Asbestos in Floor Tiles Textiles and Composites

How dangerous are Asbestos Floor Tiles

Asbestos in floor tiles is considered to be low risk.

If the tiles are in good condition, the fibres stay trapped in the vinyl.

Carry out DIY is an exciting time. If you start pulling up floors and carpets, you can uncover asbestos in floor tiles.

Floor tiles can contain up to 25%asbestos, and whilst it tends to be about 10%, handling any material that contains asbestos is to be approached with care.

People sometimes refer to them as Marley Tiles or Armstrong Tiles.

Red Asbestos Floor Tiles There are a few tiles missing showing the asbestos containing bitumen adhesive
Broken asbestos floor tiles are revealed when the carpet is pulled back

Broken Asbestos Floor Tiles

Providing the tiles are not disturbed or damaged, any asbestos within them should remain intact and, therefore, non-hazardous.

The potential danger occurs when asbestos fibres are disturbed, released into the air and then inhaled.

Caution is needed when removing and replacing the tiles. Broken, cracked, or crumbling asbestos particles do pose a threat to your health.

The bitumen adhesive could also contain asbestos fibres. The bitumen adhesive is difficult to remove. It could be left in situ and covered over with a levelling compound.

How do I identify asbestos in my home?

The only way to confirm asbestos is to take a sample of the material and be tested by an accredited asbestos laboratory.

If you suspect asbestos, the safest approach is to treat the material as if it does contain asbestos.

We offer an easy to use asbestos testing kit. If you feel you want to test the tiles yourself, please wear PPE such as disposable gloves and a dust mask.

Olive Green Asbestos Floor Tiles with a darker coloured tile in the middle.
Asbestos Floor Tiles under carpet

Asbestos Floor Tiles.

How to To Tell.

As well as testing, there are 3 ways you can determine how likely your property is to have asbestos floor tiles;

  1. Tile size: Floor tiles made in the 20th century are usually 9-inch square. If your tiles are this size, it could be an asbestos tile. 
  2. Building age: If your building was built between the 1920s and 1990s, there is a greater chance of asbestos being used. If it was built after 1992, the chances are lower. 
  3. The adhesive used: Black mastic is an asphalt-based adhesive that was used extensively in the 20th century. If you can see a thick black glue underneath a damaged tile, there is a chance that they both could contain asbestos. 

Floor Tiles with Asbestos.

Its hard to says which floor tiles contain asbestos and which don't.

If the tiles where put down after 1992 they shouldn't contain asbestos, but some old stock may have been used.

The colour and pattern is an easy way to tell either.

The size give some indication, but it is not an exact way to tell.

The old 9" x 9" are more likely to contain asbestos.

The only true way to tell is have them tested.

Red and Black chequered asbestos floor tiles.

For more information on common materials containing asbestos, go to our "What Does Asbestos Look Like" page.