A reader writes: “I am trying to update and flip a house that has a 25’ x 35’ basement with 9” asbestos tiles. What is the best way to strip the floor at the lowest cost?”

First, go to www.osha.gov and check out directions for cleaning/maintaining asbestos floor tiles. Although I can give a few pointers here I highly recommend that you invest in overlaying the tiles with either carpet or VCT (vinyl composite tile) so that you can seal in most of the danger related to asbestos. I also suggest you check with federal, state and local regulations regarding your need to acknowledge that is asbestos materials in the house you are selling since this can impact the value of the home and your prospects for a lawsuit in the future.

If you insist on stripping the floor and applying finish, I suggest you consider the following practices against my recommendation that you try to seal the floor in:

1. Purchase disposable clothing and shoes from a thrift store so that when you complete the work the items will be bagged and disposed of safely and legally. Do not take any cloth or shoes into your home to launder or store. This may seem like overkill but it reducing risk of asbestos contamination.

2. Make sure that all work is performed wet as in flooding the area and not allowing it to dry.

3. Use a 175 RPM floor machine and a shop vacuum that picks up water as well as a red or possibly green scrubbing pad.

4. Mix your stripper solution strong enough to take up the finish after allowing it to soak but not dry out. This may mean doing small areas at a time.

5. Once the floor has been stripped, neutralized (talk to your custodial distributor), rinsed and allowed to dry apply 3-5 coats of finish/seal/wax giving sufficient drying time for each coat.

6. Thoroughly rinse out any buckets/wringers, clean the floor machine housing/underneath and even cord. Bag and dispose of any mop heads, pads, etc. and do not try to rinse out and reuse unless you have another asbestos strip job in your immediate future.

In closing, I personally would make every attempt at sealing this floor and trying to strip and restore but that is your call.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net