Posted on: 27.02.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

While the manufacturing and importation of asbestos have largely been banned since the late 1980s, you may still encounter the material if you live in an older home. In that regard, you should always check for potential asbestos in your flooring in older homes. Considering its toxicity, is it always necessary to have it removed or can you cover it with carpet?

You can lay carpet over asbestos floor tiles if they are undamaged. The dangerous fibers are contained in the tile form and are not toxic. You can cover it with carpet if it is glued and not nailed. However, if the tile is crumbling or shows signs of damage, it must be removed.

In this article, we will examine what asbestos is and why it is considered dangerous. We will also look at how to safely cover asbestos tiles and safely remove the carpet that was laid over asbestos tiles.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring crystalline substance made of flexible, soft fibers. These fibers are excellent for insulation and are resistant to electricity, heat, and corrosion. For these reasons, it was commonly used in various parts of the construction industry as early as 1866.

However, in the 1930s, several reputable medical journals began linking asbestos to several diseases, including cancer. It was found that the small fibers could be inhaled by workers and individuals in contact with the material. These fibers would accumulate and permanently adhere in the body. This was the cause of many serious illnesses such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

In the 1970s, some bans on the use of asbestos were enacted, but millions of households, schools, and offices are currently stuck with asbestos in one form or another. In fact, the bans were amended in 1990 to allow the use of products containing less than 1% asbestos, such as vinyl tiles, brake pads, and roofing materials.

Asbestos Floor Tiles

If a building is more than 30 years old, there’s a chance that there is asbestos somewhere in it. It is not uncommon to find asbestos floor tiles when renovating or altering the flooring of an older building. If you suspect you may have asbestos in your home or building, do not touch it or disturb it. Call a state asbestos contact to have your floor tested.

The good news is that there are two different types of asbestos:

  • Friable Asbestos – an asbestos-containing material that can be easily broken or crushed by hand. These are extremely hazardous, as they release toxins into the air quickly. Old insulation is an example of friable materials.
  • Non-friable Asbestos – undamaged material that contains asbestos fibers without posing any harm. Floor tiles are an example of non-friable materials.

If the flooring is undamaged, the tile is considered non-friable and can be left in place without concern. However, if you detect any deterioration or crumbling at the edges of the tile, it is classified as friable and must be professionally removed.

How to Cover Asbestos Floor Tiles With Carpet

If you have asbestos floor tiles and have checked them for damage and determined that they are in good condition and classified as non-friable, it is possible to cover the surface with carpet. One important thing to consider when covering asbestos tiles – with any new surface – is the new height of the floor. If the new flooring is thick, it may cause problems with opening and closing doors or uneven floor at thresholds.

There are three ways to install carpets, one of which should be avoided when covering asbestos tiles.

Applying Glue to the Subfloor

In this method, the carpet is directly glued to the existing floor. The floor must be smooth and free of any height inconsistencies, as these will be visible through the carpet and can lead to wear and tear over time.


  • This is the easiest and quickest option.
  • It is the most cost-effective option.
  • It will be easier to remove later.
  • It will not add too much additional height to the floor.


  • It may be less comfortable without padding.
  • It provides less insulation.
  • It may not last as long.

In the following video, you can see how easy it is to apply the glue and install the carpet:

This method does not require nailing or stretching the carpet.

Performing Double-Stick Installation

This method is almost the same as the above method, with the difference being that padding is added underneath the carpet. Padding is used to make the carpet more comfortable, insulate it, and make it more durable.


  • The result will be more comfortable.
  • The carpet will be better insulated, which is great for basement floors in particular.
  • The carpet should last longer as it won’t wear down on a hard surface.


  • This method is more expensive, as the padding is additional material that needs to be purchased.
  • The result will be thicker and can affect doorways and thresholds, as mentioned earlier.
  • The process will be more time-consuming.
  • The result will be more difficult to remove later.

Like the method above, this does not require nailing or stretching, which is not recommended when covering asbestos tiles.

Avoid Stretch Installation

This is the method you should avoid when covering asbestos tiles in any room. When installing carpet in this manner, a wooden strip needs to be nailed around the room. These strips have nails sticking up for the carpet to grip onto, as seen in the following video:


  • This method is quick and efficient.
  • It is much easier to remove carpets if they were stapled or glued down.


  • This method can damage the underlying tiles, which is not a problem unless it is asbestos.
  • Not good for larger rooms as it is not secure in the middle.
  • Can come loose when used frequently.

This method is not suitable for covering asbestos tiles, as they can only be safely covered if they are intact. Nailing into the material will make it friable at those points. It may not seem like much, but even the smallest amount can be toxic, especially over a long period of time.

Can You Remove Carpet from Asbestos Floor Tiles?

Many individuals and contractors may opt to lay carpet over asbestos floor tiles (if the material is undamaged) in order to save money and time. If asbestos tiles need to be removed, it can only be done by a team of professionals. Never attempt to remove it yourself, as it requires special equipment and clothing to prevent fiber penetration.

If you wish to lay a new flooring over asbestos tiles, it is important to consider the potential removal of the carpet at a later time. Since the best method for installing carpet on asbestos tiles is to glue it down, removing it can be difficult. Therefore, consider having it professionally removed earlier to avoid future costs.

How to Safely Remove Carpet from Asbestos Floor Tiles

The key to safely removing carpet from asbestos tiles is a process known as “dry-stripping.” When removing the carpet, follow these steps and consult a professional if you are unsure.

  1. Wear thick gloves, safety goggles, and a mask before starting the removal process.
  2. Select a corner that is farthest from other rooms or doors.
  3. Carefully loosen the corner and pull the carpet away from the underlying tile.
  4. Slowly pull it back, paying attention to any signs of disturbance in the asbestos tile.
  5. If no damage or disturbance is visible, continue pulling the carpet back slowly, taking small sections at a time.
  6. Watch for movement in the tiles or bubbles that could indicate damage.

If the test peel reveals wear or tears a tile, immediately stop the process and replace the carpet carefully. In this case, you can either keep the carpet and recover it with a new one or call a professional to have the entire floor removed.


Yes, you can cover asbestos floor tiles with carpet as long as they are in good condition. In their undamaged state, they do not pose a danger and can be left in place. When installing the carpet, be sure to use adhesive instead of nails and avoid the risk of puncturing the older tile and releasing fibers into the air.

However, it is important to consider the potential removal of the carpet at a later time. If it is glued down, it will be much more difficult to pull the carpet out without causing tears. In this case, it may need to be professionally removed.

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