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Old 04-20-2005, 10:48 PM   #1
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Hope this isn't a dumb question, but... Anything in a vintage Airstream (1960's) that contains asbestos? If so, should we be worried with the amount?

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Old 04-20-2005, 11:08 PM   #2
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There is a thread here someplace that discusses this. If I recall, some of the old floor tiles contained asbestos. But I canít remember the years covered. Try a search on floor tiles & asbestos.


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Old 04-21-2005, 12:13 AM   #3
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Question 9 inch tiles

An asbestos abatement company we know says that most asbestos tiles were 9 inch squares. 12 inch squares which became popular later were made without asbestos.

If the tiles are intact they can be covered with sheet vinyl pretty safely. If the tiles are broken, loose, worn through, etc. they may be able to release asbestos into the air. A professional abatement company is the safest way to have these tiles removed, but they are expensive.

If you're going to try to remove these tiles yourself (not recommended) here are the steps - to the best of my memory
  • wear a respirator
  • wear clothing that is ready to be thrown away
  • seal all windows, doors, nooks
  • keep the area wet, use a spray bottle with water and dish detergent and spray all surfaces of the tiles.
  • do NOT use a sander or other electric method to remove the tiles
  • use a heavy putty knife or tile remover tool to loosen the tiles
  • place all tiles in double plastic bags
  • spray all of the floors and wipe repeatedly with paper towels changing towels frequently until no more dirt or dust is seen
  • spray down and wipe ALL surfaces of the interior of your A/S with paper towels which are placed in double bags as they are discarded
  • use a hepa air filter or filters in the space for at least 72 hours during and following the tile removal
  • double bag and throw away clothing and all plastic used to seal doors, windows
  • follow local regulations for turning over asbestos to your local landfill
All that being said, these tiles aren't nearly as dangerous as the flaking asbestos pipe insulation that can be found in many older basements.

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Old 04-21-2005, 03:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by PaulaFord
  • follow local regulations for turning over asbestos to your local landfill
My '67 Overlander had 9-inch tiles in the bathroom that had all popped loose due to extensive water damage. I gathered & stacked them neatly in a box, and put the box on a shelf figuring that as soon as I threw them away, I would run across a post offering big money for used, aqua-green, Airstream floor tiles.

Any bidders?

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Old 04-21-2005, 05:58 AM   #5
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There may also be raw asbestos used as insulation around the stove or furnace. I found a fair sized piece in my '59.
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:21 AM   #6
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Here's a couple of old threads that discuss asbestos at great length...

Asbestos concern in Vintage Airstreams
Replacing the flooring - 61 Bambi

There are a search on 'asbestos' for them all.

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Old 04-21-2005, 01:07 PM   #7
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You are exposed to more asbestos standing on a street corner (certain types of older break pads) than you will be removing the tile in your TT with or without a respirator.

The typical respirator sold in home improvement centers won't do the trick. You have to get one that is rated for fumes like paint, or one that is certified for asbestos. If you have any facial hair, beard or mustache, you can't use a partial face respirator, you must use a full face self contained breathing apparatus (S. C. B. A., not to be confused with a S. C. U. B. A. mask or self contained underwater breathing apparatus) and they run about $400-$800. You would also have to keep the tiles wet with amended water. This is a solution of water and cascade dish washing detergent. As stated earlier, no sanding or sawing. Be aware that the mastic/adhesive used to attach the tiles often contains more asbestos than the tiles themselves. If you are really concerned, you can take a small piece of the tile in a zip lock bag to a testing lab and have it tested to see if they actually contain asbestos. Chances are they may not. But, do try to get a piece with some of the adhesive on the back to go with it.

A home owner is allowed to dispose of small amounts of asbestos containing material in many localities; you would need to check with your local health department. I don't think it is worth the expense of hiring an abatement company to remove the tiles.

Considering the limited exposure, you could pop the tiles loose yourself using a floor scraper, heavy duty putty knife, or 5-in-one tool and double bag them and dispose of them in accordance with your local regs and not have to worry about asbestosis.
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:55 PM   #8
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What about the material between the aluminum skin and the interior? What is that?
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bambi's Dad
What about the material between the aluminum skin and the interior? What is that?
Good old standard Fiberglass insulation, just like in your home

Exposure will not kill you, but prolonged skin contact can create such an itch that you might wish you were dead
Brett G
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Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 04-22-2005, 07:39 AM   #10
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Our '68 has 12 inch tiles, phew!

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