Entering a shallow attic - Florida

Student here in Florida - Lots of houses in Florida (and I assume elsewhere) have a typical ranch style / 1500 sq ft / very shallow slope roof - 2:12 - 3:12 range.

Does a “good inspector” enter every attic and if not, is there a cut off in terms of slope or physical access?

My rule of thumb says if I cannot crawl Ito just photo and doc

If you can fit, get your butt in there and check it out. Too many issues in the attic that you must see.


Dom, so you have entered the attic - now what. Do you walk the entire attic by stepping on each of the rafters? I had an inspection where the insulation was about 12 inches and it was almost impossible to see all the rafters. I don’t want to try to inspect the entire attic if the only thing I have to “walk on” is the rafters. Since almost all attics here in the south are like Michael was asking where you only have about 3 foot of height clearance, how can you crawl around? Just trying to understand how is the safest way to properly inspect an attic without putting a big hole in the ceiling…

If it doesn’t have appropriate walk or “crawl” boards installed I don’t walk it.
And I note as much in my report.

Thanks Thomas, great advise !!!

I’m definitely not looking for a quick reason to not get up there. I’ve been up in my attic which is of this type and it requires extreme caution to squeeze between beams while only stepping on joists - and not getting raked by protruding roofing nails from above. I even had a plumber “get stuck” when he was afraid to go back the way he came.

SOP says: “The inspector is not required to enter the attic or any unfinished spaces that are not readily accessible, or where entry could cause damage or, in the inspector’s opinion, pose a safety hazard.”

99.9% of the homes around here don’t have walk boards, so that doesn’t work too well.

I can’t recount how many times I’ve discovered damage at the far end of an awkward attic, that made the “trip” worthwhile. Obviously, if it’s not crawlable or too obstructed, I don’t go any farther.

I understand your point, but we all have to operate in the best manner that works in our markets. Use some common sense too…


Dom, I’ll walk the attic if feasible, it not I’ll defer.
For instance if there is 20" of loose insulation I won’t walk it, I don’t want to disturb the current homeowners insulation mucking about trying to “feel” for joists.

Luckily, in my area we pretty much have a decent sized attic or we don’t one at all with a flat roof house. So tiny attics that you have to crawl through don’t exist here.

And a lot of the attics I deal with are fairly small in size so I can see the whole thing from at or near the attic hatch.

Here is one from today.



Holly cow !!! That thing is HUGE !!! I have never seen an attic with that much room in… Just kidding, so of the 2 stories with a greater pitch have a decent size attack but almost all of the single level homes only have a 3 to 4 pitch with very limited head room. I appreciate your feedback !!

Thanks Ken

I’m guessing these decent sized walk-able attics are rafters and not manufactured trusses?


For me it’s a combination of both that I see.
Stick built and trusses.