How To Remove Insulation From Crawl Space

Crawl space insulation removal costs several thousand dollars. That's why we can't blame you for trying to find ways to remove it without spending as much. Guess what? You have come to the right place! For your convenience, we did the research to tell you how you can remove insulation from a crawl space.

To remove fiberglass batt insulation, pull down one piece at a time and roll neatly for easy disposal. If you have to remove blown-in insulation, these basic steps will help you do the job faster:

  1. Prepare the necessary materials/tools and wear safety gear.
  2. Get rid of clutter.
  3. Cover open spaces.
  4. Use scrap wood as a work area.
  5. Use a high-powered vacuum to suck all the fibers.
  6. Empty the vacuum as needed.
  7. Continue the process until all insulation is gone.

This sounds like another simple DIY project, right? But we don't sugarcoat. Removing crawl space insulation is a lot of work and a lengthy procedure. That's why we want you to keep reading to make the risk worth it. Here's how to remove insulation from crawl space and other things you must know.

Man inspecting in the crawl space, How To Remove Insulation From Crawl Space

Crawl Space Insulation Removal

Depending on the size of the area and the type of insulation, it can take you hours to a few days to remove insulation in the crawl space. Insulation experts recommend getting professional services to remove insulation in the crawl space.

Crawl space under the eves of a house showing old fibreglass insulation

But if you want to proceed with DIY removal, they suggest that you get help from family members or friends to speed up the process.

Here are the steps to remove insulation in the crawl space:

1. Prepare The Necessary Materials/Tools And Wear Safety Gear

Safety is the number one priority when working on any DIY project. It is also important to have all the tools you need beforehand to avoid hassles and delays while working.

Safety Gear

When removing insulation from a crawl space, you are exposed to fiberglass fibers and dust particles. These elements can get to your lungs through inhalation, embed into your skin, or get into your eyes during the process. Therefore, the first thing that you should have is a set of safety gear.

Face Mask

Realistic 3D render of gas mask

You can wear a full-face mask with a respirator, but should this feel bulky and heavy, you can switch to using a half-face mask. Using a paper face mask will work as well although you might need to replace it every once in a while.

Protective Glasses

Goggles on a dark background

If not safety goggles, you can switch to protective glasses. They are smaller and work well with prescription glasses.

Gloves

It is also important to wear gloves during insulation removal. Your hands will do a lot of work regardless of the type of insulation you will remove. Wearing gloves will not only protect your hands from injuries but help them withstand prolonged exposure to pressure and friction.

Coverall

You will work in an environment filled with dust and insulation fiber. Wear a coverall or old long sleeves and pants to prevent itching and discomfort.

Knee And Elbow Pads

A crawl space can be as low as 18 inches in height. If your crawl space happens to be this tight, you may consider knee and elbow pads for protection against hours of kneeling and crawling.

View these heavy-duty knee pads with gel cushions on Amazon.

Tools You Need

Prepare the tools you will need before you begin the removal. Good thing you only need the basic equipment listed below to get the job done: 

Disposal Bags

Colored garbage bags roll

Soiled insulation will take up a lot of space. It is best to choose 95-100-gallon trash bags or the biggest ones that you can find.

Check out these heavy-duty trash bags on Amazon.

High-Powered Vacuum

A bucket vacuum is preferred, but you can use any vacuum with at least 1,500 HP. You may also use a shovel and a bucket when a vacuum is not available.

Scrap Wood

Create a work area using scrap wood. This also allows for easy movement while working in the crawl space.

Cleaning Materials

Dust, mold, and rodent droppings are common in the crawl space. Make sure to have cleaning materials ready before and after the project.

Plastic Sheet And Tape

You need to cover up openings leading to your house to prevent contaminants and tiny insulation fibers from entering the living space. 

2. Get Rid Of Clutter

Clear the crawl space of any boxes and stuff that may slow down the workflow. Clutter can also be a cause of accidents and injuries. It is easier to collect loose fibers, too, when the work environment is clean.

3. Cover Open Spaces

Open spaces and gaps are ways for loose fiber particles and dust to contaminate indoor air quality. To avoid this, seal open spaces using a plastic sheet and tape. You may also use a wide plastic sheet to cover the ground for easy cleanup.

4. Use Scrap Wood As A Work Area

Crawl spaces usually do not have good flooring. The rough surface along with those small stones and bulges are enough to cause discomfort when working for long periods. You will agree that worse could happen if your crawl space is not even at the standard height. 

Use scrap wood to level the area where you will be working on. If you have several pieces available, you can place them in different areas to make moving easy.

5. Use A High-Powered Vacuum To Suck All The Fibers

For crawl spaces with very limited space, use a rope and connect it to the vacuum. It will help you move the vacuum towards you every time you have to move forward. Don't forget to adjust the scrap wood as you move to another area. 

Fiberglass batting is more difficult to remove because you need to manually take out each piece. Pull down the batting one at a time using your hand and roll each neatly. Immediately put the soiled insulation in the trash bag until full, and then seal it.

6. Empty The Vacuum As Needed

Once the vacuum compartment is full, remove the insulation fibers and transfer them immediately to a disposal bag. 

7. Continue The Process Until All Insulation Is Gone

Don't forget to vacuum tight spaces, too. Take this opportunity to clean other loose dirt using the vacuum. Seal all the disposal bags properly once you are done vacuuming and cleaning.

Things To Consider Before Insulation Removal

Mold, water damage, and rodent infestation are only some of the valid reasons why you should remove insulation in the crawl space. However, you cannot begin the removal right away unless the pros will take over. There are two things that you should consider before starting the project:

Asbestos

Asbestos mineral fiber in human fingers

Asbestos fibers can cause lung disease when inhaled according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Before it was banned in 1989, asbestos was an ingredient used in different construction materials. It was widely used in insulation from 1930 to 1950.

Read this article to learn more about asbestos insulation: What Color Is Asbestos Insulation?

If your house is old, it is best to call the professionals to check your insulation. Do not touch the area until you are sure it is free of asbestos.

Landfill Regulations

Check the waste management restrictions in your area. Most landfills do not accept insulation materials. Call the local waste authority for advice. Make arrangements to ensure proper pickup and disposal of soiled insulation before the removal.

Should I Remove The Insulation In My Crawl Space?

You should remove the insulation in your crawl space if moisture problems are present. Mold and rodent infestations are also common reasons why homeowners remove insulation in crawl spaces. Insulation experts also recommend removing insulation if it contain asbestos.

Replace old insulation if it starts to leak. Insulation leaks cause conditioned air to escape and unconditioned air to enter. Leaks make your HVAC work double time. This also translates to higher energy consumption.

For more insight on when to remove insulation, read through this post: How Long Does Insulation Last and When to Replace It?

Can I Remove Insulation Myself?

You can remove crawl space insulation yourself, but experts highly recommend getting professional insulation removal services. Removing the insulation in your crawl space is a long, tedious process that can take hours.

When removing insulation yourself, you should first check for the presence of asbestos. Notify the waste management department and use safety gear during the project.

How Much Does It Cost To Remove Insulation In Crawl Space?

Crawl space insulation removal costs can go anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000. The price depends on your location, the size of the area, and the insulation material to be used for replacement.

Using fiberglass batting may cost between $1,000 and $2,400 while spray foam insulation may cost up to $3,800. The cost of waterproofing the crawl space ranges from $2,300 to $7,100.

Final Thoughts

If you just won't call the pros no matter what, no problem! You might need extra hands, but never special tools. After reading this post, you should have a good idea of what to do and the preparation you need to nail it.

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