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handyoldgal 03-16-2009 05:39 PM

Does my attic plan make sense?
My attic is a hodge podge of rafter directions & dementions (due to additions in past) and there is knob and Tubing wiring with old rockwool and some other blown in insulation. It is very hard to see what is there exactly. There are a number of things that have to happen in the future, including taking down the kitchen ceiling that is right below.

SOOOO I need to get that insulation out of there for various reasons. Can I use a shop vac for that?

We plan to 'do' the attic in the future, but can't even plan til we can actually 'see' it. I have to do some new wiring too.

We were thinking of insulating the roof rafters after removing the insulations in the attic floor. Does that make sense, even tho the remodel won't happen for a while, up there?

PaliBob 03-16-2009 07:05 PM

Before turning on a vac, the insulation should be tested for asbestos. There are now mail-n services where you can mail them a small sample and get a definitive answer in a couple of days.

All Rockwool should be OK but it may be a mix.

handyoldgal 03-16-2009 08:02 PM

Thanks PaliBob,

What exactly does it mean if there is asbestos in it?

I planned on being totally covered and wearing a face mask and goggles.

Neither of these sites say what happens if it we find that it is asbestos!

So what do we do if it is?

PaliBob 03-17-2009 03:35 AM

Hi Handy,
First of all millions of US homes have asbestos in one form or another and legally it can be removed by the owner:

Can I remove it myself?

Legally, yes. However, asbestos must be handled carefully during removal, packaging, transport and disposal. It is recommended that you only remove firmly-bound asbestos - leave loosely-bound asbestos for the professionals.
What are the health effects?

Some people have developed asbestos-related lung disease, such as asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma, after inhaling asbestos fibres. Asbestos-related disease is generally associated with long-term exposure to asbestos in an occupational setting.
As the level of exposure that may cause health effects is not known, exposure to asbestos fibres or dust containing asbestos fibres should always be kept to a minimum.

Second, You really need to find out for your own peace of mind. Here are some additional Links:

Also check the Tags at the bottom of this page for additional threads on this forum that deal with asbestos

Just Bill 03-17-2009 06:25 AM

Just one point, if that K&T wiring is live, you cannot insulate around it.

handyoldgal 03-17-2009 07:37 PM

Yeah, I know. That's one of the reasons I want it out.

First thing when we moved in, we moved the insul. away from wiring, as much as possible , but I want it out of there! (Both insulation & K&T).

My big thing is, Can I do insulation with my shop vac?

What exactly is a professional?
A bunch of guys in those space suits and yards of plastic?
Or just a guy with a big vac machine?

If it's the later, I may consider it.
The first thing is, in my opinion, ludicrous, and a racket..

I agree we should be very careful, nobody should breath in anything that kicks up particles like that. Respirator a must. I have disposable overalls etc. Seems like a little water mist would help some. We can shovel into bags, but its the vac I'm wondering about. Even if we just use that for final particles not shoveled up.

Daniel Holzman 03-18-2009 08:29 AM

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in thousands of products, and in millions of older homes. Common products that may contain asbestos include mineral insulation such as vermiculite, some older paint products, wallboard, pipe insulation, floor tiles, and wall coverings. Asbestos is most dangerous when it becomes airborne, which occurs when loose asbestos containing products are stirred up by brushing, vacuuming or removal techniques like sawing.

Since you have rock wool insulation, it is by definition loose, and ABSOLUTELY should be tested for asbestos prior to disturbing it. In terms of asbestos, a professional would be an individual or company trained to remove asbestos, and certified as such by your State or local authorities. The problem with asbestos is that it can cause asbestosis (a very serious lung disease), or mesothelioma (a particulary nasty form of cancer). Unless you are very confident in your knowledge of the respirator you are using, and the protective clothing you will be wearing, removing loose asbestos laden insulation is probably best left to professionals, but clearly that is your call. You should expect to pay a premium for asbestos removal, since it is specialized work.

By the way, if the rock wool does have asbestos in it, you should not dispose of it at the local landfill, you will need to take it to a certified asbestos handling landfill.

jogr 03-18-2009 09:22 AM

What do you mean by "do the attic". I'm still not understanding why you want to remove the insulation. Why wouldn't you leave it there and even add to it? Rather than remove the kitchen ceiling it would likely be better to just put a layer of drywall over the existing ceiling.

handyoldgal 03-18-2009 05:10 PM


Originally Posted by jogr (Post 246255)
What do you mean by "do the attic". I'm still not understanding why you want to remove the insulation. Why wouldn't you leave it there and even add to it? Rather than remove the kitchen ceiling it would likely be better to just put a layer of drywall over the existing ceiling.


Sorry 'Do the attic' means 'turn it into a room' sometime in the future.

AND I would love to just leave that pesky stuff in most of the attic, but the kitchen ceiling (10'x16') HAS to come down. Someone has already covered up the old ceiling with those fiberboard interlocking tiles, and it is sagging badly. (an even drop to about 4" or 5" in the middle) We have to assume that if we even try to do anything with it from down here, it WILL come down.

This is why I was asking about the shop vac. It's an addition (abt 1940's) to the original house and the joists are lower there than the rest. We can't even see most of them through the insulation or see if the original ceiling is sagging or still relatively attached. I'm a bit nervous about even stepping on those particular joists. The few we can see real well are just nailed into the original house walls, with no sign of a ledger strip even.

I would rather reach in there with a vac hose to clean it out. I plan on putting a floor on the rest and don't want to add insulation to those areas.

After we accomplish this we're going to insulate the rafters and walls in preparation for the future room or rooms.

Am I making sense yet?

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