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Vermiculite Insulation

       With Easter behind us, so marks the beginning of spring and the rebirth that sprouts all around us. We begin to clean up yards, trim the shrubs and plan projects we’ve been dreaming about for far to long because this year, IS the year we are going to make those dreams a reality. Maybe you’ve been thinking some pot-lights to bring light into those dark spaces or one of those moon lights in the hall. Could this year be the year you decide to take on those winter chills and re-insulate the attic? Or just maybe, this is the year to sell the homestead and find that next piece of paradise.

      So comes the time to call in your favourite family contractor to help with the planning of your renovation or you’ve just found the home of your dreams and are awash with plans to make it your very own, you just need your Home Inspector to take a boo before purchase. But as soon as they pop their heads up in the attic, BOOOM THERE IT IS, the dreaded vermiculite!!!

      Rest ASSURED, we can help… Vermiculite insulation is very common out there, especially in older 50’s-60’s homes as the government gave incentives back then (much like we see today) to install a more energy and cost-efficient insulation to keep us all toasty warm and use less oil. Remember, we didn’t have all the pipelines or logistics we have now and folks were more spread apart, so it was maybe less about environment and more about supply to reduce usage but none the less, the need to better insulate homes was there. Afterall, many homes had no insulation, used newspaper, horsehair and even sawdust…  

      What wasn’t known was that the dastardly mining company in Libby, Montana knowingly mined through veins of Actinolite and Tremolite asbestos (particularly nasty stuff) to get the vermiculite and they kept it hush-hush (cue evil music). This has caused a huge ripple effect from the whole town being declared an “Environmental Super Site” by the EPA to an untold number of homes/businesses having this cross-contaminated material installed in them.  Now in true government fashion, they gave incentives to put it in, but you’re on your own to get it out. On top of that, all vermiculite is deemed by WorkSafeBC to contain asbestos unless proven otherwise by methods acceptable to the Board as per OSHR 20.112 of the regulation. The method is very different to rule out asbestos in vermiculite than other materials and extremely expensive and in my 25 years experience, I’ve only ever seen two cases where properly sampled vermiculite was deemed safe and that’s because the vermiculite came from a South African mine, not Montana.

      There are a few ways of dealing with vermiculite, one of which is to do nothing because if you NEVER disturb it, its safe (Until a roof leak or something else damages your ceiling or you want to use the space for storage). BUT, if you want to renovate or increase your insulation its going to have to come out as its unsafe to work around or cover it with new insulation as it sits. As stated, there are different ways to remediate this issue and with a thorough inspection by a “qualified remediator”, options meeting your needs should be able to be put forth. This is where we step in…

      Assured Industries will come to your home and discuss your plans or goals and in combination with a thorough inspection, develop a plan to meet your needs. We will spend all the time you need helping you with information, accurate/firm pricing and explanations of what the process is going to look like. In many cases, there’s little disruption to your lives and you don’t even have to move out of the home during the removal if our activities are limited to the attic because our methods often follow the latest thinking and technologies.

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