How to Remove Asbestos Linoleum

Manufacturers added asbestos to a number of products, including floor coverings, decades ago as a fire retardant. Later the material was determined to increase the risk of cancer. Removal of asbestos-containing material is best left to professionals who understand those materials and have the proper equipment. Homeowners attempting this type of project should use extreme caution and follow instructions closely, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Homeowners who remove asbestos linoleum must follow strict precautions.
  1. Remove from the room all possible items containing the asbestos linoleum. Cover all door and window openings with plastic sheeting held in place with duct tape. Seal off any heating vents with plastic and tape. These steps are to prevent dust created during the removal process from contaminating the rest of the house.

  2. Put on personal protection before starting the removal project. This includes a HEPA filter respirator, safety goggles and disposable coveralls and gloves. If you do not wear disposable coveralls, your clothes will be contaminated and should be disposed of afterward.

  3. Wet the work area with "amended water" to suppress dust and airborne asbestos particles. Amended water is made by mixing 1 cup of dish soap with 5 cups of water. Use a garden sprayer to apply the amended water.

  4. Cut the linoleum, using a sharp utility knife, into 6-by-2-foot pieces. Use a putty knife to pry the pieces free of the floor. Continue to spray the amended water on any newly exposed surface so all surfaces are continually wet. Place materials in lined and sealable boxes.

  5. Use a putty knife or scraping tool to remove any linoleum backing or adhesive that sticks to the floor. Wet the area with amended water before scraping. Do not use power sanders or grinders. Also place this material in the boxes.

  6. Seal the boxes with duct tape. Place the plastic sheeting, disposable coveralls, gloves and other material used to seal the room in another box. Wash the walls and floor of the room. Place all rags used in the process into the boxes. Seal the final box with duct tape.

  7. Dispose of all boxes at an approved asbestos waste-handling facility.

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