbestos flooring.
First of all the tiles or the glue beneath shouldn’t be sanded. No power tools or heavy equipment should be used as it will damage the tiles releasing the microscopic fibers.
The entire floor has to be soaked in water for at least half hour so that the fibers are heavy and do not float in the air, where they might be inhaled or ingested. The cleaning too should be done with a wet mop and the materials should be removed by transferring to plastic polythene bags that are disposed off appropriately.