When I began house hunting, inspecting attics was the last thing on my mind. Someone once told me about the problems they faced due to overlooking the attic. Then this realization dawned upon me that there are many good reasons for buyers to visit the attic or get an expert to look at it before concluding the home inspection process.
Attics shouldn’t be bypassed because they reflect the history of a house. An attic can provide vital clues to chronic problems regarding the home which even the current occupant might not be aware of.
Here are some possibilities:
- Rafter Damage or Supporting Truss
Getting the roof inspected might not bring up defects in the structure of the attic. Even though the roof looks secure and sound, there might be broken rafters or trusses within the attic. With an inspection you can come across stress cracks likely to lead to integrity loss. You also get the assurance that the lumber size is correct and up to the standard.
- Damage from Fire
If rafters are not of the color of natural wood, it might indicate that the home had been on fire in the past. Black, sooty, and scorched wood almost confirms this. If the wood has been painted over, it might mean that the damage has been covered up. Painting of wood is known to help eliminate burn smells.
- Inadequate Insulation
There are many ways to insulate attics such as laying fiberglass batts or blowing in insulation. Check with your home inspector whether the batts face the right direction (paper down or paper up).
- Damage from Water
Water is meant to flow top down and doesn’t usually enter sideways into the home. If there’s staining on walls or wood supports, it might indicate that water is leaking or had leaked through some place on the roof. Condensation formed around pipes might cause the rotting of wood. The effect of water is long term and usually drastic. It can lead to the growth of mold which can give rise to diseases.
- Unsound Chimney
Though you cannot inspect the chimney interior from an attic, an inspector can ascertain whether its structure is solid from inside the attic. Parts of the chimney not open to the elements might also deteriorate, especially in older homes. Your inspector will check for cracked bricks and crumbled mortar.
- Squirrel, Rodent, and Raccoon Damage
You’ll know whether a pesky critter has made his home in the attic if you see tiny pellets. Squirrels, rodents, and raccoons often get into attics through loose boards and eaves and might cause significant damage.
Squirrels sometimes eat through pipe insulation and chew through plastic coating which leaves wires bare and exposed. This results in a potential fire hazard and also poses a health risk. Sometimes the entire insulation requires replacement. All put together, this works out to be a pretty expensive job to fix.
So if you want to save yourself a lot of hassle, make sure your home inspector doesn’t give the attic a miss. After your inspection, you can get a free home value report from Neighborhood IQ and find out what your home is worth. Also, Home Loan Advisor can analyze your property, current market conditions, local market comps, and other variables in our proprietary algorithm as well as match you with potential lenders!