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I pulled up some old flooring. Underneath there is material that looks like paper, maybe fabric, that is glued to the hardwood below. I would like to refinish the hardwood. Is there an easy way to determine if the material on top of the wood has asbestos in it?

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From the similar questions linked in the comments above, the general answer is to:

  1. Avoid ripping or tearing that would result in dust. It's only in the form of dust that asbestos is hazardous.

  2. You can get an inexpensive test kit or check with local companies that perform this test.

  3. If it is asbestos, only have a professional attempt to remove it.

  • #3 is a bit controversial though. Many believe (as do I and several local building codes) that it's not always necessary to bring in a full abatement team. Also, it's not always necessary to even remove the asbestos. – DA01 Jul 6 '12 at 16:12
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    @DA01 I was trying to phrase #3 carefully to not imply that you need to remove asbestos. Often the easiest thing is to not touch it. But if you're going to remove it, I favor the "better safe than sorry" approach. – BMitch Jul 6 '12 at 17:25
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    What color is this paper? MANY old (and new) wood floors simply have a layer of what is called "red rosin paper" under them which is no cause for concern... – ShoeMaker Jul 8 '12 at 6:55

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