VAT vs. VCT–Know the Difference!

24 Feb

One of the things about our house that I was very excited about when we bought it was the fact that under the moldy, soggy, teal green carpeting in the basement there was original “bowling ball tile” (that’s what we used to call this type of tile before we knew the real name).  I had pulled back a bit of the carpeting to take a looksie and felt confident that we could restore it.

I particularly liked the brown tiles with their rainbow of colored speckles.  But alas, when we started gutting the basement and pulling up the carpeting, it turned out that there were quite a few missing tiles.  Many of the tiles were loose as well.  So we decided that restoration was not in the cards and the tiles had to go.  Boo.

Now there is one very important thing to know about these old types of tiles often found in mid-century homes: many are vinyl ASBESTOS tile.  As in “one should be very careful when removing anything asbestos.”  As in “consult or hire a professional when dealing with asbestos removal.”  As in, “a cheap paper dust mask isn’t proper asbestos protection.”

Um, yeah…The things that we find out about a tad too late.  Now, not all of this type of tile contains asbestos.  Some is vinyl composition tile (VCT) and some is linoleum, which are both harmless.  I cannot say for sure whether ours was asbestos or not, but it sure does look a heck of a lot like the pictures I have seen of VAT.  We did keep a few tiles as a souvenir, but I am not sure if I really want to know.  As they say, what’s done is done.  Learn from our mistakes!

The pictures above are from the same weekend that we gutted the tile from the basement.  I came home from work at about 10:30pm to find that The Boy had torn out most of the ceiling and it was now on the floor.  See all of the particles that the camera picked up?  The ceiling was full of mouse poop and dust.  It came raining down with every  ceiling tile that The Boy ripped out.  I also found two dead mice amongst the piles on the floor.  The demo and removal of all of the moldy, nasty stuff from the basement is as far as we have got on that project.  We do have plans to remodel the family room area and renovate the bathroom someday when time and funds permit.

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