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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    2

    Default What is this stuff?

    I looked in the attic of the house we just bought (house is in Mesa AZ and was built in 1957) and found this stuff. The inspector didn't look in the attic through this opening so he didn't see it and only noted the cellulose insulation on our inspection report since that's all he saw from the opening where he looked at the attic. It is gravel type stuff that is mixed in with loose fill cellulose. I thought that it may be vermiculite but it isn't the same color or texture as vermiculite. The material is very hard and has some pebbles among like a dusty broken chalk type of material that also coats some of the pebbles that are in the mix. I've been searching all over the net to find out what the heck it is and have come up empty handed. The closest thing that I've found online is perlite, but that is usually all white and doesn't have the same grey pebbles in the pictures I've seen online. Any ideas what this is? Thanks in advance.php5QopxuAM.jpgphpBum3U3AM.jpgphp2EbO0vAM.jpgphpp2as4uAM.jpg

    NHIE Practice Exam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Miguel Vasquez View Post
    I looked in the attic of the house we just bought (house is in Mesa AZ and was built in 1957) and found this stuff. The inspector didn't look in the attic through this opening so he didn't see it and only noted the cellulose insulation on our inspection report since that's all he saw from the opening where he looked at the attic. It is gravel type stuff that is mixed in with loose fill cellulose. I thought that it may be vermiculite but it isn't the same color or texture as vermiculite. The material is very hard and has some pebbles among like a dusty broken chalk type of material that also coats some of the pebbles that are in the mix. I've been searching all over the net to find out what the heck it is and have come up empty handed. The closest thing that I've found online is perlite, but that is usually all white and doesn't have the same grey pebbles in the pictures I've seen online. Any ideas what this is? Thanks in advance.php5QopxuAM.jpgphpBum3U3AM.jpgphp2EbO0vAM.jpgphpp2as4uAM.jpg
    Vermiculite was made in varying sizes, colors and shapes. See link https://www.google.com/search?q=verm...w=1024&bih=657 your photos look like vermiculite.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    It could be Perlite. Take some out and take a better picture of it.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    It could be Perlite. Take some out and take a better picture of it.
    I thought this stuff was not to be disturbed!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I thought this stuff was not to be disturbed!
    If it contains asbestos, put it back.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    It's vermiculite insulation and most likely contains asbestos. Prior to 1990 the majority of the worlds supply of vermiculite insulation came from a mine in Libby Montana. The mine had natural deposits of asbestos that ended up in the vermiculite that was mined. Here's a standard statement I use when I find it in homes.

    Vermiculite insulation was found in the attic, this type of insulation is common in older homes. This material may contain asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. However even if this material does contain asbestos, it may not pose a health hazard since it's not in a living space. The client(s) may wish to have this material tested for asbestos by a qualified lab, and should definitely do so if they plan to remove it or disturb it through remodeling.

    For more information about vermiculite insulation visit:
    http://www.epa.gov/retailindustry/bu...rochure2-1.pdf


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    It does not look like any vermiculite I have ever seen. That is why I suggest it is not vermiculite at all.

    This what Perlite looks like.

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    Last edited by John Kogel; 06-29-2014 at 06:05 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    It does not look like any vermiculite I have ever seen. That is why I suggest it is not vermiculite at all.

    This what Perlite looks like.
    Oh Come On Man ( that's just a photo of some ole stale Sugar Pops from over your sink.)

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    Oh Come On Man ( that's just a photo of some ole stale Sugar Pops from over your sink.)
    Ya think I'd lay a Yankee dime on top of my Sugar Pops? Who knows where it's been?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    It does not look like any vermiculite I have ever seen. That is why I suggest it is not vermiculite at all.

    This what Perlite looks like.
    I agree with you that it looks like crushed perlite(here are some pictures www.perlite.net ) and does not look like vermiculite photos I've ever seen, this stuff doesn't have any of the signature vermiculite accordian rock shapes anywhere in it. Also, it is very hard and from what I read about vermiculite it is soft like popcorn, this stuff is literally hard as rocks. Almost looks like gravel, chalk, and plaster chunks.

    Here is a better photo.phpDf2hEbPM.jpg


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    In most of the photo's it looks like Vermiculite to me. The photos that show up more white could be from camera flash/over exposure. We all now how attic photos sometimes turn out. Around here the only Perlite insulation I have ever found was "Fine Perlite" looks and feels like baking flour. As far as I know Perlite was not used as much compared to Vermiculite. It's possible that there could be both Vermiculite and Perlite installed at different times or a blend of both materials.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    Trent, you are correct of course, that we can't say from a picture definitley either way. Asbestos ID requires a lab test to be sure.
    I don't know what that stuff is, to be honest. Looks like aquarium gravel. I know it's not my Sugar Pops, though.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 06-30-2014 at 08:53 AM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  13. #13

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    That's great that you check the attic thoroughly and I would suggest let an expert check that. For you to get help and proper actions regarding on your concern. Have you already called the experts?

    I am a regular contributor to Safe and Sound Property Inspections blog and other home improvement sites. Iím very family-oriented and loves being in the shed or help my mates with their houses.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Omaha
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: What is this stuff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    It's vermiculite insulation and most likely contains asbestos. Prior to 1990 the majority of the worlds supply of vermiculite insulation came from a mine in Libby Montana. The mine had natural deposits of asbestos that ended up in the vermiculite that was mined. Here's a standard statement I use when I find it in homes.

    Vermiculite insulation was found in the attic, this type of insulation is common in older homes. This material may contain asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. However even if this material does contain asbestos, it may not pose a health hazard since it's not in a living space. The client(s) may wish to have this material tested for asbestos by a qualified lab, and should definitely do so if they plan to remove it or disturb it through remodeling.

    For more information about vermiculite insulation visit:
    http://www.epa.gov/retailindustry/bu...rochure2-1.pdf

    I think you are making a big mistake saying it is outside of the living space and does not pose a hazard.

    There is a lot of air flow between the attic and the house in most older homes. Asbestos is a very light particle that stays suspended in the air for a long time. It is then inhaled deep into the lungs.

    In the summer homes suck air from the attic, the stack effect reverses due to AC. Also have you ever considered return air ducts. The wall cavity is under negative pressure. The top of the wall cavity will be connected to attic by gaps in the drywall at the top plate. Depending on where you live you may have HVAC ducts in the attic. If you have supplies leaking air in the attic it will put the house under a negative pressure. If the returns are in the attic they will also be pulling air from the attic.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    It's vermiculite insulation and most likely contains asbestos. Prior to 1990 the majority of the worlds supply of vermiculite insulation came from a mine in Libby Montana. The mine had natural deposits of asbestos that ended up in the vermiculite that was mined. Here's a standard statement I use when I find it in homes.

    Vermiculite insulation was found in the attic, this type of insulation is common in older homes. This material may contain asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. However even if this material does contain asbestos, it may not pose a health hazard since it's not in a living space. The client(s) may wish to have this material tested for asbestos by a qualified lab, and should definitely do so if they plan to remove it or disturb it through remodeling.

    For more information about vermiculite insulation visit:
    http://www.epa.gov/retailindustry/bu...rochure2-1.pdf

    I think you are making a big mistake saying it is outside of the living space and does not pose a hazard.

    There is a lot of air flow between the attic and the house in most older homes. Asbestos is a very light particle that stays suspended in the air for a long time. It is then inhaled deep into the lungs.

    In the summer homes suck air from the attic, the stack effect reverses due to AC. Also have you ever considered return air ducts. The wall cavity is under negative pressure. The top of the wall cavity will be connected to attic by gaps in the drywall at the top plate. Depending on where you live you may have HVAC ducts in the attic. If you have supplies leaking air in the attic it will put the house under a negative pressure. If the returns are in the attic they will also be pulling air from the attic.


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