When Do I Need To Remove Attic Insulation

Here are a few signs:

• After fire / Water damage
• There is untreatable mold on your attic insulation
• You had a substantial animal infestation from mice, squirrels, chipmunks or raccoons
attic foam insulation

You May Not Need Attic Insulation Removal Services If The Following Applies

• If your insulation wasn’t severely damaged by water, depending on the type of insulation, in can actually dry out, because of the heat loss in winter or heat gain in summer, and insulation removal is not necessary.
• If you have mold in the attic, it is possible for your existing attic insulation to remain in the house as long as there are no signs of mold growth on the insulation and the insulation is treated at the same time as the rest of the attic to kill all the mold spores and prevent it from regrowing.

Existing insulation can remain and benefit your retrofit attic upgrades in 4 ways:
• Increased R Value
• Decreased Removal Costs
• Decreased Labor And Material Costs
• Less Landfill
attic insulation
attic foam insulation

Insulation That Has Settled

You may be wondering if you need to replace insulation that has settled. Even if your existing insulation has settled, you can leave it in place and simply have insulation added on top of it (as long as it does not have any of the previously mentioned deficiencies). Insulation that has settled still has thermal resistive properties that add to the overall R-value once new insulation is added.

By leaving the old insulation intact, you are also leaving the original vapor barrier intact, as long as it was installed properly during the original installation. However, air sealing the attic floor with fireproof foam will need to be done before new the insulation is installed to increase efficiency and prevent moisture from inside the house.

Vapor Barrier

If you have fiberglass batts in your attic, there is a good chance there is already a vapor barrier, as most of these batts have a thick piece of heavy-duty paper on one side, specifically designed to act as the vapor barrier.

For blown-in fiberglass insulation, you should see a plastic membrane or other vapor impermeable material installed to help stop the exposure of moisture to your insulation. Moisture will reduce the R-value (a measure of thermal resistance) of your insulation over time. This is another reason it is important to have a professional inspect your attic to ensure your vapor barrier is not damaged or missing.

When using blown-in cellulose insulation, a vapor barrier is not needed as it acts as a natural vapor barrier and will restrict the flow of vapor in the attic. It is always important to make sure the attic is properly ventilated to decrease moisture build-up. In some cases, it may be necessary to add supplemental ventilation in the form of an attic vent/fan.
Male preraring project for insulation
For new construction and situations where insulation needs to be removed, a professional should air seal with fireproofing foam at all of the gaps in between the drywall and the framing members in the attic. After the gaps are sealed, they will install the baffle for proper ventilation and install up to 16-18 inches of cellulose to get an initial R-value of R60.

All insulation will settle, so an experienced professional will know to compensate for the settling by installing an extra 2 inches of cellulose insulation. Extra insulation will also be valuable in any future work that needs to be done in the attic as it can be disbursed to the areas that are worked on.

Vermiculite Insulation Removal

To choose the best type of insulation, you should first determine the following:
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Found in residential homes vermiculite insulation was a popular material in the 1950’s, and continued with the energy crisis into the late 1970’s.

Per Carson Dunlop Home Inspection the following is stated.

• What Is The Problem?
• What Is The Risk?
• Recommendations
attic insulation
What Type Of Insulation Should You Use After Insulation Removal? Add Blown-In Insulation Will Be The Best Choice
Blown-in insulation is a great option as it covers the area more effectively than bat fiberglass. A professional will blow in the material through a 3-inch hose and completely cover the attic floor, encapsulating the ceiling joists. This is important because wood has a low R-value, meaning it transfers heat very easily. By encapsulating the floor joist with insulation, thermal bridging (the transfer of heat) is eliminated making the insulation more effective.

The most common types of blown-in insulation are fiberglass and cellulose. Cellulose is a great alternative to blown-in fiberglass insulation because it is healthier, eco-friendly, and will resist mold growth while having similar, if not greater thermal resistive properties (higher R-value) than blown-in fiberglass insulation.
attic insulation
Cellulose insulation is also a natural vapor barrier and will save you on the additional expense of removing insulation. Blow-in fiberglass is made out of rigid fibers and doesn’t stop the moisture or air leaks. Blow-in fiberglass also requires a continuous moisture barrier.
attic insulation
Spray Foam Removal
Although spray foam insulation is popular and applicable in many situations (such as commercial metal roofs), there can be serious problems if it is not applied properly. Even when it is applied properly, there are many situations where spray foam is not the most appropriate product to be used on the attic rafters. Many spray applied foam insulations pose fire hazards and make it hard to identify roof leaks since spray foam is applied to the underside of the roof decking.

If your foam insulation in the attic smells bad, it may have been applied at the wrong temperature, installed too thick, or not applied properly at the time of installation. Another cause for complications with spray foam in the attic is roof leaks. Spray foam insulation can cause the water to be trapped between the foam and the roof decking, creating a potential for the roof decking material to rot. It is imperative to have it removed and replaced if there has been water damage.
Attic floor foam insulation

Conclusion

Thanks for reading, we hope this helped to answer your questions regarding if you need to remove your existing attic insulation before adding new insulation.

Properly installed insulation is one of the many factors in maintaining healthy air quality, comfortable solar power ventilated, energy-efficient home. If you are having comfortability issues and high energy bills, it may be time to call a professional to assess your attic space.

Contact us today for a complimentary consultation on our expert Insulation Removal services.
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