The thing about old houses is that sometimes they contain hazardous materials. Asbestos, lead, you get the picture. In our case, we had the pleasure of vermiculite insulation. Vermiculite insulation was frequently used in older homes because it was a naturally occurring material and according to Green Building Advisors, “vermiculite is a mineral that when heated, expands like popcorn. It’s lightweight, fire-resistant, and odorless; [and has an R-Value of 2].” What’s not to love, right? Well, the challenge is that it often contains asbestos which is linked to cancer. Bummer. Thankfully, we knew about this issue beforehand and were able to negotiate with the seller and take advantage of some grants available in Massachusetts for vermiculite abatement, so it wasn’t a dollar sign surprise.
While we’re usually happy to take on grunt work ourselves, this was a job better left to the professionals. They completely sealed off the house, making it feel very much like that scene in E.T. but minus all the cops and doctors.
I know that the guys who do this work understand what they’re getting into, but in our case, we think there was a lot more demo involved than they’d originally estimated for. They had to demo ceilings and get into crawl spaces, all while wearing the appropriate protective material. Even though the house is small, it was a pretty gnarly job.
See, I never would have known that proper vermiculite insulation removal requires putting balloons out the window. It would have been amateur hour if I’d done it!
There she is in her plastic glory.
The whole process only took a couple of days, so by the time the weekend rolled around, we were ready for more demolition. Porch demo up next.