Attics can be very challenging to home inspectors.
There are all kinds of dangers from things like wild animals (although gophers are likely rare) to falling through ceilings. However, nobody except home inspectors even get close to “wanting” to go in attics, so they are often a source of great information that might be important to a home buyer.
Attics are perhaps second only to crawl spaces in this respect.
The attic I want to talk about today had a difficult access to say the least and any home inspector would have been justified in not entering it.
There used to be a more appropriate access to the attic at a point where there was much more clearance inside the attic, but this had been covered over in relation to a furnace installation in the garage.
Anyway, this is what the access looked like.
If the insulation had not already been trampled, I likely would have forgone messing up all the insulation to gain access to the higher area of the attic. I would have recommended they have me back when proper access was made. I made my way along the tunnel into the main attic area and found several issues that would not have been found had I not entered.
These first two pictures were of active leaks dripping into the insulation.
This next picture is of a cut rafter where the plumbing vent stack runs through the roof.
There is an approach to inspecting attics called the “gopher.” It involves sticking one’s head up inside the hatch at looking around all 360 degrees and then quickly disappearing before being whacked by the things that were missed.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board