For many years asbestos was considered to be an extremely valuable material. With a wide range of uses thanks to its insulating and strengthening properties, it was used for sound proofing, mixed into cement, and as a constituent part of many coatings and commonly-used products such as Artex.
One of the places that asbestos is commonly found is as a part of materials such as floor and ceiling tiles, after having been bonded with other materials such as vinyl. Unfortunately, however, since the heyday of asbestos it has been established that this material actually poses a number of significant health risks.
Today, asbestos remains one of the leading causes of work-related illnesses. So, if you have asbestos tiles anywhere in your workplace or even at home, it is important to understand how to recognise it and deal with it. In this blog we examine asbestos in tiles to take a closer look.
Why is asbestos commonly found in tiles?
Asbestos was historically used because its many useful properties. In powdered form it could be bonded with other materials like vinyl to create stronger tiles that are also fire resistant and have better insulative properties.
Asbestos has been banned from use in the UK since 1999, so you won’t find it any tiles or indeed building materials that were professionally used after 1999. However, there are still many tiles that remain in situ from years ago. These are the tiles that may contain asbestos.
Asbestos in ceiling tiles
Ceiling tiles have commonly been used to reduce noise and helping to stop it spreading from one room to another. One of the useful properties of asbestos is sound dampening. This means it has been used for many years in acoustic ceiling tiles.
These are almost always found in offices and other professional settings where many people might be working in a potentially loud environment.
Asbestos in floor tiles
Floor tiles that contain asbestos typically do so because of its insulation properties as well as its ability to resist fire. This means that they are common in many types of commercial and industrial premises.
There is often a layer of adhesive (such as mastic) underneath the floor tiles. This is also likely to contain asbestos.
How to tell if tiles contain asbestos
It is extremely difficult to tell whether asbestos is present in tiles simply by looking at them. As asbestos is only a material contained within the tile, asbestos floor and ceiling tiles can look identical to those that contain only harmless materials.
In general, the only way to be certain whether asbestos is present or not is to have an asbestos survey carried out. During an asbestos survey, a professional can take a sample of the tile to establish whether it contains asbestos. From there, the surveyor will provide a report containing details on the asbestos found and potential next steps.
How to remove asbestos tiles
It is often assumed that if you have asbestos tiles on your property, you need to have them removed as soon as possible. In some cases, this will be the recommended course of action – but it is not always the case. This is why it is so important to have the asbestos survey carried out. A survey will tell you whether the asbestos tiles are currently on good condition or if they are in danger of deteriorating.
In some cases, it is safer to leave asbestos tiles that are in good condition in situ. Removing them can potentially be hazardous as tiles can become damaged.
If you need any kind of asbestos services carried out, the team at Crucial Environmental would be happy to help. We have years of experience working with asbestos and have dealt with asbestos tile removal and much more. Contact us today for details.