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Rotting Attic Insulation? What This Really Means, How This Happens, And What To Do Next

by Sheila Vasquez

Let it be said; rotting insulation is nearly impossible. In fact, unless you have insulation that is over seventy years old, there is no way for insulation to rot. It is made of spun sand and bits of glass, which do not rot. However, there are other things that can happen around the insulation to make it appear rotten. If you spot rot in some of your attic insulation, here is what this means, how it happens, and what to do next:

The Paper Backing Is Touching Mold 

More often than not, the insulation is soaked. The paper backing on rolled insulation has come into contact with a lot of moisture and is unable to "breathe" such that mold and mildew are trapped. The mold and mildew are growing rapidly along the wood beams in your attic and is adhering to the paper backing of the insulation as it goes. Hence, the insulation itself is not rotting but is close to the sources of rot underneath.

The Roof Is Leaking

There are no two ways about this; your roof is leaking. Excess moisture in the attic always means that the roof is leaking. Short of having plumbing travel up through the attic (which is highly unusual), you have some major gaps in the roof that are allowing rainwater and melted snow and ice drip right into the attic. Repairing the roof right away will stop the source of moisture, but you will still have to deal with the insulation and the mold and mildew in the attic.

Repair the Roof, Remove the Wet Insulation, and Mold Remediation

After you have repaired the leaking roof, you will need to remove the wet insulation. This is doubly dangerous as the wet fiberglass fibers can stick to you and separate as you pull it out and the mold can make you sick. It is best to leave this job up to a mold remediation crew. They will pull out all of the wet insulation, address the mold and mildew, dry out the attic, and then you can install fresh insulation. You will have to hire an insulation contractor for this part unless the mold remediation crew has an insulation contractor on hand.

Install Better Ventilation

At this time, you should also consider installing better attic ventilation. Better ventilation can help keep the insulation in the attic dry. Then you will not have to contend with this process again for a very long time. 

Contact a company like Insulation Pro's for more information and assistance.