How to Know If You Have Asbestos Backed in Linoleum Flooring

How to Know If You Have Asbestos Backed in Linoleum Flooring. While you cannot tell if your flooring has asbestos in it by looking at it or touching it, vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl-sheet or linoleum flooring and adhesives may contain the fiber--especially those installed before 1981. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends only trained, certified professionals take samples of the material to be tested. If not done properly, sampling the material can be more dangerous than leaving it alone.

Identifying Asbestos

Step 1

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that sprayed-on or troweled-on surfacing material, thermal system insulation, and resilient flooring--if installed before 1981--are presumed asbestos-containing materials. Thermal system insulation is often tile underlayment found beneath vinyl or linoleum floors. If your flooring meets any of these criteria, you may assume you have asbestos material in your flooring.

Step 2

Next, decide if the material in question poses any health risk. Asbestos is a danger when it is inhaled. If your floor is in good shape, it probably is not releasing any asbestos fibers, and is relatively safe. If damaged, it may release asbestos fibers. If it is in a high-traffic area, or you are concerned about it becoming damaged, you may want to verify if it is asbestos through testing.

Step 3

If you have decided the floor should be tested, hire a professional. The EPA recommends you look for a professional who is trained, experienced, reputable and accredited. Some states require accreditation. Research your state's asbestos regulations with the EPA's Regional and State Asbestos Contacts (see Resources).


  • North Carolina Office of State Personnel