1. 2)No well at attic scuttle opening - A well is a raised barrier, usually plywood or OSB, around the attic access opening to prevent loose insulation from collecting over the access panel. Customers sometimes find it amusing when we open a cover panel at an opening without a well and, for a second, it looks like  the inside of a Christmas snow globe. But it won’t be funny when it happens to you. Also, the cover panel inside the well should have a piece of batt insulation attached to it.

  2. 3)Uneven blown insulation - The big-box home improvement stores rent machines for do-it-yourself blown-in insulation, but homeowners are not always concerned with distributing the material evenly throughout the attic, leaving hills and bald spots.

  3. 4)Areas of missing insulation at skylight wells - The enclosed shaft that runs through attic to connect the skylight to a room below requires insulation too. It is sometimes overlooked, or the insulation batts come loose and fall away onto the floor of the attic.

  4. 5)Missing insulation at repaired areas  in attic - It seems pretty obvious that insulation should be put back in place after being pulled back for a repair in the attic, but that doesn’t always happen.

  5. 6)Compacted insulation - Insulation that has been compressed by being walked over or storing boxes on it loses part of its insulation ability.

  6. 7)Old and deteriorated insulation - Fiberglass batt insulation tends to gradually collapse over the years, along with its R-rating.

  7. 8)Insulation under a roof leak, or rodent damaged insulation that has not been replaced - Once it is soaked from a roof leak, or shredded and soiled by rodents, insulation should be removed and replaced. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that “if exposed insulation has become contaminated with urine and droppings, it should be placed into plastic bags for removal.” To learn more about safely removing the material, see our blog post “How do I clean up rodent (rat, mouse or squirrel) urine and droppings in attic insulation?”

  8. 9)No insulation over areas that have been converted to living space - There’s a good chance that a porch, carport, or garage that was remodeled into interior living space without a building permit will not have attic insulation above it.

  9. 10) Vermiculite insulation with asbestos content - The EPA has determined that the asbestos content in vermiculate insulation that was still being installed in homes as late as the 1980s is a health hazard and should be removed. Go to our blog post “Why is vermiculite insulation a problem for both buyers and sellers of a home?” to learn more.

   
    For an overview of different types of insulation, see our blog post “How can I tell if a house has insulation?”


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

 
 

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Insulation Vent Baffles

Missing Insulation at Skylight Well

Rodent Damage

Vermiculite Insulation