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Flooring over Asbestos Vinyl Tile

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Scott in New Jersey is on the line with a flooring question. Tell us about your project.

    SCOTT: Hi. I’m just moving into my first house on Monday; we’re closing on it.

    TOM: Very exciting. Congratulations.

    SCOTT: Thank you very much.

    But during the home inspection – it’s got tile throughout the whole bottom floor. It’s on a slab. And the home inspector said that it’s 3-percent asbestos and we want to put a hardwood floor. And for most of it – and then tiles on the kitchen area. So half the people I talk to say that we need to remove the asbestos; other people say just build over it.

    TOM: OK. So is this tiles that are on – it’s on a slab?

    SCOTT: Yes.

    TOM: Well, first of all, you should not be putting solid hardwood down on top of the slab.

    SCOTT: That’s another – that was my next part. (inaudible at 0:03:19).

    TOM: Yeah, if you put solid hardwood down, it’s going to twist and warp and swell. So what I would do is I would recommend you use engineered hardwood, which will be indistinguishable visually. It’s going to look exactly like prefinished hardwood but it’s very – it’s much easier to install and it has lock-together capabilities, as well. So you can snap these tiles together, lay it in place. And I see no reason why you can’t leave the asbestos there and put the hardwood floor right – the engineered hardwood floor right on top of it.

    You know, the risk is disturbing anything that has asbestos in it. If it’s not friable, it’s not deteriorated – and in a vinyl tile – on a vinyl asbestos tile, it certainly isn’t. I wouldn’t take it up; I’d leave it right there.

    SCOTT: It’s chipping in certain areas.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s minor, though. And even those chips, that asbestos is contained inside the vinyl. So I would tend just to leave it alone and I would put engineered hardwood right on top of that. Very frequently, you’ll put an underlayment in between. And I think that will do the trick.

    SCOTT: Mm-hmm. Alright. Thanks so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Scott, and good luck with that new house.

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