How to Install Hardwood Flooring Over Asbestos Tiles

By Cristina M. in Construction

Asbestos tiles have been widely used in homes and public buildings by virtue of their impressive mechanical resistance and excellent insulating properties. However, since the negative health effects of asbestos exposure were discovered, many homeowners have been doing whatever it takes to have this product completely removed from their houses, which usually causes more harm than good. Unlike other asbestos-containing building materials, asbestos tiles pose little risk to the health of inhabitants. In order to avoid the high cost of removal and, at the same time, disturbing any toxic fibers in the tiles, wood floors can be installed over asbestos tiles to prevent the carcinogenic mineral from becoming airborne.

Wood floor installation

Covering asbestos tiles with wood flooring is a cheap alternative to removal and does not even require special protective equipment. Although solid hardwood flooring cannot be installed over asbestos tiles because of the impossibility to glue or nail it down, installing floating engineered floor is a feasible option which will work just fine. Floating floors do not need any fasteners, which leaves the problematic tiles undisturbed. Click-lock systems are the best choice in this regard, since their installation is fast and simple.

A very important aspect when it comes to installing wood floors is the flatness of the surface which they will cover. The area where the floor is going to be laid down must be perfectly flat, so a close inspection should be priorly done using a straightedge. If necessary, the surface can be flattened by filling the uneven regions with floor patching and leveler compound.

Another aspect to take into account is the potential moisture which can form between the tiles and the new floor. It is crucial to maintain the room dry so as to keep problems such as mold away. If any liquid is accidentally dropped on the floor, make sure to clean it up as fast as possible to avoid its infiltration between the two layers of flooring.

Removing asbestos tiles

While most of the times, asbestos-containing products are better left undisturbed, in some situations, removal is the only available choice. Asbestos removal should only be performed by professionals who know how to safely manage the toxic fibers released into the air during the process, as well as how to properly dispose of the waste. This way, you avoid contaminating the whole house with asbestos dust, which, if inhaled, can cause serious health problems such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.

Why Should I Test Products in My Home for Asbestos?

It is often impossible to tell whether asbestos is embedded in a material, as the fibers are too small to be observed with the naked eye. Exposure to asbestos is responsible for serious respiratory conditions, so thorough testing is required to ensure your home is asbestos-free.