Deep Insulation -- Do you enter the attic space?

Just curious what your thoughts are. This was at my parents house some time back. The insulation is 12-15" deep. There is no walkway or landing in the attic. The only means of traversing the attic is by walking the joists.

Do you just wade through the insulation on your inspection? I would think this could be a hazard as you would disturb the insulation, might miss a step and fall through the sheetrock or trip over a hidden wire. I don’t have a problem just going slow and walking through it, but wasn’t sure what the norm was.


Unless you can safely traverse the attic in the truss webbing or on boards suitable to crawl/walk on, its best to stay out.

If you find blown in cellulose and can’t see all areas, say so and move on.

No, it would be unsafe to enter such an attic.

You risk disturbing the insulation and missing a beam and going through the ceiling.

But living in Los Angeles, most houses are not this insulated, so I don’t come across these very often.

It looks from your pic that someone did…I wouldn’t.

I would if I can get on the trusses. In your pic there is a rat run in the center, so I would for sure. I have found cut and broke struts and in places I wasn’t sure about getting into and would never have seen if I didn’t go in. Just take your time and always have 3 points of contact, if you can’t have that then don’t go.

Usually no.
It messes up the insulation, makes a mess when getting out and too easy to step through the ceiling.

[quote=“jfurry, post:1, topic:110524”]

Just curious what your thoughts are. This was at my parents house some time back. The insulation is 12-15" deep./QUOTE]

No ,we did not enter,

To add some humour to one we did years ago with about 16 inches of insulation. , high barrier around the entrance when I got up to look at the Attic I was surprised and came down and the purchaser was there an oriental lady her eyes where so wide she almost looked Caucasian .
She said to me what’s wrong with the attic , I said nothing is wrong .
She told me you said **WOW! , **real soft . I said I was surprised to see so much insulation .
She said is that a Good or bad thing . I said its better than a good thing she said Oh! what do you usually see .
I said 4 inches sometimes a little more but this is fantastic .
Oh! how nice to hear yes she bought the home it was extremely well maintained .
Moral of the story try to not expose your self when you are surprised .

We do not attempt to fully travel an attic where there is no solid walkway or standard flooring designed for normal walking; if walking the attic in the inspectors opinion could be unsafe for himself or possibly damage the ceiling below; or if his movement is restricted by air ducts or if his path is obscured by insulation covering the joists or truss chords. In such cases we will examine the visible attic cavity as best we can from the access hatch OR just inside the hatch, with no commentary or evaluations made of any areas not readily viewed from the hatch area.

Thank y’all for the replies. I didn’t walk this attic but my step dad had in the past, so there is somewhat of a trail. The entry point was on one end of their rectangle house. There is a rat run that I could have walked on, but didn’t. I did not want to disturb the insulation.

But its great to see what everyones opinions are and it looks like they are all about the same. I appreciate it very much.

The OP’s attic image looks easy. I think I would have done that one.
It even has rat runs.

Is that an open vent pipe on the left of the image?
What is it ?

Honestly I don’t remember. It looks open in the pic but I can’t place its relation in the attic to anything in the house.

Not without a walkboard installed.
Walking on the trusses can also cause nail pops which you
would they have to pay to repair.

John Olsons response is word FOR word, exactly what I’ve used since 2001 in my reports in situations like this.

If in a low slope attic where I can hold onto collar ties, etc I may do it BUT in the typical 10/12 - 11/12 pitch attic cavity where I can park a RV and they’ve got 12" to 20" of blown insulation … HECK no.

Last fall, my helper did exactly what I’ve told EVERYONE we don’t do. Buyers wanted me to walk the attic … I said NO as is. I left room to go outside … asst walks into room and they ask him to do it … he stupidly does it AND sticks a foot through a ceiling OVER 14’ up in the air on entry way.

Cost over $1,200 to repair that … 1st and last time in my 35 yrs of inspecting I’ve ever had that come up. On top of that if the asst had fallen all the way through it was over 14’ to a tile floor … THINK about that.

That’s every attic in my area. Minimum depth of 15" is code requirement. I walk on the V part of the truss, usually about 8 inches or so high to minimize disturbance, and bring a vacuum cleaner to all inspections. That crap is messy.

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These work a charm. Easy to keep in the vehicle, and just have it handy before you go up.