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Use the Attic as a Detector

May 11th, 2009

In typical house inspections, attics are not usually the main focus. A professional conducting a home inspection usually focuses on major parts or systems of the house, such as the structure, foundation, electrical and heating systems.

If you are a prospective homebuyer, make sure that your home inspection includes thorough inspection of the attic. The attic will show you some conditions that may be missed during general home inspection. The attic can show clues to major problems that are not so obvious.

One kind of damage that you can determine from the attic is broken truss or rafter. From outside, the roof might appear sturdy and secure, but when inspected from the attic, you will see stress cracks on the trusses or the rafters. From the attic, your home inspection professional can also examine if the correct sizes and kinds of lumber were used.

Another housing system that you can examine from the attic is house insulation. If the attic is adequately insulated, you can assume that the rest of the house is also insulated as adequately as the other parts of the house, although naturally, you need to inspect insulation in other parts of the house as well. Insulation systems are rated with codes. Ask your home inspection expert about the meanings of the codes.

Your house inspector can inspect parts of the chimney while in the attic. For older homes, deteriorating parts of the chimney can be seen from the attic. During home inspection, house inspectors will check cracks in the structure.

Water damage on walls and wood trusses can also be seen from the attic. If there is a leak, water will flow down through the supports and will stain the wooden parts and cause rot.

You can also inspect damages caused by pests such as rodents, raccoons and squirrels in the attic. If you see pellets in hidden corners, you can be sure critters have entered the house through loose boards or eaves. Critters can cause significant damage on wooden parts of the house, especially if they can enter other parts of the house.

Some home inspection reports have described discoveries of squirrels that have eaten through insulation materials such as plastic coatings and wires. Some have described dead critters inside insulation systems, posing health risks to homeowners.

To summarize, during home inspection, thoroughly check the attic.

Home Inspection

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