Magnum Inspections Inc.

Serving South Florida Since 1994          Martin County: (772) 214-9929 Broward/Palm Beach Counties: (954) 340-6615     

Email me at: ev@magnuminspections.com

 
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Attics

An attic is a space found directly below the pitched roof of a house or other building (also called garret, loft or sky parlor). As attics fill the space between the ceiling of the top floor of a building and most often a slanted roof, they are known for being awkwardly shaped spaces with exposed rafters and difficult-to-access corners. While some attics are converted as bedrooms or home offices, complete with windows and staircases, most attics remain hard to get to and neglected, and are typically used for storage. Attics can also help control temperature in a house by providing a large mass of unmoving air. Hot air rising from lower floors of a building often gets trapped in the attic, further compounding their reputation for inhospitability. However in recent years many attics have been insulated to help decrease heating costs.

In some places attic is used more specifically to apply to lofts which have boarded floors and ceilings, and usually windows or skylights, and then loft is kept to mean a dark, unboarded roof-space which lacks these features.

Attic Insulation Techniques

Loose-fill or batt insulation is typically installed in an attic. Although installation costs may vary, loose-fill insulation is usually less expensive to install than batt insulation. When installed properly, loose-fill insulation also usually provides better coverage.

Before installing any type of insulation in your attic, follow these steps:

  • Seal all attic-to-home air leaks. Most insulation does not stop airflow.

  • Duct exhaust fans to the outside. Use a tightly constructed box to cover fan housing on attic side. Seal around the duct where it exits the box. Seal the perimeter of the box to the drywall on attic side.

  • Cover openings—such as dropped ceilings, soffits, and bulkheads—into attic area with plywood and seal to the attic side of the ceiling.

  • Seal around chimney and framing with a high-temperature caulk or furnace cement.

  • At the tops of interior walls, use long-life caulk to seal the smaller gaps and holes. Use expanding foam or strips of rigid foam board insulation for the larger gaps.

Install blocking (metal flashing) to maintain fire-safety clearance requirements (usually 3 inches) for heat-producing equipment found in an attic, such as flues, chimneys, exhaust fans, and light housings/fixtures unless the light fixtures are IC (insulation contact) rated. IC-rated lights are airtight and can be covered with insulation.

Make sure insulation doesn't block soffit vents to allow for attic ventilation.

Check the attic ceiling for water stains or marks. They indicate roof leaks or lack of ventilation. Make repairs before you insulate. Wet insulation is ineffective and can damage your home.

Also insulate and air seal your attic access if it's located in a conditioned part of the house.

You'll want to properly insulate and air seal any knee walls—vertical walls with attic space directly behind them—in your home as well.

Finally, if you're constructing a new home or remodeling, make sure any attic decking, which provides additional storage space or a platform for an HVAC unit or hot water tank, is raised above the ceiling joists to ensure proper insulation depth. The decking then should be installed securely to the top of the raised lumber after the insulation has been installed.

 

Martin County: (772) 214-9929 Broward/Palm Beach Counties: (954) 340-6615

Email me at: ev@magnuminspections.com

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