Removing Old Attic Insulation/Plaster


Old 11-10-04, 05:50 PM
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Removing Old Attic Insulation/Plaster

Hello. I am new to the forum. I am rennovating a 100+ year old Victorian "four square" with a walk-up attic. The existing attic ceiling is a plaster and lathe build. Behind it, there is an insulation material that looks and feels like wool/cotton...then the roof.

Every resource I have looked at, points to this being a "rock wool" or older fiberglass insulation blown in when a new roof was put on. The only asbestos insulation I see mentioned anywhere is something called "Vermiculite" which is described as granuals about the size of a pencil eraser and is generally used in the floor of an attic. It is fairly obvious that is not what I have.

Would it be safe to assume that this insulation that I have is not composed of asbestos?

I want to remove the plaster, lathe and insulation. Then put in foam vents and new fiberglass batts.

Any insight on the existing material would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-10-04, 06:37 PM
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Removing attic insulation

Older rock wool was suspicioned to cause cancer. While it reportedly did not contain asbestos, airborne fibers can pose a health risk. There is some research that links old rock wool insulation dust to cancer. All synthetic mineral fibers pose a health risk when inhaled, causing irritation of eyes and upper respiratory system.

Fibers which can cause problems are asbestos, fiberglass, and rockwool. When they break down they can float in the air and the tiny, glassine threads can be inhaled. This may cause a problem in the lungs or elsewhere. The threads, once inhaled, can impale into body tissue and travel throughout the body. They become sequestered by scar-tissue-like (tumor) formation (and can also cause breathing problems.) Tumors will be benign, but may eventually become cancerous since they will provide a place where the immune system is less effective and parasites, toxins, bacteria, etc, can gather.

Insulation removers wear protective suits, gloves, masks, and respirators, take decontamination showers, and keep work areas well ventilated.
Old 11-11-04, 06:43 AM
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Thank you very much for the reply. Yes, even though this isn't the asbestos type of insulation, I did plan on protective approaches to removal (respirator, sealed goggles, total coveralls, gloves, etc. and ventilating the room). Aside from the inherent dangers of the materials, there is also the posibility of dust, molds, vermin litter, etc. Better safe than sorry in my book.
Old 01-12-05, 09:32 PM
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I read your post on the forum and was wondering if you ever found out if the insulation was in fact rockwool? What did you end up doing about removing it? I have found some insulation in a fix up home I bought that sounds just like this stuff. I have been trying to find a picture of it on the net to no avail. If you have any additional info, please let me know.

Old 02-02-05, 09:13 PM
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Asbestos is found in many areas of old homes. That 100 yr. old plaster

probably has as much asbestos as the insul. you mentioned.
Old 02-09-05, 01:54 PM
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asbestos in plaster

Michiganguy is correct. The plaster that you removed may have had more asbestos in it than the insulation you were worried about. I had the plaster in my home tested for asbestos and it contained 22%. Most people don't realize that some older plasters contained asbestos. It should be tested before a major remodeling job.
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