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Removing Old Flooring and Asbestos Risk

We were recently asked a question about the sticky black goo beneath 3 layers of old flooring which sparked a discussion in the office about asbestos.

Asbestos is banned in the UK but it didn't used to be. Asbestos was used in many old vinyl tiles and adhesives. We decided this is an important point to be aware of with the growing trend in DIY renovations and in light of the questions we are being asked about DIY removal of old flooring we blogged about it.

If you are renovating a property and wish to remove several layers of flooring going back a number of years, are you aware that those old vinyl tiles could contain asbestos?

If you have no option other than to disturb those tiles then you need to be aware of the dangers. You should seriously consider if you are prepared to take this on as a DIY project or whether you should get in the professionals.

Asbestos and old vinyl tiles

Advice and guidance is best obtained by the relevant authority, in this case the HSE.

Data Sheet A23 Asbestos Essentials provides an overview.

PREPARING THE WORK AREA:

  • Restrict access ­ minimise the number of people present.
  • Close doors. Use tape and notices to warn others.
  • Ensure adequate lighting.

SAFETY CHECKLIST:

  • Can you avoid disturbing asbestos by doing the job in some other way?
  • Do you need a licence for the work?
  • Always follow all legal requirements.
  • Follow the task guidance sheet
  • Use an asbestos waste container
  • Dispose at a licensed disposal site.

CAUTION:

  • Don’t sweep up dust or debris ­use a Class H vacuum cleaner or damp rags.
  • Don’t take used overalls home.
  • Don’t reuse disposable PPE.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t eat or drink in the work area.

Final notes.

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