Should home inspectors open up "sealed" attic access panels? Heck yes. Every time, unless the owner or buyer specifically says not to. That's my story, always has been, and I'm sticking to it.
Attic access panels are usually not "sealed" anyway; they're just incidentally covered over with some type of ceiling texture as part of the construction process. There are a bazillion things that can go wrong in attics, including new construction attics. Just click this link to see a bunch of photos showing attic defects in new construction homes. Remember, those were all defects on new homes. This should help to underscore the importance of attic inspections, especially on existing homes.
So what's the big to-do about opening "sealed" attic access panels? I've gotta think it's about lack of knowledge. Someone must imagine the home inspector taking a chainsaw to the attic access panel and making a huge mess out of it. The truth is, when done properly, it's nearly impossible to tell that anyone was ever even up there. To show how it ought to be done, I made a short little video showing how we inspect attics without leaving a mess. Enjoy.
Reuben Saltzman is a second-generation home inspector with a passion for his work. Naturally, this blog is all about home inspections and home-related topics in the Twin Cities metro area. In addition to working at Structure Tech, he is also a licensed Truth-In-Sale of Housing Evaluator in Minneapolis, Saint Paul and several other cities.
FLIR has a relatively new pocket-sized infrared camera with all of the bells and whistles of the much larger and expensive E6. It boasts the same resolution as the E6 but it's a fraction of the price at only $699. With these features and benefits, this camera ought to put the E6 out to pasture.
I recently had an informative email exchange with a past client that highlighted the discovery of some especially nasty water damage behind the stone siding at her townhome. I was curious about the events that led up to the discovery, and it all came down to one person being very curious and very persistent. I thought she had such a great story to share that I invited her onto our podcast, which you can listen to below.
Stone siding might be the most problematic siding that we come across as home inspectors. This stuff is failing left and right all over the country, and most of time the homeowner has no idea when their wall is a rotted mess behind the siding.
Take a look around any room full of home inspectors, and you'll notice we look a lot alike. We are almost all white men with a lot of gray hair. It's as if there's an unwritten rule that you have to be an old white guy to be a home inspector.