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Basement Floor with Asbestos Tiling - can I cover them?

Our home was built late 1950's early 1960's.  The basement floor has the 9X9 tiles (brown and white) that we believe has asbestos in them.  Unfortunately on some of the tiles the corners are cracked and came up and I believe you can see the cement flooring underneath.  I've been given advice from several experts one being take the floor up, two - leave it, seal (vapor seal), and cover over, and three just cover over the tiles.  I think it would be extremely costly for me to take up all of these tiles and then dispose of them correctly, so what are my options regarding covering them.  Is there something I can fill in the cracked spots with then seal the floor and then cover?  Since it is my basement, I'm concerned about dampness, water, ect...   I'm not sure what products to use.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you. 

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Posted 2011-07-28T11:28:56+0000  by dourselfmom dourselfmom
I have the problem of asbestos adhesive in my basement. We had a flood and most of the tiles popped up by themselves. We disposed of them properly but now the adhesive is exposed (covered by plastic drop cloths and rugs). My problem is a 10" diameter drain in the basement hall with a slope into it. I can't level off the floor completely because of this. Can I use some kind of drain extension to make it higher before I use the leveling compound to cover the asbestos adhesive? I need a fairly inexpensive way to take care of this because our basement is about 1200 square feet.  Thanks. 
Posted 2015-06-27T17:10:58+0000  by katmar10

Hi sousyplayer,


The 12x24 porcelain tiles you want to install cannot be installed over existing VAT tiles....nor would any ceramic or stone tile as well.


Almost any hard (ceramic, stone, porcelain) tiles need a suitable base, and unfortunately asbestos  vinyl tiles are not that at all. Since your tiles most likely have asbestos in them, this would be a poor choice to adhere anything to it. Most thin-set mortars state that they need a scarified, or roughened surface for vinyl.


It would just simply be unsafe and unwise to install over asbestos tiles without first placing something between the old and new tiles.


One option you can do is to use a plywood base with or without joists to 'raise' the floor above the tiles and then install it over tile backerboard.  The key is to not have any mortar, glue, or adhesive touch your tiles. Rather, a floating or layer is placed in between the old tiles to act as a buffer.


A form of plywood that is fused with plastic on the bottom is DRIcore. We sell it online or through special order at your local Home Depot. It simply floats on top of the existing tiles you have now and works great for basement areas.


Click on the image below to find out more information.

If you decide to use these, do it over all surfaces of the floor, even in spots where there is no tile.
If using plywood and/or tile backerboard is too much for you, consider using another method: encapsulation.


This involves placing a layer of self-leveling floor compound over the existing tiles so that mortar can safely adhere to it and not the tiles. Once this is done, you can install the porcelain tiles you want with no problems.


Simply use about a 1/4" thick layer of floor leveling compound over all areas to ensure the floor works effectively.

I would NOT recommend using any under floor heating system over VAT tiles, regardless if they will be ecapsulated or covered. If this was a wood subfloor, it would be different, but since it is a concrete slab I wouldn't recommend it.


If you wanted to place a under floor heating system successfully, then you'd need to hire a professional abatement company who can safely take out the VAT tiles and then have it ready for your new heating system and porcelain tiles.


Let me know if you have any further questions,


Posted 2014-02-05T15:33:08+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

I've read thru the thread but I don't know if I've found an answer yet. 


I've got the 9x9 VAT.  For the most part they are in good condition and level.  I don't want to use allure flooring or a floating floor or carpet.  I would really like to lay down some porcelin 12x24 tile.  Here are my questions: 


1.  Do I still need some sort of sealant for the VAT floor, or will the mortar for the tiles act as a sealant. If I do need a sealant before the new mortar what one kind is best to apply a mortar on top of it?


2. Half my basement is bare concrete, do I need to waterproof this area with a sealant before applying a mortar for porcelain tiles?  What one recommendation do you have (if needed).


3. If I want to install some sort of heating system in the basement floor on top of the VAT but underneath the mortar/porcelain tile what precautions or steps are needed?


I'm ready to learn how to do this huge project, but I'm just needing help with how to prep these floors!


Thanks for all your help guys!

Posted 2014-01-19T02:24:57+0000  by sousyplayer

Hey Matt,


Thank you for your question and welcome to the community!


Missing tiles are essentially the same as encapsulating the tiles....using the leveling compound to ensure all areas have the same surface.


I'd also carefully inspect surrounding areas of the missing tile to ensure that no other tiles are loose. These need to be removed, but done so safely so any particles won't become airborne.


Use your patching trowel alongside the floor leveler and start with a thin coat after the proper leveling primer is dried.


Next, depending on what brand you have, you can use a thick coat (usually no more than 1'). Don't use a similar tile; the floor leveler will work just fine.


Let me know if you have any further questions,


Posted 2014-01-02T20:00:53+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Hi all,


I've read through the thread and there's a lot of good info, but no one has directly addressed this question that's been asked at least twice: what to do to level out sections where tiles are missing?


  • Replace with similar sized tiles?
  • Pour thicker floor leveler there?
  • Something else?




Posted 2013-12-05T17:49:20+0000  by m477m

Hey Crystal in Illinois,


Thanks for joining us on the community!


I'm not sure if you've read this entire thread, but there is some great information regarding encapsulating and/or covering up the floor with a new one.


Once you get the house, I'd suggest something easy and durable like Allure Ultra. It's vinyl, but it can hold up water and foot traffic and its very simple to install.


If you are certain that the floors now there have asbestos, I'd suggest shying away from ceramic tile, as you'd need to get in contact with the tiles...which is something that floors like Allure Ultra avoids.

Allure Ultra

Any type of floating floor like Allure Ultra, or even laminates won't come in contact with the asbestos tiles. These are ones I always recommend for situations such as yours.


If the tiles are in good shape as you say, you can also paint over them using a floor-rated covering to seal them.


There are lots of options for your floors, it's really up to your personal tastes for what you'd for the ceramic tiles.


Let me know if you have any additional questions,


Posted 2013-11-02T19:27:20+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

My situation is similar, I have tiles that contain asbestos. They are in the kitchen and the front hall, has anyone cover them? What did you use? I think I want to put pergo floor or ceramic tiles, not to sure yet until I get the house. Any ideas on floors or comments are welcomed.


Another question, these tiles were installed five years ago, why would they sell them knowing it has asbestos? I am going to assume that the person purchasing the tiles did not know, or does not understand the dangers of asbestos.


I have read so many different things I don't know what to do. So I will stick here to these professionals. They are in good conditions, very minimal cracks. I have small children, they are always all over the floor, so this concerns me. 




Posted 2013-11-01T20:55:36+0000  by cmr2811

Hi! We just bought a house and we suspect that the tiles in the basement are asbestos tiles. Some of the tiles are missing and some loose. Half of the basement has the tiles and the other half doesn't... Can we just cover the whole entire basement floor with a coat of cement? Would that be enough to make it safe for our family?



Posted 2013-08-29T20:01:02+0000  by lobocotta
I have old asbestos tiles in my basement. There are large areas missing but the tiles that remain are secured well and in good condition. I would like to seal and cover these tiles with a floating floor or possibly sheet vinyl. From reading this thread I believe I have to fill the missing parts with a unipro patch product, then paint the floor with an epoxy based paint, and then I can safely install the floating floor? Am I missing anything?

Posted 2013-07-30T14:19:19+0000  by Vandan

Hello Nicksmom96,


Welcome to the community and thanks for your questions!


For the Allure to work on your steps, you will need to remove the transition strips on them.


Since you said they are 'likely' asbestos, I would still contact (but don't hire) an abatement company to see if it is or not. They can offer you detailed assistance over the phone with proper removal and disposal of the transitions.


We also carry Asbestos do-it-yourself test kits. Click below on the image of it for more information.

PRO-LAB Asbestos Do it Yourself Test Kit for Home, Office and School


You will also need to remove the quarter round. Typically, the moulding is nailed into the wall and not downwards toward the floor. You can easily remove it as long as you make sure you are disturbing the tiles themselves.


Anytime you are dealing with asbestos, you need to do careful planning and preparation so you or your family aren't at risk. Any asbestos particles that can go airborne need to be dealt with by either spraying the area down with water and ensuring it doesn't get into your central heating/air system. Using a fitted respirator system and eye wear will help as well.


However, this doesn't work as effectively as getting an abatement company to do the work for you.


The United States' Environmental Protection Agency has a great page on asbestos. You can read more about it by clicking here.


I realize you are on a budget; so having the floor tested first can really go a long way. No matter which option you choose, never let your or your family be at risk for asbestos.


As for placing Allure on steps, read the thread regarding installing Allure on steps by clicking on the image below.


Let me know if you have any further questions regarding your flooring.



Posted 2013-07-17T14:16:00+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
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