Tiny Attic access hatch, do you go in?

I had a tiny attic access hatch today, less than 1 sq ft. (11 x 12 inch = .91 sqft)

Its a good thing I went in. I found a truss that was cut in four places and patched with little scraps of 1x4 and a few nails, a leak from a boot on the plumbing vent thru the roof with wet insulation and ceiling below, as well as 80% of the soffit vents covered with blown insulation (no baffles).

How small is too small? When do you write it off as “no access”?
video here:

If I can fit without fear of getting stuck, I go in. Otherwise, no access, take as many pictures as I can from the hatch and move on.

What does the HI Standards and the Department of Commerce & Insurance tell you?

Why are you asking this here, so someone here from Tennessee will tell you so you don’t have to read it?

Or are you trying to make the point that there are things in inaccessible attics you can’t see?

I am a small guy, fit in most (really all). A REA told me she saw an inspector got stuck in a hatch once. He eventually got back out after a lot of effort and help. Its was some time ago and she still find it humorous to this day.

Ditto, I have used my camera pole from the hatch. Had one there was no way to even get my shoulders past that the entrance so I just stuck my hand and camera up and took pictures. I also took pictures of how big the hole was (CMA) with a tape measure. :wink:

Hello David,
It’s always such a pleasure responding to you.
I know the standards, but I like to exceed them if I can do so safely. I know many others do also.
I happen to be pretty small so I can get into places that big guys physically can’t. Since it is a matter of personal preference as to how far one will go to exceed the standard, within their own limits, I asked the question here. I learned the minimum standards for access hatches on crawlspaces and attic hatches and clearance to the bottoms of joists in crawlspaces before I applied for a license, same as you and our peers did, surely.

I enjoy reading the forums and I learn a lot from people’s responses. I don’t post often, but I read thru the forums regularly.

I appreciate the feedback others have left. So far, you are the only person to respond without answering the question. I’m sorry if I offended you, or wasted your time with the question if you do not have an interest in this topic.

Merry Christmas. I hope you and your family have a blessed holiday.

I bet that inspector and realtor have a good laugh every time they see each other now. :slight_smile:

If they’re really too small like that, you all should learn how to dislocate your shoulder against a wall or other hard object. You’ll slither in with ease, just like a greased eel. You can then simply pop it back in when you’re done. It only hurts for a sec. Show your clients how much you care and impress the agents with your willingness to get the job done no matter what.

I use the elf on shelf for the ones i cant get in . LOL
You fit go if not you don’t Pretty simple . Now you trampled all the insulation i hope you thoughtfully fluffed it back .

This is all the answer you need. Try reading TN HI Rules again.

In a nut shell; if you feel it is safe, enter.
If you may damage something, don’t.
If you have to move something (the whole contents of a closet), don’t.
If you didn’t enter, you MUST put it in the report why.
If you modify how you inspected the area, explain it in the report.

By the way: your web site says:

To practice in TN you must ; (i) State that the home inspection will be in accordance with the Standards of Practice promulgated by the commissioner;

A few other things I am sure you read before asking this question.

Your Answer: It doesn’t matter what anyone on this board thinks or does. If it is not in compliance with the State Rules of TN, those opinions are worthless.

You want an answer, but you haven’t asked a question you already should know the answer to. You said you know the standards, but I guess you don’t know how to comply with them?

You work in three states. You must comply with each state.

:razz: David A. Andersen & Associates

Thanks for your post . simple follow the rules .


I apologize for my poor wording choice. When I asked “When do you write it off as ‘no access’” I think you interpreted that as me asking “when should I write it off”, but in fact I was really actually asking “when do YOU write it off”. It was a survey question, I was not seeking advice. I was hoping to share an experience involving a stupidly small access hatch (we have all seen them) and hoping to get feedback or even funny stories from my peers. (Thank you Michael Rodney for the amusing anecdote about the guy who got stuck temporarily).

My wording choice was poor, I wrote exactly what I meant, without taking into consideration that it is common to interpret those words as a request for advice; My bad.

I am aware that the phrase “when do you…” is equivalent to “when does one…” in the opinion of many people. I’m sorry if my phrasing was not clear. I will try to be more articulate in the future.

Thank you for the wonderfully detailed response, though; and for taking the time to help me.

Have a blessed Christmas and a super new year.

Smallest one I’ve accessed so far has been 18"x12". It was tight, but doable.

That would be tight for me…especially after lunch.

I have a jar of Vaseline in my tool arsenal…

Too much information, and a bit personal, don’t you think? :shock:

I like tight accesses.

How did I know that was coming? :|.)

…and that? :shock: :mrgreen:

5’8" … 230 lbs. 48" chest. 55" Shoulders

If that full figured voluptuous man body does not fit the opening, its NOT entered.

BUT viewed from access, multiple pics taken and reason NOT accessed explained in Report AND I do NOT feel bad in any way in that circumstance.