Attics are not usually foremost on a buyer’s mind in a home inspection but it should not be overlooked. They can provide clues to serious problems that might not be disclosed or even known by the seller.
Roof inspections won’t necessarily turn up defects in the structural members inside the attic. While the roof might appear sound, inside the attic you could find broken trusses or rafters. An attic inspection would disclose stress cracks that could lead to a loss of integrity and would also give buyers peace of mind that the size of the lumber was up to code.
Attics can be insulated in a number of ways, including blowing in insulation or laying fiberglass batts. Insulation is rated with an R-factor. The higher the R number, typically the higher the insulating factor. Ask your inspector if the batts are facing the right direction. The backing on the batts should be facing the interior of the home.
Your inspector should also look for water damage. It is much easier to detect roof leaks in the attic than from on the roof. Inspectors will look for staining on sheathing, roof supports or walls.
Proper clearance of all vent pipes and chimneys should be noted as well as any evidence of squirrels, raccoons or rodents. Critters often enter attics through the eaves, soffits or loose boards and can cause considerable damage. Electrical wiring connections, fixtures and junction boxes should also be checked.