IS IT SAFE TO REMOVE FIBERGLASS INSULATION AND HOW TO REMOVE IT MYSELF?

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IS IT SAFE TO REMOVE FIBERGLASS INSULATION AND HOW TO REMOVE IT MYSELF?

Removing old or contaminated Fiberglass insulation from the attic as your next DIY project might sound tempting or even easy, but in actuality, it is time-consuming, messy, arduous, and hazardous to some extent. We recommend hiring a professional insulation contractor nearby but still, if you want to give it a shot by yourself, read this post carefully and make an informed and safe decision.

KINDS OF INSULATION MATERIAL

The USA market is flooded with different types of insulation materials.
Contractors choose to depend on mainly two factors-

  • Where is the insulation installed?
  • The recommended R-values for areas to be insulated.
TYPE MATERIAL WHERE APPLICABLE INSTALLATION METHODS ADVANTAGES
Blanket: batts and rolls Fiberglass
Mineral (rock or slag) wool
plastic fibers
Natural fibers
Unfinished walls, including foundation walls
Floors and ceilings
Fitted between studs. joists, and beams. Do-it-yourself.
Suited for standard stud and joist spacing that is relatively free from obstructions. Relatively inexpensive.
Concrete block insulation
and
Insulating concrete blocks
Foamboard, to be placed outside of the wall (usually new construction) or inside of the wall (existing homes):
Some manufacturers incorporate foam beads or air into the concrete mix to increase R-values
Unfinished walls, including foundation walls
New construction or major renovations
Walls (insulating concrete blocks)
Require specialized skills
Insulating concrete blocks are sometimes stacked without mortar (dry stacked) and surface bonded.
Insulating cores increases the wall R-value.
Insulating outside of concrete block wall places mass inside conditioned space, which can moderate indoor temperatures.
Autoclaved aerated concrete and autoclaved cellular concrete masonry units have 10 times the insulating value of conventional concrete.
Foam board or rigid foam Polystyrene
Polyisocyanurate
Polyurethane
Phenolic
Unfinished walls, including foundation walls
Floors and ceilings
Unvented low-slope roofs
Interior applications: must be covered with 1/2 inch gypsum board or other building-code approved material for fire safety.
Exterior applications: must be covered with weatherproof facing
High insulating value for relatively little thickness.
Can block thermal short circuits when installed continuously over frames or joists.
Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) Foam boards or foam blocks Unfinished walls, including foundation walls for new construction Installed as part of the building structure. Cores in the blocks are typically filled with concrete to create the structural component of the wall. Insulation is literally built into the home’s walls, creating high thermal resistance.
Loose-fill and blown-in Cellulose
Fiberglass
Mineral (rock or slag) wool
wall or open new wall cavities
Unfinished attic floors
Other hard to reach places
Blown into place using special equipment and although not recommended, sometimes poured in. Good for adding insulation to existing finished areas, irregularly shaped areas, and around obstructions.
Reflective system Foil-faced kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles, or cardboard Unfinished walls ceilings, and floors Foils, films, or papers fitted between wood-frame studs, joists, rafters, and beams. Do-it-yourself.
Suitable for framing at standard spacing
Bubble-form is suitable if framing is irregular or if obstructions are present
Most effective at preventing downward heat flow, effectiveness depends on spacing and number of foils.
Rigid fibrous or fiber insulation Fiberglass
Mineral (rock or slag) wool
Ducts in unconditioned spaces
Other places require insulation that can withstand high temperatures
HVAC contractors fabricate the insulation into ducts either at their shops or at job sites. Can withstand high temperatures.
Sprayed foam and foamed-in-place Cementitious
Phenolic
Polyisocyanurate
Polyurethane
Enclosed existing wall
Open new wall cavities
Unfinished attic floors
Applied using small spray containers or in larger quantities as a pressure sprayed (foamed in place) product. Good for adding insulation to existing finished areas, irregularly shaped areas, and around obstructions

CAUSES OF INSULATION REMOVAL

The most common causes of insulation removal are rodent infestations and water damage.
Wet insulation should be immediately removed so as to avoid mold and air-borne diseases.
Other causes include higher energy bills due to insufficient insulation.
The key to removing insulation is good planning and adequate preparation.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE REMOVING OLD INSULATION FROM ATTIC

  • Cleaning up the area- Check for asbestos before starting the removal process. Buy a testing kit from a nearby home improvement store. Collect samples of the insulation and send them to the lab for testing. If asbestos is present, hire a professional without giving it a second thought. They will remove the insulation and dispose of it properly.
    Exposure to asbestos can result in Asbestosis, a chronic lung disease. Prolonged exposure can lead to scarring of lung tissue and difficulty in breathing.
  • Mold: Air-borne sinus infections and skin allergy is caused by mold.
  • Rodents: Pests like rodents spread diseases and contaminate the insulation with their droppings, urine, and decomposing carcasses.

Once the above-mentioned points are taken care of, proceed to remove the old insulation.
Removing blown-in fiberglass or cellulose insulation is easier as compared to removing rolls of batting.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED TO REMOVE OLD FIBERGLASS INSULATION

  • Rent or buy a HEPA-filter-rated, high-powered, large-capacity vacuum.
  • Wear protective clothing, goggles, and a good mask or respirator before starting to avoid skin irritation, watery eyes, and allergic reactions.
  • Dispose of insulation in sealable, large heavy-duty trash bags.

Be extra careful so as to not put extra pressure on very heavy equipment as it can lead to a break in the ceiling. Contact certified recycling or waste management facility to dispose it of safely.

THE PROCESS OF REMOVING OLD INSULATION FROM THE ATTIC

  • Carefully maneuver the vacuum inside the attic.
  • Tie a rope to the vacuum and slowly pull the vacuum toward you as it sucks up the insulation.

WHY HIRE ATTIC SOLUTIONS or other professional contractors-One might hit roadblocks like rodents or weakened insulation. Insulations damaged by water are often weak and may give away if improperly handled. Our expert and trained staff exactly know how to tackle these situations and will save your time, money, and energy.
Hazardous materials like asbestos can be harmless till they are lying undisturbed and need an expert hand while safe fiberglass insulation removal. CONTACT US FOR A FREE INSPECTION Be rest assured by contacting us for a professional and budget-friendly insulation removal in St. Ankeny, Iowa.
You can read our client testimonials and keep your faith in us.

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