If you have an older home, your old tile flooring may contain asbestos. Asbestos is a tough, durable fiber known to cause a variety of respiratory ailments and diseases such as cancer. Floor remodeling jobs in the home may require a professional asbestos removal company if the asbestos-based tile is chipped, crumbling or otherwise damaged. However, if it is intact, you can seal the tiles yourself to prevent future asbestos exposure. After sealing the asbestos tiles, you can install a new floor on top of the old one.
Use the hammer and pry bar to remove the baseboards along the floor in the area that has the asbestos tile. Pry the baseboards away from the wall gently to prevent splintering so you can use them again. Removing the boards allows better application of the embossing leveler.
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Prepare the asbestos tile flooring by wet mopping it to ensure all dirt and debris is removed. If there are any oily areas, use a degreasing cleanser on the floor then rinse with water. Allow the floor to dry slightly, until just moist to the touch.
Mix the embossing leveler (purchased at most paint, flooring or hardware stores) with water, according to manufacturer's instructions in one of the large buckets. Use the wood paint stirrer stick to mix the leveler compound to a smooth consistency.
Fill remaining bucket with water. This water bucket will serve as a rinsing receptacle for the metal trowel during the leveler compound application process.
Pour the mixed embossing leveler compound on the asbestos tile flooring.
Use the metal trowel to smooth the leveler compound across the asbestos floor tile. You have a short amount of time to work with the embossing leveler before it starts to set or cure, so trowel quickly. You want this underlayment to form a thin, level layer over the tile, creating a sealed surface in which no asbestos fibers can escape.
Rinse the metal trowel in the water bucket every few minutes to prevent a buildup of the leveler compound on the metal surface.
Allow the embossing leveler compound to dry for at least two hours. Check manufacturer's instructions for more approximate drying times. During the drying process, do not walk on the floor surface. Once cured, you can use the hammer to re-install the base boards.