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Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
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ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
ALLERGEN TESTS for buildings
ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION
ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE PHOTO ID GUIDE
ASBESTOS-FREE INSULATION MATERIALS
ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN buildings
ASBESTOS REMOVAL GUIDE
ASBESTOS TESTING LAB LIST
BATH & KITCHEN DESIGN GUIDE
CARPET DUST IDENTIFICATION
CARPET MOLD CONTAMINATION
CARPET PADDING ASBESTOS, MOLD, ODORS
CARPET STAIN DIAGNOSIS
CARPET & other STAIN TESTS
CARPET TEST PROCEDURE
CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY
CARPETING, SELECTION & INSTALLATION
CEILING FINISHES INTERIOR
CERAMIC TILE FLOOR, WALL
CERAMIC TILE, ASBESTOS in?
DRYWALL HAZARDS, CHINESE
DRYWALL INSTALLATION Best Practices
ENGINEERED WOOD Flooring
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOR, CERAMIC TILE
FLOOR, CONCRETE SLAB CHOICES
FLOOR, CONCRETE SLAB POURED FINISH
FLOOR DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS
FLOOR, ENGINEERED WOOD & LAMINATES
FLOOR FRAMING & SUBFLOOR for TILE
FLOOR, KITCHEN & BATH OPTIONS
FLOOR, LAMINATE PLASTIC
FLOOR RADIANT HEAT Mistakes to Avoid
FLOOR, RESILIENT VINYL or CORK
FLOOR & SUBFLOOR MOLD, HIDDEN
FLOOR TYPES & DEFECTS
FLOOR TILE ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION
FLOOR TILE HISTORY & INGREDIENTS
FLOOR TILE INSTALLATION DETAILS
FLOOR WOOD AGE TYPES HISTORY
FLOOR WOOD, DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS ;
FLOOR, WOOD ENGINEERED, LAMINATE, INSTALL
FLOOR, WOOD FINISHES
FLOOR, WOOD INSTALLATION GUIDE
FLOOR, WOOD MOISTURE
FLOOR, WOOD RADIANT HEAT
FLOOR, WOOD SOLID STRIP, PLANK
FLOOR, WOOD TYPES
FLOORING MATERIALS, Age, Types
FUNGICIDAL SPRAY & SEALANT USE GUIDE
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
INTERIOR FINISHES: BEST PRACTICES
INTERIOR FINISHES: DRYWALL
METAL LATH, PLASTER & STUCCO
MOLD INFORMATION CENTER
NOISE CONTROL for FLOORS
ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE
PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION
PLASTER TYPE IDENTIFICATION
RADIANT SLAB FLOORING CHOICES
RADIANT SLAB TUBING & FLUID CHOICES
SLAB CRACK EVALUATION
SOUND CONTROL in buildings
STONE CLEANING METHODS
TILE INSTALLATION DETAILS
TRIM, INTERIOR INSTALLATION
VINYL CHLORIDE HEALTH INFO
VINYL Siding or PLASTIC Window ODORS
Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs
WOOD FLOOR DAMAGE
Here we provide a list of building flooring articles that guide in identifying different kinds of flooring materials in buildings and we include articles on individual flooring type inspection, diagnosis, & repair. Also see FLOOR DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS.
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Articles on types, ages, characteristics, ingredients, & inspection of different types of floor coverings:
List of Non-Resilient & Resilient Floor Coverings Used in buildings.
Asphalt floor tiles are 9" square (or other sized) tiles which used asphalt as the main binding material. the original asphalt tiles were produced only in dark colors because asphalt was a main ingredient.
The black tiles shown at left were not dated and may be a newer product, but in general, if you find very old black floor tiles they are probably an asphalt-asbestos product.
Rosato indicates that the first publicized asphalt tile installation was in 1920 in New York City's Western Union office. The product was very successful and by 1936 over four million square yards of asphalt floor tiles were being sold annually.
By 1940, 5% of floor coverings sold in the U.S. were asphalt tile. -- Rosato In 1920 asphalt roofing manufacturers, who had been using asphalt and fiber binders to make asphalt roofing shingles for some time, tried to develop a rigid product that could be a substitute for (more costly) slate roofing. The material did not perform acceptably as a roof covering, but it led to the development of asphalt floor tiles.
At AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine in our section titled Flooring Materials we discuss the eras during which various flooring materials were first used in modern buildings and how to use these to help identify the age of a building.
Asphalt-asbestos floor tiles were produced at first in dark colors using a heavy asphalt binder combined with a very high percentage of asbestos filler fibers. It would be uncommon to find these floors still in use today, but if you encounter black or very dark asphalt floor tiles they are probably very high in asbestos fibers. We discuss floor tiles as an asbestos fiber source in buildings in more detail at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION where we elaborate the concerns about asbestos used in the manufacture of asphalt-based floor tiles.
Asphalt -asbestos tiles manufactured early in their life (1920's) were either black, near black, brown, or a gray-brown tone. Brown asphalt-asbestos tiles were made by substituting gilsonite as a binder. In both cases the tiles were hardened by evaporating a solvent used in the fabrication process, or by cooling of hot asphalt used in the mixture.
Gilsonite could be used to produce a wider range of mixtures, but required some asphalt as a softener. Dark vinyl-asbestos tiles used, for example, a mixture of 40 parts asphalt or gilsonite, 60 parts asbestos floats, 30 parts powdered limestone, and pigments (parts by weight). Another typical mixture cited by Rosato contained 70% asbestos fiber.
See these articles on asphalt and vinyl-asbestos floor tile identification:
Cork floor tiles were considered a warm, quiet, but less durable resilient floor covering than some of its competitors. It was sold often for use in residential dens, family rooms, or other warm, low-traffic areas, and it may have been popular (research needed) for use in areas where workers had to spend long periods standing - where it would have competed with rubber floor coverings. In 1952 cork flooring sales made up 2% of total floor tile sales. -- Rosato p88.
Vinyl floor tiles, including vinyl-asbestos floor tiles and homogenous vinyl floor tiles (non-asbestos product) are almost as old as asphalt floor tiles. By the early 1950's in the U.S. vinyl tile floor products were more popular than asphalt-based flooring. The reason is pretty obvious.
Asphalt-based flooring as it was originally produced used heavy asphalt products which meant that the floor tiles could be made in dark colors only. Soon after asphalt-asbestos floor tiles were marketed manufacturers heard from their buyers that consumers wanted lighter floor tiles and tiles of varying color and pattern.
Organic resin vinyl increased in popularity for this reason, but slowly. By 1952, the production of vinyl plastic floor tile sales in the U.S. was about half the volume of asphalt floor tiles, selling 35 million square yards.
We discuss vinyl-asbestos floor tiles as an asbestos fiber source in buildings in more detail at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION where we elaborate the concerns about asbestos used in the manufacture of vinyl based floor tiles that used high levels of asbestos fibers as a filler material and to provide other properties to that product.
More photos of vinyl asbestos floor tiles, including microphotographs of vinyl-asbestos floor tiles can be seen at our article at ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION.
See these articles on asphalt and vinyl-asbestos floor tile identification:
Here is a photograph of an early (pre-vinyl) continuous floor covering, ca 1900, in an 1840 historic Vermont house.
Note the fabric backing of the flooring material. This article explains various common flooring materials (rough wood, finished wood, parquet, carpeting, linocrusta, sheet vinyl, and other items as they assist in determining the age of a house or other building.
At LINOLEUM & Other Sheet Flooring we describe the history and properties of linoleum sheet flooring using the Congoleum-Nairn corporation history to obtain some useful dates on when different sheet flooring products were produced.
The resilient flooring product shown at left was made in the late 1990's and is not an asbestos concern, though in this case the flooring was damaged by water and movement of a cabinet.
According to Rosato, "The original resilient floor coverings were developed during the latter part of the Nineteenth Century by Frederick Walton.
The original covering was linoleum for use as a floor decking on British naval ships." The composition of the original products included asphaltic binders to which an asbestos filler was added by mixing on a rubber mill.
Non-resilient floor coverings used in buildings that can assist in determining the age of a structure include bamboo, brick, concrete, stone, and a wide variety of wood products.
The laminate wood flooring shown at left was buckled and destroyed by flooding caused by a leaky heating pipe. As we discussed with traditional wood flooring above, severe flooding or installation errors can lead to total loss of the finish floor system.
Contemporary snap-together flooring products that resemble wood or other surfaces, but are made of plastic, and other pre-finished and ready-to-assemble wood flooring products are a much more modern product.
Pergo (TM) laminate flooring, for example, was developed by Pergo AB, a Swedish company founded around 1890 as a vinegar manufacturer. Product development for Pergo laminate flooring began in 1977 and was first brought to the market in 1984. Pergo laminate flooring was first sold in the U.S. in 1994.
It's safe to say that if you see a Pergo product in building in U.S. the flooring was installed no longer ago than 1994. But because this product is has been widely used as a renovation material installed atop older pre-existing finish floor surfaces, one should not presume that the product age is the same as the building age unless the floor was installed as original material - that is, unless it was not installed over an older floor covering.
Just seeing Pergo TM laminate flooring over a plywood subfloor is not sufficient data to conclude the age of a home. Older carpeting may have been removed to expose a plywood subfloor over which the laminate flooring was then installed.
Wood flooring, one of the most warm and beautiful materials that can be placed in a home (OPINION-DF) needs to be installed following proper practices.
The gaps that appeared in the wood floor shown at left were caused by installation of the floor in a new home, over radiant heat tubing, and without allowing the flooring to reach a proper moisture level before it was nailed in place.
Extreme buckling can cause an upwards explosion of a wood floor when flooring is exposed to flooding or prolonged leaks.
This severe buckling wood floor damage can occur even at much smaller increases in interior moist sure if a tongue and groove wood floor is improperly installed - leaving inadequate free space margin around the floor perimeter.
See Wood Floor Types for a catalog of types and ages of wood flooring.
See WOOD FLOOR DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS for details of types of damage to wood flooring and for a description of wood floor repair approaches.
Cracked floor tiles like this can be diagnosed in order to decide if the cracking shows a serious structural problem, inadequate floor support, mechanical damage, or as in this case, damage from a loose, rocky toilet.
More Places to Look for Hidden Mold in buildingsincludes a discussion of how even a slight slope in a tile bathroom floor leads to bath leaks under and behind bathroom vanity cabinets and floor trim, and we discuss how to prevent this problem
See these articles about diagnosing stains, mold, and allergens in carpeting
CARPET DUST IDENTIFICATION
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