Black Insulation??

House is about 40 years old. The insulation is black. Is this common in a home of this age? The insulation appeared to be fiberglass. Any help would be appreciated.

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posible moisture issues and mold.? or maybe a leaky chimney? or both.

the majority of the attic insulation looked like this. I really dont know what to think. How would you wright this up?

Jelly-Bolt…where you been dude? Haven’t seen you around the new board much. Did you peel back any of the insulation to see if it was that color all the way thru? I’m not sure there’s really anything wrong there. Any chance of getting a sample to take by an insulation installer to get an opinion? The older style rock-wool insulation could be pretty dark but not usually that dark I don’t think. Any unusual odor?

the insulation on the right looks realy realy thin. almost as if all the pink stuff was gone, and all we see is the vapor barier.

Micheal, good to hear from you. Im back to school and been hanging low. Did the older style rock wool have a vapor barier attached to it? This insulation looked like regular rolled insulation with vapor barier but its black instead of pink.

Jay, The picture on the right is the vapor barrier. Its the backside of the first picture. No pink insulation but this insulation did have a vapor a barier just like the pink stuff. I have attached some extra pics.

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I don’t know where the house is located but it could be a lot of air is moving through the attic from outside depositing airborne dirt. Is the house in a high traffic area or commercial area? Raymond Wand Alton, ON

Jelly, (Where did you get that name?)

Looking at the very first pic that you posted, it appears to be a Rock wool insulation. I see small blotches of gray insulation throughout the blanket, which indicates that this insulation is black coated due to serious venting issues within the attic. The Black color is not the color of the insulation.

The last pic you posted is loose fill Rock Wool, so I’d imagine that the blanket material (in question) is the same. Can’t tell without touching it.

Raymond, no the house is in a neighberhood with very low traffic. Of course its 40+ years and whow nows what happened back that far.
DAvid, Venting problems could be possibly the issue. The home is 2200 square foot with with only two roatating vents (turbine style) on top of the roof and some limited soffit vents.
Rotating fan is good for how many square foot of ventilation?

Those rotating fans are garbage.

Recommend upgrading ventilation in attic.

I just came up with that nickname from his NACHI user name, I’m sure he doesn’t want it to stick. :slight_smile:
James, I’m really pretty sure there is nothing at all wrong with that insulation. After seeing the other pictures I’m also sure I’ve seen similar installations and have not commented on them. It’s a great question and I’m interested in hearing some other inputs. Regardless of the methods you need 1sf of ventilation for each 150 sf of attic space but that can be reduced to 1sf per 300 with the proper spacing of the vents. In any case, I don’t think that’s a problem with your scenario.

:slight_smile: :slight_smile:

**The only time I have ever seen something close to this was in the early 60’s, and in a Mill Town of Madawaska, Maine or any other Mill Town in the State. **

**Because of what Mills were using for fuel, whether coal, #6 oil, the pollution rate at the time created black soote that entered the walls, attics, and pretty much any area in a home. **

**I have seen insullation at that time that had double kraft face with the pink insulation inbetween. In any case, the insulation looked black as your pictures. **

**Hope this helps. **

**Marcel :stuck_out_tongue: :slight_smile: **

They work very, very well here.

When I moved in here four years ago, my neighbor’s house looked like it had a brand new roof. However, last year I pointed out to them that the roof looked like it was burning up compared to three years previous. We got up in the attic and only found working soffit and gable vents. On that day, the temperature was 143°F.

He had his roof replaced last July and had four turbine vents installed. He says his attic now is never hotter than 120°F, and he got that on a Santa Ana day when we were setting all sorts of high temperatures out here in East County. For several days that week, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, La Mesa, and El Cajon had the high temperatures in the nation.

I’ve always been impressed with the ease of installation and function of turbine vents.

I had a house a couple of years ago where the attic insulation looked similar to that in the pictures. My Clients asked about it because they had never seen black fiberglass insulation. I told them that I didn’t know why it was black, but I guessed at old and dirty with possibly some heat damage from the hot attic and the furnace that was in the attic.

Since the seller was there, I asked if I could take a small sample. I took it to a nearby HVAC and he said that it probably was from a house built in the 1960s or early 1970s and that it was simply a type of insulation that was known to turn black with age and heat exposure. He didn’t blame it on dirt because the black was consistent throughout exposure, which dirt typically won’t do all by itself (think of the walls near the vent registers in some rooms you’ve inspected). To the best of his knowledge, no one knew why.

You’ll probably notice that it was consistently black where it had been exposed, and if you dug into it, you would find pinker insulation.

I think the problematic “owl flex” on air ducts is from the same time period.

It looks like a Rock wool insulation that has been darkened due to a venting issue. Looks like light staining in the wall cavity, as though condensation was /is an issue. I’ve seen this with whole house fans as well.

Agree with David, looks like additional venting needed. Looks like an early 60’s build. Have the windows been upgraded? Bath fan been added but not vented properly? Where are you located? (climate)

Adam, A Plus

How about exhaust duct for the range hood? I would imagine that could affect attic conditions. I was not able to trace bathroom exhaust vents to the exterior due to lack of cleareance.

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Sorry, same post twice.

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The house we just sold had that **** all through the attic. When I gutted the upstairs, I had a heck of a time getting rid of the fibres. Even wearing a good mask, my nose was still filled with black.
Our house was about 80 years old and the only insulation was black rockwool, and only in the attic space. No ventilation. Talk about ice damming!
Back to the rock wool, some had paper backing, some didn’t. Looked the same as the pictures posted.

Now I’m seeing pink (what appears to be fiberglass) insulation in spots throughout, in the most recent pics.

I can also see that the eave area is full of insulation, which tells me that the limited soffits may be covered.

Those last 2 pics are definatly pink insulation with some sort of sout or what ever. it’s actualy blown in just like celulios but it’s shredded fiberglass. the first 2 pics looked like a totaly different type all together. but still blackened. kinda odd.