Asbestos used to be a material so popular that it can be found in a mind-boggling number of places. From floors, roof tiles, piping, insulation – the range of its implementation would be a really long one. One of the relics of the past that could still contain this material is linoleum, also known as mastic.
Chances are that there are thousands of dwellings all over the UK which have not had it removed yet. And the risks involved are really grave, with asbestosis and mesothelioma being the most terrifying ones. If you believe you might be in the risk group, read on and learn what we can offer you.
Linoleum was one of the most widespread elements of the home decor of the twentieth century: adhesive, affordable but, unfortunately, potentially toxic. Couple of decades ago it turned out that the research on that particular element often pointed at the fact that people exposed to it may be in danger of contracting asbestos-related diseases such as various forms of cancers.
Soon after that, an appropriate legislation banning the use of this material was signed into law. While it virtually slashed the use of asbestos to zero in the new buildings, people were not always eager to get rid of potentially toxic elements of their older dwellings. And that is very often the case with mastic or linoleum especially that this type of floor covering was legendary for its durability and cost-quality ratio.
However, these days the time has finally come to put the demons of the past to bed. Thankfully there are now specialists who have significant expertise in handling asbestos linoleum so that it is removed according to the best practices. And although some people claim that it is actually possible and more cost-effective to not bother with hiring professionals as the task can be done with just a small bit of DIY skills, that could not be further from the truth.
While removing the elements containing asbestos can be possible, the subsequent backlash triggered by taking uninformed steps may turn out to be extremely detrimental to your health. Especially if you consider the fact that asbestos is the most deadly when it becomes friable and disturbed and that is not difficult to cause it when you are not professionally trained or have inappropriate tools. Also, the environment where the removal is done needs to be properly protected from other people who could be exposed to inhaling the toxic asbestos dust.
Professionals also need to be contacted when a deterioration of the material is noticed.
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Does linoleum flooring or mastic contain asbestos?
If the linoleum flooring or mastic comes from the ‘80s (or further back) there is a possibility that it may have asbestos, since asbestos was commonly used to make materials more durable. Although asbestos was prohibited from being used, products containing this substance were still in stock even in the ’70s and ’80s.
Is one time asbestos exposure dangerous?
Asbestos becomes hazardous once it is friable and airborne, and although it is impossible to spot asbestos fibres with the naked eye it is highly dangerous since it may be easily breathed in, therefore even one time exposure to disturbed asbestos may pose a threat to your health. Obviously, longstanding exposure entails a higher risk, yet even a single experience should not be underestimated.
Is it possible to lay new flooring over linoleum?
If the linoleum flooring is well-preserved, you may lay a new flooring over it, otherwise (i.e. the surface is uneven, there are gouges or marks on it), you should first coat it with floor levelling compound to conceal indentations.
Note that old linoleum should be properly prepared before laying flooring over it, namely the old linoleum should be first rigidly fastened to the subfloor.
What other types of flooring may be laid over old linoleum?
There are few types of flooring which may be put over your linoleum, for example laminate or vinyl one, hardwood plank, stone and ceramic tile, or decorative concrete, as well as linoleum in tile and sheet format.
How to remove old linoleum?
Slice the linoleum using the utility knife into 6-inches even pieces, and then tap a brick chisel or a stiff putty knife with a hammer to loosen linoleum. Peel away the strips and scratch the glue with a paint scraper. However, keep in mind, that this should be performed carefully so as not to disturb asbestos and make it friable. Dealing with asbestos require expertise and training so that any action concerning this dangerous material shall pose as little risk as possible, therefore if you need any help regarding mastic or linoleum removal, contact a licensed professional.