Recently I walked in attic only on the boards that are perpendicular to the trusses they were 1x6’s I believe. Even though the tops of the trusses were very evident. These boards are super easy to walk on very stable and are super obvious as it was an old house with very minimal insulation. I had done the whole interior of the house before I found the attic access and then did the Attic. When I’m done with an inspection I walk back through take pictures of all the faucets are off all the lights are off breakers are back to how they were gas fireplaces, conditions of ceilings walls Windows door locks, all that stuff, all the stupid cya crap. I noticed there was a recessed can light sticking slightly out of the ceiling more than I recall. Upon examination I found that somebody put one of the Walk boards on top of a recessed can and when i stepped on the board it pushed the light out of the ceiling a little by like an inch. I was able to rsecure the light no problem but when the light popped out it had been stuck to the ceiling paint and it tore just a tiny little bit of the paint. I talked to the seller who happened to have shown up early and explained what happened they were totally cool don’t worry about the paint all that.
Would you consider me liable in this situation or not because I was walking on the boards that are there not knowing that it was directly on top of a light.
I believe in absolute total honesty with my clients if I even remotely maybe did anything I let them know. I don’t want to be that guy that gets blamed for everything under the sun and blacklisted.
Okay hypothetically totally hypothetically here had I been walking on just the boards and the light had fallen out of the ceiling damaging a wall damaging the light blah blah blah blah blah, yes I would be the one that stepped on the board but unbeknownst to me it was improperly placed in the attic. Would you simply say sorry and move on or would you say hey let me get that fixed for you here’s my insurance information.
Similar to an experience I had earlier this year crawling through the crawl space of a brand new home with a fair amount of room but not overly massive crawlspace by any means. It was a partially hands and knees and partially drag kind of crawl space. Apparently when crawling through the crawl space I bumped a duct with my back and it came disconnected unbeknownst to me. I stated I’m very sorry that I bumped it without realizing it and it came disconnected however if my simple bump caused it to become disconnected it was never properly secured in the first place and prone to failure. If you would like me to pay for the repair or portion the heating bill let me know. They apparently wanted nothing other than to be angry it would not accept any money which I thought was extremely weird. This deck was only disconnected for 3 days before somehow the builder magically went into the crawlspace and found the duct disconnected.
That is my stance now as of this week. I slipped while walking on the truss and caused a nail pop on the ceiling. I decided absolutely not again unless I absolutely see something in distance that actually scares me and needs to be reviewed.
I make extra effort to get to the chimney and put my eyes on roof protrusions because these are common areas for leaks. I also want to see the dryer duct because it is often wrong, damaged or disconnected. I follow gas fired appliance exhaust flues for clearance or other issues.
Basically, at a minimum I try to hit the hot spots.
Cory after reading your updated comments about the attic and the duct in the crawlspace you may want to proceed in these confined areas with more caution. If a system is working even if it’s barely held together once you nudge it and it falls apart you are responsible.
I’m sure some inspectors think the 1x6 board nailed across the bottom of the trusses is a walking platform but it is not, it is simply to hold the trusses in place to keep them 24” on center for sheet rock. They are in no means meant to be walked on. Best of luck with your repair negotiations.
As an Insulation Contractor in a Previous Life…I am very careful when walking on even Dedicated Platforms/planking in an attic. Can’t count the number of times the end of the board did not extend to the next truss/joist. Only Trust walking on The Trusses. (And I will not disturb or trample down insulation walking on the trusses) the only ones I will walk are the ones in older homes where insulation is already trampled down.
Now on a related note: Actually by popping that (hidden) recessed light down should have given you a clue to see if that light was IC type-Rated (for direct contact with thermal insulation). If it was not you should call it out for being in direct contact with the wood (platform) and or insulation. I find these (fire starting) Non-IC rated lights in many homes, especially after a kitchen remodel/flip. Non-IC lights at The Home Depot are $15 less than the IC rated, so you are going to see them, especially when the used house salesman is flipping a house and having "cousin jimmy doing his “electical work” for a case of Milwaukee’s Best
Unless there is some sort of walkway present it might be best to simply examine what you can from the hatch or the furthest end of the walkway. If you choose to walk on the trusses and joists for one house you should walk on them for every house. If you walk some and not others this can become a problem if something is missed in one you didn’t walk. Imagine trying to explain why you walked the attic of house A but not the attic of house B.
If you don’t walk house B, make sure to include very specific reasons (measurements, insulation depth, type of flashlight, etc.) in your disclaimer.
Full disclosure: Yes, I put my foot through a ceiling once. Luckily the home was vacant and I was able to make the repair myself the next day. Of course, all parties were notified and approved my repair prior to me performing the work.
Every attic is different. I decide whether or not I’m going to walk an attic space based on current conditions. Just because I walk one attic does not mean I’m required to walk every attic. The same thing with roofs, just because I can walk one roof safely does not mean I can walk another roof safely. That’s just a silly way of thinking.