I am currently working on demoing our kitchen and am not sure how to proceed. I recently did our bathroom and for the floor I left the old backerboard, chiseled remaining thinset, applied a self-leveling compound. For the kitchen there was a lot of thinset that didn't come off with the tiles so I was thinking of just replacing the backerboard.

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However, there is this material between the backerboard and the subfloor that I'm concerned about.

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Does anyone know what this is? It seems like it's some kind of fiber. Could it be a mat, felt, thinset, or adhesive? My main concern is that it contains asbestos.

Some more info: The house was built in the 1930s. The kitchen seems to have been remodeled somewhat recently (the tile I ripped out can be found at Home Depot). I'm not sure if the material is some kind of mat to reduce creaking or if it's really old and the previous owner left it there and just covered it with backerboard.

Any insights or suggestions on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated!

  • imgur is broken for me today, please embed the images.
    – Jasen
    Sep 17 '20 at 5:51
  • 2
    It was not that imgur was broken. The images that you had uploaded to their site were in an incompatible image format. When I loaded the images from the imgur site I took screen shots of them and then was easily embed the screen shot images.
    – Michael Karas
    Sep 17 '20 at 9:32
  • It's not possible to identify asbestos from a photo. Have a sample tested to be sure. If it is, have it professionally remediated. If it's not, then tear it out and replace with your desired material.
    – jwh20
    Sep 17 '20 at 11:31
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    Alternatively, if it is asbestos-based, put some epoxy or concrete patch (it looks like it's embedded in concrete now) over it and encase it. It won't hurt you so long as you're not breathing fibers and once it's re-encased, fibers won't escape.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 17 '20 at 12:18
  • It is probably old linoleum based on the age of the home. Is is quite common to leave that in place we did prior to the asbestos being a big deal but I would bet in a kitchen of that age that it is a product that contains asbestos.
    – Ed Beal
    Sep 17 '20 at 18:16

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