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  1. #1
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    Default Strange attic insulation?

    I found this stuff/insulation? in an attic of a 40's built home. It was a white powdery material that had the consistency of flour. Almost looks like dry mix drywall mud. I have never seen this type of material before. I am guessing that it contains asbestos.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    TRENT


    pictures my man


  3. #3
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Was the building constructed with block walls?
    There is a type of insulation that matches your description that is used in block wall cavities.

    I would not assume that it is asbestos containing in your report.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon mackay View Post
    Was the building constructed with block walls?
    There is a type of insulation that matches your description that is used in block wall cavities.

    I would not assume that it is asbestos containing in your report.
    No the house did not have block walls, it was a wood frame structure. I am not stating in the report that it may contain asbestos.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    It looks like the sand in public ashtrays... I've never seen anything like it as insulation. I'd cover it back up and forget I saw it


  6. #6
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    Cool Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Most probably fine grain perlite, which is innocuous. Flag it as questionable and recommend analysis.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    The stuff was very powdery had the same consistency and texture as flour.


  8. #8
    Philip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    It looks like the sand in public ashtrays... I've never seen anything like it as insulation. I'd cover it back up and forget I saw it
    Then you would know the vapor barrier was wrong. In the photo it looks like rock wool.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    Then you would know the vapor barrier was wrong. In the photo it looks like rock wool.
    The insulation above is "Insulsafe" fiberglass insulation. It's the white powdery stuff below it that I'm talking about.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    need a better photo, could be vermiculite, we have that in a lot of the shore line bungalow's here in jersey, many built in the 40's

    Joseph Ehrhardt
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    I am not sure of the name of it but it has allways felt and "itched" like a type of rockwool to me.
    http://www.progressivegardens.com/gr...e/rockwool.gif


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    A guess (WAG ??) if its water soluable (what the white mystery powder might be) is borax, boric acid, or other form of disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT).

    Used to control dust mites, cockroaches, silverfish, et al, larder beetles, carpenter ants, and other wood borers, as well as wood decay (and fire resistance). DIY or pro, sometimes ammended with a bait ("sweet and low" or similar) to erradicate other ants.

    Presume the attic space was cleaned of any prior (if any) insulation and treated when replacement insulation of questionable depth/thickness layer was installed.

    As indicated earlier recommend testing sample to determine.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    There was about 2 inches of the stuff below loose fill fiberglass. It was not vermiculite. I looked and felt identical to baking flour. I called it out as unidentified material and advised having it tested.


  14. #14
    Philip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Where did the first owner of the house work. I have seen some strange stuff used for insulation that was brought home from the factory or foundry. This actually sounds like casting sand from a foundry.


  15. #15
    Daniel Leung's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    I found this light-weight cellulose insulation material in a over 70 years old attic, which contains some short fibers. There are 2-inches thick light brown cellulose on top of the 2-inches thick white cellulose (finer than the top layer, but not in powder form). The white stuffs turned to white ash after a fire test.
    Is this white cellulose insulation contains asbestos?

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  16. #16
    Rod Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Hard to tell if it Asbestos-containing without spending a couple of dollars and have a sample tested. Personally, I tend to treat ANY unknown material as a hazardous material until I know better!


  17. #17
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    Post Re: Strange attic insulation?

    This is just a guess or two, based on the available information and the age of the home. Could it be residue from masonry work that was completed before the insulation was installed? How about dry powder fire extinguishing agent?


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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    It looks to me like the rock wool insulation that was common in homes dating back to early 1900's. FWIW


  19. #19
    Camille LaFrance's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    [quote=Trent Tarter;134643]I found this stuff/insulation? in an attic of a 40's built home. It was a white powdery material that had the consistency of flour. Almost looks like dry mix drywall mud. I have never seen this type of material before. I am guessing that it contains asbestos.[/



    That insulation looks like the same product that I used years ago for underground pipe insulation. Here is a link to a website that will explain more than I can.DriTherm International Inc.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    A bulk sample analysis can tell you if it is ACM and will also tell you what percent it contains.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    I have found the same stuff today, about 2" under fiberglass batts. It might be perlite but it's awfully powdery like flour. 80+ year old home.

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lamb View Post
    I have found the same stuff today, about 2" under fiberglass batts. It might be perlite but it's awfully powdery like flour. 80+ year old home.
    Looks like you may have come across expanded fine Perlite Liken it more to cornstarch or confectioners sugar.

    possibly perlite & gyp board or plaster decomposed.

    Does it disolve in water? does it float? Scoop some up and weigh it, note the volume. Seems far too much to be Diatamaceous earth, borax, or insecticide.

    see www.perlite.net for some info and photos see if it matches what you saw, felt, etc.

    HTH.


  23. #23

    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lamb View Post
    I have found the same stuff today, about 2" under fiberglass batts. It might be perlite but it's awfully powdery like flour. 80+ year old home.
    It's NOT perlite. Looks like sand. Hope the ceiling is well attached to the framing!


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    It doesn't look like asbestos to me but I would take it to a lab and pay the $25 to find out exactly what it is.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    best to document it and report it and suggest testing if they are concerned. once again asking questions of the home owner is also recommended. covering it up and pretenting it was never seen is just not worth it. your there to do a job but that does not mean you have to know everything. the fact you are planning on following up shows you have a good character! )


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Maybe it's granny's ashes? But then again she'd have had to be a large person!

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    OK - so I realize this is an "old" thread. But low-and-behold, a recent inspection on a home built in 1925 has this same insulation. There is a three to four inch layer of fine, white powder covered with about four inches of loose fill cellulose. Has there been any resolution on this?1213.JPG

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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    OK - so I realize this is an "old" thread. But low-and-behold, a recent inspection on a home built in 1925 has this same insulation. There is a three to four inch layer of fine, white powder covered with about four inches of loose fill cellulose. Has there been any resolution on this?1213.JPG
    If you find out what it is, let us know.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Strange attic insulation?

    Rick, I have found this type of insulation on several older homes over the years. I have come to the conclusion that it's "Fine Perlite" insulation, usually it's about 2-3 inches deep. The stuff I have found looks and feels almost like baking flour or baby powder. If it's fine perlite it's not expected to contain asbestos. Of course there's only one way to be sure and that's to get it tested. Here's a good link for some additional information. www.perlite.net


  30. #30
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Strange attic insulation?

    This looks like perlite insulation.


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