BOULDER – Attics are not usually foremost on a buyer’s mind in a home inspection but should not be overlooked. They can provide clues to serious problems that might not be disclosed or even known by the seller. Some houses may have more than one attic access point. Be sure all access points are listed on your inspection report.
Roof inspections won›t necessarily turn up all defects in the structural members inside the attic. Some areas may be inaccessible do to the design of the attic. While the roof might appear sound, inside the attic you could find broken trusses or rafters. An attic inspection could disclose stress cracks that may lead to a loss of integrity. It can also give buyers peace of mind that the size and spacing of the lumber is up to code.
Your inspection report should include the amount and type of insulation. 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, the higher the insulating factor. The recommended R-value for attic insulation in our area is R-49 to R-60. If an attic has batt insulation 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. It is important to note that the leak may not be occurring where the stain is. It may be at a higher location in the attic.
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. They will usually leave behind evidence of their presence. Electrical wiring connections, fixtures and junction boxes should also be checked for proper location and installation.