Frequently Asked Questions
I need to strip an asbestos-containing tile floor. What are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended guidelines for stripping this type of floor?
There are a number of procedures and guidelines to follow:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that school officials, building owners and custodial/maintenance staff consider the following basic guidelines when stripping wax or finish coat from asbestos-containing floor coverings:
- AVOID STRIPPING FLOORS. Stripping of floors should be done as infrequently as possible — perhaps once or twice or less per year depending on circumstances. The frequency should be carefully considered as floor maintenance schedules or contracts are written or renewed.
- PROPERLY TRAIN STAFF. Custodial or maintenance staff who strip floors should be trained to operate properly and safely the machines, pads and floor care chemicals used at the facility.
- FOLLOW APPROPRIATE WORK PRACTICE. Custodial or maintenance staff who strip floors should follow appropriate work practices, such as those recommended here, under informed supervision. Directions from floor tile and floor wax product manufacturers on proper maintenance procedures should be consulted.
- STRIP FLOORS WHILE WET. The floor should be kept adequately wet during the stripping operation. DO NOT perform dry stripping. Prior to machine operation, an emulsion of chemical stripper in water is commonly applied to the floor with a mop to soften the wax or finish coat. After stripping and before application of the new wax, the floor should be thoroughly cleaned, while wet.
- RUN MACHINE AT SLOW SPEED. If the machine used to remove the wax or finish coat has variable speeds, it should be run at slow speed (about 175-190 rpm) during the stripping operation.
- SELECT THE LEAST ABRASIVE PAD POSSIBLE. EPA recommends that the machine be equipped with the least abrasive pad possible to strip wax or finish coat from asbestos-containing floors.
- DO NOT OVERSTRIP FLOORS. Stop stripping when the old surface coat is removed. Overstripping can damage the floor and may cause the release of asbestos fibers. Do NOT operate a floor machine with an abrasive pad on unwaxed or unfinished floors.
REMEMBER: Improperly removing asbestos-containing floor covering could result in the release of high levels of asbestos. EPA recommends that you leave asbestos-containing floor covering in place, provided the material is in good condition. However, proper maintenance procedures, such as those outlined above, should always be followed.
Found In: Resilient Floor