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        Cleaning Asbestos Vinyl Tile Sign In/Join 
        posted
        I just took on renovating my uncle's basement, so I can have a place to stay. It hasn't been well maintained, so you may see a lot of questions from me as I work through all this.

        The basement floor is covered in, what I'm assuming is, asbestos vinyl tile. They are in fairly good condition as they were covered with a carpet and carpet pad; they're just dirty.

        To be clear, I DO NOT want to strip them, I don't have the money, nor do I think it's necessary. I just want to know the best way to thoroughly clean them and prepare them for wax or other sealing solution.

        Does anyone have any ideas? All advice welcome, and thank you in advance!


        --
        Kristy
        (Total Noob)
         
        Posts: 4 | Location: Portland, OR | Registered: May 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        As long as you don't grind or sand them they present no health issues. You can clean them with a strong ammonia solution and then use a liquid wax (Future works). Then just do a light mopping with Mr. Clean or **** and Span and rewax every 6 months or so.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 603 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Sparky, thank you so much for your response. That sounds fairly easy and low-cost. :-)


        --
        Kristy
        (Total Noob)
         
        Posts: 4 | Location: Portland, OR | Registered: May 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Kristy, welcome to the board.

        You could also start backwards, selecting the type of wax, and if there's no indication on the container how the floor has to be prepared, contact the manufacturer.

        To be honest, it's been years since I've waxed floors, so I'm not too sure what would need to be done except a good cleaning, and/or whether there are any cleaners which might interfere with an eventual wax application.

        I have a steam mop but misplaced it in a move and haven't used it. I believe Dyson has come out with a new vacuum cleaner model with steam cleaning. Dyson is a top of the line model, and expensive, but from those who have them and swear by them they're apparently well worth the cost.

        If you do use ammonia, be sure to wear eye and nasal protection; ammonia fumes are quite strong. And do sections at a time. Cleaning a whole basement with ammonia could cause you to live in a hospital for a while.

        If you're interested in alternative cleaners, there are some web sites I can look up with formulas to make your own nontoxic cleaners. Herb Quarterly and Herb Companion magazines typically include articles on herbal cleaning in their spring issues. Unfortunately, Herb Quarterly doesn't have an online archive (at least not when I checked a few weeks ago) but I think Herb Companion does. Let me know.

        Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products are preferred by some women I know, but I'm not sure if they're totally chemical free.

        If you do use ammonia, I would make sure to have windows open or a fan or air cleaner for ventilation. I have a Honeywell air purifier which really helps, just with everyday dust but I haven't used it with strong smelling cleaners so I don't know if this kind of purifier would help.

        And if you start to feel ill, stop immediately and get some fresh air. Sounds like this could be a big project, so take your time and do it safely.
         
        Posts: 1725 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Sparky's nailed it. I'd put down an acrylic wax like Future if I was going to dress it up after cleaning.


        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
         
        Posts: 5475 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I love how filters ****'d out the name of one of the cleaning products I mentioned.

        Years ago in my second house I used "Mop and Glow" on my higher end vinyl kitchen floor. It just kept getting grungy looking and never really looked clean. I spilled some straight ammonia on it and it came up with a really clean spot. The yellow build up was gone. I then opened up the house and used either straight or darn near straight ammonia on the floor and got rid of all the mop and glow build up and the floor looked great.

        With the OP's possibly asbestos tiles the same method will clean the floor and get rid of any wax that is on the floor. After a good rinse it will be ready for a coat of wax. Without the wax the floor will look dirty very soon as the tile is porous without a wax coating.

        Also, with respect to asbestos... if the tiles are 9x9 they most definitely has asbestos in them. If they are 12x12 they may have it. If they are older than mid 1970's there is a very good chance they have asbestos. But as long as you don't grind or sand it the asbestos will not be a problem. Even scraping it off the floor won't release the asbestos because it is embedded in the other materials in the floor tiles.

        If it isn't crumbling, I'd cover the tiles with something else before I tore it out though.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 603 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        GardenSprite - thank you for taking time to reply to my post. I'll look into some of the things you suggested.

        Sparky - They are pre-1970s 9x9" tiles, so I 99% sure they're VAT. I really don't want to tear them out, as I need some sort of floor covering and they are still in good condition. My first option was to just clean/wax. Second option would be to lay down a floating floor, but again we're looking at hundreds of dollars for that. At this point, since money is scarce, I'm going to work on cleaning them up and apply a wax.

        I do understand, through the responses here, and other research I've done, that I just need to be careful not to be too abrasive with these asbestos tiles, which is why I like your idea of an ammonia-based cleaner, and which is also why I do not want to machine-strip them. I really think your advice is solid and want to give that a shot.

        I will let you know how it goes! Should know in a couple weeks, if not sooner. :-)


        --
        Kristy
        (Total Noob)
         
        Posts: 4 | Location: Portland, OR | Registered: May 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Kristy,
        All the research I've done says 9x9 have asbestos, so clean and seal is a good solution until you have the money to encapsulate with a floating floor.

        We had asbestos tile at our original sanctuary at church. At some point it was carpeted with glued down commercial grade carpet. When we renovated the space into a coffee house we covered the tile and the carpet with a floating cork floor. We used the carpet as the padding for the floor. It has been down for 6 years now and we haven't had any issues with the floor.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 603 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        considering that the area has minimal ventilation , and you're going to use ammonia, I would suggest buying a painters mask that has a charcoal filter attached. this is the only type that is approved for organic vapors. The cost is less than $25 and dr's visits approach $100 (breathing the ammonia fumes can damage your lungs ), the choice is simple

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: nona,
         
        Posts: 2500 | Location: florida | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Thanks, Nona! I did get one already as I have some concrete work to do (sanding and paint removal) before I start work on the floor. Well worth the money, and as you say, much less expensive than a visit to the doctor. :-)


        --
        Kristy
        (Total Noob)
         
        Posts: 4 | Location: Portland, OR | Registered: May 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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