How To Remove Water Damaged Ceiling Insulation: 2 Easy Ways

You have to know how to remove water damaged ceiling insulation, especially if you encounter roof leaks often. To remove water-damaged ceiling insulation, you have to dry it out first.

Whether fiberglass or cellulose, the way to fix any water-damaged structure in your home is to let them dry first. The details on how to remove them are written below. We included both the instructions for replacing wet fiberglass and cellulose ceiling insulation.

how to remove water damaged ceiling insulation

Apart from the instructions, we also included how water damage affects ceiling insulation and answer why you need to protect them. Lastly, we’ll also tackle insurance and your ceiling insulation.


Steps In Removing Water Damaged Ceiling Insulation

There are different types of ceiling insulation, but here are the main ones and the instructions for removing them:


Method #1. How to remove water-damaged fiberglass insulation

Wet fiberglass insulation is a less potent insulator. While it may regain its effectiveness after it has dried up, it may also lead to insulation clumping if they’re overexposed to water. Hence, you should take these steps if you need to change your insulation:


Step #1. Dry it out

This is the most crucial step when handling any water-damaged structure in your house. If your insulation is located in a small space, you can use a dehumidifier to dry the area.

It’s also essential to do this with protective gear, e.g., protective clothing, mask, gloves, and eyewear. This is to avoid inhaling the fibers.

Also, ensure that the area is contaminant-free such as asbestos, mold, or rodents. You can buy a testing kit to know if your house has asbestos.


Step #2. Prepare your equipment and working area

You have to use a specialized HEPA-filter-rated, high-powered vacuum with a large capacity. You can either buy or rent this equipment.

After that, prepare your working area. You can use plastic sheeting and tape off your site to prevent particles from spreading.


Step #3. Vacuum away

Use your specialized HEPA vacuum to suck up the insulation. Make sure to reach those in the corners and crevices, especially if the water damage is extensive.


Step #4. Dispose

After removing the fiberglass insulation, get your sealable and heavy-duty trash bags and empty your vacuum in them. Dispose of your waste responsibly by looking for a certified waste management facility.


Method #2. How to remove water-damaged cellulose insulation

Like Fiberglass insulation, water damage affects cellulose insulation and makes it less potent. It may even result in corrosion of electrical fixtures.


Step #1. Dry it out

Water damage compresses and settles cellulose insulation. It may even sag.

Removing the cellulose insulation while it is wet may be difficult. However, leaving soaked cellulose may also damage your wooden structure. So, make sure to dry the cellulose fast.


Step #2. Seal the area 

After drying it off, put on your protective gear and seal the room you are working in. Then, vacuum the cellulose off the ceiling. Be careful of electrical wires or plumbing pipes while cleaning as you may damage them.


Step #3. Dispose responsibly

After vacuuming the wet cellulose off your ceiling, place the contents of the vacuum container in an industrial-sized fill bag. Tie it and put a new bag in the vacuum. After removing your insulation, be sure to fix the leak.


Effects of water damage on ceiling insulation


Mold growth

A moist and not-regularly cleaned environment like your ceiling makes it easy for mold spores to fester. The dust has these mold spores, and fiberglass insulation traps dust. This would lead to active mold growth that could affect the fiberglass batts’ paper backing.

In the case of cellulose insulation, its material is quite mold-resistant. However, it may still be vulnerable to mold because it tends to absorb water. It may encourage mold growth on its adjacent wooden structure because it absorbs water like a sponge.


Loss of insulating value

As said earlier, water damage impairs your insulators from doing their jobs. Most of the time, wet insulators lose about 40% of their insulating R-value.

Fiberglass may be waterproof from the outside, but it’s thick batts retain moisture, affecting its thermal resistance properties. Meanwhile, cellulose absorbs water then compacts, meaning it loses its effective insulator characteristics.


Do you need to protect your ceiling insulation?

Yes, and the only way to protect your ceiling insulation is to prevent leaks. To prevent leaks, you have to maintain your roof condition, especially after a storm. Repair any damage to it as soon as possible and monitor the state of your roof, ceiling, and ceiling insulation.


Insurance policies regarding ceiling insulation

Generally, leaks lead to mold growth in ceiling insulation, and molds are not part of your insurance coverage. However, if it is caused by a covered incident, like weather-related incidents, then you may get insurance. Keep in touch with your lawyer and insurer to be more particular about this.



We hope that knowing how to remove water damaged ceiling insulation has led you to also learn how to protect them. Just follow these steps thoroughly, and you will surely preserve the quality of your insulation.

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