Perhaps one of the most important aspects of a home inspection is the Attic inspection. What lies under the roof and above the living quarters can reveal so much about the health of your home. This blog post will touch on some of the main defects we look for but by no means is this list exhaustive.
The first thing we will observe when opening the attic hatch will be the insulation. We will determine the type of insulation, amount, and approximate R-value. Measuring the insulation and performing a quick calculation will determine the approximate R-value. Also the attic hatch door must have insulation on top of it and be fire rated if located in the garage.
An attic needs to be properly vented. Improperly vented attics can cause excess heat and moisture in the attic. This can lead to mold, and ice dams during the winter months. As a certified home inspector we will calculate the proper amount of venting needed per square feet of roof surface. Adding more venting may be needed to prolong the condition of your roof.
Framing and Sheathing
Looking at the sheathing under the roofing material can give us clues weather there are any active leaks occurring. With the use of specialized tools we can determine if these leaks are active. Inspecting the roof framing is also important. Cracked or sagging rafters or collar ties for instance can compromise the strength and integrity of the roof.
Plumbing, Exhaust vents and Wiring
Plumbing and exhaust vents must exhaust to the exterior of the house. Failing to do so will result in massive amounts of moisture entering the attic space. Wiring in the attic must be secure and not run horizontally along boards unless protected. Any exposed wire splices must be contained in junction boxes. Older homes may have knob and tube wiring. Insulation must never be in contact with type of wiring as it is a fire hazard. Many insurance companies will not insure homes with this type of wiring.
Furnace Vents and Chimneys
Masonry chimneys must have a 2 inch clearance from all combustibles. Furnace flue pipes that are too close to combustible surfaces or that lack appropriate double wall adapters are also a fire hazard. Furnace flues and chimneys must be properly flashed to prevent roof leaks.
As you can see inspecting the attic is of paramount importance. Not all attics are easily accessible but we make all attempts to access them if safe to do so. When not possible to enter due to safety issues we will make use of specialized tools to view the attic from the opening and take many photos/videos.