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This is a cement kitchen floor (about 300 sq ft). Removed cheap pergo flooring and discovered a layer of tiles from 1962. Had them tested and came back with a high composition of asbestos. Here are the pictures so you can see what i'm up against:

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You can see I removed the one tile for testing. They all appear about as easy to remove. A paint scraper removed it fully intact fairly easily.

Here are the 3 options, and questions I have:

  1. Go over it with ceramic Tile? I'm concerned that ceramic tiles/grout will come up / crack. Would I reduce that risk if I use 16x16s? The original tiles in the middle of the floor seem to be pretty stable. But, then I was able to just slide a paint scraper under that corner one and it popped up. What if I put down a layer of ditra first? Or seal it with RedGuard? Think that would stabilize it enough? I'm doing a small test area in tile right now and checking stability. I'm not sure this is even a valid test?

  2. Remove it / abate or not? Note: My county allows me to throw away up to 1 cubic yard of material without a permit. I only want to go this route if it's going to be easy. Given how easily the tiles come up without breaking, do I even need to take all precautions (seal off room, use hazmat gear etc.)? Keeping in mind, we are living in this house right now with small children - safety is top priority! If I can remove every single tile without breaking it (confident I can), is it wise to abate it properly or is this overkill?

  3. Other floor coverings? This kitchen adjoins a 1962 hardwood floor in the rest of the house which we plan to refinish. So wood is going to look stupid up against it since it wont' match with adjoining wood. I've thought about going over it with cork. But that's not really in style anymore. I could use fake ceramic looking peal/stick... but this is a higher end house and I think that would cheapen it too much. Same problem with vinyl - cheap looking. What other options are there?

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    Two comments - the adhesive for those old tiles could also contain asbestos, so be aware of that... And just know that even if some tiles come up with hand-pressure, others can be stuck down so much you have to destroy them completely to remove them. – JPhi1618 Jan 18 '16 at 19:41
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    diy.stackexchange.com/questions/65997/… FYI: Here is the asbestos report. If i'm reading it correctly, the adhesive has no asbestos. – maplemale Jan 18 '16 at 19:44
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I asked a related question here some time ago. I was told that (a) the safest way to take these up was to heat them and the adhesive so they could be lifted without breaking, and that (b) encapsulating them under another floor was an entirely reasonable approach. Asbestos is not automatically a hazard if it isnt experiencing wear and shedding fibers, just as lead paint that isn't peeling or being sanded isn't necessatily a hazard.

  • I ended up sealing them in redgard and tiling over that. Seems to be working... I'll give it a few more months of high traffic to validate it's all good and report back here. – maplemale Feb 9 '16 at 19:11
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If you don't remove asbestos for a living, the realistic impact of one removal job on you is low. Due diligence: use boiling water to loosen the adhesive and to give any dust something to stick to. Use a respirator intended for asbestos, put up dust barriers and when removal is complete, thoroughly ventilate the area and you'll be fine. If you're really paranoid, use disposable coverings for your clothes.

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