Magnesite Floor Failure

Property In London W7, with Magnesite Floor Failure
Property In London W7, with Magnesite Floor Failure

I’ve recently just completed a long Roadshow for the RICS, ironically, I was giving a talk on solid floor defects, and included a section on Magnesite floor failure, as a refresher. In the last talk I gave, I asked an audience of about 70 Chartered surveyors, how many had seen a magnesite floor recently; the answer was none. I myself have not seen for for quite a few years but only a week later, I attended a property in London to investigate an alleged problem with sulphate attack, and guess what I found?…

What is Magnesite Flooring?

Magnesite, or Magnesium Oxychloride, was a product widely used by the flooring industry between circa 1920 and 1960. It was especially used in industrial premises, as it was resistant to oil spillages; however, it was frequently used in residential premises.

It is a water based product, commonly reddish pink in colour, though can be pale yellow, or any other colour specified.

Magnesite Flooring
Magnesite Flooring

Magnesite flooring was made from a mixture of calcined magnesite and magnesium chloride solution with various fillers (e.g. wood flour, sawdust, asbestos).• It was typically laid between 10 and 25mm thick, but two coat applications could be up to 50mm thick. 

What’s wrong with Magnesite?

Firstly, Magnesite contains chlorides, so if there is any embedded steel reinforcement within the floor slab, then the concrete can be affected by Chloride attack, which will corrode the embedded steel. Corrosion is an expansive reaction, and cracking of the concrete is likely to occur, as the steel corrodes. You should also consider, that steel water pipes may be buried in the concrete, and these are equally at risk.

Many old concrete floors, do not have a damp proof membrane installed, DPM’s came into common use in the mid 60’s, but prior to this, many concrete floors had a waterproof oversite, a layer of bitumen was commonly used. It would be wrong to assume that Magnesite provides that same protection against damp, and in fact they are very vulnerable to dampness. Magnesite is water soluble, and will return to its previous state if exposed to enough water.

The Asbestos Risk

As discussed earlier, Magnesite can contain asbestos fibres, as a filler. Commonly, the way to deal with asbestos, once identified, is to remove it, using a licensed contractor, or to encapsulate it. However, you can’t encapsulate a Magnesite floor, as they are so vulnerable to deterioration when exposed to water. Obviously, if you tried to encapsulate by pouring a screed over the top, then you’d be introducing large amounts of construction moisture into the Magnesite. The underlying Magnesite, would then most likely turn to a Weetabix type consistency, and start to break up, leaving you with no suitable substrate support below the screed.

Magnesite Floor Case Study

In this particular property, a Chartered surveyor had recently attended, for a pre-purchase survey and noted heave, or an uneven concrete floor below the carpets; he then of course raised the alarm for a potential risk of sulphate attack.

I attended to sample the floor, but on pulling up the carpet, the cause of this uneven floor, was clearly Magnesite floor failure; the Magnesite having got saturated, subsequently expanding and causing large blisters in the floor.

It was still important to investigate the situation with the underlying concrete and I excavated a hole through the slab to sample both the concrete, and the underlying hardcore. However, on breaking through the 8″ thick concrete slab, we found that there was no hardcore, and the slab sat directly on wet clay, with no DPM installed. This of course means that the concrete is in direct contact with ground sulphates.

Concrete slab sitting directly on clay
Concrete slab sitting directly on clay

The concrete was also notably wet, and this moisture had transferred to the Magnesite, causing it to heave up, blister, and crumble. From the image below, you can see how the magnesite had delaminated from the concrete substrate, forming large blisters, which crumbled when you stepped on them.

Failed Magnesite Flooring
Failed Magnesite Flooring

We did take samples of the concrete for sulphate tests, but with a saturated slab and widespread failure of the Magnesite, my advice was to renew all the solid floors, with the only test required being for asbestos. Testing the magnesite for asbestos, was critical before any works to remove the flooring could proceed.

One final note worth mentioning for any surveyors looking to check for dampness in Magnesite. Magnesite is electrically conductive, so if using a hand held electronic moisture meter, it will always give a high reading for damp.

54 responses to “Magnesite Floor Failure”

  1. malcolm Holland avatar
    malcolm Holland

    There are quite a few of these in my “patch” in Bletchley from around 1930s. This pretty much describes them spot on in my limited experience. Common to find blisters as sawdust filler expands with moisture

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Interesting comments malcolm; I hadn’t really considered that the sawdust filler might be a significant co-factor in the expansion. The sample is currently away for asbestos testing, though to the naked eye, it looks like a wood filler; so I expect that you’re exactly right on this.

  2. Kirsty W avatar
    Kirsty W

    Interesting and informative, as always! Not seen any magnesite floors in my area in Cornwall, but I’ll keep an eye out.
    This is such a useful blog for graduate surveyors like myself, thank you.

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Thanks very much for the kind words Kirsty, it’s good to hear that graduate surveyors are finding this blog useful.

      Regards. Joe

  3. Gmac avatar
    Gmac

    Great insite . Unfortunately we also have came across this in an old building sample came back as positive and will now be removed by a specialist.

  4. John McNamee avatar
    John McNamee

    I have just discovered this type of flooring in my kitchen after taking up the laminate. I also have a blister as you described beneath the sink unit. The floor is extremely uneven so how do I get it up or should I overlay it?

  5. Chris Miles-Witchell avatar
    Chris Miles-Witchell

    As a flooring contractor of nearly 40 years, i have seen quite a few of these.They are most often, (as pic), red, but can come in many colours, also seen it in black.Can only be left, if covering with a breathable overlayer, such as carpet.Anything else, such as vinyl & it will often begin to `blow`.

    1. LornA avatar
      LornA

      Hi Chris, do you work in Sydney? So in short would say carpet only on this type of flooring? What the kitchen?

      1. Chris Miles-Witchell avatar
        Chris Miles-Witchell

        Hi LornA, no i`m in The UK. Just that in every case, where the overlayer on top, has been permeable, the magnesite has stayed intact. Once covered & unable to breathe, is when problems seem to start.

        1. Darren Greatbatch avatar
          Darren Greatbatch

          Hi just purchased a property to renovate thinking it was a quick house.
          On lifting the laminate it was found to be soaking underneath.
          I was thinking of tanking slurry on top of magnesite but after reading this blog looks like it’s got come up.

    2. Nick avatar
      Nick

      we have been told out lounge floor is made of Magnesite, we wanted to put down luxury vinyl, would you say that’s a no no?

      1. Joe Malone avatar
        Joe Malone

        Nick, it’s not a good idea to cover the floor with a relatively impermeable vinyl floor finish, that will trap moisture in the magnesite. Magnesite does not like moisture and will break down rapidly in its presence.

        Regards

        Joe

  6. Ali R avatar
    Ali R

    Hi, just curious as to whether the test for asbestos came back positive?
    We’ve discovered this in our 1880sish kitchen under some lumpy parquet flooring (the kind laid in prestuck tiles over a layer of mdf) and it seems to have a significant amount of sawdust between it and some concrete. We’ll be sending it off for tests at some point, everything’s stalled at the moment due to covid.

    I’m not sure when the concrete was laid but it has some large cracks in so it was possibly an early addition with the magnesite.. I want to excavate more to find out if the concrete is also failing but very worried about the costs of relaying and whether digging up the slab will affect the house itself! It’s very solid but old!
    So also wondering if you had to renew the solid floors in this case!

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi,

      The asbestos test on this sample came back as negative, but you shouldn’t read anything into that, with regards to your own situation.
      I had no further involvement so don’t know if the floors were renewed, though I’d imagine they were.

      Regards. Joe Malone

  7. Inhaler avatar
    Inhaler

    Hi Joe,

    Can I ask how you identified that the floor was magnesite please? Was it just experience?

    I suspect that I have magnesite in my house (which was built in the 50s). The colour, thickness and behaviour in relation to dampness seem to match. Online, there are two suggested tests:

    (a) Holding some of the material under a gas flame. Apparently magnesite is supposed to glow under these circumstances. I used a gas lighter, held it for a significant amount of time and nothing happened.

    (b) Using an electronic damp meter, it’s meant to give very high / almost full readings. Mine gives a reading of around 30% and the instructions of the meter say that for building materials, 20-33% is a high reading.

    I am just a homeowner by the way, so I’m just trying to figure out whether there’s cause for concern. Also I don’t know what specialist I would need to call to get rid of the magnesite, if it is in fact magnesite.

    Thank you.

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi,

      I can usually tell by visual inspection whether it’s Magnesite. I can’t read anything in to your damp meter readings, because I don’t know if you’re using professional grade equipment, such as a Tramex or Protimeter damp meter.

      If it’s a bitumen based oversite, then this would have melted under a gas light, but I really can’t tell based on your observations.

      If it’s not blistered or breaking up, then I’d say, don’t worry. You don’t necessarily have to immediately dispose of magnesite, just because it’s there. Of course, bear in mind that it can contain asbestos fibres, but again, this is not a concern, so long as you don’t disturb the floor, over and above normal foot traffic. If you are taking it up, then you should have it tested for asbestos first.

      Regards. Joe

  8. Martin Smith avatar
    Martin Smith

    Hi
    We have a Magnesite floor in the kitchen, hallway and living room all with curved shaped skirting, it looks in very good condition with no bumps or blisters. We would like to lay quarry tiles over, will this be ok?
    Regards
    Martin

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Martin,

      This is very risky… You’d stop it from breathing, and trap moisture in the magnesite, at which point, it may start to degrade.

      Regards

      Joe

  9. susan wishart avatar
    susan wishart

    I am just having an asbestos test carried out on the concrete floor of the house we are hoping to purchase. Hopefully it will come back negative. However I still need to find out if the flooring is magnesite as the survey said it possibly is , although it is brown in colour. We are planning on carrying out building works after we purchase the property and really don’t want the added expense of replacing the floors. Can anyone recommend a company who specialises in the identification of magnesite? I am in Dorset.
    Regards
    Sue

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Sue,

      If it comes back negative for asbestos, then I’d simply send a small sample to a labs. Should probably be less than £100.00 to have it identified.
      My labs, Kiwa, in Derby could do this for you. Contact Darren Mullee on 01332 383333.

      Regards

      Joe

  10. Phillip Thomas avatar
    Phillip Thomas

    We’ve found this in a 1927 house in Rochester, but it seems too thin? Could it be something else?

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Phillip,

      How this is it?

      Regards

      Joe

  11. Vicky Parker avatar
    Vicky Parker

    Hi Joe,

    We have just discovered the floors under recently installed luxury vinyl are magnesite. The floor has blown after self levelling compound was used to lay the LVT. Upon lifting the self leveling compound the magnesite was wet, crumbly and had a cracked pattern to it that it didnt have when the LVT was laid however 1 week on it seems to be rock hard.

    We tested for asbestos which was negative.

    Is it safe now to put breathable underlay and carpet on top once it has dried out do you think? There are no pipes in the ground near the floor.

    Also, what would you recommend to fill the holes we made in the magnesite to do the asbestos tests. They are 20mm deep and 50mm wide onto of dry concrete.

    Huge thanks,

    Vicky

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Vicky,

      As you’ve found out, magnesite tends to break down when subjected to moisture in the floor screed. Moreover, the screed and LVT will prevent moisture evaporation, further exacerbating the problem. If the floor is now dry and physically sound then yes, you should be fine with a breathable underlay and hessian backed carpet. The holes can be filled with a liquid bitumen or epoxy based floor filler. Of course I can’t guarantee you won’t experience future failure but it may be fine indefinitely.

      Regards

      Joe

  12. Stephen Soar avatar
    Stephen Soar

    I renew magnasite floors quire frequently for the local authority. They usually have large bumps in them or appear crazed on inspection. Once tested for asbestos they are taken up and we install a new mastic asphalt floor to the same thickness, usually around 15mm, leaving a totally damp proof floor which can then be carpeted or LVT installed over.

  13. Robert William Thorburn avatar
    Robert William Thorburn

    Hi Joe (or anyone)
    Any recommendations on the type of instrument for measuring moisture content, given the electrical issues you mention in your initial post?
    We are looking at retaining it following a bathroom flood and reinstating the carpet when we are happy with the MC. Not ideal, but the clients request. Its a 1970’s apartment in Sydney. No asbestos fortunately.
    Suggestions for an instrument and desirable MC would be greatly appreciated.
    Rob

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Robert,

      We are not so much interested in the Magnesite moisture content, more the moisture content of the underlying substrate, which is typically concrete. Ideally, I’d sample the concrete, possibly from beneath the bath so the sampling area is discrete and test the concrete moisture content using calcium carbide. Once the concrete moisture is 2% or less then you should be fine to lay the finished flooring so long as no degradation/delamination of the Magnesite has been observed. An alternative option is to install an ERH (Equilibrium Relative Humidity) sleeve in the floor and use a humidity probe to check the humidity within the sleeve. Ensure that room temperature is at 20 degrees celsius when checked and aim for a humidity of 75% or less at that given room temperature. That being said, this is a relative test method and far less reliable than calcium carbide testing which gives an actual moisture content.

      Regards

      Joe Malone

  14. Pete avatar
    Pete

    This thread has been really insightful to read. I have just discovered what I think is magnesite as my kitchen floor after removing some old thin vinyl tiles before fitting a new kitchen. It is in good condition, no blisters/cracks, however there appears to be water collecting around the perimeter of it. Theres a one inch gap/channel between the floor and the walls. Previous owners had a DPC and walls tanked in the 1990’s. Walls seem dry to be fair. The kitchen is the usual extension on the back of a 1902 Lancashire mid terraced house.

    I just wondered if anyone can give any advice about whether this is a common issue and what my options might be for addressing this channel of damp around the perimiter. I saw one suggestion above of removing the magnesite floor (post asbestos testing) and replacing with asphalt but wonder if thats needed or if better options exist.

    It is a kitchen so I cant put carpet in, the last kitchen had been in for a few years and units were not exactly sopping wet, just a little warped.

    Any advice would be amazing thankyou!

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Pete,

      Its certainly not a common issue and I’m finding it difficult to visualise what the issue is and why you would have a one inch gap around the floor perimeter. The magnesite and concrete floor would have originally extended fully to the wall. Are you saying there’s a channel around the floor perimeter? If so, how deep is it?
      Pictures would be very useful on this one so I can see the channel and how water is collecting.

      Regards

      Joe Malone

      1. Pete avatar
        Pete

        Hi Joe thanks very much for your reply. Sorry – I didn’t think it had posted and rewrote and re posted the same query.

        Yes that’s right there’s a gap between the floor and brick wall, it seems like the gap extends to include the floor below the mangesite too, it is about an inch wide. As for depth, after raking out damp earth i can get a good 6 inch down in some places, perhaps it goes further but my tools don’t reach in. It seems like only the bottom course of brick is affected and there are lots of salt deposits on the brick there, however I can’t see further up due to concrete which I presume is tanking. The wall most affected is underground on the extern side as my neighbour has built up steps. These have been present for several years.

        Is there a way for me to forward pictures at all? Your thoughts really would be very much appreciated.. I have a new kitchen coming next week and want to make sure I do the right thing for the room before installing anything.

        Thankyou very much
        Pete

  15. Mr Peter Leacy avatar
    Mr Peter Leacy

    Hi Joe and everyone else, hoping for a bit of advice please!

    It seems like the one webpage is the best source for information on mangesite flooring online, a real wealth of shared knowledge. Thankyou!

    I think I’ve just found mangesite under some old very brittle thin possibly vinyl flooring. Interestingly it is perfectly intact but the vinyl was old and thin so perhaps some breathing occured.

    The material is a pinky red and 20mm thick. There do seem to be lines in it as if it were laid in lines/sections..but this may just be imprints from the weight of kitchen units. It is very brittle and easy to break with a chizzle.

    I tried using a lighter to burn it.. no glow as such, it just cracked and kind of melted, became soft and mouldable where it had been heated.

    I can’t see sawdust filler but there’s deffinitely flecks of dark grey in it. I’m getting a moisture.meter.to test conductivity. I’ve also left a little.piece in water to see if it goes sift

    There is an inch or so gap between this material and the brick wall, this gap is damp…I’ve been told the room needs re tanking and a new dpc but that’s perhaps another story. The wall seems dry to me except the mortar in the first course of bricks is moist

    The house is a standard Lancashire terraced house, built in 1902.

    If anyone can offer any guidance on what this might be / right further tests to do (still looking for a lab that can test ).. if it is mangesite, what profession.shois install a relal

  16. Janine Duffy avatar
    Janine Duffy

    Hi Joe, this post is great thank you.

    I have bought a house in October and since then I have had some work done on making a third bedroom. The carpet fitters didn’t mention anything about the flooring at the time but since to then I have had someone out to measure for a wood floor in the newly created hall way. (Previously had carpet)
    They said it is asphault initially then they spoke with someone on the phone who said it was magnesite, however no one other than these men have actually looked at it. I have made a little room for a small toilet and shower so this definatly can’t have carpet.

    Would a builder be able to check this and rectify if there is a problem or does it need a specialist? I am in Bradford would you know anyone who might be able to help me? I don’t have much faith in the two men that came out of I’m being honest and would like some expert advise.
    If it is asphault can’t wood flooring but fit onto this?

    Thank you in advance

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Janine,

      ‘Someone on the phone’ is not going to be able to positively identify magnesite. If it is asphalt then you will be fine to lay wood floor over the top, many of the older Parquet wood floors were bonded with hot bitumin which is the liquid binder that holds asphalt together; though today cold adhesives are generally used.

      Most builders wouldn’t know the difference between asphalt and magnesite, nor would they understand how to identify them. There’s really no such thing as a qualified builder, ‘builders’ tend to be joiners, roofers or bricklayers and do not have the broad range of expertise that the ‘builder’ title might suggest.

      What colour is the floor and is it possible to send me a picture?

      Regards

      Joe Malone

  17. Karin Smith avatar
    Karin Smith

    Hi, all the info re magnesite flooring is very useful. I have a 1830 built terraced house. The lounge has a magnesite floor, which has tested negative for asbestos. It looks sound except for one area under the window, which is damp and has a few white cracks. I definitely can’t afford to have the floor replaced. If I take up the carpet, leave the patch to dry, could I then lay new underlay and hessian carpet over? There is no damp proof or foundations.

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Karin,

      Yes, it should be fine though I would be considering why you have this one damp area.
      Check the following:

      1. Are there any heating pipes buried in the floor in this area? If so, they could be leaking.
      2. Are there any issues with penetrating damp or high external ground levels near this window. External ground should be at least 150mm lower than internal floors.

      Regards

      Joe Malone

  18. Heather Reid avatar
    Heather Reid

    Hi Joe I have in my property, my issue is I had a small leak In my bathroom a small patch got wet and disintegrated under the vinyl floor, this has left a small divot in it.
    I do not have any other issues regarding this the rest of it has never caused a problem
    Is there any way of fixing this we then plan to tile on top of it.

    Can you please advise

  19. Rob avatar
    Rob

    Hi Joe,

    Firstly great article and read, very informative and useful.

    We have recently had a lvt fitter come to our house to provide a quote. When looking under the carpets he said we may have magnesite and if so he wouldn’t be able to lay a screed and fit the floor.

    We are having it tested for asbestos.

    I have seen that in the comments that we could also send off a sample to a lab you use to confirm whether it is in fact magnesite. We will also look to do this however I was wondering if I could send some photos to yourself to see your thoughts?

    Here is a one drive folder where the pictures are stored

    https://1drv.ms/f/s!AmFZFX6tG6SxbA0y8SoYkwT7Tyo

    Alternatively if you cannot access that, is there an email address I could send these to? I can’t seem to paste them in the comment itself.

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Rob,

      It’s always difficult to tell from photographs of the floor surface. Better to see a piece taken up and viewed as a cross section, that’s usually more informative, but yes, this certainly could be magnesite.

      Regards

      Joe

    2. Rhodri avatar
      Rhodri

      Hi Joe,

      Do you think you’d be able to identify a magnesite floor through pictures?

      I have a floor I need to tile for a customer and wondering it it’s a Magnesite floor. It’s had tiles down for over 10 years and it hadn’t blown anywhere although tiles did come up very easily, adhesive stuck to tiles but not the substrate. If I could email you a couple of pictures that’d be great? Glad I’ve read this blog!

      Many thanks

      Rhod

      1. Joe Malone avatar
        Joe Malone

        Hi Rhod,

        Not definitively though I’d be happy to take a look.

        Regards

        Joe

        1. Rhodri Lazarus avatar
          Rhodri Lazarus

          Hi Joe,

          That would be great, what is your email address so I could send the picture too?

          Alternatively I’ll attach my email and will reply if you send me one.

          Many thanks

          Rhod

  20. Colin avatar
    Colin

    Hi Joe,
    Thanks for this article and subsequent information, it’s very helpful.
    I have recently had a survey completed. This has ruled out what I thought was a damp issue but has identified magnesite flooring in my bungalow. A sample has been taken today to be tested for asbestos. If it is negative I assume I can carry on with planned works which include providing a break in the plaster wall and floor, renewing skirting boards, decorating and new carpets. Is the floor best left to breath rather than lay a latex screed over it?
    If it is positive would it still be acceptable to leave the magnesite?
    It is in a generally good condition, apart from the odd crack it’s not showing any degradation.
    Many thanks
    Colin

  21. Colin avatar
    Colin

    Hi Joe,
    This is really useful. Following a survey for what I thought was damp, our surveyor identified Magnesite flooring. I have had it tested and the result is Chrysotile, which I understand to be asbestos.
    The floors are, apart from the odd crack, sound and not showing ant degradation.
    Is it a viable option to lay underlay and hessian backed carpets or do I need to get the floors replaced?
    Many thanks
    Colin

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Colin,

      If it’s sound then there’s no reason why you cant continue to use it. Of course, avoid drilling/sanding, or other intrusive disturbance of the floor due to the asbestos content and it will be perfectly safe to use. Underlay and hessian backed carpet will be fine, so long as you use a breathable underlay.

      Regards

      Joe

  22. Colin Juniper avatar
    Colin Juniper

    Hi Joe, great article and information.
    I recently had a survey done thinking I had a damp issue but it turns out I have magnesite flooring. As advised I had it tested and it is positive for asbestos.
    The flooring is sound and in good condition aside from the odd crack here and there. However my surveyor has advised that the magnesite has served its course and it really should be removed. Is this really the case or could it be left and would it be acceptable to lay new breathable underlay and carpet on top?
    Thanks
    Colin

  23. Sarah avatar
    Sarah

    This thread is so helpful, thank you Joe! Any idea if this type of flooring was used in the US, specifically, New York in our 1910 home. We have a small bathroom under our stairs and we pulled up the carpet and plywood underneath because something was leaking in our toilet. It’s some kind of red clay-like concrete-type floor, about 15mm thick, above the wooden floor boards (we have a basement/cellar below so it’s not like there is concrete slab underneath), that looks like pictures of magnesite online. Do you know if this stuff was also used in the US? Is there a difference between Red Ash floor and Magnesite? Thank you!

  24. Sonja avatar
    Sonja

    Hi Joe.

    I just wanted to thank you for your original post as it saved me a costly mistake. Recently bought an ex-local authority flat that had the floor listed as ‘concrete screed’, which was positively identified as containing asbestos. My first solution for this was to look to encapsulate the floor with a suitable applied finish and then to paint it. I was just on the point of placing the paint order when I came across your article and realized that what I had was magnacite and this was the last thing I should do.

    I can’t afford to have it taken up, and hope, that as its in a second floor flat that water will not be a general issue – although the previous owner has hard tiled the kitchen and bathroom, so water may have penetrated there ( I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it, as plan on redoing both rooms in the future). After a bit more research, backed up by what I have also seen here, I’ve decided to carpet the flat with a breathable underlay and a simple seagrass matting,

    My one problem is that I removed the last carpet, underlay and associated gripper strips before I knew it was magnacite (fully hepa faced masked up, with hepa vacum cleaner to hand) and now have small holes that need to be filled. From what has been posted here it sounds as though I could use a liquid bitumen or an epoxy filler. I just wanted to check that this is correct, as its sounds a lot easier then what I had planned, which was to cover over the holes with a thin wooden strip stuck down with carpet tape.

    Its a very frustrating situation. I realise that when buying a property, you need to be vigilant about this type of thing, but none of the professionals (surveyors and 2 x asbestos surveys) involved with this property recognised what the material even was. The local authority who manage the block of flats (and I suspect built them) have not even mentioned it in the property pack that they supplied after the sale. (In the long run this could affect the concrete floor slabs of the block if not treated correctly by the homeowners and tenants) so this seem remise. I’m not sure what else I could have done, but now I have to deal with it as best I can.

    Many thanks in advance for your help with this.

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Sonja,

      You’re very welcome. A localised bitumen or epoxy repair should be fine for localised cracks and holes. Just don’t sand or drill the floor if you’ve not had it tested for asbestos.

      Regards

      Joe Malone

  25. Ian avatar
    Ian

    Hi Joe. Great post Thanks!

    I wonder if you could help identify the flooring in some pictures. We thought it was some form of bitumen floor but wanted to check its not magnesite.

    Many Thanks

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Ian,

      I can, but visual identification is not definitive.

      Regards

      Joe

      1. Ian avatar
        Ian

        I tested the material with a damp meter and it came up with a reading of 20% percent.

  26. Ian avatar
    Ian

    How can I provide you a couple of pictures?

  27. Dong Nam Chu avatar
    Dong Nam Chu

    Hi Joe,

    Hope you are well.

    We bought our first house last year which is a 1940-50s house ex-council. We had a flooring contractor come to quote to level out our ground solid floor as we wanted to laminate it but have been told it most likely magnesite solid floor which we had no idead about hence finding your site. The hall way is a red brick colour which matches your detailed description but our lounge solid floor is a black colour.

    Would the lounge solid floor also be magnesite but in black?

    Also I have remove a fire place Hearth which now left a open hole to the sub-base. How do I fill in the open sub-base hole?

    Hope to hear from you.

    Kind regards

    Dong

    1. Joe Malone avatar
      Joe Malone

      Hi Dong,

      Magnesite came in many colours, though usually red, the black floor could be magnesite, but also could be asphalt.
      It is hard to comment on the hole in the sub base as I’ve not seen it and wouldn’t want to give you the wrong advice.

      Regards

      Joe Malone

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