We knew from the start that the existing tile in the basement was asbestos tile (tip: if you have 8x8 inch tile in an older house, chances are it's asbestos). Asbestos is one of those words you hear when you're house hunting that makes most people want to run the other way, but generally speaking it's not harmful to you as long as you don't mess with it. If it's in decent condition and not chipping or flaking, you're good. The safety issues come into play when you want to start doing things like taking it out of a room/wall/ceiling because generally it's not just the tile that's asbestos but also the adhesive. I had also done some googling just to see whether the mystery tile on the ceiling might also be asbestos. I came across enough photos of asbestos acoustic tile that looked like our ceiling that we decided to have the ceiling tested. The results: POSITIVE.
Let me start by saying we hired professionals to come remove our ceiling and floor. I love to do thing myself but there are places where I draw the line, and removing anything that requires a hazmat suit and special procedures for disposal is one place where I draw the line. You can go on youtube and find people doing all sorts of super unsmart things when it comes to DIY asbestos abatement. It's seriously shocking what people are out there doing:
· Not wearing protective gear/wearing shorts/wearing flip flops
· Not doing anything to stop particulates from getting in the air
· Running a fan while removing asbestos tile
· SMELLING broken tile to see if it smells like asbestos
· Having their pets running around while they’re breaking up tile
· Dumping tile in their regular trash
Seriously. It's worth it to hire a professional for this part who can do the work in a way that leaves your home a safe place for you to live and breathe. We hired a company to remove the floor and ceiling and they finished it in one day, hauled away all the debris, and cleaned everything up. Our cat was outside supervising the collection of the bagged-up ceiling and floor tiles.
When the asbestos guys left we we finally had a room where we could see what we were working with and start the process of ripping everything out.
We had originally thought that maybe we could save the walls and just paint them, but whoever finished this room the first time around must have gotten a great deal on nails and decided to use every nail known to man. Seriously. There ended up being nails in this room that didn't even nail into anything. In addition to the condition of the paneling, there was water damage at some point in the basement so the bottom edges of all the paneling looked bad and there was no insulation in the room. Everything with the exception of the built-in cabinets with doors needed co come out.