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question about vermiculite insulation in attic and asbestos

question about vermiculite insulation in attic and asbestos

Old 09-15-12, 06:17 PM
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question about vermiculite insulation in attic and asbestos


We live in a home built in 1900. We purchased the home in 2005. The previous owner purchased the home in 2001 and renovated it. It has one of those attics with the full set of stair up to it and is a finished living space so there is just a small attic above that now. As far as we know, the previous over (who owned from 2001 to 2005) finished the attic into livable space when he did the remodel. In the attic (above the living space) there is insulation covering the floor that looks like vermiculite.

We currently are trying to fix a bat problem in our attic, so my husband has had to go up in the attic frequently to check for bat activity, ect.

My question is, could the vermiculite in the attic have asbestos in it? Since we *think* the full attic was finished to a living space between 2001 and 2005 we are thinking the vermiculite must have been put in sometime after 2001. But, from what I was reading, vermiculite doesn't seem to be use much anymore for attic insulation?


Old 09-15-12, 08:55 PM
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A lot of vermiculite came from the mine in Libby, MT, that was known to have asbestos. The only way for you to know for sure is to send a sample in and have it tested. Its not something we can magically tell you, sorry to say.

Since this was your first post let me be the first to welcome you to the forum. Hope you find it helpful. All the answers you receive are from volunteers who are just trying to be helpful.
Old 10-17-12, 09:43 AM
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Vermiculite is automatically assumed to be hot, and apparently even testing it often yields false-positives for hot, so it's probably just best to assume that it's hot. I had to go through asbestos awareness at work and basically the rule on vermiculite is to just let it be, otherwise removal is expensive and a pain in the butt.

I wonder if they shoveled the existing insulation up and into the new mini-attic when finishing the old attic. If so, once the dust literally settled and they finished cleaning up then the immediate danger to the occupants ended (and is probably not a problem for you) but disturbing the attic now is not a good thing to do.

An asbestos-rated facemask is a very good idea if you're unsure, as well as bathing as soon as possible after.
Old 10-17-12, 12:04 PM
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I agree, because this type of insulation has not been used since the 60's you have to assume it is contaminated with asbestos.

As long as when you go up there it is not disturbed or walked on there is no problem leaving it alone.
If you plan to sometime improve the insulation or any other type of work up there now is the time to come up with a plan to deal with it.

One thing you could do to check to see if there is any dust residue getting into the space below is if you have any ceiling mounted fixtures, remove them and check for vermicultite traces in the electrical junction boxes.

We have it in our home and most definately plan to remove it before we do our long needed insulation upgrade.
Old 11-07-12, 04:59 PM
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We purchased home in May that had vermiculite insulation. To make a long story short, we contacted NJ State Certified asbestos removal companies, got several quotes (they differed by $4000!), hired a company, had it removed. Peace of mind and health since we want to do some remodeling in future.

p.s. I guess the previous homeowners didn't disclose the vermiculite? Just curious.
Old 11-07-12, 05:16 PM
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Thumbs up Welcome to our forums!

In our area there is no obligation to disclose vermiculite insulation.
In the 70's the Canadian Government supported the installation of Urea Formaldehyde foam insulation in wall cavities and subsidized the cost to homeowners.
It didn't take long for it to be discovered that the formaldehyde caused health problems so the Gov't subsidized the cost to remove it.
Since then there is still a declaration for this insulation.

I will not be surprised if in Canada at least that there will be a vermiculite declaration for residential real estate sales.

Curious to know without naming any companies what was the range of the estimates and what square footage is your attic?
Old 11-07-12, 10:33 PM
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Suggestion for the OP--why not have Hubby build a few access platforms/crawling runs in the attic, using heavy plywood with stand-offs above the ceiling joists? Doing so would keep him from kicking up all kinds of nasty dust, whether it's got asbestos in it or not. I had a lengthy project installing 4 skylites (with light tunnels) in a large attic that had blown fiberglass insulation, and after my first trip up there, seeing all of the dust I kicked up as it reflected in my flashlight beam, I built a series of plywood "crawlways" to minimize future dust problems--worked like a charm.

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