Asbestos Floor Tiles
Flooring, including sheet vinyl/vinyl/asphalt floor tiles/backing/mastic/adhesive/glue, may contain asbestos. In the past, its fibers were added to produce flooring materials both to strengthen and to increase floor tile durability. If you have asbestos used in your home flooring, you should get to know some interesting facts about asbestos and its capabilities, as far as asbestos fibers have been usually regarded as rather hazardous for health. Let’s find out whether it is true or false.
Asbestos was one of widely used materials in every structure built and construction in general between 1930s and 1980s. It was only in 90s, that it was tended to cause some health problems (asbestosis/lung cancer) in individuals. By then however, it was used almost in all standing structures, such as walls, ceiling, roof and flooring.
12 Reasons Why Asbestos Was Used in Floor Tiles
If you find out when your home was built, you’ll get to know whether it has asbestos, because almost all floor tiles of 70s-80s contained this group of natural silicates, for their desirable properties:
- Heat resistance
- Fire resistance
- Chemical resistance
- Electricity nonconductors
- Highly durability
- Sound absorbance
- Easy manufacturing process makers
Asbestos floor tiles used to be 9×9 sized, but now they are of size 12×12, vinyl-asbestos ones and made from polyvinyl chloride polymers. A mixture of limestone, plasticizer, asbestos, binder, stabilizer or pigment was heated to high temperatures, and then pressed to the desired thickness, after that cooled in water and lastly, cut into appropriate size and waxed to make floor tiles ready for the market. The asbestos in fibers gave the following extra properties:
- Abrasion resistance
- Extra strength
- Resistance to grease/moisture/oil/acids/alkalies
- Added flexibility
- Dimensional stability
Above asbestos abilities prevented tiles from cracking, expansion, shrinkage during the manufacturing process, and overall low manufacturing costs were beneficial both to the manufacturer and the end user.
Do you really involve any risks with asbestos floor tiles?
If you simply live in a home with asbestos floor, it doesn’t mean you run the danger of any asbestos exposure. The asbestos fibers will do you no harm unless:
- the tiles are deliberately broken;
- you want to restore a wooden flooring beneath the asbestos floor;
- you damage the tiles and release asbestos in your home.
Remember: covering asbestos floor tiles with new non-asbestos tiles or flooring material won’t disturb asbestos, so this is considered to be an alternative way to avoid any risk of asbestos exposure.
So, in order not to release harmful asbestos fibers in the air, just take precautions before removing or changing the old asbestos floor tiles so as to minimize the risk. Hiring professionals will be expensive, but surely worth it. In this way, you will easily get rid of either hazardous asbestos properties or environment at your home.