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Basement insulation

thebookman | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I friend just bought a house and the insulation in the basement ceiling has been stapled in place with the paper facing the basement.  Slicing it is about worthless but is it best to tear it all out and put in unfaced. He was really concerned about that way seeing the insulation would be exposed and those fibers would be floating continuously in the air and you would inhale it. Are there several options or just one

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  1. MattJF | | #1

    The kraft paper is unlikely to be a moisture problem.

    It is potentially a fire hazard though. The kraft paper is supposed be covered by the fiberglass insulation or something like drywall or to reduce fire risk.

    A drop ceiling might be a reasonable option if they plan on heading that direction anyways.

    You can also separate the kraft paper from the batt and stuff the batt back up with wires as needed. It is a bit messy that way.

    The other option would be insulate the walls and maybe the floor and pull all the batts. This would be a better option than replacing the batts if you have access to reclaimed foam board (check craigslist).

  2. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #2

    A classic case of insulation installed upside down. The facing is supposed to be on the warm side, but in a basement it’s easier to install it backwards and use the facing as an insulation support. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s sagging and has gaps above too.

    You could pull it all out and replace it with unfaced insulation. Mineral wool will usually support itself when pressed into place, but you can get “insulation support wires” to use with fiberglass. The support wires are just stiff pieces of steel wire that can be stuck between joists periodically to keep the insulation in place.

    The insulation fibers will NOT stay suspended in the air forever. They actually settle out fairly quickly. In my own experience, “fairly quickly” is most are gone within 24 hours or so. If you’re concerned, you can rent one of the HEPA filter/blowers like the asbestos abatement crews use. Put this in the space while you’re doing the insulation removal work, and it will filter the air continuously to trap most of the suspended fibers. Let it run a few more days after you’re done to get whatever is left.

    You do definitely want to wear a dust mast while you’re pulling out the old batts, and eye protection too. Personally, I’d wear a full Tyvek suit too to cut down on itchiness later.


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