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What is this insulation?


Terence McCann
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Perlite comes from a volcanic glass/rock. It's heated, pops like popcorn, puffs up with little tiny air bubbles and turns white.

For insulation, it's usually used as loose fill in hollow masonry units. It's also added to concrete for a lighter, more fire resistant mix (IE: cast-in-place flue liners).

No health risks.

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I did a bit of googling myself as I'm also not familiar with the stuff. As far as health goes, at worst it seems to be an irritant. See...

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0491.html

http://cameochemicals.noaa.gov/chemical/25051#section2

http://www.schundler.com/perlitehealth.htm

The last seems to come from the perlite industry, but there's nothing in it that appears to be contradicted by the others. In short...it isn't another "asbestos" but it would still be wise to wear a dust mask in the attic.

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It is also used in BUR, CTP & Mod Bit roofing systems as an overlay board over existing roof systems, wood decks and iscocyanurate insulation board.

It is pressed into 1/2" or 3/4" (typically) and comes in 2' x 4' sheets. It is brown and does not hold up well when it gets wet. They also make tapered roof systems from it.

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When I first looked at the material I thought it was Perlite. But, I have never seen Perlite brand look like this and I have never seen it "turn to powder". Guess I have seen it a few hundred times and used it in block, ceiling covering, attic and wall insulation, vegetable garden, etc.

This photo has very inconsistent granules and does not seem to level itself like Perlite does.

I'm going to have to stay neutral on this one. It may just be a residue from expanded styrofoam that was used for insulation.

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Well,

For one thing, even tho all the experts say Perlite is not a brand, it is a "brand" in many instances. I just aquired two new bags a couple of weeks ago from an attic and they were clearly labeled Perlite. I just don't recall ever seeing perlite turn to dust as you indicate.

"Polarfoam" was another product that could be poured in cmus.

Only thing I would be concerned about is the dust created and flame spread, if any.

I will try to find the bags I brought to the shop and photograph them. Wish me luck as this is the month I usually dung out the barn and send treasures around the world to bigger pack rats that me!

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