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Sand-like stuff inside walls....?


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Southwest Oklahoma 1960s house.

Doing some work on this house and discovered some weird sand coming out of some of the walls. At first I was thinking some sort of insulation, but upon a few Internet searches, I'm now leaning toward something a pest left behind/caused.

The sand is greyish as a whole, very very lightweight, and has some gold specks in it, too.

The house has about four inches of faced fiberglass batting insulation in the attic and none whatsoever in the walls.

Attached are some pictures. I'm hoping that I'm not horrified when ya'll tell me what it is and that I've been touching it bare handed. lol

Thanks!

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We need to analyse the particles.

Carpenter ants push frass out of their nest. That would be building material and skeletons. There would be ant skeleton parts in the debris.

Look up, waay up, for where the debris is coming from, the floor above? What is grey up there? Vermiculite insulation, maybe.

Since you are out on the prairie it could be real sand, blown into the house every time there's a dust storm. But lightweight and grey with gold sounds like vermicky.

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If you have fire ants out that way, they are known to use the walls of a house for warmth. They are not destructive, they just like to bring sand/soil from the outside in with them. If it were fire ants, you should see mounds close to the foundation and tunnels from the mound up the fuondation under the siding, or you might see the mounds right up against the house.

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It indeed looks like finely ground vermiculite doing an Internet image search.

I'll have to look up in the wall cavity and see what I can see. The wall is an outside wall in the kitchen. Single story. I should mention, though, that this part of the kitchen was added on at an unknown time.

We certainly have wind and dust. However, this doesn't look like our normal Oklahoma dust. Our dust is much more red. On the 40 MPH wind days in the summer, the sky is brown. Just like the Dust Bowl in the history books! Luckily for us, we have much more concrete than we did back then, so the dust isn't as bad. Haha

We also have fire ants, but I haven't noticed any signs of them on the 4.75 acres that I own. However, this place has been around a long time and has been surrounded by open Indian land for (100s?) of years, so it doesn't mean that there weren't fire ants before! But, this stuff seems too consistent - man made. I think if it were indeed critter caused that it would have more dirt and other particles, too.

I'm feeling confident that it's vermiculite. Insulation was my very first guess when it came pouring out of the wall. Haha But it was just a very strange sight. Guess I'll let it all flow out since I'll be dense packing cellulose in all the wall cavities sometime soon.

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It indeed looks like finely ground vermiculite doing an Internet image search.

I'm feeling confident that it's vermiculite. Insulation was my very first guess when it came pouring out of the wall. Haha But it was just a very strange sight. Guess I'll let it all flow out since I'll be dense packing cellulose in all the wall cavities sometime soon.

I think Bill is right, manmade product.

What ever you do keep the powder from fluffing up as dust. You should get a professional team in there to put up plastic curtains and then carefully bag the wetted down vermiculite. It is a Haz Mat job.

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