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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 read on a post from last year that there is a leveling product that can be used over the uneven broken tiles. then covered with new tile. Is the an option for me on the asbestos issue??
Posted 2012-11-25T21:27:32+0000  by dziubla3

Good afternoon Paula and Len,


Welcome to the community, we are glad you are here.


Asbestos tiles, as you may have read already here on this thread, is dangerous when the particles become airborne. Therefore, if you removed them or broke any tiles, that would be a health hazard in that instance.


If the tiles are in good shape, and the floor is level, then you can go directly over the tiles with peel and stick, as well as other vinyl flooring of your choice.


I generally have reservations at least with peel and stick vinyl of your existing floor, due to the fact that if you ever want to remove them in the future, you could remove any layers of asbestos tile underneath as well. 


The best vinyl in your situation to use is a floating system, such as Allure, Allure Ultra, or even glue-free sheet vinyl linoleum. These systems work by not using adhesives directly on your existing asbestos tile floor, but rather float and/or use very little tape to achieve installation.


As for your other question regarding using a leveling product from your other post....any uneven broken tiles must be removed prior to installation for your new flooring. If there is any loose tiles down there, your safest bet would be to contact an abatement company who can remove them safely and successfully.


I know you two would like a new floor put down, and it can be done...but safety first.


Did this answer your questions? Please let us know if you have other tile or home project specific questions.




Posted 2012-11-26T17:01:58+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

We are going to be living in a little cottage for 4 months then removing it. The kitchen/dining/living room have the old asbestos tiles.

There are some cracks, so I know I need to fill them in before I cover the entire floor with floor paint.

My question is, what sealer do I put over the porch paint?

How many coats of sealer?


I don't want to invest alot of money in the floor since it will be removed in a few months, but I would like it to look clean and fresh while living there.

Also, any ideas on having the floor appear two-toned or stamped?

Thank you for your suggestions.

Posted 2013-02-28T14:05:32+0000  by Vacationgal

Hi Vacationgal,


Welcome to the community and thanks for your question!


I hope that when your old asbestos floor will be removed in the near future will be removed by a professional abatement company who can do the job safely. The last thing you need is airborne asbestos particles in your home. 


As for covering up the floor for right now, we do carry some sealers that can cover the cracks. However, if the tiles are clean, level, and secure, you can simply paint over the tiles IF the cracks are small hairline sizes.


Since the tiles are bound to be removed in a few months, you can take out this step if the cracks are small. The porch and floor paint can go coat enough the hide the cracks. If you do have larger cracks, you can use items like a skim coat patching compound for those areas.

You'd simply apply a feather coat with a trowel to cover up the area. Again, if it is small cracks the porch and floor paint you use can and will cover most, if not all, of those areas. 


In terms of using a faux-finish to give it the appearance you want, consider using two colors of porch paint to achieve this look.


You can use a texture brush or a similar style to get the color on in a pattern. Simply paint the base coat of your choice, then apply the 2nd color after the 1st has dried using the brush or the tool of your choice to give it the appearance you like. 

I hope this information has assisted you, and let us know if you have any further questions or concerns.

Posted 2013-03-02T17:15:14+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

We are purchasing a home that has asbestos tile in the basement.  Is it safe to remove it with a professional abatement team?  They say that  materials are removed within a negative pressure (vacuum) containment.  Air passing through the containment is filtered to remove 99.97% of asbestos.

Or would it be safer for us to cover it?  Help, we don't know what to do!  We would like it gone, but I do not want to put my family into an unsafe situation!

Posted 2013-04-26T23:33:13+0000  by at

Hey at,


Welcome to the community!


Since it would be a professional abatement company doing the asbestos tile removal and as long as they are a reputable business, why wouldn't it be safe? Of course, you can research the company as well as other companies in your area to find out more about referrals and pricing, so you can get the best deal.


Abatement companies do this for a living to ensure you won't have to worry about dealing with abestos again.


However, you can cover an asbestos floor with materials and know-how from this very thread. You can cover it or use encapsulation. As long as the floor itself isn't disturbed by way of cutting into it or removing it, you can safely live in the area of the asbestos tile.


One of the best options to cover up this kind of floor is using vinyl plank tiles, such as Allure Ultra. It is very easy to install and holds up very well in all rooms of your home.


I hope this information has assisted you, and please let us know if we can help you any further.




Posted 2013-04-27T20:45:13+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

If we do decide to cover with the vinyl plank, do we need to put anything down in between the tiles and the plank to prevent the tiles from imprinting on the new covering?  (I have seen some people cover tiles before with various materials, and in time you could see the tiles wearing through the covering-you could basically see the square shapes wearing through)


Thanks for the info!

Posted 2013-05-18T03:05:57+0000  by at

Hey again at,


The imprinting as you talk about is what the industry calls 'telegraphing'. To prevent that, you use something that is just as strong as the tiles; floor leveling compound.


Use a primer rated for the floor leveling compound first on the grout joints and gapped areas. Failure to do so will lead to the leveling compound not sticking properly to the tiles/gaps.

Custom Building Products LevelQuik 1 qt. Latex Primer

After applying the primer, allow for it to dry. Next, apply the self-leveling compound using a patching trowel.

LevelQuik RS 50 lb. Rapid-Setting Self-Leveling Underlayment


Once the leveling compound is leveled out using the patching trowel, you shouldn't have any issues with your new flooring telegraphing through.


Let us know if you have any additional questions, and we will be here for you.




Posted 2013-05-18T18:40:41+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

I guess I'm a little hesitant to put much that would adhere to the tile, in case it needed to be removed at some point.  (I imagine any adhesives would make removal more difficult...) Being that the tile is in the basement, if we were to have water damage or something at some point in the future, it may force us to remove them.. (hopefully that won't ever happen!)

Posted 2013-05-19T03:03:44+0000  by at

Well for starters, I wouldn't worry about the extra adhesive, but I would be concerned with placing the floor leveler to get rid of the grout joints.


If you use the floor leveler, it is a form of cement. So, even if any tiles fail after many years, you will still have a level floor underneath.


With any vinyl resilient floor you choose, putting a floor leveler down first is key to making sure the floor looks and feels great when you are using it.



Posted 2013-05-25T16:38:24+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
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