A guide to proper insulation removal


Many homeowners do not know if they should remove the old insulation from their attic or ceiling when they decide to install a new one, because they do not have the required knowledge in this area. Specialists recommend removing the old insulation from your house only if it was water damaged, fire damaged or heavily infested with any rodents. Depending on the area where you are living, your house might already feature insulation. For example, in Canada the majority of properties have the attics already insulated, and when asking a professional company to come and add a new one, they prefer to leave the old one in place, in case it is not damaged. Even if the existing coat is filled with roofing debris, it is dusty, and it might even look tattered, the old material does not contain asbestos or anything similar that would affect the functionality of the new insulation. Once the new material would be installed over it, the old one would serve as a base layer.

Specialists recommend asbestos testing

In case you decide to do the removal by yourself, it is advisable to test it, to check if it contains asbestos. A professional company would include the testing in their services, so if you know that your property was built between 1930 and 1950, or the house was insulated during this period, then it might contain asbestos and you have to check it. You would need to purchase a home testing kit from a specialised store, and follow exactly the manufacturer’s instructions, to be sure that you test the insulation in safety conditions. In case the result is positive, and you have asbestos in your attic or ceiling insulation, then you should contact a professional company, and ask them to remove it for you, because it requires professional techniques. In the majority of cases, the insulation sprayed onto the chimneys or old attic stove pipes contains asbestos. Also, specialists state that some old types of vermiculite might also include it, but you should not remove the material before testing it. If you do not want to do the test by yourself, you should contact an asbestos remediation expert or the local health department and ask them to send a professional to do it.

Consider spot removal

In the majority of cases the insulation you have on your ceiling or attic does not contain asbestos, and you do not have to remove it entirely. Experts state that a common case is when they have to remove the insulation because it is infested with rodents. In case your house has this issue, you have the possibility to save a lot of money, because you do not have to remove all the insulation, before installing the new one. In the majority of cases rodents appear in some spots as around the furnace, so if you contact a professional company they would recommend opting for spot removal insulation. This process implies the removal of the debris and insulation only from some particular areas, where rodents are present. You do not have to remove the entire material, just because a small part of it is affected. Remove the infested area and leave the professionals to do  their job. They would add more insulation in that specific part of the ceiling or attic, to bring the entire space to R-30 or R-38. Actually this is the case for many of the insulation removal cases in Toronto and the surrounding areas.

How to remove batt insulation

When it comes to batt insulation, you should have no difficulties if you choose to remove it before installing the new one. It is easier to roll it up, place it in large plastic bags and remove it from your attic. Specialists state that this batt insulation is simple to remove, but if you do not have experience, you should not try to do it by yourself, because it might contain fiberglass that could irritate and scratch your skin. In case you decide to do it, it is advisable to wear a respiratory mask, gloves, a disposable protective suit and goggles to protect yourself.

Fiber insulation? Pros should handle it

In case you have a house with an attic that contains roof trusses and not roof rafters then the standard procedure is to blow fiber insulation. The same applies when you have a house that has an attic with low pitches, so if you intend to remove the fiber insulation, it is advisable to leave it to pros. Actually the majority of homeowners prefer to do it, and you should follow their example. A professional contractor has a special vacuum system which they use to suck out the old fiber from your attic. In case you are interested in finding the price you would have to pay for these services, it depends on the contractor; some of them charge by the square foot, others might have other types of fees.

Important considerations when removing the old insulation

When you use the vacuum to remove the insulation you have to find a way to maneuver it in safety conditions. It is advisable to create a path by sucking up the insulation, and gradually reach the crevices and corners of the space. You have to be careful while you remove the old insulation and in case you misplace your feet, or you do not handle the vacuum properly, you would damage it and you would have to spend a lot of money on repairs. When you empty the container of the vacuum, make sure to place the material into trash bags that could be well sealed, because you have to avoid the situation of having the insulation float around your house. When you want to dispose it, you have to make sure that you take it to a trash centre, which is certified to handle it. Ask the contractor’s advice in this situation, to see if they could recommend one, and what technique you should use to remove it.