I'm hoping to install a kitchen island in the near future. However, my home was built in the 70s and thus asbestos is a concern. It appears the previous owner removed the old kitchen tile and installed a vinyl floating floor, but the black mastic which held the old tile remains. Based on the results of testing I had done on tile in the basement, it would be safe to assume the mastic contains asbestos, as well.

Google has informed me that installing an island on top of a floating floor would be a poor idea. Regardless, if I pull up the vinyl or not, screwing down the island into the mastic doesn't sound like a great idea. Even if the mastic was encapsulated, I'm not sure how safe it would be to screw an island down.

All that to say, is there a safe way to securely anchor a kitchen island to the subfloor in the above conditions?

Thank you in advance for the help!

  • 3
    Sanding the mastic/asbestos without a mask is probably not the best of ideas. Asbestos usually needs long term(years every day working with it) without a mask to usually cause health problems. Wear a mask, paint/cover it maybe, and screw the island down is quite safe. It is the long term exposure to floating fibres that causes damage to you.
    – crip659
    Aug 1 at 0:45
  • 1
    Are you keeping the "vinyl floating floor" that was previously installed, outside the island—like cutting a hole in the vinyl and installing the island in it?
    – Huesmann
    Aug 1 at 12:39
  • @Huesmann I'm going to try to keep it, but we'll see if it's possible. Due to some other work that's been done I think it would be fairly straightforward to disconnect the flooring that's there Aug 1 at 20:39
  • @crip659 That lines up with what I've been reading, thank you! Aug 1 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


If you try scraping, sanding or cutting the mastic, then you risk creating asbestos dust. But it doesn't sound like you're planning to do any of that, so I wouldn't worry. Remove the floating floor, and screw the island down. Wear a mask, and vacuum the area with a HEPA filter while you're working - this is mainly to deal with any hazardous dust that might be there already.

Depending on how thick the floor next to the island is, you might want to put some wood under the island, to keep the counter height reasonable. Also, don't assume that the floor is level; you might have to shim the island to get the counter top level.

  • 1
    This. The only part that you'll be disturbing and making dust from is the tiny amount possibly kicked into the air by the screw penetrating the flooring. Probably even less with a nail gun, but more difficult to adjust later.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 1 at 15:21

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