Installing hardwood over hardwood - asbestos issue

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Posted by: from Toronto
8/15/2016 at 10:43:14 AM

Some background:

My husband and I purchased a home recently built in 1940. It's a beautiful white stucco french chateau looking house on a large piece of property. Sounds nice right? It sure is except it has come with the usual old home concern of asbestos. We have done numerous tests in the house including a wall that came back with asbestos. It was under the legal limit by Canadian standards but we incurred the extra cost and had it contained and removed by asbestos abatement professionals for piece of mind.

(I have a bit of paranoia now and think everything has asbestos in our house.)

The issue I need help with:

We originally wanted to rip out the original narrow maple strip hardwood but when they removed the wall I saw the dreaded black tar adhesive that typically has asbestos in it. I have read countless comments on the difficulty in removing and also recognizing it likely contains asbestos.

Some options that came to mind:

1. Get the visible tar tested for asbestos and proceed from there.

2. Turn the existing maple strip floor into subfloor and install new hardwood in the opposite direction and deal with new height issues for doors etc.

Thoughts? Comments?

Thanks in advance,


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Date/Time8/16/2016 at 1:05:42 PM

Hi Thalia,

Asbestos has to be inhaled while airborne to become a real danger. Inert asbestos in flooring and some flooring tiles is problematic for the installer cutting it, but not so much after its installed.

If it were my home, I would just install a good 3/4" T&G flooring over top of the existing, opposite the direction of the floor joists.


Andrew Parker

Par-Tek Construction


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