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we have asbestos tile (or lead?, the inspector told my girlfriend not to remove it). We want to put vinyl plank right on top of the tile. Does anyone know what we should use to try to encapsulate the tile better and provide ensured waterproofing?

More info: The tiles are sitting right on top of the concrete. The binder was some kind of black adhesive. Some tiles are missing on two corners about 3'x3' areas each. A couple of chipped tiles in the center area.

There's never been standing water and I haven't seen any moisture other than some condensation on the water in pipe. Relative humidity at most has been 60% usually 10%-15% higher than the 1st floor. We live in New England and a good part of the basement is above ground as there are windows that are a good 2 feet in height starting at the ground level.

We're looking to just cover this area first as there are other areas (rooms) in the basement that is bare concrete the previous owners didn't bother to tile. The room we want to cover is about 200 sqft.

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If the tiles are 9" x 9" then they are probably asbestos. If they are 12" x 12" then they probably are not asbestos. However, the mastic could be asbestos for either. So, you could test, but there isn't a necessity to do so. I agree with you Inspector and leave them in place.

There are many problems pouring a concrete floor on an existing concrete floor (moisture issues, height issues at doorways if entire floor level is not done, reducing height in room, etc.) and I don't think it's necessary. You can install a new floor covering without pouring a new floor.

Regardless, if the tiles are secured (solid) to the floor, then you could prepare the broken/missing tile areas and install a new material over it without pouring a new floor first. If the tiles are not secure, then installing a new engineered wood floor on moisture barrier (polysheeting) on your "prepared" floor would be best, because you don't have to worry about the material "telegraphing" every defect through the new material. It's easy to install (snaps together) and you could probably do it yourself.

  • Thanks Lee, I'm not going to pour concrete over it seems like overkill. Is putting down new vinyl/laminate tile where it is missing with just regular adhesive ok? I was planning to just lay a 10mil sheet of vapor barrier down and then put the vinyl planks on top. Do you think an epoxy paint would be better than the 10mm vb? – teatimecrumpet Apr 25 '17 at 23:10
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    Yes, I'd use an epoxy polymer paint from Crown Cote if the existing tile is fully adhered to the existing slab and there are no moisture problems with the floor. To test for moisture, I'd tape a 3' x 3' clear sheet of polysheeting to the existing floor. If moisture comes up it will show on the bottom of the polysheeting. (Use clear and you'll see the progress without removing the polysheeting.) – Lee Sam Apr 26 '17 at 3:13
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This is a job for a pro for health, legal, and moral reasons. If you insist on doing it yourself, the simplest solution to encapsulate it without disturbing it is to pour a thin slab over the top using self-leveling concrete.

Something to note: there is no such thing as a waterproof basement floor. If such a thing were possible, it would turn your basement into a bathtub.

  • We'd love to get an abatement and have it removed but we really don't have a budget for something like that. We just want to cover it. Since I don't see any water seeping through or moisture of any kind do you think a 10mm vapor barrier is going to be alright? Or an epoxy paint? – teatimecrumpet Apr 25 '17 at 23:12
  • No. Wait until you do have the budget for a professional abatement, or encapsulate it right with concrete. – iLikeDirt Apr 26 '17 at 13:47

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