How to Remove Asbestos Cutback Adhesive

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How to Remove Asbestos Cutback Adhesive
Safely remove asbestos cutback adhesive using the proper methods. (floor cleaning #5 image by stassad from

Cutback adhesive is an outdated adhesive used to bond flooring materials to a foundation, whether they are wood, vinyl, concrete or subfloor surfaces. Although highly effective, it was often used with asbestos, which is now known to be toxic when inhaled. Removing cutback adhesive can be accomplished using an appropriate solvent, but taking extra safety measures are essential during the process. You must make certain preparations before completing the task to help you minimise exposure to asbestos.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dust mask
  • Protective eyewear
  • Rubber gloves
  • Boiling water
  • Adhesive remover
  • Long-handled scraper
  • Push broom
  • Vacuum
  • Trash bags

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  1. 1

    Cover your face with a dust mask and protective eyewear before beginning the project. Wear solvent-resistant gloves to prevent alkaline burns and direct contact with the asbestos. Thoroughly ventilate the workspace as a final precaution; open all the windows nearby, and place an electric fan in the room to help with circulation.

  2. 2

    Boil a small pot of water, and carefully pour it over a manageable area of the cutback adhesive. Allow it to soak for 20 to 30 minutes to soften before resorting to strong solvents; thoroughly wetting asbestos is one of the best methods to control it.

  3. 3

    Prepare the industrial adhesive remover according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pour it onto the softened cutback adhesive, and wait for the time period indicated on the product label before proceeding.

  4. 4

    Begin loosening the dissolved adhesive with a long-handled scraper. Keep the surface wet to prevent asbestos dust and ease removal. Continue doing so until the majority of the cutback adhesive has been lifted.

  5. 5

    Clear the floor of the residue with a push broom while the adhesive is still saturated. Never attempt to sweep asbestos dust, but vacuum it instead. Properly dispose of the large segments of the adhesive in trash bags.

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