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Asbestos Flooring, Roofing & Cement Products

Consult this section for helpful information on the removal and handling of asbestos-containing flooring, roofing, and cement products.

Asbestos-containing material (ACM) typically include flooring, roofing, and cement products. Usually these materials are considered non-friable when subjected to specific controlled work practices. However, even non-friable materials can become friable if they are crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by the forces which act on them during renovation and demolition operations. Materials may also become friable due to excessive weathering and aging. With few exceptions, removal of materials that are friable or are likely to become friable is subject to State and Federal asbestos abatement regulations. Work done at private residences is not regulated unless performed by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor.

Flooring (Asphalt tile, vinyl tile, vinyl sheet flooring, etc.)

Using destructive methods to remove asbestos-containing flooring materials cause it to become friable and therefore regulated. For example asbestos-containing floor tiles that are manually or mechanically chipped from the floor are subject to the regulatory requirements for regulated asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos-containing vinyl sheet flooring that must be cut or ripped during removal are also subject to the regulatory requirements for regulated asbestos-containing materials.

It may be possible to remove asbestos-containing floor tiles in whole pieces to avoid rendering them regulated. For example, heating floor tiles with infrared equipment or a heat gun to release the tile from the softened mastic may allow the tiles to be pulled up. Direct heat, such as use of a blow torch, is not an acceptable removal technique since it involves burning of the asbestos containing material. Freezing (in well ventilated areas only ) asbestos-containing floor tiles with pulverized dry ice may be used to contract the tiles and detach them from the sub-floor, however, these frozen tiles must be handled with care as they may be brittle. Flooding an area with water may, over time, loosen tiles and allow them to be lifted. However, chipping tiles on a flooded floor (even under water) is a regulated activity.

Asbestos-containing mastic can be removed using citrus-based or petroleum-based cleaners. (Solvent-contaminated residues are subject to Hazardous Waste Management Regulations if they have a flash point of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Petroleum-based solvents are generally not recommended because they may contain components which cause wastes to be categorized as hazardous wastes, regardless of flash point).

An acceptable alternative to removal may be to install new flooring directly over the existing flooring provided it is in good condition and not chipped or crumbled. Records of the concealed floorings existence underneath the new layer of flooring should be kept to prevent unintentional disturbances of the material during future renovation or demolition activities.

Roofing (Asphalt shingles, felts, flashings, etc.)

Using a roofing saw or cutter on a built-up roof which contains asbestos causes the material to become friable since asbestos-containing dust is created. Other destuctive methods such as cutting or grinding roof materials also cause the material to become friable, therefore, subjecting the material to regulatory requirements.
Using a roofing knife or other device to slice (but not saw or crumble) roof material, such as asbestos felt, is not likely to generate dust and should not cause the material to become friable.

Cement Products (Transite siding, exterior siding, cementitious roofing shingles, etc.)

Avoid breaking, chipping, sawing, or grinding asbestos cement products. Where possible, cement siding and roofing materials should be removed by extracting any nails or screws and then lowering the material carefully to the ground to prevent breakage.

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