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White powder insulation - What is it?


Erby
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From a friend:

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"I found this stuff in the attic of a 75+ year old home in Louisville today. There was multiple types of insulation in the attic. This stuff looked like and was the same size of Styrofoam beads. But when I pinched a bead of the stuff it easily turned to power. It was the consistence of talcum power."

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Perlite doesn't turn to powder in my experience. Any other ideas?

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Looks like Perlite to me, as well. We used to use it as core-fill (insulation and sound dampening) in masonry walls for school gymnasiums, classrooms, etc. The tiniest hole in the wall down near the bottom, permits that stuff to sift out just like a sand clock until the core was empty. It made doing such things as installing an electrical box after construction a real pain.

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Looks like Perlite to me, as well. We used to use it as core-fill (insulation and sound dampening) in masonry walls for school gymnasiums, classrooms, etc. The tiniest hole in the wall down near the bottom, permits that stuff to sift out just like a sand clock until the core was empty. It made doing such things as installing an electrical box after construction a real pain.

Mike, was zonolite any easier to work with?

Marc

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Looks like Perlite to me, as well. We used to use it as core-fill (insulation and sound dampening) in masonry walls for school gymnasiums, classrooms, etc. The tiniest hole in the wall down near the bottom, permits that stuff to sift out just like a sand clock until the core was empty. It made doing such things as installing an electrical box after construction a real pain.

Mike, was zonolite any easier to work with?

Marc

That name doesn't ring a bell. It was always Perlite and Vermiculite that was called for on these government jobs. As you probably know, architects tend to spec products based upon which building product sales reps have been calling on them to keep a product in the forefront (at least that's how it used to be anyway).

That insulation deal sometimes became a big problem, though, because schools, jails, and a lot of commercial buildings all had the electric within the masonry. Sometimes we'd be ready to roll in the morning on a wall and the electrician wouldn't show up to install conduit and boxes ahead or along with us. In such cases we found ourselves with a field cost of about $2.50 a minute. We'd usually give the electrician about en minutes max and then raise the cotton - shame on him. Our only alternative was to knock the crew off and send them home. So, that electrician had to deal with added expenses to re-insulated the affected cores and some masonry patching. Fun times...

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  • 6 months later...

Just a guess, was there any moisture issues in the atic, or signs of moisture (mold, etc..).

Could be a desiccant to soak up moisture?

OK, so you spread the desiccant out in the attic, and it soaks up all the moisture. Then what? You leave it up there, like John's boxes of kitty litter?

I've used kitty litter to clean up spilled fuel oil, but part of the process is shoveling it into bags and hauling it out.

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