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Attic insulation removal

Thread starter #1

PortSide

Active Member
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After 40 years living in an old farmhouse my gal has decided to get rid of its blown-in attic insulation. Instantly I replied... I'll do it. Then, I had a look up there. Then, the thought "what was I thinking" sunk in. Asbestos? lethal rodent spores/virus, remnants of decades of misc bugs, bats and birds. I am just guessing here but with appropriate respirator and some kind of big rental suction machine this should be do-able. If any true grit T-NOF's have hunted this kit ... I would be grateful for any advice. Thanks
 

Foxton Gundogs

Admin./,Cedar BC
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When I used to wrench for an outfit in W/L we did removal with out wet/dry vacuum truck theguys wore full hazmat suits and fresh air respirators just in case. You never know what may be under the stuff you can see.
 

wideopenthrottle

Long-Time Member
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get it tested...very cheap nowadays....is there any reason to get rid of it?....if you want better insulation pile half of it on the other side and put the extra thick batts on the cleared out side
 

Big Lew

This IS My Life
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If the insulation in old attics is of the blown in variety it could very well be a product
called zonolite or vermiculite which likely contains asbestos. The asbestos fibers can
easily break off, especially in vermiculite if disturbed. Vermiculite looks like exploded micra.
I would most certainly err on the safe side and either get it tested or have a qualified
company remove it. No one can accurately say how many have been effected, but exposure
is known to cause cancer as in other asbestos dusts. It is much too far 'after the fact' but my
whole family lived in an old house with that type of insulation, and as we weren't aware of the
potential dangers, handled it on several occasions. As a lay person, I don't know what type of
cancers are related to asbestos, but I can say that 2 sisters have died, one of lung cancer, another
from multiple myeloma, and I have bladder cancer. My wife's family is in the same situation...my
wife has lung cancer, and she has lost a sister and 2 brothers similarly.
 
Thread starter #7

PortSide

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Big Lew... thanks for your very fine post. I am trying to think of words to reply. Like at lot of us here we look back on our legacy not anticipating one. We are not making loved ones but have lived many decades with brothers, sisters, friends, grandkids. I express gratitude for your openness. This is the season for reflection ... it is both happy and sad. Bottom line is that life is a such a gift and worth the cost and our duty to live while we do. Your advice to be cautious is well heeded. All the best BL....
 
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Another option might be to leave it as is and blow more insulation on top if the you need more "R" factor for betterinsulation.

The old attic insulation should not a problem unless it's disturbed or you go crawling around in it.
 

Bow Walker

SGT MAJOR IN DUMBELDORE'S ARMY.
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There are companies now that will remove the old stuff and then spray in the new, wet stuff that expands ans solidifies - providing insulation, sound proofing, and heat retention.

Worth looking into. Google is toy friend.
 

KH4

Well-Known Member
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Strong bets it contains asbestos. Best to leave for professionals, if you don't do it correctly, you can put a lot of folks in danger.

I work in heavy industry at a site that's old, and asbestos comes up often. You need a proper removal techniques, proper PPE, proper containment (decon area, sealing up areas, etc.). Sometimes it's better to encase it than disturb it! Odds are you will not get it right first time, but you don't get another chance, although costly, the pros should have it dialed in.
 
Thread starter #11

PortSide

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KH4... thanks for the input. I am in the process of inquiry regarding lab testing of the insulation. Afterwhich I will add it all up and see. Ideally cleaning the attic of a century home is not a bad concept. I have found in many parts of the ceiling remnants of old wasp nests and more. On top of the insulation, bird feathers, insect remains, rodent turds, plant debris, dried out bat ... etc. I am sure underneath the insulation is another similar story. The attic is about 24'x26' floor area, roof sloped of course but not severely. I am also hoping that there just could be a treasure map to an old rich gold mine rumoured to be out back somewhere on the Beauforts.
 

KH4

Well-Known Member
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That's a good path forward, asbestos is no joke! I'm lucky to be exposed to a lot of safety hazards, risks, and protocols at work, many of which the average joe is unaware of, developed some good habits at home, and have to cringe at what I see out and about!
 

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