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Buckled asbestos tiles should be removed

Q. My 1936 basement ceiling has asbestos blocks which have buckled. Should I cover them with something else or remove them and put on a new basement ceiling? Isabel G. Affeldt Princeton, Wis.

A. According to rather recent findings, asbestos ceiling tile ought to be removed and taken from the premises. I'd not install any new ceiling material over it.

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What to use for the new ceiling? Dry wall in any one of several types of materials may be used, or your choice of one of a number of kinds of so-called acoustic tile. The former will need painting; the latter comes prefinished.

If you use 4-by-8-foot dry wall sheets you probably won't have to strip the under part of the joists. If you prefer tile, you should strip the ceiling with 1-by-3s to suit the tile dimensions, and at right angles to the joists.

Are you sure the old tile is actually asbestos? It might certainly be asbestos if originally installed as a fire retardant in a basement of 1936 vintage.