Bitumen is a black, tacky and hardwearing. It was commonly used to glue floor tiles in place and can be found in many buildings constructed before 2000. Whilst the substance is harmless it can be very difficult to remove without specialist equipment.
But, it can also contain asbestos and this is when you will need specialist Asbestos Removal company to remove it for you.
Bitumen containing asbestos
Bitumen coatings (used up to 1992) usually contain up to 8% chrysotile asbestos. Asbestos floor tiles and coverings are unlikely to release fibre under normal conditions, but asbestos fibres might be released when the material is cut or disturbed.
Old bitumen can become brittle and powdery and if it contains asbestos it will be very dangerous if the dust is inhaled. An asbestos survey will reveal if the bitumen contains asbestos.
Guidance by the government can be found here on removal
Bitumen mastics and adhesives
Bitumen mastics and adhesives usually contain a small percentage of asbestos and were used up to 1992.
How to tell if glue is asbestos?
Check to see if any cracked tiles are dark grey or or black underneath. Mastic containing asbestos is always black. Should you have a cracked or missing tile and a black paste where the tile used to be can be seen, it could be asbestos. Should the mastic have been exposed to the open air for a long time, it may have a grey tint.
Demolishing a building with bitumen containing asbestos on the slab
When a building is to be demolished any adhesive containing asbestos must be removed from floor slabs. If it is left the waste material may be treated as contaminated.