02-29-2012 10:54 PM
I've worked on several older homes dating back to the 1895 era but I'm now in the middle of the oldest one I've done yet.It was built in 1872.The house is a Federal style I believe but I'm not sure what really defines it as one,I'm not an architecture history buff. Anyway, we have to repair the plaster walls with the real stuff because the walls,all of them,interior too, are all brick.The plaster was veneered over the brick and then multiple layers of wall paper.I don't mind that stuff simply because it is an opportunity to improve my skills along with my guys.
While looking into doing some repairs on the roof deck I noticed there appeared to be a deep layer of sawdust in the attic.I've seen a lot of different types of insulation in the houses I've done,mostly vermiculite and some asbestos pellet type stuff along with others,but never this stuff.I'm curious if anyone thinks this may be asbestos impregnated or the actual product itself.Fortunately we are not doing any work in the attic area so our exposure is literally none but I do have to have one of my guys go up and re-arrange the fiberglass batts.I don't have a testing agency or company in the area this house is built in so I'm not sure what my options are.Any suggestions?
02-29-2012 11:50 PM
could it be ground cork???
burn a little tint piece...
the order may help identify...
see if either of these sites will help..
03-01-2012 10:57 PM
Never thought about cork.It is the right color for it,and it is a dry spongy texture as well. I may try to burn a bit of it just to see what becomes of it but to be honest,I wouldn't know what cork smells like if burnt.
This house is turning out to be a job I love doing.It still has solid bones and a few minor structural issues but for the most part,I would have bought it. I am really concerned about the potential of asbestos though.However,we have not found any significant signs of it yet but we are just scratching the surface in some areas. I don't have much to do in the attic so I am probably being overly cautious about it.
03-03-2012 02:56 PM
Nope,not cork.It is sawdust for sure. I have never seen this before and was very puzzled by it. The house is 140yrs old and is in pretty good shape,and we have not found any asbestos elswhere.We have not found any lead paint either so it makes me wonder if all the hazardous stuff was removed.
No, there is no termites.LOL Thanks for the hex though.I haven't gotten to the outside repairs yet!
03-03-2012 05:20 PM
at one time there must have been a mill nearby...
saw dust would have been a free comodity at one time...
other than the fire hazard....
03-03-2012 06:09 PM
I wonder how good an insulator saw dust would make? Seams to me it would pack too tightly. Although if it was free, it would be better than nothing.
03-05-2012 12:58 PM
I sure would like to look around an old house like that.
Fought an attic fire many years ago. They had used sawdust for insulation in the celling. NOT A GOOD IDEA. If my memory is doing right, the fire started at the light on the front porch probably form the heat of the light. The sawdust had proberly smoldered for several days. The people there had been out of town a couple of days but had noticed a smoke odor but thought it was probably some in the area doing some burning. (Rural area when they would pile and burn whenever they wanted. The paint on the lliving room ceiling was scorched for several feet into the living room from the heat. A couple of us were inside and when we began to pull the ceiling down, wads of sawdust glowing cherry red when the air hit it fell like flaming balls to the floor.
Saw dust for insulation NOT A GOOD IDEA.
03-05-2012 10:29 PM
I am actually interested in the history of it now.I have worked on quite a few old houses in our area,some dating to the 1880's but I have never seen this before.One thing that is common is vermiculite and rock wool as well as old newspapers,rags and I have seen one with a layer of old burlap potato sacks in the attic. There are still a few old timers in the town and I'm not afraid to ask around.Thats one of the great things about a small town in Iowa,most everyone is friendly.
03-09-2012 06:35 AM
I seem to remember some history that back in the day before the frig, they (whoever "they" are) would cut cut large ice blocks from the rivers/ponds/whatever in the winter, and them store them under sawdust to keep for as long as possible....I suspect it's a pretty fair insulator.