vinyl sheet flooring and asbestos

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roman45

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I understand that the paper backing on vinyl sheet flooring often had asbestos in it pre-1980. What was the replacement after asbestos was outlawed? Did they just continue the same paper backing but just not made with asbestos? Or did they come up with a new style of backing for the vinyl sheets?
 

highup

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They added shredded fiberglass to the paper. At the end of the day, I recall putting my jacket on and feeling the tiny bit of fiberglass fibers on my arms. Just a bit scratchy or itchey, not like you'd been handling insulation.
 

Jon

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Didnt Congoleum use hydra cord or similar word for their backing for awhile?
Looks the same as asbestos
Then most flooring manufacturers started with these "plastic"/ fibreglass backings
 

Mark Brown

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I think they went to the vinyl-backed vinyl to make it more DIY friendly.
They did it for so many reasons, least of all I would say is how "DIY Friendly" it is. It still is not. The stability in fiber floor is insane and the fact that it is now a complete vinyl layer (layers) void of paper makes it highly resistant to moisture, as in completely resistant. Not that the installation is but the material itself is.
 

roman45

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I was just wondering because no one ever says that paper backing automatically means it is asbestos. I found leftover sheet vinyl flooring stored away from when our laundry floor was installed in 1985 and it has brown paper on the bottom. And it's one big vinly sheet, not individual squares, if that makes a difference.
 

Mark Brown

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If I am not mistaken the "mineral" in mineral paper was altered from asbestos to limestone. There is no definble way to determine if mineral backed vinyl (paper back) contains asbestos outside of a laboratory test.

Not all mineral backs contained asbestos but anything pre 1994 could be suspect outside of knowing the manufacture, date, style.... there is no definite way to know.
 

Floorist

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If I am not mistaken the "mineral" in mineral paper was altered from asbestos to limestone. There is no definble way to determine if mineral backed vinyl (paper back) contains asbestos outside of a laboratory test.

Not all mineral backs contained asbestos but anything pre 1994 could be suspect outside of knowing the manufacture, date, style.... there is no definite way to know.
No idea how long the stuff was stored before it was sold.
 

Commercial Floor Rep

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After asbestos many products went to felt-backing. Mannington still makes residential and commercial sheet with felt backing. We don't sell a lot of it anymore. Most residential felt backed products have moved to "glass back" which is a combination of vinyl reinforced with fiberglass. Armstrong dropped all of their residential felt-backed products and converted their line to glass back rather than carry the same product with two different backings years ago. Congoleum and Tarkett have also has pretty much gone to glass backed residential. We still sell some felt-backed sheet in residential but it's primarily on the lower end such as multi-family or low-end builder work. It's still slightly cheaper to produce the product with felt backing rather then vinyl / fiberglass.

The problem with the felt backing is that it can delaminate from high point loads, especially where things twist on top of the product. It will either tear through or separate the backing from the vinyl surface. (See Attached Photos) The glass backed and fiberglass reinforced vinyl backed products won't do this. The weave in the fiberglass mesh works like plywood and makes the product incredibly dimensionally stable.

If you remember when you would see vinyl samples in "strap sets" they would always be curled. This is because the vinyl and felt don't move the same. The vinyl top layers would shrink slightly and the felt would not, causing the curling. If you look at glass back samples in a strap set they will be flat as a pancake because the fiberglass inner core prevents that curling from happening.

Interestingly enough if any of you have ever done an installation with Mannington M.U.L (Mannington UnderLayment) under Mannington Adura that product is the backing that is/was used on felt-backed sheet vinyl. It just has a pre-gel coating on one side of it for water resistance. Mannington also offers a thicker version of the same product called Silent Solutions which can be used with commercial LVT in a double-glue installation method for sound abatement. It's identical to M.U.L., just thicker.
 

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Mark Brown

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Armstrong has take to rolling all of the Safety Zone product with a liner sheet for "protection" of the old felt. I am under the distinct impression that it saves nothing for the material and it is just a cost effective solution to get someone else to pay to freight it and dispose of it seeing as they no longer use it.
 
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