Removing Old Insulation Requires Caution and Attention.
May 20, 2015
During a renovation or retrofit, the removal of existing insulation may be necessary, and may be recommended by a contractor. And although it's possible for some insulation products to be installed over the existing insulation, the best project results are attained when old insulation is removed entirely. Insulation removal, particularly when it comes to the attic area, will require care and caution. It's simply a matter of health and safety, especially if dealing with insulation that's considered hazardous. It doesn't pay to cut corners here, and things could get risky. Today, the local home improvement center offers a host of products and tools for the removal of old insulation. But industry experts generally agree that insulation removal is best left to the experts. The project itself looks pretty straightforward, and the average DIY fan might consider this to be a quick weekend endeavor. But the truth is, the professional with experience and expertise is best suited to do the job right, the first time. In fact, insulation removal may well be part of a complete installation bundle that includes both removal and installation in one price. Even for the homeowner with basic DIY experience, removing insulation could be risky. There may be dangerous materials present from insulation products now considered harmful. There may be mold deposits that could be hazardous if disturbed. And worst of all, there could be leftover asbestos or vermiculite from a previous install. Why take any chances? The experts have the right kind of tools and equipment, and of course, the right kind of safety gear. For that matter, if a contractor comes in with a "low-ball" price estimate, it's also reason to be cautious. A good, reliable insulation contractor will let the customer know if removal is even necessary. The existing insulation may be fine, but just installed poorly. There may be a leak in the roof, and only one part of the insulation is damaged. Or, the insulation might be in good condition overall, and only needs some upgrading. A professional contractor will evaluate the situation as a whole, and consider the best interests of their customer. More importantly, a professional will help the customer understand that insulation removal/re-installation is a combined effort. Doing the job right the first time is about a comprehensive approach to insulation. If required, it involves removing ALL of the old insulation. It may also involve installing a brand new vapor barrier. And it could well involve removing old wiring or cables. Finally, it could involve the installation of new air-vents, especially in the attic. Clearly, a comprehensive approach is best - with appropriate sealing, ventilation, and re-insulation. In combination, all three contribute for the best possible results. There's really no substitute for doing it right. In general, it's up to the homeowner to make the right decisions about insulation removal. And while there are definite cost savings with a do-it-yourself approach, there are more reasons to go with the professional route, than not.