What the heck is this stuff?

ademinkJune 23, 2011

My attic is "finished" (no hvac). 1906 Craftsman. It has some sort of odd "fiber board" or particle board walls - curious if anyone knows what the heck it is?

thanks a lot! :)

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certainly that stuff isn't everywhere although it is clearly on both sides of that wall. i think it is a pre-drywall product called fiberboard or something like that. it must have been put in in the 30s or 40s. the good news is that it will be easy to replace with drywall if you ever want to do that.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Yep...it is everywhere in the attic (thinking maybe you missed the "attic" word and thought I meant in the whole house :).

I have been calling it fiberboard so at least I had the right word!

You got it right...I am going to tear it out and drywall. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't some crazy asbestos compound or something and I was going to die when I tore it out. LOL

I also appreciate that you gave me some sort of idea of the timeline of this "finished" attic. I wondered if it was always done or if it was a remodel at some point. It has very old hardwood flooring but I'm guessing that was also done in the same 30s-40s time frame.

Thanks a lot for your input!


    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 1:54PM
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missed the word "attic," i sure did. that stuff has got to be crazy flammable. i think you'll be okay wrt asbestos. you can get a bit tested at a local lab for about $50 if you aren't comfortable. i wouldn't but it is up to you.

this kind of job wouldn't be too expensive to hire out. all that wall is going to be a ton of garbage to deal with.

you're lucky to have old hardwood flooring. you can probably just refinish it.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 2:34PM
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nah, I'm not paranoid re: asbestos and for $50....I'll live wild. ha!

I thought about doing tear-out myself but in looking at how far it all has to be lugged (no direct "drop spot" if I throw it out the window), I think you're right on hiring it out!

I think the space will be great when I'm done - I'm excited!

thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 2:44PM
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Even though that material may be unlikely to contain asbestos, wear a good quality mask or respirator when tearing it down as demo will release a lot of nasty fibers, dust, possible mold spores, particles from rodent feces, etc.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 3:29PM
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It's Celotex or beaverboard. I recall it was made from ground up sugar cane stalks after the sugar mill did its extraction. It's essentially agricultural by-products made into building material. It's benign. Pretty much a green product, too :-)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 3:43PM
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Weeellll, isn't that cool? thanks for the info! Sugar cane and rodent feces...sounds like fun! lol

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 5:11PM
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In reading up on beaverboard...this confirms something. I met the women who lived in my house in the 40s and they said they always remember the attic being like it is. They said they thought the work was done when the house was built.

I see that beaverboard has been used since 1905 - so I think they're right! Makes sense w/ the hardwoods being up there. I wondered if they had repurposed some from another house but they date back to the beginning.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 5:36PM
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I don't think I've ever seen an old attic which didn't have flooring--I'd bet that practice started after the war when so many houses needed to be built for returning vets, since most of those didn't have full-height attics. :)

I find the beaverboard interesting, and I think that is what I removed from my basement ceiling--it only covered the part under the living room for some reason--maybe to keep stuff from the old coal furnace getting into the upstairs?

My house was built in 1908, and yet, my attic has the original finish--lath and plaster! It was even papered, but I don't know the pattern since every scrap of wallpaper in the house was painted over at least once--the downstairs hall had at least three coats of paint and about 1/16" of paper!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 11:19PM
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That's what is in our closets and garage! My house was built in 1940.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 12:23AM
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Here's a 1926 story on Celotex.

Celotex Blue Ridgefiberboard is made of soft-woods. The company is at pains to note that this board is not now nor has it ever been made of sugar cane.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:16AM
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