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  1. #1

    Default "Not your typical attic insulation"

    Hey everyone,

    I performed an inspection this morning and found a very unusual attic insulation application. I've only seen this material used in industrial applications for blast furnace piping and hot process piping. It is the porous lava rock type of substance that emits a foul (rotten egg/sulpher) oder as it is broken up. Has anyone seen this used for attic insulation before and does anyone know the proper name of this substance? See the attached photo.

    Thanks.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    I would call it "unconventional material" whose R value cannot be determined and refer it to an insulation specialist for a further evaluation. It may need to be removed and replaced, which could affect his valuation of the property.

    Joe Funderburk, CBO, CMI
    Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
    Serving SC & NC

  3. #3

    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    Thanks Joe for your reply,

    I thought for sure I would get a myriad of opinions on this finding. I suppose everyone else is just as stupmed as was. I am however leaning toward the same wording for my report as you suggest. I was just curious if anyone knew the actual name of this product.

    George Hallaron: Owner primary inspector
    Bienvenue Home Inspections LLC
    www.bienvenuehomeinspections.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    It looks like you have found pumice blocks. I can't imagine that they will have much of an R factor.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    It looks like you have found pumice blocks. I can't imagine that they will have much of an R factor.
    Yeah, but they work wonders on callouses.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Funderburk View Post
    It may need to be removed and replaced, which could affect his valuation of the property.
    I'm not sure how attic insulation would affect the value of a house.


  7. #7
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    I'm not sure how attic insulation would affect the value of a house.
    To remove and replace if necessary would cost quite a bit. Any finding affects the value of a home.

    If you find animal waste all over the attic it needs to be removed and the odor neutralized at the least or sprayed to neutralize any ill affects. Of course you have to replace all the insulation. Quite a cost factor.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    Perhaps a (chinese) knock-off version ("Foam Glass") of FOAMGLAS(R) block insulation.

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  9. #9

    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    That's it exactly Watson!

    I knew that it had a proprietary name, I just couldn't remember what it was.

    Thanks for the info.

    George Hallaron: Owner primary inspector
    Bienvenue Home Inspections LLC
    www.bienvenuehomeinspections.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    You're welcome.


  11. #11
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    That stuff does smell like rotten eggs when you crush it


  12. #12
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    Awwww, nothing like the smell of rotten eggs in the morning as you work in your attic........I too was stumped. I have never seen anything like that.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    That stuff does smell like rotten eggs when you crush it
    FYI, the smell is most likely hydrogen sulfide, and as we all know this is also in the famed drywall that China introduced to us!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    The sulfur compounds may actually vary. It depends on the source materials and the preparation/level of impurities remaining. For example, the carbon source - blast furnace process converting coal to coke for the carbon source (such as the process used for pig iron to steel) - the sulfur compounds/content remaining from the source coal can vary molecularly and can include other than "Hydrogen SulfIDE" yet still be "smelly".The trademarked FoamGlas gets its "green" as utilizes recycled products as a part of its source material.

    The crushing or breaking of "cells" releasing the odor indicates damage. It should not be crushed or broken as dramatic loss of insulative and thermal break isolation factor/properties.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    We use that to clean the griddle at the Fire Hall. Works great.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    I have seen it used quite often as insulation on the exterior of a commercial flat roof - between the steel sheathing and the rubber membrane. The Foamglas blocks are tarred down and the rubber membrane laid down and flame welded on top. Seems to work well there. I can't imagine anyone using it in an attic - too expensive and difficult to work with.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: "Not your typical attic insulation"

    We never know where things like this come from. I once did an Inspection on a 70's house that was plumped with all stainless steel incoming water lines and all copper waste lines. Turned out the original owner worked for a Stainless Steel manufacturer company. I guess he did not want to worry about his plumbing! I told the new buyer not to tell anyone about this as metal thieves would love to "visit" while they were away.


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