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Environmental Health Division
Residential Floor Tile Removal
Does flooring contain asbestos?
Flooring, including sheet vinyl, floor tiles and any associated paper-like backing, adhesive or glue, can contain asbestos. Asbestos was added during the production of flooring to strengthen the flooring and to increase its durability.
When is flooring hazardous?
Flooring that contains asbestos, when intact and in good condition, is not considered hazardous.
However, heat, water, or aging can damage flooring to the point where it is friable. Friable means the flooring can be crumbled with hand pressure. Flooring can also be made friable during removal. Friable flooring can release asbestos into the air. Once in the air, asbestos is a health hazard when people breathe it.
Flooring projects are common during home remodeling. Options for dealing with asbestos-containing flooring are installing new flooring over it or removing it.
If the asbestos-containing flooring is in good shape and not damaged, the new flooring may be installed over it.
To remove flooring, MDH strongly recommends using a Minnesota licensed asbestos contractor. Licensed contractors use equipment and techniques that are unavailable to homeowners, so the asbestos is handled safely. They also perform air monitoring to see if the air in your home meets acceptable safety standards during and at the end of the project.
For more information about asbestos, contact the Asbestos Program through the internet or by telephone at (651) 201-4620.