Ceiling in 1920's house help

We bought an old house and can only afford to get the big ticket items done professionally. I plan to do a lot of repairs myself. yesterday, I wanted to see what was under the Styrofoam tiles in the laundry room. The adjacent mud room has the original Beadboard. I could tell by looking at the crown molding (if that's what they called it, not fancy) that the laundry room ceiling was about 2 inches lower. With my trusty scraper and drill I started removing the tile to find sections of wood and particle board screwed in. I pulled away a piece of particle board and was showered with what I think is insulation. I have included pictures to get some advice. The particle board is separating and the insulation looks old. Should I pull the whole thing down and start over? New insulation? The room is about 25 square feet.
Partially deconstructed ceiling
Where particle board was removed
What came out of ceiling
  5 answers
  • Di Di on Jun 19, 2015
    You should check to make sure that the insulation is not asbestos.
  • D & K D & K on Jun 20, 2015
    The type of insulation you have is called rockwool. It a byproduct of the steel industry and is nothing more than mineral slag, it's actually a better form of insulation than fiberglass as it is completely nonflammable and won't melt until temps exceed 2000 degree F. It is still being used but it's popularity has diminished in the last 20 years or so because of the dust it creates. The dust is a irritant when inhaled and can be to the skin as well. Having said that the cost of having someone come in with the equipment to re-blow it into your attic space wouldn't be worth it. Bag it up, toss it away and either replace it with batt style insulation or purchase the expandable fiberglass blown insulation. Many of the big box home improvement centers offer free blower rentals with the purchase of a certain number of bags. Ok the tile...polystyrene closed cell foam was used to make these types of ceiling tile. Their biggest and only hazard that I'm aware of; they are extremely flammable and the smoke from such is deadly. Modern versions of these ceiling tiles are compressed wood pulp, paper that's been treated with a fire retardant. The newer tiles can be painted to any color and they do hold paint well. I would either go that route or simply remove the old tile ceiling and install drywall over the area if it's that small. Texture the new drywall with the canned texture, prime and paint.
  • Scottie Vosburgh Scottie Vosburgh on Jun 20, 2015
    Take all that stuff to the oldest hardware store in town and ask them what they think it's made of (Not your big box, the local guys). You may not be able to DIY this one. You really need to be careful. Please make sure before you go any farther. If it's not, you can totally replace the ceiling yourself easily, especially since the room is so small. If it is, you will at least have to pay for professional removal of the existing ceiling before you can do anything else. Check into the artificial tin ceilings or just the panels at the big box stores, that would look spectacular in there. I used them as a backsplash in my kitchen. Easy to install and about $18 a panel if I remember correctly. They're actually plastic and easy to trim etc. You could also just stop now and use those on top of this… but if it's asbestos and you've exposed it, you need to get it out or you could jeopardize your health. :( Good Luck!
    • See 4 previous
    • Scottie Vosburgh Scottie Vosburgh on Jun 21, 2015
      Sure! SO happy for you! I hope I get to see it when it's done!
  • Mandy Brown Mandy Brown on Jun 20, 2015
    That insulation definitely looks like asbestos. I'm not sure how the laws are in Texas, but some states will allow home owners to remove it themselves (although I'd make sure I'd have a heavy duty respirator and other PPE). Once you hire a professional, they are required to remediate it according to law and it could cost a LOT of money. Like I said, make sure you check with your state laws before trying to remove it.