Asbestos suspect floor tile, pebble pattern (C) InspectApedia & DBSubmit Photos to Identify Floor Tiles That May Contain Asbestos
Photo Gallery of Flooring ID Requests
     


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How to submit photos of flooring to get help in identifying floor tiles or sheet flooring that might contain asbestos. This article includes a photo-gallery of pictures of floor coverings submitted for identification along with comments on findings, recommendations, & asbestos content.

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Photo Gallery of Requests to Identify Possible-Asbestos Floor Tiles

Vinyl asbestos flooring 1974 (C) Daniel FriedmanWe provide photographs and descriptive text of asbestos insulation and other asbestos-containing products to permit identification of definite, probable, or possible asbestos materials in buildings.

Our photo (left) shows Armstrong® Excelon 12x12 vinyl asbestos flooring made in 1972, identified in our detailed photo guide to asphalt asbestos and vinyl asbestos floor tiles, and resilient flooring produced in 1900 -1980. (links below)

[Click to enlarge any image]

In the article below we arrange the flooring photographs and discussion about identification of the floor and about possible asbestos content and asbestos risk management roughly in order of the reported age of the building or flooring installation.

If you have tried looking through our example flooring photos by year or flooring manufacturer and were unable to identify your flooring then feel free to CONTACT US to send along photos and a description (age, dimensions, building history) of flooring that you are unable to identify

Asbestos is safe and legal to remain in homes or public buildings as long as the asbestos materials are in good condition and the asbestos can not be released into the air.

Article Contents

1950's Floor Tile or Sheet Flooring Identification Requests

Question: asbestos content of 6" x 6" floor tiles in a 1953 home

Could 6x6" tiles contain asbestos? I can't find any information on tiles listed at this size. I have 4 different colored tiles (The bathroom/kitchen/hall have a main color and an edge color). They don't look exactly like any of the tiles or colors, but the pattern is similar to 1955 - Armstrong Excelon Vinyl Plastic Asbestos Floor Tiles, Patterns & Color Guide Navajo Gray 781.

6x6 inch vinyl or asphalt asbestos floor tile (C) InspectApedia LN 6x6 inch vinyl or asphalt asbestos floor tile (C) InspectApedia LN

The kitchen/bath/hall also have lightly popcorned ceilings with a slight sparkle. Part of the bathroom ceiling was removed for mold remediation and there is definite dust left over. The house was built in Massachusetts in 1953. All other flooring (2 little bedrooms and a small living room) is hard wood with drywall for the walls and ceilings (with a little Spackle-ish stuff).

I'm going to guess I will just have to find somewhere and send out a piece of each tile and some ceiling. I feel awful as I have a little guy and I'm worried about hurting him.

Could my 6"x6" tiles and popcornish sparkly ceiling contain asbestos? Can the air be cleaned or tested from the ceiling removal?

A relative that is helping me clean the house swears that since the tiles are in good shape, we can just peel them up with a trowel or maybe iron the area to soften the adhesive. There are newer sticky tiles on top of the potential asbestos ones and these are lifting up and coming off.

I've been researching your site but I am getting very nervous because of my little guy. I thought I'd ask first as I am in a bit of a tight financial budget with all the first time home buying fees but thought I was lucky to get a pretty good deal on a home. I really appreciate your time and information, ~L. 1/11/2014

6x6 inch vinyl or asphalt asbestos floor tile (C) InspectApedia LN 6x6 inch vinyl or asphalt asbestos floor tile (C) InspectApedia LN

Reply:

Certainly if the flooring you describe dates from the 1950's or as late as the late 1970's it should be handled with the presumption that it contains asbestos. This is not a reason to be frightened, as unless someone has already made a dusty mess by grinding, sawing, or similar dust-producing demolition, the hazard of airborne asbestos is probably low, possibly below the limits of detection.

Take a look at the asbestos flooring removal and flooring hazard reduction risk management articles given just below for some suggestions.

If you can send me some photographs [provided by the reader and shown just above] of your flooring I will research further. Our standard advice is that in cases where you face a possibly costly demolition or cleanup project it makes sense to have the material tested by a certified asbestos test lab (link given below). But simple encapsulation approaches for a building that has not been contaminated with demolition dust are often sufficient.

Similarly, depending on when it was applied, textured ceiling paints and popcorn ceiling paints often contained asbestos and also deserve special handling. Often rather than face a costly demolition and cleanup a contractor will simply laminate a new layer of 1/4" drywall over the old ceiling to provide a safe encapsulation of the original coating. Actual removal of an asbestos-containing textured ceiling is a more messy project that we'd like to avoid.

Reader follow-up:

I can also provide pictures. Some of the house's wall paper was also already removed. I'm looking to see if this is also something to test.

Here are some photos from the house. [Shown above] I have labeled the photos by room. I will be getting a "D-Lead Paint Test Kit" today and really hope the paint is okay. There is one photo of the bath ceiling where you can see the half furthest away, which is the section that was cut and replaced during mold remediation. The mold remediation was carried out by the seller before we bought the house.

Reply:

I agree that those floor tile patterns match older asphalt-asbestos flooring patterns we've collected from catalogs, readers, and some readers who've tested the tiles.

The bath floor tiles and kitchen floor tiles that you indicate are 6-inch in size (did you actually measure these?) are of patterns matching the Aztec asphalt-asbestos flooring we've documented.

I'd certainly like to see a photo of these tiles with a ruler in the image.

While 9x9 inch asbestos-containing floor tiles (and 12-inch tiles) are common in older homes, yours are the first field-photos I've seen of these in the small 6-inch size in this pattern.

See ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE PHOTO ID GUIDE - home: 1950-1986+ where we include photos of the Armstrong Seneca floor tile pattern that our records asserted were sold only in 9x9" sizes at that time.

(Kentile and some other manufacturers indeed produced asbestos-containing floor tiles in quite a variety of sizes and shapes including strips, stars, and other patterns, so six-inch floor tiles are not unimaginable). We don't know the age of these floors but I'm guessing from the size and pattern that they date from the 1950's.

Asbestos was used in both asphalt asbestos flooring and vinyl-asbestos flooring up to the early 1980's (which means new old stock could have been installed within a few years after the manufacturers had stopped producing asphalt-containing flooring).

Plaster wall with damage at nail hole (C) InspectApedia LNHistorical note: some incompletely-documented sources (including TSCA 1982 and ICF 1984) list six producers of asbestos-containing flooring in 1981: American Biltrite (Amitco division), Armstrong World Industries, Azrock industries, Congoleum Corp., Kentile Floors, and Tarkett Corporation. But the patterns in the flooring photos you've provided look like Armstrong products.

Asbestos in Plaster, Lead Paint, Wallpaper Arsenic Warnings

Moving off of the topic of asbestos-containing flooring I'll comment on two other photographs you included of plaster wall damage and peeling paint and peeling wallpaper.

OPINION: Your bedroom wall photo (at left) shows minor damage probably where a nail was removed, in a plaster wall. I've seen claims that some plaster may have contained asbestos but as the material is quite hard (not friable) I think the concern for walls in good condition would be the paint not the plaster - as long as you're not doing dusty demolition.

Your kitchen wall photo (below left) shows peeling wallpaper and peeling paint. (Some very old wallpapers included arsenic in the dyes used to make green patterns).

Peeling paint & wallpaper, possibly lead paint & arsenic hazards (C) InspectApedia.com LNTypically I remove wallpaper by wetting or steaming it to try to remove it in large pieces.

Typically I remove loose paint HEPA vacuuming and taking appropriate dust and lead paint control measures, and where plaster is sound and we're just considering painting, I seal the wall with a lacquer primer sealer before applying the finish coats. Lead paint, depending on your state and local jurisdiction rules,. may require additional steps including removal at some floor heights and other locations.

(A pet worry of mine is lead-painted window sashes that make dust picked up on window sills by the sticky fingers of toddlers.)

From the age of the home I'd be careful about renovating ANY painted surfaces without first determining the lead paint hazard and appropriate remedies.

OPINION: The textured ceiling photos [below, click to enlarge] look like a paint-on product but covered with additional layers of paint. Some of those definitely contained asbestos. Your choices are to treat the material as asbestos-containing or to collect a small sample for testing. Your test lab can give detailed instructions. Usually it's a simple process involving wetting a small area to remove a sample that is bagged and sent to the lab.

Textured ceiling paint asbestos hazards (C) InspectApedia.com LN Textured ceiling paint asbestos hazards (C) InspectApedia.com LN

Reader follow-up: testing for asbestos in flooring, in air, in mastic, in dust

I am wondering if I should cancel the lab that I have scheduled for Thursday (tomorrow). The lab said they would do 6 sample tests for $200, this would be 4 tiles (they insist that different colored tiles be tested), 1 ceiling, 1 mastic, and an air and dust test for free. The company is "Environmental Sampling & Testing LLC" 54 Water Street Ashburnham MA 01430. With a CLD Class D Certificate. There is usually additional cost but they gave us a break due to our situation.

They do the tests but not remediation. They do refer for remediation if the tests are positive.

I used a "Klean Strip D Lead Test Kit" which is supposedly EPA Recognized & ETV Tested to detect Lead & Lead Chromate in all layers of paint. The kit uses sodium sulphite, it seemed less likely to give a false positive like the swabs. All of the paint under the wallpaper and on the plaster came back negative. Hurray!

Your idea of making a new surface with drywall is amazingly, logically smart. With these test results it looks like I may be able to just scrape the paint. I was looking at Inspectapedia and I did not see a specific primer mentioned. Would the Zinnser Water based shellac or an oil based primer work?

I am looking through Massachusetts law to see if there is anything missing regarding tackling the tiles. Perhaps I will get the lab tests and then proceed with covering them. It may be good to know for sure concerning the ceiling and tile glue.

I will get some more photos of the tiles. The box I have is for the newer tiles but I will get all many kinds of pictures and measurements. Would it be bad to pull up some tiles to get a better look? My primary concern is my 10 month old. I like your reference to the tiles not being radioactive. Very True! For some reason having someone small who relies on me for everything makes it hard to wrap my mind around perceived dangers even with the right knowledge.

Reply: "OPM" other people's money - concern: getting advice that is safe for you but mostly safe for the consultant you asked - at your expense

Below opinions include the "OPM" other people's money - concern: if you ASK someone they will almost always suggest that you spend your money on testing and inspections - not necessarily because it's clearly justified but because it's the safe thing to do - safe for them - as it avoids you later being angry that they didn't give you advice to be more aggressive or more cautious.

Regarding your questions:

Do you think it would be advisable to:
-Have and air test for asbestos/lead/arsenic
-Have a dust test for asbestos/lead/arsenic
-To look for some EPA type group to come in and provide advice -

Air tests are most likely going to be junk science for the situation you describe. The level of asbestos in a residential home's air due to vinyl asbestos flooring that has not been disturbed by grinding, sanding, sawing, or aggressive demolition is likely to be below the limits of detection, and furthermore, testing the indoor environment after a professional cleanup, if one is required, will be most likely SOP for the firm providing that work.

Settled dust tests are usually cheap and can be done to reduce your level of worry but are unreliable unless collected with real thought. Dust tests before a professional cleanup job can sort out issues that arise later about whether or not the contractor performed proper dust containment. But if you are going to cover the flooring (a recommended alternative) these tests are probably not justified.

-Cover the tiled floor, as is, with laminate or other, leaving all current tiles in place

OF course - this is the least disruptive and thus safest course. Asbestos is not radioactive - it doesn't emit harmful rays. If it is protected from mechanical damage, left in place it's not harmful - an approach recommended in the reference documents we've cited.

-Spackle the peeled paint, seal it as you suggested, paint it

No - you describe a high labor approach. Why not just laminate a layer of 1/4" drywall and tape those joints to form a new safe surface?

This has been a bit of a nightmare and stress for me. I know this will affect ever selling the home since I found it, although I bet the seller knew before selling to me.

The impact of future sale of a home where enviro-scare materials are present never drops to zero, but if you document that you have done the proper repairs or remediation, didn't make a mess or contaminate the home, and then invite a buyer to perform their own environmental testing (you can even give back that cost at closing), you've done what's right and have minimized the hassle.

Don't panic - doing so risks being ripped off by opportunist contractors, realtors, buyers.

Be sure to use a HEPA rated vacuum cleaner for cleaning up debris like paint chips and floor dust; Then you can use any primer you like on the painted ceiling or wall surface, but I like lacquer-based primers such as Bin® or Enamelac® because of their resistance to bleed-through of existing stains. I've had some stain bleed-through troubles with water based primers.

Reader follow-up:

Thank you for your expertise! I am going to get some good photos to you with a ruler in the picture. I did measure them previously, but forgot my ruler in a rush. I have the original box (found in a closet) for the tiles over the asbestos-looking ones. The box is labeled "Value Tile Vinyl Tiles" and I do not see asbestos listed anywhere on the box. The box has an older look, but a sticky note on it lists an order date in 2001.

Do you think it would be advisable to: -Have and air test for asbestos/lead/arsenic -Have a dust test for asbestos/lead/arsenic -To look for some EPA type group to come in and provide advice

-Cover the tiled floor, as is, with laminate or other, leaving all current tiles in place -Spackle the peeled paint, seal it as you suggested, paint it

This has been a bit of a nightmare and stress for me. I know this will affect ever selling the home since I found it, although I bet the seller knew before selling to me.

The peeled paint is actually new. The family members who wanted to rip up the asbestos were "helping". They went to paint two room and promised not to touch the tiles or do anything else but then decided the wall paper was unattractive and decided using bare hands and a metal wood chisel to gouge the wall paper, paint and plaster while it was dry, was a good idea. There is dust everywhere and because I have a 9 month old I've never been so sick to my stomach and taken aback that someone thought they had the right to do this.

Thank you for helping. I am always amazed that there are so many good people in this world even with everything else going on. I will get pictures most likely tomorrow. I have attached a photo of the kitchen and bathroom before is was turned into a chipped mess. Lesson learned.

Reply:

It's possible that the floor tile manufacturer produced 6-inch asphalt or vinyl asbestos floor tiles as a test run or for test marketing or even sold six-inch floor tiles for a time, even though we have not yet found good evidence that the product was widely distributed. I've certainly seen this in other products, even electrical circuit breakers made of odd plastic colors. The labor of installing smaller floor tiles is always greater than larger ones, which may explain the shift to 9-inch and then 12-inch floor tiles and to resilient sheet flooring.

Watch out: depending on their age, those peel-and-stick floor tiles may also contain asbestos. It's usually easy to remove them without creating dust but I'd handle them accordingly.

Reader Question: do these 1950's era floor tiles contain asbestos?

Hi! We just purchased our first home and are wondering if the following photos of the current floor would tell us weather or not they contain asbestos. - F.C. 7 Oct 2014

Asbestos containing floor tile 1950's vintage (C) InspectAPedia FC Asbestos containing floor tile 1950's vintage (C) InspectAPedia FC

Reply:

Asbestos containing floor tile 1950's vintage (C) InspectAPedia FC

In my OPINION there is no need to test these tiles, as the tiles in your three flooring photos are of a pattern resembling products from Armstrong and Kentile. Given the apparent age of the structre, multiple layers of flooring, and the floor tiles themselves, it would be prudent to preseume these are asbestos-containing floor tiles.

Question: Does this tile floor contain asbestos? Home Depot said they won't install new flooring over asbestos-containing floor tiles? What can I do about that?

Asbestos containing floor tiles (C) D FriedmanI am trying to move into a nursing home but have to fix up my house and sell it before I can do that. I asked home depot for a price to install new linoleum in my utility room but they said they couldn't if the existing tile had asbestos.

I looked on your website to see if my tile was pictured there but didn't find an exact match.

Would you look at the attached picture and let me know if you recognize this tile as having asbestos?

If you don't know, I would be interested in hearing about the pro bono service your website offers for the elderly to determine if the tile has asbestos.

The tile pictured is intact but tile under the washer and dryer has come lose. Thank you - D.H. 11/23/2011

Reply: How to confirm asbestos-containing floor tiles? How to install new flooring over asbestos-containing floor tiles

Indeed your floor tiles appear to include a cork-like pattern that, depending on flooring age, may contain asbestos. (See our asbestos floor tile photos beginning
at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS by YEAR). Therefore it would make sense to treat the flooring as PACM - "Presumed Asbestos Containing materials"

An example of the light-coloured flooring in your photo appears at 1974-1979 ARMSTRONG FLOOR TILE GUIDE, COMPETE and resembles Armstrong's Caligula pattern - a floor tile pattern that was sold over many years.

A lab test can conclusively identify the presence of asbestos in a floor tile sample, and typically such a test is not costly - perhaps $50. from any certified asbestos testing lab. (Sorry but our entire lab is on forensic assignment out of the U.S. until year end).

Although you report that your local Home Depot representative told you that they "could not" install a new floor over asbestos-containing flooring, it is, at least in any legal or technical sense, not correct to assert that new flooring absolutely cannot be installed over asbestos containing floor tiles. The condition of the existing flooring and the subfloor and structure below determine the prep work needed in any new floor installation procedure.

Watch out: In general, in a private residence, there is not a legal requirement to remove asbestos flooring and in fact doing so may be more hazardous than leaving it in place.

Home Depot's lawyers may have decided on their floor installation policy, or your local installer may simply prefer to lose business rather than take the risk of being blamed for creating a dusty dangerous asbestos mess if they work improperly with the material (such as grinding, sawing, or creating dusty demolition - usually demolition or removal is not necessary). And we would agree that if the floor were in bad condition so that demolition and removal of the floor is really required, then the job should be handled by a trained and competent asbestos abatement/removal company.

Example of the OPM problem: the consultant or contractor spends other people's money, sometimes unnecessarily, in order to reduce their own risk

But your photo shows an intact floor surface. So we suspect that there may also be what we call the OPM (other people's money) problem here: it is often much safer and absolutely free for a consultant or contractor to recommend to a client that s/he perform a costly procedure that may or may not be really necessary. The procedure reduces risk for the contractor at no cost to them since the client is paying for the procedure, test, or removal.

Alternatives for Installing New Flooring over Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles or other Asbestos-Containing Floor Coverings

When installing new sheet vinyl or other flooring, typically the existing floor surface has to be sound and smooth. Options for proceeding range from

  1. the worst case of a requirement of removal of a badly-damaged floor surface or removal and re-framing and reinstalling new subflooring over rotted damaged floors and floor structures
  2. to common cases: a few lost tiles over a structurally sound subfloor and floor: the installer may install a veneer of solid core plywood or even hardboard to provide a smooth level surface, nailing the veneer through the existing floor and to the subfloor and joists below
  3. to simple cases: one or two lost or loose tiles (such as those under your washing machine) are removed and the space or opening filled level with the surrounding floor using a suitable floor leveling compound or patching material.

1960's Floor Tile or Sheet Flooring Identification Requests

Question on reducing asbestos floor tile health risks in a 1967 Spanish vinyl or asphalt floor tile

Asbestos is safe and legal to remain in homes or public buildings as long as the asbestos materials are in good condition and the asbestos can not be released into the air.

Spanish asbestos floor tiles (C) Daniel FriedmanI live in Spain, in a house built in 1967, and I'm quite worried because I suspect that the floors of my house may contain asbestos. I have a baby is 9 month old crawling around the house.

In several rooms I have a flaming ground, looking quite similar to many of the photos seen on your site. In some areas has deteriorated and has holes that emit or accumulate dust.

I'm not sure my ground detected on your site, but I send two photos if you are able to recognize or catalog. I really did not even know if it is vinyl or other material, I can not distinguish.

What I know is that tiles are thick (about 3 cm), with a thin layer of material seen (a few millimeters) and then a mortar or something similar. The tiles measure 25x25cm. I hope you can advise me on the matter, think that contain asbestos? If so, what I can do at home? -- I.B., Spain

Answer:

We have not seen this exact tile pattern before, but from our records it looks a bit like some of the Kentile flooring. Quite possibly it was produced by a European manufacturer and is none of the brands for which we have data.

Our opinion includes the consideration that while foremost it is important to avoid creating an asbestos hazard by improper handling, and while it is usually reasonable to cover over asbestos floor tiles with a new layer of flooring, it is also important that you proceed properly, with local expert advice, so as to avoid creating inappropriate fear on the part of other users of the building.

Question: how to identify Armstrong floor tiles that contain asbestos from 1950 to 1975

Armstrong Asphalt Asbestos Floor Tile Photos, green & black (C) InspectAPedia  and ChalmersWe have some asbestos floor tiles in our basement from the 1950s that I am trying to identify.

Our house was built around 1945 but we don't know for sure when these tiles were installed. I'm guessing anywhere between 1950 and 1975.

I believe them to both be Armstrong — from your site, I have determined that one is "Osage Green 780" but I can't figure out the black. I thought it was "Comanche Black 772" but it also has green in it.

Please see the below photo and let me know which brand, color and number you think these tiles are.

I can't afford to get these professionally tested for asbestos and am hoping you can help me identify them per your extensive documentation. - Anon

Reply:

In my OPINION there is no need to test these tiles, as the tiles in your photos are almost certainly from the Armstrong product series you've already identified.

I'll add your photo to the online examples, as I don't think ever published the green on black series asphalt asbestos floor tile series.

Reader Follow-up:

The reason I'm concerned about these tiles is that my daughters have been practicing irish dance in our basement for the past 6 months in their hard shoes (like tap shoes but wooden on the bottom instead of metal) and the tiles got pretty scuffed up from their dancing. I hate to admit this but it took me a while for it to hit me that the tiles were probably asbestos.

From your experience, how much should I worry about asbestos dust that may have been released into our lungs and home from these tiles? We have since laid self-stick vinyl tiles over the top of all the scuffed ones, but I'm still worrying about what damage has been done to our health. Do you have any thoughts/opinions? I would appreciate it.

Reply:

In my opinion, the chances are the quantity of asbestos removed and airborne from your kids dancing an Irish jig on the floor was below the ability to detect, especially considering that the tiles were most likely coated with floor wax.

What releases problem levels of fibers and particles from asbestos floor tiles is more likely demolition, sanding, grinding, or potentially, buffing with a power buffer that uses a steel scrubber attachment. If you need to make certain what has gone on you'll need to hire an expert to collect settled dust samples, not just air samples.

See ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION for suggestions.

Question: Can you identify this 1963 floor tile and tell me if it contains asbestos?

Thank you for providing a useful site about asbestos tile. Can you identify the tile I have and if it has asbestos in it? I did not see the exact picture on your site. Any assistance is greatly appreciated. The house was built in 1963. The tiles are 12"x12" and are approximately 1.6 mm in thickness. The last picture shows the back of the tile. Regards, G.K., Cleveland OH

Reply: It's reasonable to presume that vinyl or asphalt floor tiles from the 1960's contain asbestos; only a certified lab can accurately state the actual asbestos content however.

Vinyl asbestos floor tile identification Photos KenFlex Kentile Vinyl asbestos floor tile identification Photos KenFlex Kentile

We are not certain of the manufacturer of the tiles shown above, and we publish them here to invite feedback from other readers. And of course only a certified asbestos test lab can say with certainty the tile asbestos composition.

But based on the floor tile age and pattern, it's reasonable to presume that these tiles contain asbestos fibers and filler.

The particle shape or pattern in your floor tiles is similar to the Armstrong floor tile Imperial pattern from 1963
(see Armstrong Floor Tiles and scroll down to 1963). But the colors in your floor tiles (above left) resemble some hues found
in Kentiles (KENTILE KENFLEX ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE GUIDE ).

And while 9x9 floor tiles were common in the 50's and 60's there were indeed 12x12 floor tiles being produced and installed when your home was built.

Vinyl asbestos floor tile identification Photos KenFlex Kentile Vinyl asbestos floor tile identification Photos KenFlex Kentile

We think that the hues in your tiles, even though the pattern is different, point in that direction.

I can't make out much from the photo of the back surface of a floor tile (above right) though on some tiles we may find text or numbers that help trace the floor's origin.

Also compare your tile pattern to those shown at our article on Wards floor tiles
at MONTGOMERY WARD ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION as the color pattern is similar to some Wards flooring.

Question: Can You Help Identify This Floor Tile from the late 1960's?

Unidentified floor tile possibly Armstrong 1960's (C) InspectApediaThe attached photo shows some 12”x12” tile from a locker room (building built 1927, locker room renovated 1954-55).

Sections of the floor have been severely discolored by leaking steam pipes under the floor and the whole floor is probably going to be replaced. 

Would you be able to help point us in the right direction to help determine the original manufacturer of this tile?  The tiles are about 1/8” thick with beveled edges and don’t show any kind of marking on the underside.  We’re also not sure if it’s vinyl asbestos tile or linoleum.

Any help you could provide would be much appreciated.

- M.O. 4/10/2013  

Reply:

Linoleum is a separate product, sheet flooring, not tile.

I don't recognize this specific design, but it's detail suggest something more recent than the 1950's.

At 1960-1969 ARMSTRONG EXCELON FLOOR TILE GUIDE: VINYL PLASTIC ASBESTOS, 9" x 9"

you'll see a 12x12 with some fine line details (but a different pattern) that did contain asbestos.

You can try sending photos to Armstrong to see if (by luck depending on who answers your mail) they know the pattern. They made analagous patterns such as

Asb_Excelon_Craftl_Adel2_1974.jpg

Asb_Excelon_Cust_Burn_1974.jpg

Finally if you agree I'll publish your photo to solicit input from other readers.

Reader Follow-Up:

Thanks for your response!  Although the only dates I have for renovation of the locker rooms specifically are 1954-55 there was work on bathrooms elsewhere in the building in 1969.  They installed Armstrong Cushion Vinyl Corlon “Cambrian” in the other bathrooms so I’d be surprised if they had also installed a different tile in the locker rooms at that time as well. 

You have my permission to publish the photo on your site.  I’ll also pass this photo on to the folks at Armstrong to see if I get anywhere and look back in my files to see if any renovations were done in the mid-1970s since the tile patterns from that era look more similar to what I have.

Reply: About Armstrong's Cushion Cambrian flooring

Armstrong introduced its Cushion Cambrian as a flooring with a foam vinyl backing to provide a "cushioned" surface. (Popular Mechanics September 1966) first as Cambrian Vinyl Corlon flooring, Catalog #80002) - but this was a sheet flooring product, not floor tiles. A product type the company still produces (see http://www.armstrong.com/flooring/site-search.asp?q=cushion%20step)

I take it from your original message that you quite sure the flooring you're asking about is individual tiles. We've posted your floor tile photo and invite reader comment.

Question: Do you think this old 1960's pebble-pattern floor tile contains asbestos? (photo attached)

Asbestos suspect floor tile, pebble pattern (C) InspectApedia & DBI’m wondering if you can tell me if this tile contains asbestos.  We’re pretty sure it was installed sometime in the late 1960s.  It is in fairly good condition so we were going to coat it with an epoxy and floor over it instead of remove it.  Any help with confirmation would be appreciated.- D.B. 4/17/2013

Reply:

Thank you for the interesting question and photo of your asbestos-suspect floor tile: - it helps us realize where we need to work on making our text more clear or more complete.

A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem or conditions that might change advice one can give by email. That apology said, here are some things to consider:

Probably yes this is an asbestos-containing floor; the pattern looks like both tiles and sheet flooring for which we've had other reports and lab tests confirming asbestos content. If the material was installed before the early 1980's that adds to the probability that it should be treated as PACM (presumed asbestos containing material).

Similar or even matching patterns to your tile are
at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS by YEAR including my photo of sheet flooring near the top of that article. You can see a long history of similar flooring patterns back at least to 1965 and shown in our 1960-69 tile ID guide
at Armstrong's Embossed Pebblette in 1965.

In that same 1960 - 1969 Armstrong Excelon Floor Tiles we show a similar floor pattern to yours in a FAQ titled
Test Results for Armstrong Sheet Flooring - 70% Asbestos

As your vinyl-asbestos (or asphalt asbestos in older products) floor in good condition, and this is a non-friable material, I'm not sure you need to epoxy over it before installing a new floor.

Typically a new floor would involve a base layer of rosin paper or similar product, then sleepers, and a new subfloor and floor above, OR simply a tile-over using mastic or sheet flooring. In my OPINION the volume of asbestos-containing particles from the old floor that would rise into the occupied space up through the new floor in such an installation would be beneath the limits of detection. Just avoid making a dusty mess by drilling, grinding, breaking up flooring, and you should be OK.

If circumstances change and there were reason to have to tear up the floor, you would be smart to simply treat the material as asbestos containing (these articles would then be helpful:

And of course for around $50. you could have a sample tested by a certified asbestos test lab.

But frankly, unless facing a costly cleanup or a health worry I'd save my test money and handle the material as I've described.

Question: can you identify these cork pattern floor tiles as probably containing asbestos?

Great website you have, it's been a good resource for me. I suspect that these are asbestos tiles. Any idea? - G.M. 1/1/2013

Vinyl asbestos floor tiles in cork tile pattern (C) InspectAPedia & GM Vinyl asbestos floor tiles in cork tile pattern (C) InspectAPedia & GM

Reply: vinyl asbestos floor tiles in cork pattern compared with true cork flooring materials

Cork flooring sample (C) Daniel FriedmanYour photos (above) look like vinyl-asbestos floor tiles in the cork pattern.

Actual cork floor tiles would be unmistakable as those would be actual cork material. Our photo at left, for comparison, shows the cross-section of an actual true-cork floor tile. It's unmistakably a wood-product material even without microscopic examination.

More photos of true cork flooring are at FLOORING MATERIALS, Age, Types and also
at FLOOR, RESILIENT VINYL or CORK

Take a look at ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION and also

see MASTIC, CUTBACK ADHESIVE, FLASHING CEMENT ASBESTOS

Reader follow-up:

My new plan is to replace the tiles I've already taken up with new tile, then put a floating wood floor over the top. According to everything I've read containment is the best way to go. Seeing as I have three other rooms with tile I think this is the easiest fix for me. What do you think?

Also, my tiles don't seem like vinyl to me. They're not plastic-y...if you know what I mean. Does vinyl get rigid?

Reply:

You can glue in floor tiles or use a leveling compound to make the floor smooth before installing a floating wood floor atop. Typically the floating floor will use a rosin paper or other underlayment as well. Makes sense to me.

Yes vinyl floor tiles can get very rigid and brittle; if the tiles are thick, say 1/8" and dark inside they may be asphalt based; else probably they're vinyl. I think that the cork pattern as well as other light-colored floor tiles will generally date back to early vinyl or "plastic" floor tiles. One of the reasons manufacturers liked vinyl is that lighter colored flooring was easier to produce when you don't start with (black) asphalt.

Reader follow-up:

Okay, that makes sense. They're not dark inside though. So they must be vinyl. So, I'm just going to cover them up.

Question: does this floor tile from a house built in 1963 contain asbestos?

I did not see this tile in the photo displays but I am sure it is old. The house was built in 1963. Any advice? Photos attached. I will gladly cover but the two surfaces are not level so one will need to be disturbed to fix it. Thank you for any information you may be able to share. Much appreciated. First time home buyer. - F.A. 8/21/2013

1963 vintage floor tile may contain asbestos (C) InspectAPedia 1963 vintage floor tile may contain asbestos (C) InspectAPedia

Reply:

The photos are a bit blurry (I did some sharpening in our lab) - so I'm not sure if we can match to an existing file photo or not.

If you look through Armstrong tile photos of the era of your house's construction

1960 - 1969 Armstrong Excelon Floor Vinyl Plastic Asbestos Floor Tiles, 9" x 9" & beginning in 1960 available in 12" x 12" size

you'll see some similar but not matching patterns such as the Coda Bisque design or Nice Gold design.

I'd also look at KENTILE KENFLEX ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE GUIDE - whose Carnival pattern suggests your flooring as well.

Unless tests are perform and indicate otherwise, I would treat the flooring as PACM presumed asbestos containing material and handle it accordingly. See

for some advice on minimizing dust hazards during work on this material. I'm posting your photos here to invite comment from other readers; let us know if you test the flooring and what you learn (a single asbestos test is not expensive - see ASBESTOS TESTING LAB LIST) - what we learn will help others.

1970's Floor Tile or Sheet Flooring Identification Requests

Question: is this the "bad" asbestos floor tile? 1970's Floor tile photo for identification.

Presumed asbestos containing vinyl floor tile (C) InspectApediaMy neighbor wants to remove this basement flooring. I have advised him not to touch until someone looks at tile. Attached is a picture of his title. Thinking this is the bad stuff.

The house is at least 45 to 50 years old. If this is the bad tile (asbestos) I will have him contact you folks for help. Thanks. M.W. 8/19/2013

Reply:

The tile fragment in your photo resembles some of the 1970's vintage vinyl-asbestos floor tiles found in our online libraries of tile  images. For example see Peruvian Beige floor tiles made by Armstrong in the 1970's - or see the tile photos at 1973 - Armstrong Excelon Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles, Complete Pattern & Color Guide, 9x9 & 12x12-inch

It would be prudent to treat the floor tile as presumed asbestos-containing material (PACM) and to avoid creating a dusty mess. If the property owner is faced with a costly cleanup or renovation job then it would make sense to have a floor tile sample tested by a certified asbestos testing lab.

Your neighbor will want to review some simple advice on reducing asbestos floor tile hazards in these articles found at InspectAPedia.com or to review more elaborate details in the citations in those articles.

Regarding your appellation of "bad tile", repeating a comment from the top of this article, Asbestos is safe and legal to remain in homes or public buildings as long as the asbestos materials are in good condition and the asbestos can not be released into the air.

Question: can we identify this old asbestos-suspect floor tile (possibly from the 1970's)?

Unidentified flooring may contain asbestos (C) InspectgApedia NC

I just found your website while researching how to restore my old kitchen floor tiles.

I love the pattern but it never occurred to me that it might be asbestos and therefore poisonous.

A few of the tiles at thresholds are breaking apart so now I'm concerned. Your help will be most appreciated.

The first part of my house was built in 1900, the kitchen was added sometime after that but remodeled as we have seen older tile beneath the cabinets.

So I really have no way to know but I thing I may have seen a similar pattern in the 1973 Armstrong section of your website. - N.C. 3/1/2013

Reply:

N.C. this is not a flooring pattern I've seen before - which reminds us of the enormous variety of flooring designs that have been manufactured over the last 100 years or so. You didn't say if this was sheet flooring or individual tiles.

I have posted the image here because the solid color inset design is characteristic of many Kentile floor products and because perchance another InspectApedia reader will recognize this pattern and help us out with its identification.

Short of having a sample tested, it would be reasonable to treat the floor as PACM - presumed asbestos containing material. You used the word "poisonous" which is not quite how I'd put it, and you don't want to panic lest you become victimized by an aggressive contractor. Take a look
at ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION.

Question: I'm scared that 1975-1979 floor tile ripped up by my brother is exposing me to asbestos

Presumed asbestos containing floor tile (C) InspectApediaHi I am trying to identify whether this tile contains asbestos.

My brother already started ripping up the floor before doing research, and I just started reading about the asbestos.

So I am pretty scared that I've been inhaling asbestos spores for the past three days. Here is the tile that I am worried about: Please let me know as soon as you can. Thank you for your help!

Reply: Armstrong custom bisque vinyl asbestos floor tile pattern

The photo looks like some of the vinyl-asbestos floor tiles in our library - and it would in any event be prudent to treat it as presumed asbestos containing; if you were facing a costly job it'd be worth having a sample tested. Below is a thumbnail (click to enlarge) of an Armstrong 12"x12" x 1/16" thick Custom Bisque #57090-White vinyl-asbestos floor tile from our online photo catalog at Asphalt-Asbestos & Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles Identification Photos - 1975-1979. This tile was sold in White 57090, Rust, Beige 57092, Brown, Bronze, and olive vinyl asbestos floor tiles.

Asbestos floor tile Armstrong Excelon (C) InspectApediaFollow the precautions in these two articles

ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION

ASBESTOS FLOORING REMOVAL GUIDE

About being pretty scared, don't panic; unless your brother created a dusty mess the airborne particle levels may be rather low; if he is making a mess he should stop and proper cleaning should be performed.

Question: Does this 1978 Flooring Contain Asbestos? My Contractor says no.

House built 1978. I have searched pictures and could not find this pattern to determine if it contains asbestos. The contractor says it does not. I'm want to be sure. I hope you can help. Thanks, P.C. 1/11/2014

Asbestos suspect flooring from 1978 (C) InspectApedia PC Asbestos suspect flooring from 1978 (C) InspectApedia PC

Reply:

From the photos and pattern I'd estimate that is most likely that the flooring in your pictures is asbestos-containing and should be handled accordingly. If you are facing a high cost for removal, cleaning, renovations, I recommend sending a small sample to a certified asbestos testing lab for confirmation. The flooring pattern in your photographs resembles some Armstrong asbestos-containing flooring products. See the examples
at ARMSTRONG Asphalt-Asbestos & Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles Identification Photos - 1975-1979

Unless the condition of the flooring in your photos has already been tested by a certified lab and confirmed as asbestos free, I would not let the contractor touch anything before you are decided in this matter. If a contractor adopts a cavalier attitude towards material that in fact does contain asbestos there is a risk of health hazards, legal issues, and significant later costs to perform a proper cleanup of a job that was not properly handled.

Details about identifying older installations of sheet flooring or sheet-forms of resilient flooring that may contain asbestos are now found
at RESILIENT SHEET FLOORING ID GUIDE

1980's Floor Tile or Sheet Flooring Identification Requests

Question: does this early 1980's Peel-and-Stick Floor Tile have an Asbestos Risk?

Peel and stick floor beneath sheet flooring from early 1980's (C) InspectApedia.comWe are renovating our basement when we ran into these peel and stick tiles. The home was built in the early 70's, but the basement looks like was finished in the 80s.

[Click to enlarge any image]

We tried to peel up a tile to see if we could get a manufacturer, but we're unsuccessful as the tile kept breaking up. There are no spare tiles either. The floor tiles were glued to the cement floor in the basement with a clear glue. In some areas, water had decayed the tile and it has turned to a white chalk and crumbles. I searched thru the library but did not find anything close to what we have.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. - R.R. 1/14/2014

Reply:

While asbestos-containing flooring production in the U.S. pretty much ended in the early 1980's, I have indeed had reports of asbestos-containing floor tiles or sheet flooring installed a few years after that time, probably by installers using new old-stock flooring materials. Therefore for the flooring in your photo above, and even assuming it was installed in the 1980's, it is not safe to assume the floor is asbestos free.

Given the appearance of the flooring you describe, it would be prudent to treat it as presumed to contain asbestos. The article ASBESTOS FLOORING REMOVAL GUIDE should help.

If you are unable to leave the material in place and just install flooring over it - that is if it must be removed, you'll want to follow the expert suggestions for avoiding creating a dusty mess. If that means hiring someone and facing a big cost, it might be worth the cost of sending a sample to a certified asbestos test lab. (Typically that costs about $50. U.S.)

Watch out: depending on its age, the sheet flooring installed atop the peel-and-stick floor tiles in your photo could also contain asbestos in its backer/liner. Also I see a black surface beneath the peel-and-stick floor. What's that? Some older felt papers contained asbestos as did some black floor tile mastics.
See MASTIC, CUTBACK ADHESIVE, FLASHING CEMENT ASBESTOS.

Question: do these self-stick Emerald Brand vinyl floor tiles contain asbestos?

Possible asbestos containing self adhesive Emerald Vinyl Floor Tiles (C) InspectApedia.com

Can you tell if this tile has Asbestos - I also have photos of the box.

Reply: Trademark Supplies floor tiles - modern version should not contain asbestos

Emerald vinyl floor tile box markings (C) InspectAPedia.com

Possibly yes; some self-adhesive floor tiles contained asbestos in the tile backer.

But without matching the floor tile to a known-asbestos-containing photo index one cannot say for sure without performing a lab test for asbestos content.

Often such testing is unnecessary or even inappropriate, depending on the age, location, and condition of the flooring.

Trademark Supplies self-adhesive vinyl floor tiles in 2013The Emerald vinyl "stick-on" floor tiles in your photograph are produced by Trademark Supplies - a company that seems to exist only on and at Amazon.com.

These tiles (see the red marked tile center row left end) are currently available from Amazon.com and are identified as 12X12 Vinyl Stick-On Tiles With Four Emerald Diamonds Self Adhesive Flooring RT4022

At least in that version it would be a surprise if a current for-sale floor product contained asbestos.

Can you

  • tell me the age of the building and flooring?
  • send me photos of all of the information on the tile box from all sides, including model and lot numbers?

Details about identifying older installations of sheet flooring or sheet-forms of resilient flooring that may contain asbestos are now found
at RESILIENT SHEET FLOORING ID GUIDE

Reader Question: do these inset pattern floor tiles contain asbestos?

Asbestos suspect floor tiles being broken up (C) InspectApedia JSWe were hoping you could take a look at this image fo determine if it contains asbestos? The house was built around 1970, but we arent sure if this is the original tile. Thank you, J.S. 2/11/2014

Reply:

H.S., no one can say for sure what a material contains from just a photo, but the image indeed looks like a 1960's vintage asphalt or vinyl asbestos floor installation, possibly a Kentile floor as those used many pattern inserts.

Watch out: It looks as if the breakup is making a dusty mess - something to be avoided in any case. Stirring up dust from an aggressive asbestos-suspect floor removal creates a health hazard for workers and for building occupants. I would stop working in the manner shown in the photo. I cut off the worker's head in this photo, not as a punishment but for privacy. But in addition to breaking up this flooring in a dusty manner we see no dust containment methods, and no personal protection gear.

Identify this Bahamas-installed flooring as asbestos-containing?

Vinyl asbestos floorin in the Bahamas (C) InspectAPedia RHI am disabled and living in the Bahamas. The house I am renting has old Vinyl floor tiles. If I may have just a few questions about the tile floor and asbestos.

Please can you advise me -

(i) whether the tiles in the attached photos are Armstrong Asbestos tiles?
(ii) where can I get the tiles tested this week to see if they have asbestos?
(iii) can they be properly sealed with ceramic tile over the top as I understand safe asbestos removal will be very expensive and my landlord will likely not pay for that. (this is the Bahamas...!)
(iv) Lastly, how much do you charge low income individuals for a house inspection...?

I would be extremely grateful if you can get back to me quickly as I need to decide if I am staying or leaving.

with warm regards and thanks, R.H. 11/4/13

Reply:

Some of the photos look like some of my Armstrong tile photos - the latter ones, darker and blurry are more uncertain - they look a bit like Kentiles.

ASBESTOS TESTING LAB LIST (in the More Reading linnks below) has help in finding a certified lab.

Reader follow-up:

We are getting the samples sent to the lab by courier for testing today.

If they are the Armstrong or Kentiles are those ASBESTOS tiles?

And lastly as they are cracking and curling up at the edges in several places on the floor does that mean I must address this? Sometimes I smell a chlorine type smell and have a very dry throat. My friend who is visiting has been coughing too.

Reply:

Sorry I was not more clear;

If these floor tiles date from before the early 1980's (or older) they probably contain asbestos.

Reader Question: is this flooring 51202 Caliqua by Armstrong® ?

Asbestos containing flooring in Caligula / Tragan Armstrong-Like pattern (C) InspectApedia DF JS Asbestos containing flooring in Caligula / Tragan Armstrong-Like pattern (C) InspectApedia DF JS

Hello, is the attached vinyl tile the 51202 Caliqua (embossed or embossed veining) or the 51203 Trajan embossed? Thanks. - J.S. 10/22/2014

[Photo at above left]

Reply: Probably Excelon Polished Marble floor tiles - see Peruvian Beige #54192

I don't think so, J.S., though your flooring is very similar and is a pattern I've seen before. I'm posting it here pending a certain name identification. For comparison of three similar flooring patterns see

At the right of your photo above I include a very similar photo of this flooring provided by another reader.

The three example floors I cite are described across a wide number of years of Armstrong flooring products and are cited here from

1973 - ARMSTRONG EXCELON VINYL ASBESTOS FLOOR TILES Complete Pattern & Color Guide, 9x9 & 12x12-inch

What to Do About Unidentified Flooring that May Contain Asbestos

If you are facing a costly demolition then it would make sense to confirm asbestos content using a certified asbesto test lab - ASBESTOS TESTING LAB LIST

Else it makes sense to treat the material as "Presumed Asbestos Containing Material" or "PACM" flooring based on its age and appearance.

Reader Question: How can I Submit a Floor Tile Photo for Identification

(Apr 3, 2014) Anonymous said:

How can I submit a photo of a tile to see if it might contain asbestos?

Reply:

Sure, Anon, just use the email found at our CONTACT link seen at the top or bottom of any InspectApedia.com page - but it may not be necessary.

If you've got vinyl or asphalt floor tiles installed before the early 1980's it would make sense to treat them as presumed to contain asbestos (PACM or "Presumed Asbestos Containing Material") - and to avoid making a dusty demolition, sawing, grinding mess.

See these articles to minimze the hazards of flooring that may contain asbestos

 

 

Continue reading at ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Or see ASBESTOS FLOORING REMOVAL GUIDE

Or see FLOOR TILE / SHEET FLOORING PHOTO GUIDES

More Reading

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INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to ARTICLE INDEX to ASBESTOS HAZARDS

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