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Discussion Starter #1
Below is a photo of the basement of our newly-acquired 1925 house, and the insulation that is around much of the perimeter just above the sole plate. I have no idea what it is. It feels a bit like cotton but fairly densely packed.

Can anyone tell me what this is? Are there any special handling considerations? I'm contemplating pulling it out and injecting foam in its place. While I'm not finishing the basement I am cleaning it up, spraying the celing joists, and ultimately putting dryloc on the walls and an epoxy paint on the floor. This stuff is ugly and most of it is pretty dirty too.

Thoughts on pulling it out and replacing with foam? Better options?

Thanks in advance.

 

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looks a little bit like Rock Wool insulation...although not exactly. I have the same in my 1910 home. Have not found any specific handling instructions for it, and have never heard that it was an issue.
 

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Drywall contractor
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If it IS rock wool, wear long sleeves, gloves, mask. etc. The stuff itches worse than any regular insulation around. Agree with 1910NE that it doesn't look exactly like the rock wool of today, but it could be....
 

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fabrk8r
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I tend to agree with the OP...it looks like cotton. I've worked with a lot of rock wool. If it is rock wool you'll start itching just from looking at it!

Pull out a small piece and put a flame to it. If it's cotton it will burn unless it's been treated with a very good fire retardant...if it's rock wool it won't burn, but it will melt under high heat and turn to something similar to glass.
 

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If it IS rock wool, wear long sleeves, gloves, mask. etc. The stuff itches worse than any regular insulation around. Agree with 1910NE that it doesn't look exactly like the rock wool of today, but it could be....
Thanks for that info! based on that, I am going to assume that what I have in my attic is NOT rock wool, but some kind of cotton stuff...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK thanks guys. If it is not flammable then I may just leave it as it is doing it's job. Then again, the whole house is so tinder dry that it's not like it matters if that little bit of insulation around the basement is going to be it's undoing, lol.

This basement had literally not been cleaned in 85 years. It took me three days just to get is "merely dusty". There was about a half inch of dust and nasty looking black stuff accumulated on top of the crossbraces in the joists. Now that it is all gone I think the rockwool might be OK until the next phase of basement renovation.
 
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