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Adding Insulation Over Vermiculite And
Dangers Of Vermiculite Insulation




Hi Itchy,

I have determined that my attic is under-insulated. Our town allows for a a free energy inspection of your home, they pay the inspector, to give advice as to how to make your home more efficient.

The inspector told me I need more insulation in my attic. Not surprised, this house has always been cold. But, he did say I have to be very careful as the existing insulation, which is clearly not enough, is some stuff called vermaculite. I guess this stuff has asbestos in it. I have a respirator, Osha approved for working around asbestos, and except for anticipating having to shove some insulation in the corners and around attic baffles so I don't block soffit vents, and probably on my stomach on plywood, it should be a matter of rolling the insulation out. Before I get around this stuff, I wanted to ask someone that would know, their opinion about working around this vermaculite stuff.


Thanks in advance for your opinion.


I have ran into vermiculite insulation many times during my insulating career. It is a flaky mineral that looks similar to mica. It's also an excellent insulation that was used in millions of homes back in the day. Back in the day when I was insulating we didn't know of any dangers of vermiculite and wouldn't think twice about adding additional blown in insulation over the top of it to achieve a higher r-value. Luckily for me I always wore a protective mask. But thinking back on it I was fortunate as many people I worked with didn't and I pray they won't have any of it's potentially deadly symptoms. It's been associated with mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. Wow! What a nightmare!

OK. As far as adding insulation over the top of the vermiculite, what can I say? I've done it many times. But would I recommend you do it in light of what we now know about vermiculite? Absolutely NOT! While I'm not aware of any health issues with leaving it in your attic,  adding additional insulation over the vermiculite will stir it up and it could get dusty in the attic. So, if you are going to additional insulation I would definitely hire a professional for this one. I know, this isn't what you wanted to hear since this is a do it yourself website but not in this case. Good luck with your project. 

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