Asbestos ceiling tiles

Anyone have information on asbestos being used in ceiling tiles? The tiles in question are about 12" square and stapled to furring strips — very common in my area. I’m sure everyone has seen them.

The home in question is 80-100 yrs old. The kitchen (where the ceiling is) does have the small (9") floor tiles that I do suspect contain asbestos and will be written up accordingly. If I had to guess, I would date the latest remodel to sometime in the 60’s. The ceiling in question is water damaged from a 2nd floor bath and will need to be removed. After discussing the floor tiles with my client , she asked about the possibility of asbestos in the ceiling tiles. In this case, I can tie the ceiling tiles into my remarks on the floor tiles.

I just don’t want to insert an asbestos disclaimer every time I run into these ceiling tiles just to be safe.


Generally, asbestos containing materials do not have to be removed from any residential property. In fact, asbestos containing material does not have to be removed from any residential structure unless it will be disturbed during renovations or demolition activities.
As long as the asbestos containing material is in good condition, intact and will not be disturbed, it does not pose a significant health risk. The only time an issue should be made of asbestos is when it’s exposed and friable, flaking or crumbling, and that it’s likely to become airborne.


One report is not going to cover all-time. You’ll have to have a good insert for each and every report. You can vary the content to fit each particular instance, but it must be that way.

I’ve got a huge library, maybe too much, and sometimes it takes a little longer to find exactly what I want. And my library isn’t as large as some–like Keith Swift’s, f’rinstance.

Why not? If it could contain asbestos, your client should know.

WHOA GUYS!..Sorry if the original post was confusing, but please read it again! My question is stated in the 1st sentence: ’Does anyone have any information on asbestos being used in ceiling tiles’.

If you read a little further, my original post indicates the ceiling is too damaged to save. I know all about the friable issues…These were mentioned to the client. The client is removing the tiles…end of story.

My point is this: I’ve been in the building industry over 20 yrs prior to inspecting and never heard that the mentioned ceiling tiles could contain asbestos. I know about pipe wrap, tape, paste, popcorn ceilings, floor tiles, shingles, etc, etc, etc. I’ve been on the internet and through my files, books, texts,…but never any mention of stapled ceiling tiles.

So again the question: ***Does anyone have any information on asbestos being used in ceiling tiles? Something such as a web page or a handout? Something documented? ***

Knowing when not to use a disclaimer about a ‘hot issue’ is just as important as using a disclaimer properly. To some extent, using disclaimers all the time gets to be like crying wolf .

Google “Asbestos ceiling tiles”–there’s a few places there that may have the information that you want.

Jae -

Thanks for your help!.. I was aware of the eHow site. I’d love to find some documentation somewhere that indicates: ‘X-brand ceiling tiles manufactured from 1950 to 1960 contain asbestos’…Maybe I never will.

If they are the acoustic ceiling tiles manufactured prior to 1979, there is a high probability that they contain asbestos. Vinyl flooring manufactured prior to 1979 is the same. Acoustic ceiling tiles are kind of like styrofoam in how they feel.

Found this to be rather interesting to this topic.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

The tiles is question are what I would call a standard ceiling tile that is installed with staples. The photo attached is NOT from the ceiling in question, but is representative of the tiles I’m inquiring about…As a reference, the kitchen was remodeled in '64 or '65 so the ceiling tiles are at least 40 yrs old. Definitely in the ‘asbestos’ time period.

Thank you for the continued help.

holloway 080.jpg

Yep, I believe those would be asbestos-containing tiles.

It is suspected that the ceiling tile of this vintage may or may not contain asbestos content fibers. It would be prudent to have it tested before the closing of Escrow.

Russel; didn’t you teach me this a while back. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:


Possibly. And that’s similar to what I might put in my report.

Thanks for trying guys…I have quite a bit of info on acoustic tiles and drop ceiling tiles. For that matter, quite a bit of info on asbestos in general. However, as indicated before, I’ve been all over the web …I have yet to find any information on asbestos content in the mentioned tiles installed with staples.

Why is being “installed with staples” critical? Asbestos-containing materials are asbestos-containing materials, regardless of how you install it—glue, screws, nails, staples, velcro, whatever.

I hope it is not staples, for I installed a vast majority of tiles in this fashion.
Hope the answer is glue. :wink: :wink:


Russell -

Please read my original post…Actually you are correct and I agree with you in this respect: It doesn’t matter whether the things are screwed, nailed, glued, bolted, or welded to the ceiling…that isn’t the issue!

So here is my clarified question:

Does anyone know if the common, interlocking ceiling tiles that are approximately 12" x 12" (which by the way, are usually STAPLED in my area) have any documented history of containing asbestos?

The point of this is:

It is just as important to know when not to use a disclaimer concerning a ‘hot issue’ such as asbestos as it is to use a disclaimer properly. It gets to be like crying wolf. If there is no documented proof of asbestos in these common tiles, why attach an asbestos disclaimer in the report?

I id as Jae suggested in posT #3 and found these three links that mention Asbestos ceiling tile. There where many others. You can’t tell by looking at it. Asbestos can only be confirmed by testing. Mention the possibility and defer.

Thanks Michael…

I’ve been to those sites before. Regretably no information on the particular ceiling tiles in question.

I’m not familiar with any “acoustic” ceiling tile (acoustic meaning “approximately 12” x 12", which is what they were called in the industry), manufactured prior to 1979 that did not have asbestos in it. The two keys for your situation are (1) acoustic ceiling tile and (2) in an old house. How they were attached is not a key point. The picture you posted in #10 looks like common acoustic ceiling tiles that were used heavily in the late 1950s through the mid-1970s, possibly all the way up to 1979. They actually look like the commercial type that were used in hardware and appliance stores like Kingsville Hardware and the Kingsville Ben Franklin Five & Dime store in Kingsville, Texas, when I was growing up.