Saturday, December 21, 2013

V is for Vermiculite

One may say I'm particular even fastidious, or picky. I just like things done right and preferably up to code. Well, I made the mistake of trying to brush off the bathroom exhaust vent and it started to pop out and re-pop out. Each time it did little flakes of what looked like mica fell out too. I wasn't sure what it was and though it was something to do with the sheet rock. Now I'm watching "Holmes Makes it Right" and they are redoing the insulation in a porch roof and he found vermiculite, which looks like mica, turns out it's an old form of insulation which, yay, contains asbestos. So I'm really excited about how much more of that is up there. You know, I paid a lot for the home inspector that came out, with all his glowing reviews. His first mistake, he didn't bring the radon test I requested. And even said it wasn't worth his time to come back with one another day. He also missed a lot of big issues, like the leaking toilet, the broken and no conforming washer drain, the wasp nest in the chimney, the nails sticking through the shingles and the roof boards and into the attic, the loose un-boxed wiring in the attic, the mis-matched note up to code circuit breakers, oh yeah, and the vermiculite. The realtor was right, why pay more for an inspector, they apparently miss the big things. This guy was supposedly an air force mechanic. Sure.
So what is vermiculite?
Vermiculite is a mica like mineral that puffs up like popcorn when heated. It was used in homes as insulation between 1920-1990. Most of the vermiculite insulation came from a mine in Libby, Montana which contained a significant amount of asbestos contamination. If you find vermiculite in your home, it's very likely that it came from the Libby mine and it's probably contaminated with asbestos. About 80% of all vermiculite insulation produced between 1920-1990 came from Libby, MT. 
So now what to do? There's no reliable testing methods, so you're best to just assume that it is contaminated and do the following:
Limit trips to the attic, stay off the insulation, and try not to store anything up there.
So now my attic is a useless toxic waste zone?
Where a properly fitted mask rated for asbestos if entering the attic.
Seriously? I've already been up there and the stuff is falling into my bathroom!
Seal around penetrations in your ceiling such as attic the attic hatch, cracks, holes, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and heating vents.
Well this is getting funner by the minute.
If planned remodeling will disturb the vermiculite, have it removed by a trained , certified, and properly trained asbestos abatement contractors.
Should this have been on the disclosure? Can I sue my home inspector?
If the vermiculite has been disturbed, have an accredited asbestos testing firm come and test the air for asbestos fibers.
I'm sure the bathroom exhaust is blowing it all around.
So this concerns me. We have a goofy bathroom exhaust situation. It basically just blows in the attic and directly onto the cellulose insulation. So all that stuff in the attic is just blowing around every time we turn the exhaust fan on. No that vermiculite has fallen out of the celling when I was cleaning around the exhaust fan, I'm worried about how much is up there, and how much is being "disturbed". I'm feeling disturbed to tell you the truth. There was a lot of incorrect information on the disclosure from the owner, and a lot of stuff left off the disclosure that the home inspector missed. Is there any sort of remediation, financially, or legally for this? Or with homes, is there no legal recourse? Next stop, Legal Zoom. 

I guess the insulation in the attic was previously vermiculite until they replaced it with the annoying, every falling out of the attic, cellulose. At least cellulose has a good R value and no asbestos.
While cellulose, when installed correctly, does offer superior insulation options. I question if the guy installed his right. It's not in a smooth consistent layer, it's in lumpy piles, and the roof above the front porch, which has a gable that opens into the attic, isn't insolated at all. I'm not sure if that matters, since cold air falls.

So everyday it's something, isn't it. More than I had anticipated. I wonder, a lot, if we should just sell, before we find more things. Plus, to be honest, this house is really damn small. A good agent, which I question ours, wouldn't push a tiny house on a family of 3. It's 2 bedrooms, one tiny bath, and 1082 soft. Most of the time I'm about to start screaming from the noise. And ever since we moved in my daughter has been acting really weird. Making a lot of weird noises, stumbling around, whining, crying, unhappy, bored. 10 acres to run on and she's bored. I'm am too. It's like she's having a nervous break down, and the wood floors and small rooms only amplifies the noise. I can't send her outside because people come down the road at 55mph even though we are 100 feet from the stop sign, there are fire ant beds, a gully, and probably snakes. I guess I'm not in Wisconsin any more. What the hell am I doing here anyway?
But I'll try not to complain. Too much
But let's he

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