How to seal asbestos tiles

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

If you have an older home, your old tile flooring may contain asbestos. Asbestos is a tough, durable fibre known to cause a variety of respiratory ailments and diseases such as cancer. Floor remodelling jobs in the home may require a professional asbestos removal company if the asbestos-based tile is chipped, crumbling or otherwise damaged. However, if it is intact, you can seal the tiles yourself to prevent future asbestos exposure. After sealing the asbestos tiles, you can install a new floor on top of the old one.

Use the hammer and pry bar to remove the skirting boards along the floor in the area that has the asbestos tile. Pry the skirting away from the wall gently to prevent splintering so you can use them again. Removing the boards allows better application of the embossing leveller.

Prepare the asbestos tile flooring by wet mopping it to ensure all dirt and debris is removed. If there are any oily areas, use a degreasing cleanser on the floor then rinse with water. Allow the floor to dry slightly, until just moist to the touch.

Mix the embossing leveller (available at most paint, flooring or hardware shops) with water, according to manufacturer's instructions in one of the large buckets. Use the wood paint stirrer stick to mix the leveller compound to a smooth consistency.

Fill remaining bucket with water. This water bucket will serve as a rinsing receptacle for the metal trowel during the leveller compound application process.

Pour the mixed embossing leveller compound on the asbestos tile flooring.

Use the metal trowel to smooth the leveller compound across the asbestos floor tile. You have a short amount of time to work with the embossing leveller before it starts to set or cure, so trowel quickly. You want this underlay to form a thin, level layer over the tile, creating a sealed surface in which no asbestos fibres can escape.

Rinse the metal trowel in the water bucket every few minutes to prevent a build-up of the leveller compound on the metal surface.

Allow the embossing leveller compound to dry for at least two hours. Check the manufacturer's instructions for more precise drying times. During the drying process, do not walk on the floor surface. Once cured, you can use the hammer to reinstall the skirting boards.

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