Balsam-Wool Insulation

Category: Restore & Repair

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 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.

Looking for More?

House in Progress Search for more on 'types of insulation' on this site. Search for 'types of insulation' on on other houseblogs like this one.
Google Search for 'types of insulation' on Google. Search for 'types of insulation' on


I suspect that stuff is very flammable! Yes, remove it.. POPS"30"

Nice site. Keep up the good work.

Our house has the same stuff in the attic. Thanks for such good information! The substance has become quite crumbly and I also agree that it is a major fire hazard by now. =

Thank you for the information! I'm about to take this same insulation out of my attic (half of it has fallen out of the rafters already) and it's good to know that I'm not going to need anything more powerful than a dust mask to protect my lungs.


Email this Entry to a Friend

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

a neighborhood of home improvement blogs

Cabinet Refacing
Cabinet Refacing:
Face Your Kitchen | Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing