Is it easy to seal old bitumen glue?

In older buildings, it often happens that there are old bitumen adhesives under wooden floors or tiles. What risk that means and whether you can seal such old glue, you will learn in our post.

Old bitumen glue

Until the 1980s, tarry products were often used instead of bitumen. Roofing and bitumen adhesives were often tar-based at that time. Some of these products also contained asbestos fibers.

Such adhesives were used mainly under:

  • So-called Floor Flex plates (plastic-based square plates, which also contain asbestos)
  • under parquet and glued planks
  • under wooden paving floors (which used to be more common in workshops than in living rooms and are rarely to be found there)

Such adhesives are not always recognizable - in many cases they are indistinguishable from today's common bitumen adhesives. One hint may be a clear black-brown color, but other glues are just as black as bituminous masses and therefore not clearly visible.

Dangers due to the glue

With such adhesives there are two dangers that must be considered:

  • Tar and
  • asbestos fibers

Tar excretes harmful vapors and is classified as carcinogenic. For this reason, tar-based products may no longer be used today.

Asbestos is much more dangerous than tar. If the adhesive mass (or the plastic floor tiles) is damaged, small fibers can be released into the room air.

These fibers split up into ever smaller fiber components that enter the lungs when inhaled. There they remain because the body can no longer excrete them and cause a so-called asbestosis. In the medium term, this can not only lead to breathing problems (shortness of breath), but also to lung cancer.

Sealing possible?

Sealing such floors - or even the adhesive alone - is not allowed. The harmful building materials must absolutely be removed completely. The removal may only be done by a licensed specialist company, which is defined by law. Self-testing is strongly discouraged due to the high risk of asbestos. The disposal must also be done professionally.

If it is merely a suspicion that the adhesive mass could be tar-based or asbestos-containing, it must first be sampled. In this case, sampling may only be carried out by an approved specialist company.

Tips & Tricks

Soils and soil components of such dangerousness should absolutely be completely removed for reasons of reason alone. Asbestos removal is expensive - so include these costs when you buy an old house.

Video Board: DIY Flat Roof Repair - Easy Paint on Fix