Back when we were trying to get all the attic insulation out ourselves, we ran in to this strange stuff. It seemed to be a loose, disintegrated organic matter...dusty beige and the consistency of baby powder.
Eventually we called in the experts, who took care of it with more industrial quality tools. They did recognize the stuff and called it "balsamite." However, a search on Google didn't turn up any insulation with that name.
Since the we've been working more upstairs and have run in to more of the stuff, and today we found further proof on just what that stuff is...
Inside one of the knee-walls we finally found a label on one of the bats: "Balsam-Wool Insulation."
We even found a huge piece of the paper that one of the original roles came in.
That name turns up a lot more info on Google. Several posts on BobVilla.com and Old House Web discussion forms mentioned it. From there we learned:
- The insulation was manufactured from balsam wood pulp
- It was manufactured by Weyerhaeuser
- It isn't toxic and contains no asbestos
- It doesn't have a great R-value
So there you have it--mystery solved. We're taking ours out, since most of it falls out of the walls anyway and much of the moisture barrier was torn by the racoons that were living up there.