Straw Poll re Attics

Situation: No floor in attic, loose insulation covers joists, headroom limited to 42" to the bottom of the ridge beam of a hip roof. Access is through a hatch.

Question: Do you enter the attic or inspect from the hatch?

Depends how I felt that day…:smiley:


I would probably weasel my way through like a squirrel monkey…!


Very seldome unless I can get in easy I just mark down attic viewed from attic entrance .
Most are to small in a closet with a loaded shelf.
Never had a complaint .

Roy Cooke

Given what you describe it’s the hatch at best. Being 6’4" and 300 lbs means that I’m careful about wherre I crawl. But if I can get close then out come my trusty binoculars and ,my camera has a great zoom as well.

From the hatch unless something made me suspicious. Weaseling through would compact all that nice blown in insulation and compromised its usefulness.


squirrel monkey

Hatch first.

Then, depends on what I see. Probably I go at least some distance in around a quarter of the time in difficult attics - far enough to see around major obstructions and take a look at the chimney/roof junction if possible. At a minimum in that situation I take hi-res photos, then pull them into Photoshop, use highlight/shadows adjustment, and then enlarge (on screen) and take a careful look… that’s on reason I don’t do on-site reports.

BTW, recently had a client stick their head up into the hatch and ask “What about that broken rafter?”… because of the angle it was only readily visible only from hatch level… very hard to see standing in the attic.

Boy, would that have been embarrassing…

Lesson (re)learned: always take a good look from hatch level first.

Thanks for all the responses. Here is what I think: it’s folly to climb through an attic with no floor. Who will pay for the damage if you miss a joist and step through the ceiling (think about the dance you do when you bump your head!)

I had an inspection today where the client was disappointed because I told him I wasn’t going to crawl through the attic since it had no floor. To me, thats’ just unsafe. And unnecessary.

I told him to call some of the other inspectors he had shopped, to see what they would do. He said three of them said “Sure, no problem… I’ll crawl along the joists”. Maybe he called some of you!

If that’s your pleasure, go for it… I won’t do it.

I have yet to see an attic with a floor…so If I only crawled attics with floors…I would never crawl any attics…

I like em…I like nasty crawlspaces also…makes me feel like I’m earning my money…

If I can duck walk it, I get through it. Your description sounds about like the normal attic here.

I won’t go over the vaulted ceilings though. At 6’1", 250 I would make a horrible sound when I slipped through the ceiling to the floor 15 feet below!! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

100% agree. I crawl into and around anything I can. From what you described, one word comes to mind…


I’d do the crawl for the same reason I walk the roof. Most of the time I find something serious it’s found in one of three places: under the house, in the attic or on top of the roof. I would not find most of them from the access point or top of a ladder.

IHMO, don’t do those three whenever possible, and you are shorting your client and setting yourself up for a trip to the courthouse.

I enter every space I possibly can. That is what my client pays me to do. Occasionally there are attics or crawlspaces that I cannot navigate and note it as so, but it is pretty rare in my area.

And how long has Dave been doing inspections .

I have only been doing them for eight years and always interested in improving my inspections .
I take about Three hours and how long do you take .
I also Charge $399;00 ,am I charging to much what do you charge
Thanks for your Info .

Roy Cooke

Awww Roy…it’s ok.

I like doing crawls and attics for another reason…

I can get away for awhile and think without being bothered by the Realtor and his “how much do you think it will cost to get the furnace looked at?”

Sigh…htf do they not know this stuff already?

That is what GL insurance is for!

Of course he was. People have expectations and when their expectations aren’t met, they are upset. The way to be on the same page is to reveal to a customer what your “Inspection” entails and what you won’t “Inspect” before they buy your product. We have to communicate with our clients so their expectations aren’t shattered at the point of sale.

I’m sorry, but, these areas are the heart and soul of a structure and its systems. If I don’t inspect them, then I feel I will miss something and therefore not be providing a good product that my client paid me for. Then my customers expectations of my service will be shattered and thus I won’t be in business much longer…the referrals won’t be coming my way.

If I felt that it was unsafe and unnecessary to crawl these areas, I would not have entered the Home Inspection field.

I do and that is why most of my clients will pay my prices, because when they hire my company they get what they expect a “Home Inspection” to be. Their expectations are exceeded when they hire the “A-Team”.

Thank you for listening;-)

My clients pay me to make sure thier new reisidence are in a SAFE and SANITARY condition and to inform them of any REPAIRS OR CORRECTIONS NEEDED and FUTURE MAINTENANCE ITEMS.

So if you can offer some advice I am always interested in hearing about it.

But to CRAWL into every space. To me, that is not needed to properly evaluate the property. I guess after 17 yrs and over 15,000 inspections under my belt I my experience and knowledge can override that CRAWL INTO EVERY SPACE scenario.
IMHO. :roll:
PS. I would look at the hatch. Then if there is evidence of something report it. Experience and knowledge are your BEST tools to have with you. * Let me rephrase that. CORRECT KNOWLEDGE is your BEST tool to have with you. Experience takes time to gather. Go figure.

I Always like to read your responses Tony! Nice to to a good sense of humor.:mrgreen: And you do a complete job, as always, for your customer.

Well, I wish I had used the voting feature now:)

By my count, it’s 7 for crawling and 6 for observing from the hatch. Hopefully, I’ll be able to post the attachment.

I appreciate your feedback. My contention is that I felt very comfortable with inspecting everything that needed to be seen from the hatch.

  1. I had already walked the roof (which BTW, is not always possible… high flat roofs with no access hatch, or too steep) and observed the leaks around the chimney, which could be seen from the hatch.
  2. By turning off the attic light, I could see that some of the soffit vents were covered.
  3. I determined the thickness of the insulation.
    So I’m not sure what else could be gained by entering the space. The risk/benefit ratio was too high for me, in spite of insurance coverage.

I was satisfied with the standards of practice, which says:

II. The inspector is not required to:A. Enter the attic or unfinished spaces that are not readily accessible or where entry could cause damage or pose a safety hazard to the inspector in his or her opinion.

That was my opinion. You’re each entitiles to yours too, and that’s what I wanted to learn.