The House

Fiberglass Awareness

A man in a hazmat suit and gas mask standing in front of a white farm house with a stone wrap around porch.

After figuring out that fiberglass was the culprit of my daughter and myself's sickness at the work building, we began to look at our own home and decided to remove it from there as well. We started with the basement and the 40 year old fiberglass in the craw space.

Close up of a light switch that has the cover removed with pink fiberglass insulation showing in the wall.

We also had fiberglass bats behind some of the walls in the newer sections of the house.

Close up of an electrical outlet that has the cover removed showing yellow fiberglass in the wall.

We began to work on the attic and the blown in fiberglass in the floor. However, after my husband removed one floor board and vacuumed out a small section it created an air pocket that opened the spun glass to an air current.

Close up of a seam in a blue painted paneled wall that has a crack where the seam and the white trim meet.

As small as it was, I could feel it coming from these holes in the kitchen where the paneling meets the trim. Along with at the top of the basement steps where the pipes and wires run up to the attic. And in various other places such as the air returns, the vents and coming out of the power outlets and light sockets.

It was enough to, after a week or so, make me walk out of the house one night and not return. The sickness was overwhelming. I could not only feel it, I could smell it.

The first night my husband and I slept in the car with the dogs. Luckily the kids were all off at college. My husband was not able to feel it, but he followed. He was not sure what to think at this point.

I had refused to go back into the house. The next day we set up a tent and slept in it for the next week while we hired an emergency crew to get the fiberglass out of our barn so we could move in there. The barn was a faster and much easier fix than the house. The house was going to take a lot of time.

A blue and gray Coleman tent set up under the roof of a deck. There is a gray American Bully dog sleeping next to the tent.

My husband was still not able to feel it in the air and he continued to go inside the house. He had to take a shower and put on fresh clothes each time, because I could feel it on him and it would make me sick. After about a week he suddenly got sick, too, along with repeated leg cramps. For the first time he could smell it. Not only in the air but coming out of his own skin the same way one can smell the alcohol on a drunk the next day even if they are not currently drinking. He had to stay out of it for about three days before it cleared his body. From that point on he wore a hazmat suit and a gas mask when entering the house.

A person in a black sweatshirt standing in front of a white house that has the siding removed exposing the pink fiberglass insulation. There are tools, wood, a tarp and pieces of the house on the ground all around them.

When the attic was halfway complete we hired a crew to get it out of our walls from the outside to cut back on the contamination inside the home.

A white farm house with the siding removed from part of the house with wood and blue styrafoam showing with tools and construction materials all around the yard.

They removed the siding and all of the layers until they got to the fiberglass bats, removed them, cleaned the spun glass out of the cavity and replaced it with styrofoam.

Close up of a white farm house with some of the siding removed showing the pink fiberglass insulation. There is a person dressed in gray standing in front of it.

We had to make it clear to the contractors that it was important they cleaned out all of the fiberglass, and not just most of it.

A house with the siding and the fiberglass removed showing a clean wall cavity and blue styrafoam on the right.
A white farm house with the siding removed on a large part of the house with Tyvek paper showing on the first floor. Up on the second floor are two people removing pink fiberglass insulation from the walls.
A white house with siding removed showing tyvek paper down low and exposed pink fiberglass upstairs around a window next to lath where the plaster starts. There are two latters leaning against the house.

It didn't take long to figure out the pattern. The fiberglass bats seemed to end where the plaster began. It was generally only where there was drywall along with a few various odd places in the newer additions to the home like the kitchen. The original parts of the old home did not contain fiberglass unless it was added later whenever there was some type of construction.

Under a stone porch of an old white farm house with the siding removed from the left half exposing pink fiberglass insulation with black mold lines in it. There are tools and building materials all over.

The family room walls are drywall on the inside of the house and they were lined with fiberglass insulation. It ends at the door where it switches to plaster going into the living room.

Pink fiberglass insulation on the outside of a house under a porch with black mold and dirt lines in it. There is a window on the right.
Pink fiberglass insulation on the outside of a house under a porch with black mold and dirt lines in it. There is a window on the left. There is a person in a red hat and gray shirt kneeling down in front of the fiberglass.

Notice how the black dirt and mold lines follow the wires. They also followed the seams in the siding showing where air flowed through the fiberglass.

A silver ladder in front of the storm door of a white house under a porch with pink moldy fiberglass off to the left in the wall.
The clean wood walls of the outside of a house after the fiberlgass insulation was removed. There is a double window on the left.

After the fiberglass has been removed and cleaned out we will replace it with styrofoam.

The front of a house with a white door with Tyvek paper on the left and plywood and blue styrafoam on the right. It is under a porch that has a green roof and a stone floor.
A white house with tyvek paper on the outside, ladders, wood, roof shingles and building materials all over the ground.

Sharon Maguire - Updated 1-05-2017

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