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Reuben Saltzman

Attic Problems On A New Construction Home

We recently inspected a new construction, custom built home in Edina.  We did a team inspection at this property, where Neil, Duane, and I all inspected the house at the same time.  We really went over this house with a fine tooth comb, but we didn’t come up with much that was wrong – it was a very well built home.  Towards the end of the inspection, we asked the buyer if they would mind us opening up the attic access panel, which had been sprayed shut.  The buyer was fine with that, as most buyers are.  What we found was quite surprising.

Frost in Attic The builder had taken all of the necessary steps to seal all of the bypasses to the attic,  by doing something most builders never do.  Before blowing in loose-fill fiberglass insulation, he had a company spray foam the ‘lid’ to really make sure that any potential bypasses to the attic would be completely sealed.  This isn’t required, but it’s a great idea.  Unfortunately, the person doing the insulation had missed a few areas, and this allowed a ton of frost in to the attic!

The builder was very glad we found this, and quickly had the insulation company back out to re-insulate the areas that were missed.  This is a great example of why it’s so important to break the attic access seal, and why it’s so important to have even new construction homes inspected, no matter how good the builder is.

The best builders will encourage their buyers to have private home inspections performed, and they’ll welcome any feedback from home inspectors.  This will not only prove to the buyer what a good house they’re buying, but can also save the builder from major potential problems in the future.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections – EmailEdina Home Inspections

No responses to “Attic Problems On A New Construction Home”

  1. Portable Storage
    March 3, 2009, 11:23 am

    The article was very informative and I hope that I will get such good article in future also. I often read your articles and will also read in future.

  2. David Andrick, Pres. A1 Home Insp. Svcs. LLC
    March 4, 2009, 7:59 am

    Good example of why every home new or used should have access to any remaining attic. Except for the rare vaulted ceiling/contemporary built home, it’s important to have access to any remaining attic to check for leaks, mold, bath exhaust and attic venting, pests or potential points of entry of same, insulation factor (or desire to add more), completed ridge venting, or for potential future storage.

    Oh, let’s not forget the sewer vent pipe terminating in the attic on occaision! Then there’s the PVC pipe factory in attics where local municipalities “allow” just one sewer vent pipe for a multiple bath home to exit the exterior. We don’t want to ruin the curb appeal with too many of those sticking out of the roof and viewable from the street now do we?

  3. admin
    March 4, 2009, 8:59 am

    David – thanks! Here in Minnesota, we have our own homegrown plumbing code, where a 4″ vent is allowed to vent up to 500 drain fixture units. This means that allowing one sewer vent pipe is perfectly acceptable, no matter how many bathrooms.

    Is there a different requirement where you inspect?

  4. David Andrick, Pres. A1 Home Insp. Svcs. LLC
    March 4, 2009, 7:49 pm

    Admin man,

    Without citing anyones code… it varies by town for sure. For example, the town my house was built would not allow any deviation to the final pitch of the 4″ reduced to 3″ pipe exiting the attic/roof. So for my three separate goups of baths (they did allow the kitchen and island sinks to get by with a quick vent) I have three 3″ abs pipes thru my roof… all can be seen from the street… two of three in other towns would have been in the back of the house or better yet… all three groups would have terminated into one pipe vented to the rear of the house so as not to be seen by the street gawkers!

    LOL Sherlock

  5. admin
    March 4, 2009, 9:03 pm

    Thanks for the info! I just realized my comments show up as ‘admin’. I’ll have to figure out how to change that.

    – Reuben

  6. M
    March 5, 2009, 1:28 pm

    Great advises!
    These articles are really helping me

  7. Kim Web
    March 19, 2009, 2:42 am

    Its funny the attic would really be the last place that I would think about checking or even worrying about, I would think most people would do the same thing especially if its not a usable attic for like storage etc. Thanks for a really interesting read will be coming back to see what else is spoken about

  8. David Andrick
    May 17, 2011, 8:26 pm

    Just wanted to revisit and add several more issues I’ve found in attic inspections (new or old):
    * Ridge board supports columns “swinging” in the breeze, * Visible daylight on new and old houses, * Perforated roof valley flashing with active leaks, * A so called recent chimney flashing repair job with 4 active leaks (raining during inspection), * Kitchen oven exhaust, dryer vents, bath vents, perforated chimney masonry, oh and let’s not forget the flying squirrels,or the 2 plus dozen bats just to mention the critter side of the business!! How about R 11 labeled insulation in a electric heated home!

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