Photo guide to asphalt asbestos and vinyl asbestos floor tiles, 1900 -1986: this article provides a guide to identifying asphalt-asbestos flooring (1917 - ca 1960) & vinyl asbestos floor tile (ca 1952 - 1986): identification photographs, product names, styles, colors, and vinyl-asbestos floor patterns, and colors for asbestos-containing floor tile products made between about 1930 and 1986 - flooring materials that are reported to or have been confirmed to contain asbestos in asbestos fiber or asbestos powder-filler form. These flooring products typically contain chrysotile asbestos, and possibly other asbestos forms.
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This photograph of sheet flooring was identified by a reader in a 1964 home. She found remnants in the bottom of a kitchen cabinet on which was imprinted "Armstrong".[Click to enlarge any image]
While the reader referred to this as "Armstrong Congoleum sheet flooring", Armstrong and Congoleum are separate individual companies.
The sheet flooring shown at left is identified as an Armstrong resilient flooring product. As we detail at our FAQs section at the bottom of this page, another reader had a sample of this resilient flooring tested and confirmed a 70% asbestos content.
Dont' mix up product names. Armstrong is a separate company from Congoleum-Nairn.
Linoleum is a term invented in 1860 by Frederick Walton to describe sheet flooring. Original linoleum products were made using linseed oil as an ingredient, often with a jute (burlap or fabric) backing. Descendents of Linoleum include Anaglypta and Lincrusta (many writers spell it "Linocrusta or linacrusta", an embossed patterned covering used on walls and ceilings.
NOTE: Armstrong, although an enormous producer of flooring, was by no means the only manufacturer of floor covering products that contained asbestos as fibers or asbestos powder filler. Below we provide photographs and descriptions from a variety of flooring manufacturers, followed by a detailed list of floor tile product names we've been able to collect. You'll note that the Armstrong product list extends from 1954 to 1980. Other asbestos-containing flooring products from various manufacturers were produced between around 1920 to 1986.
Amitco International, another larger producer of floor tiles has operated from 1964 to the present. Amico flooring is discussed at AMITCO ASBESTOS FLOOR TILES.
Asphalt asbestos and vinyl-asbestos floor tiles were produced in 9" x 9", 12" x 12", and even 18" x 18" as well as in decorative strips, and in thicknesses of 1/16", 3/32", and 1/8", also in 0.08 gauge. Some sheet flooring or resilient flooring also contained asbestos, as did floor tile mastics.
This photo guide to asphalt asbestos & vinyl asbestos floor tiles for each year shows at least one color photo of each floor tile style or pattern in an example color. A list below each group of photos includes the names of and links to additional photos for other colors of these styles.
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.
To identify a particular asphalt-asbestos or vinyl-asbestos floor tile pattern & color, start in the image group most likely to be the same age as your building.
If you don't find your floor tile or sheet flooring by looking forward from that that year, you should also look backwards in the earlier years as your specific flooring pattern & color may have first appeared in an earlier year. For other tile brands than Armstrong, see the brand name floor tile links included in this list.
If you can identify your floor tile collection name or model number, or if you recognize it in the extensive library of flooring color and pattern photographs provided in these pages, laboratory testing of the sample to screen the flooring for asbestos may be unnecessary. Our home page for asbestos-containing floor tiles is at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE PHOTO ID GUIDE To send us photographs of possible asbestos-containing flooring that you are trying to identify, use the email address found at CONTACT.
We have split this guide to Armstrong Asphalt Asbestos or Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tiles into the individual year range pages (dates of production) below in order to cut web page load time.
Many of the colors and patterns of asphalt-asbestos or vinyl-asbestos floor tiles were manufactured over many years and may appear in more than one of the floor tile photo collections listed by date range here.
For each year we list the names of the tile patterns sold during that year, we include representative color images of the floor tiles, and throughout the entire floor tile pattern & color history series we include each floor tile color & pattern of the floor tile in the first year that it appeared , and we include representative colors and patterns in other years.
Examples of floor tile packaging, labeling, and other information can be found throughout the flooring photo collections listed here.
Self-Adhesive Stick-on Tiles, Asbestos - peel and stick floor tiles that contain asbestos
Self-Adhesive Stick-on Tiles, Current - modern peel and stick floor tiles: information below.
This Armstrong flooring tile is 12" x 12" x 1/16" or 1.5mm thick.
Unlike the older vinyl-asbestos floor tiles whose photographs we provide below, this more recent flooring product is built from a thin vinyl layer containing the tile's design pattern and a fiber/paper backer (shown in our photo above) to which an adhesive was coated so that the tile could be installed without use of a mastic.
A typical pattern is the embossed design shown at left.
The floor tile thickness (about 1.5mm or 1/16") suggests that this product was produced after 1980 and probably does not contain asbestos.
Below we show a photo of the Armstrong© Stamp found on the under-side or "back" of 12 x 12 "stick-on" self-adhesive floor tiles produced by Armstrong.
Depending on the age of manufacture, some paper-backed flooring products used asbestos as a primary ingredient (see Asphalt & Vinyl Floor Tile History). Tests of our example floor sample (above) for asbestos confirmed that some early peel-and-stick floor tiles sold in the 1980's did contain asbestos.
Contemporary resilient flooring products do not contain asbestos however.
Shown at left: Armstrong Excelon Vinyl Floor tile, contemporary, popular, sold in 70 colors at retail outlets including Home Depot stores, this modern resilient floor tile does not contain asbestos. [Click any image to see an enlarged, detailed version].
A catalog of floor tile identification photographs for products that contained asbestos, 1952 - 1980, is provided below at Armstrong Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tile Photo ID Catalog - 1952 - 1986. And at Armstrong flooring history we provide a history of Armstrong flooring and links to company information.
Contact Us to send a photograph of your own floor tile pattern or for assistance in identification if you can't find your floor tile image, pattern, or design in this floor tile color and pattern library.
Asphalt resilient floor tiles Manufacturers, Brands, Styles, Photo Guide
Armstrong Asphalt Floor Tiles - 1950's to 1980's Compared to Contemporary Vinyl Flooring Products
Armstrong produced asphalt-based floor tiles, possibly including asbestos in their formulation, before 1952 and in later years as we indicate with examples and photographs in the detailed photo guide that is found below.
For more information about these older flooring types, see Asphalt & Vinyl Floor Tile History - history, dates, and description of the production process and ingredients in asphalt floor tiles, asphalt-asbestos floor tiles, & vinyl-asbestos floor tiles 1900 to present. Kentile flooring produced through 1986 may contain asbestos.
Also don't assume that only "vinyl asbestos floor tiles" include asbestos. According to Rosato, asbestos filler (powder) and fibers were used in asphalt based products too. "The first publicized installation of asphalt tile was in the Western Union office in New York City (1920). By the end of 1930, 3 million square yards of tile was being produced annually.
Below in this document we provide detailed year-by-year photos of Armstrong asphalt or vinyl-asbestos flooring products from 1952 to 1982. Records show that many but not all flooring products produced during these years, including 9" floor tiles, 12" floor tiles, peel-and-stick floor tiles, and sheet flooring indeed contain asbestos.
Later Armstrong flooring products, for example Armstrong's Accoflex 2005 series semi-flexible vinyl tile sold (at least) in the U.K. were produced from " ground limestone bound with polymers, plasticizers, and stabilizers, and colored by pigments" not including asbestos.
At FLOOR, RESILIENT VINYL or CORK we discuss the choices, selection and installation details for contemporary vinyl and other resilient flooring products.
Guide to Armstrong Floor Tile Photographs
Sorry but the VAT (Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile) photo catalog became so huge that the file was slow to load and unwieldy. Scan through our images of asphalt asbestos or vinyl asbestos flooring, both tiles and sheet flooring) using the links below by starting at the earliest year that might pertain to your building or to when you think the flooring was installed. Because many floor tile patterns were produced over many years there is of course overlap among these year ranges.
Styles, & Pictures of Congoleum-Nairn Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles & Congoleum Linoleum Sheet Flooring: Resilient Floors
Details about Congoleum floor tiles and resilient sheet flooring and linoleum are found at CONGOLEUM-NAIRN FLOOR TILES & LINOLEUM. Excerpts are below.
Congoleum Nairn, was established in 1886, and presently headquartered in Mercerville, NJ, U.S., produced resilient sheet flooring, vinyl asbestos floor tiles in patterns such as their Congoleum-Nair Romanaire pattern
Sequin Pattern for Congoleum resilient flooring is shown at left.
Congoleum Gold Seal Rugs along with Nairn Linoleum were marketed from the 1920's into the 1950's when Congoleum-Nairn was producing 12-foot wide sheet vinyl-based flooring.
Watch out: the backing on some of these vinyl flooring or linoleum products may also contain asbestos.
The Congoleum linoleum photograph (above left) of Congoleum sheet flooring installed in a 1949 Tampa Florida home is provided courtesy of M.B. in Tampa, FL.
See CONGOLEUM-NAIRN FLOOR TILES & LINOLEUM for our complete set of photos and text about Congoleum Nairn flooring products that may contain asbestos.
A detailed photo guide to identifying Kentile and KenFlex flooring is at KENTILE KENFLEX ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE GUIDE and Kentile history and dates are found at Kentile Flooring History. Excepts are below.
As we detail at Kentile Flooring History KenFlex floor tiles were produced by Kentile Floors, a Brooklyn NY company that filed bankruptcy in 1992. (founder Arthur Kennedy 1898) (at least) as 9" x 9" resilient flooring in a variety of patterns (left) and shades (below).
Kentile produced both Asphalt floor tiles using an asbestos filler (see our Rosato comment above), and Vinyl-Asbestos floor tiles. The dark floor tiles shown at left may have been asphalt-asbestos. If the floor tile is thicker than 1/16", particularly, 1/8" or more, we suspect you're looking at an asphalt based tile, rather than a later vinyl-asbestos floor tile.
(Additional Kentile floor covering photos wanted - CONTACT US)
Below our photographs show the embossed pattern on these Sears vinyl asbestos floor tiles. The tiles are solid through in color and material and are about 1/16" thick and 9" x 9" in size. Below right shows these Sears floor tiles installed.
(photos wanted for Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward and other asphalt & vinyl-asbestos floor tile producers or distributors - CONTACT US)
Our reproduction of vinyl-asbestos floor tile patterns and colors below selected representative images of each style or floor tile identification pattern in which tiles were produced. Within each pattern there were various colors available as well.
By minimizing repetition of patterns and colors, across the set of years we show at least one example of nearly every pattern and color produced for these floor tiles.
Our photo (left) from Rosato, shows an Armstrong asphalt floor tile installation.
On occasion, the original flooring packaging or installation literature may be available for a given home: often an extra box of floor tiles was kept for future repairs.
The vinyl-asbestos floor tile package label information, combined with a simple comparison of tiles in the package with tiles installed in the building may be sound confirmation of asbestos-containing materials. See Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile Packaging.
Historical information about the dates of flooring installation may also be sufficient to rule in or out the possibility that flooring in a building contains asbestos.
Where the same floor style pattern was produced for multiple years, in subsequent years we show other colors in which the tile pattern was made. Just scroll through this vinyl asbestos floor tile photo guide to find the first occurrence of each floor tile style, pattern, name, dimensions, and colors. Or if you know the approximate year that your floor was installed you can scroll down to that very year in our photo library.
It is instructive to take a close look at our tile photos from 1973 and 1974. Some floor tile colors and patterns, especially among the "standard" tiles, include both asphalt-based tiles and vinyl-asbestos tiles that look quite alike. But the combination of color, pattern, and size can help distinguish among these.
For example, "Standard Pattern" floor tiles were produced in both vinyl-asbestos form and in an asphalt tile without asbestos in 1973. But asphalt-based tiles that did not contain asbestos were produced in 1973 only in 9"x9". So flooring made for that year and particular pattern, the tile size provides important information.
Watch out: Because flooring products may have been produced in years earlier than the year of installation, don't assume that a floor installed in a building built shortly after 1980 could not possibly contain vinyl-asbestos product.
As we warned just above, don't assume that only "vinyl asbestos floor tiles" include asbestos.
Key to Thicknesses or Gauges of Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles & Floor Tile Application or Usage by Thickness
Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile Thickness & Usage Guide
Shown at left is a vinyl-asbestos floor specification summary and usage guide from 1959 - Armstrong.
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the brands & types of vinyl & vinyl-asbestos floor tiles & sheet flooring & about the asbestos content of these products
Question: Armstrong diecut inserts from around 1952 - ways to seal these floors?
Am looking for information on Armstrong diecut inserts from around 1952. Also are there any recommended ways to seal these floors so you can enjoy the look but without any asbestos concerns? Thanks, Sarah - Sarah 6/23/11
Reply: gentle cleaning followed by floor restorer clear coating protects from asbestos fiber release
As you can see at ASBESTOS FLOORING LEFT IN PLACE, we just did this recently in a New York home. The floor was washed with mild detergent and water. Then we used a spray cleaner recommended by the floor resetorer manufacturer. The spray cleaner removes old wax residues. Next we used a magic marker to color in some gouges that had marred the floor surface. Finally we coated the flooring with the floor restorer product. The floor looked new, and great.
Also see ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION for more ways to reduce the asbestos hazard in asbestos-suspect or presumed asbestos-containing flooring.
Question: 12x12 code 422 80 made by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Plant C Akron, Oh
Do you have info about whether the following 2 tiles contain asbestos?
My previous email had a typo-- 2. should read Amtico Duravinyl.
Found what I believe to be asbestos tiles under carpet in all 4 bedrooms of a house my daughter purchased. The house is 100 + age so this indicates these tiles would be asbestos. Some are damaged through age and also have been stapled to hold the underpad of carpeting and also the carpet tack around the edges. What is the hazard of the staples and tack? Should we be concerned about fiber leakage thru these holes and various damage in the rooms. Thank you - Leaha 9/7/11
Question: identifying various other brands and product numbers of floor tiles
do you know if the SEARS brand HOMART 64-7169 asphalt floor tile contained asbestos? - Paul Wright 9/22/11
Have you heard of Dura Floor Plastic Asphalt Tiles? Do they contain asbestos? - Jo Lynn Judka 10/24/11
I have 12" x 12" tile in the basement just like the pattern San Roque Gold 57161 from 1980.
Is there a way I can forward someone a photo of a school floor to determine if it contains asbestos? I am unable to get back into the building It is closed, but the school dept wants to open it again and is saying that there isn't a problem. I looked through the tiles on your site, but oculdn't find an exact match. The school was built in 1950-1960, but we have no evidence that the tiles have been replaced. Can you help? -
we have an armstrong floor tile (black color) with the following numbers on the back L4 1230 021898. We don't know the year it was installed. Does it contain asbestos? Is there a way to cross reference these numbers? - Dan 5/1/12
We have the San Roque pattern sheet vinyl. Did Armstrong use the same patterns at a later date for their sheet vinyl but without asbestos? We have already started to remove it and I am concerned. - Sue 10/24/2012
We have vinyl sheet flooring that was put in about mid 1984. Is this anything to worry about? When exactly was asbestos banned in the manufacture of sheet flooring? - Peter 11/6/2012
David, naturally by email alone no one can say with certainty whether or not a floor tile contains asbestos, but if your flooring matches one of the ACM floor tiles we illustrate here, AND if you are confident about the age (as you suggest) most likely it is an asbestos-containing product. And yes, for sure there were some peel-and-stick floor tiles that contained asbestos in the tile baking.
JoLynn, sorry we don't have information about DuraFloor plastic asphalt tiles. Do you know the age of the product? You're welcome to send us photos (see the CONTACT link at top, side, bottom of our pages), and I'll research further. Certainly up to the early 1980's many asphalt floor tile products contained asbestos.
Dan, while we have published product and lot numbers for some floor tile products, there are just too many of them, thousands. Unlike mechanical equipment like water heaters or furnaces, I have not found a standard of correlation between product numbers and date of manufacture, though it probably was included in widely varying ways by individual manufacturers.
Question: how much asbestos was in floor tile?
How much asbestos did the Armstrong Excelon Standard 12"x12" tiles contain - Loretta D 12/21/11
How much asbestos did the Armstrong Excelon vinyl asbestos floor tiles contain (12"x12", 1972/1973)? - Loretta 12/22/11
Hi! Would you expect the armstrong corlon resilent flooring with the hydrocord backing from the mid 1960s to contain significant amounts of asbestos? I am trying to find some information on it as I think that may be what is in our home...the only info I can find is that the backing probably did contain an asbestos and latex composite...I am wondering how likely the composite material would become easily friable if we attempted to remove it... - Kate 2/16/12
Loretta, lacking hard science facts I have to give an OPINION that the material is high in asbestos content because in addition to asbestos fibers that gave strength to the tiles, many such floor tiles included a high level of asbestos filler - very ultrafine particles. We'd need to have a sample for specific testing to obtain an content level measurement.
Question: risk assessment for demolished asbestos-suspect flooring
Hi there, being naive and not aware that floor tiles may contain asbestos - I began removing some older tiles from under the carpet in my kids room. After seeing a warning on a Home Depot website - we stopped the removal. Is there any way of testing or visually confirming the possibility of it containing asbestos? I was working in the area for approximately 2 hours without any breathing apartus, etc. What are my options at this point? My wife is freaking out. Thanks - Sean M 1/22/12
At ASBESTOS TESTING LAB LIST you can see how to choose and contact a certified asbestos testing lab to have a sample of your flooring tested for asbestos content. If the home may have been contaminated, dust testing, air testing, and professional cleanup might be appropriate.
Question: having trouble identifying my floor tile
I think I've looked through all the photos here and fortunately, the only one that appears to resemble what I have is in the "1989 & Later Armstrong Accoflex Series Flooring Tiles" image just above this comment box. UNfortuneately, it is very difficult to be sure from this small image and i am sure what I have is NOT from the UK. The tiles I have are 12" x 12", 1/8" thick light blue and white (like streaked clouds on a blue sky) resembling "Spruce" above. The tiles are VERY heavy, quite inflexible and have very tiny sparkling crystals throughout. These physical apsects make me very uneasy. Since the tiles are at least 25 years or more old, should I be concerned? Where might I go for an expert opinion? Thanks. - Scott 2/1/2012
Scott if you can't convince yourself that you've found the exact floor tile in your home shown among the example photos in our asbestos floor reference libraries here, your best bet may be to either
- have a sample tested by a certified asbestos test lab
- given the age of the flooring, treat the flooring as PACM - presumed asbestos containing material and handle it with appropriate precautions. Heroic measures are rarely needed for flooring materials.
In one of the asbestos pages of your site ( this page - Ed.), your second photo is of a sheet layment. The text about the photo clarifies that the person who sent the photo was confused about Armstrong and Congoleum.
I wanted to let you know that I have that exact same sheet layment and had it tested. It's 70% asbestos. Thought you may want to let readers know so they can save the cost of testing and just deal with the issue accordingly.
I appreciate your site. Thank you for taking the time to put together all the information. - D.H. 10/11/2012
Thank you so much D.H. for the floor covering test result confirming asbestos content in this material. We a welcome critique, questions, or content suggestions for our web articles, and as your feedback illustrates, working together and exchanging information makes us better informed than any individual can be working alone.
Question: How much asbestos hazard was I exposed to during our floor renovation project?
We recently partially demo'd a ceramic tile floor in the kitchen of a home built in 1970. We popped the ceramic tiles up with a pry bar and sledge hammer. Beneath the tiles was a linoleum floor covering. I've visually identified the flooring on your website. It is Armstrong, Excelon, Custon Burnham 1972, 57080 Blue. How much asbestos does this contain? Also, we didn't bother peeling it all up because it was too difficult. We chipped up the remaining ceramic tile on top of it and just covered the remainder of the floor with plywood and fastened the plywood with split drive fasteners. We then nailed pine plank flooring over the plywood. Do we have any reason to worry about asbestos exposure??? My husband wore a dust mask. - Kelly McCullin 11/13/2012
I have ArmStrong sheet layment in my kicten.There was a layer of newer layment on top I did realize it was the orignal under it. The house was built in 1974. I removed about a there foot area before I realized it. If i was exsposed to it how much does it take to make you sick and what are the symptoms.I have to think I am not the only one who has done this. - David 11/28/2012
Reply: it depends ... Here is a list of some risk factors when removing flooring that may contain asbestos
David, and also Kelly McKullin:
If you have specific individual health questions those should be posed to your doctor who knows your personal health history
Question: what are the wisdom & morality of walking away from a home & mortgage for a property with asbestos-containing flooring?
If an unsuspecting home owner was sold a house containing asbestos floors that are friad, would it be immoral to walk away from the mortgage? - Kim 1/14/2013
Kim, in my OPINION, it would be immoral and also stupid.
Failure to disclose: it would without question be immoral for a seller or agent to fail to disclose to the buyer a known and substantive economic, health, or safety condition at a home, but sadly that event happens every day, excused by disclaimers and exclusion fees. Caveat emptor.
Banks in turn re-packaged the bad loans, hid their poor quality, and re-sold them to investors including private investors. Investors depended on rating agencies who in turn succumbed to conflicts of interest as they relied on fees from the banks or investments they rated. Ultimately it was large and small investors who lost some or all of their life savings, retirement pensions &c. Mortgage writers, banks, and legislators in the "too big to fail club" got still bigger during the bank bailout and can continue to count on the middle-income taxpayer to bear the ultimate expense of over-valued abandoned properties.
Question: does this floor covering contain asbestos ? photo attached.
I came across your website and was hoping you might be able to help me identify this flooring for asbestos.
I have attatched a picture [at elft]. Thank you! J. DF. 3/17/2013
Because of the production of some common paterns of flooring across many years, it is probably at least equally important to have an idea when the floor of concern to you was installed and also whether it is made of individual tiles or is sheet flooring.
In your photo the material looks like sheet flooring not tiles but I'm not certain. If your floor covering is not glued to the subfloor, look on the back of the flooring for an Armstrong logo or trademark, and check out very similarly-designed floor tile patterns by that company in the Execelon line beginning around 1972 - see the Custom San Pedro floor tile examples such as Excelon 54480 green or Excelon 57070 white for examples.
That popular floor tile pattern may well have been carried over into sheet flooring products made later and that may include your example above.
Questions & answers about how to identify brands & types of vinyl & vinyl-asbestos floor tiles & sheet flooring & about the asbestos content of these products.
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
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