Energy Blog

What Does Asbestos Insulation Look Like?

September 11, 2022

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Although most homeowners nowadays are aware of asbestos and the dangers associated with it, that was not always the case, especially before the 1980s. If your residential or commercial property was built during the 20th century, you are at a higher risk for asbestos exposure. Keep reading to learn about what asbestos is, the danger it poses, and the different types of insulation that most commonly contain the harmful substance. 

What is Asbestos Insulation & is it Dangerous?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral. The structure of these fibers are extremely effective at slowing the transfer of heat, which is why it was so commonly used as a home insulator; these fibers are also resistant to electricity and corrosion. However, asbestos is a highly toxic material. 

If you are exposed to asbestos, it can lead to a multitude of health complications and diseases, including cancer. One of the most common dangers of asbestos exposure is a rare and aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma. Other asbestos-related diseases include:

  • Pleural Effusions
  • Pleural Plaques
  • Pleuritis
  • Diffuse Pleural Thickening
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  • Lung Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Laryngeal Cancer

Types of Insulation that Commonly Contains Asbestos

1. Loose-fill Insulation: This type of insulation is most commonly made with asbestos. You can identify this type of insulation by its fluffy consistency and loose, lumpy form. 

2. Vermiculite Insulation: This type of insulation is one of the most common household materials containing asbestos. You can identify it by its pebble-like appearance and its grayish-brown or silvery-gold color.

3. Zonolite Insulation: Until 1990, raw vermiculite that was contaminated with asbestos was taken from a mine in Montana and sold under the brand name ‘Zonolite’ for nearly 70 years. This insulation is most often a gray-brown or silver-gold color, will lay flat against a joist cavity, and has accordion-style texture particles. 

Types of Insulation that are Known to be Safe from Asbestos

1. Cellulose Insulation: This gray, soft, loose-fill insulation is made mostly from recycled paper and contains no minerals. It comes in batt or blanket form and is a completely safe type of insulation.

2. Loose-fill Fiberglass Insulation: This type of insulation is white in color and is a fluffy loose-fill insulation with a small shine. Although fiberglass insulation is known to be free from asbestos, it does contain fine fibers that can irritate that skin and/or cause respiratory irritation. 

3. Rock Wool Insulation: This insulation can be a variety of colors, including dirty white, cream-colored or gray. It is a mineral-based loose-fill insulation and it has a fibrous, soft, cottony texture. Rock wool insulation is known to be free from asbestos. 

Don’t Risk Being Exposed to Asbestos

It can be scary to know that your home might contain a harmful substance like asbestos. At Reeves Insulation, we understand your concern and we are here to help you get rid of any asbestos containing insulation in your residential or commercial property. 

Help eliminate your risk of asbestos exposure. Before you begin any renovation or remodeling project, it is recommended that you have properly trained professionals test the property for asbestos. Our team of experienced professionals is here to help you! Contact Reeves Insulation at 904-288-9913 to schedule your consultation or appointment today.

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Reeves Insulation has been in business, in the Batesville area, for over 30 years offering insulation, replacement windows, air sealing, and weatherization. Owner, Marvin Reeves started in the general contracting industry and his background has transferred over to Insulation and Home Energy Conservation, providing homeowners and businesses energy efficiency services to lower energy bills. Our business is family owned and operated and our goal is to provide you the best job at an affordable cost.