If you live in an old house that was built perhaps before the 1980s, then you are likely to find asbestos in some parts of the house. Some of the possible places you will most probably find the asbestos include the ceiling, wallboards, wall plasters, and floor mastics among other places. These materials were used in construction because of their fire-resistant and insulating properties. However, the materials will only be harmful if tiny asbestos fibres become airborne during such activities as repairs or renovations. Therefore, if you are considering installing new non-asbestos tile or sheet floor coverings atop your old asbestos-containing floor, here is what you should know to minimize damage or disturbance as much as possible:
Existing Floor Surfaces are Smooth and Intact
If the old flooring is smooth and intact, it is important that the surface is vacuumed first then wash-cleaned. When cleaning however, only use wet stripping or detergent methods and avoid polishing, sanding, and grinding. Moreover, use liquid dishwashing detergent solutions and avoid solvents such as kerosene, grease, oil, or gasoline. Also, avoid solid-based or paste waxes because they may soften and damage the flooring, especially if it is asphalt or vinyl-based.
Existing Floor Surfaces Are Uneven
If flooring loss has made the surface uneven, you need to use embossing plates or pourable floor-levelling compounds and materials for levelling the depressed areas. This should allow the floor to remain undamaged.
Existing Floor Surfaces Are In Poor Condition
If your old flooring is in a very poor condition with a lot of uneven surfaces that can prevent patching, you can try covering the whole area with an underlayment. Underlayment such as solid-core or hardboard plywood can ensure an even surface for your new non-asbestos floor. Moreover, the underlayment will prevent contact of your new flooring with the old asbestos one. Nonetheless, when choosing the underlayment, make sure the manufacturer of the new flooring product approves it. Any loose floor tiles that could interfere with the installation of the underlayment can be handpicked and disposed of in an asbestos skip bin.
Sealing Your Floor Surface
If you decide to seal the floor surface, light buffing and water-emulsion wax may work well. Floor restoration products combined with tile floor sealants can give resilient results as well. If you are considering the installation of a walkable paint-on surface on your intact asbestos floor, using clear topcoats and epoxy paints may also do the trick.
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