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  1. #1
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    Exclamation attic access weatherization

    2009 IRC Access Hatches and Doors. "Access doors from conditioned spaces to unconditioned spaces (e.g. attics and crawl spaces) shall be weatherstripped and insulated to a level equivalent to the insulation on the surrounding surfaces. Access shall be provided to all equipment which prevents damaging or compressing the insulation. A wood framed or equivalent baffle or retainer is required to be provided when loose fill insulation is installed, the purpose of which is to prevent loose fill insulation from spilling into the living space when the attic access is opened and to provide a permanent means of maintaining the installed R-value of the loose fill insulation. "

    This means all those sloppy attic stairs and hatches can and should be called out due to energy purposes. Add to this IRC N1102.4.1, which now requires that the Building Thermal Envelope shall be durably sealed to limit infiltration. The sealing methods between dissemilar materials shall allow for differential expansion and contraction. The following shall be caulked, gasketed, weatherstripped, or otherwise sealed with an air barrier material, suitable film or solid material."
    #10- Attic Access Openings

    Compliance must be confirmed either by passing a blower door test at 7<Air Changes per Hour (ACH) at 50 Pascals negative pressure OR visual inspection by an approved third party independent from the installer of the insulation. IRC N1102.4.2

    This air seal also affects penetrations such as ceiling lighting. Now must use ICAT recessed luminaires.

    Care must be taken around heating vents and chimneys as you can only caulk or seal if it complies with any listings.

    Discusssion welcome.
    Bob

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  2. #2
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    BH: I have been calling these out since Texas adopted the 2000 IECC, where 502.1.4.2 specifically noted: "This includes sealing around tubs and showers, at the attic and crawl space panels . . ."

    The graphic below shows that the intent was there all along in the 2006 IRC, but it is nice that they finally pulled their heads out and got specific about some things.

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  3. #3
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    I also

    I have been telling folks about insulating hatches and pull down stairs and such since I was no more than a young kid.

    Every home I have ever been in I write that in my report. Without the insulation and foam strips to seal off the attic space it is nothing more than a big hole in the ceiling robbing everyone of any efficiency they may be gaining elsewhaere. I cannot believe especially , when was it, they changed to a minimum of twelve seer that they have no been insulating and weather stripping those openings. On a 100 degree day (which we have already had many) you can just feel that heat bearing down on top of you from the attic opening above

    As far as

    The following shall be caulked, gasketed, weatherstripped, or otherwise sealed with an air barrier material, suitable film or solid material."
    #10- Attic Access Openings


    Now that would be impossible. Some weather stripping is about the best that is going to happen there.





  4. #4
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    As Aaron pointed out, that's why, on this thread ( http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...-lighting.html ), when you said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    FYI, attic hatches must now be caulked and insulated to meet the attic requirements. The IRC recognizes the use of tight fitting rigid foam boxes over attic hatches and stairs.
    Bob
    I responded:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Been that way in the energy code for some time now.
    This is from the 2006 IRC. (underlining and bold are mine)
    - N1102.1 Insulation and fenestration criteria. The building thermal envelope shall meet the requirements of Table N1102.1 based on the climate zone specified in Table N1101.2.

    - N1102.4.1 Building thermal envelope. The building thermal envelope shall be durably sealed to limit infiltration. The sealing methods between dissimilar materials shall allow for differential expansion and contraction. The following shall be caulked, gasketed, weatherstripped or otherwise sealed with an air barrier material, suitable film or solid material.
    - - 1. All joints, seams and penetrations.
    - - 2. Site-built windows, doors and skylights.
    - - 3. Openings between window and door assemblies and their respective jambs and framing.
    - - 4. Utility penetrations.
    - - 5. Dropped ceilings or chases adjacent to the thermal envelope.
    - - 6. Knee walls.
    - - 7. Walls and ceilings separating the garage from conditioned spaces.
    - - 8. Behind tubs and showers on exterior walls.
    - - 9. Common walls between dwelling units.
    - - 10. Other sources of infiltration.

    As Aaron said, it used to be implied, and to me it was more than just "implied" - it was "stated" as attic access openings ARE 1. and 10. above.

    It is nice, however, to now have it spelled out.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Number 6 on that list caught my attention and I write it up all the time.

    I can't tell you how many homes I've seen over the years that the knee walls are not insulated. Just makes you wonder how much wasted money has been spent on energy to cool and heat the home due to someone not installing insulation on the knee walls.

    rick

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Rick,

    In the Florida energy code, knee wall and any walls above one ceiling level to another ceiling level and exposed to the attic are treated as "ceiling" areas, which means they require more insulation than if they were treated as "walls".

    This is because they are exposed to the higher heat in the attic than if they were regular exterior walls, the same heat the ceilings are exposed to.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Exactly!

    One thing I do is simply show my clients the temperatures on the drywall with a Raytek gun and they get the message quick about it needing insulation.


  8. #8
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    Cool Re: attic access weatherization

    In the early days of blower door testing and IR thermography, missing knee wall insulation was one of the first major bypasses they discovered and just how prevalent the problem is. It is far more uncommon to see it done to any degree I think than to see none. As JP noted, even then, they still don't get it right. I know you all have seen where they insulated the vertical wall using friction fit batts that fell down when the rock hounds hung the drywall because there was nothing behind to retain it. That and the ceiling insulation stopping right at the knee wall plate or just shy....
    Yep, we worry about global warming, higher SEERs, higher AFUEs but neglect the gaping hole to the sky. Sound like another idea planned in Washington....

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  9. #9
    Mark Tyrol's Avatar
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Glad this is finally getting the attention it deserves! These requirements are also on the energy star home thermal bypass checklist. If you are seeking product suggestions that address these issues, several products are available from Battic Door Energy Conservation Products (www.batticdoor.com).

    Thanks and Regards!


    R-50 Attic Stair Cover

    R-42 Attic Access Hatch

    Whole House Fan Shutter Cover


  10. #10
    JORY LANNES's Avatar
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    In the Chicago Area most of the attic "scuttle holes are covered with a 1/4 plywood. I mention in my reort that this is a potential fire hazard.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Quote Originally Posted by JORY LANNES View Post
    In the Chicago Area most of the attic "scuttle holes are covered with a 1/4 plywood. I mention in my reort that this is a potential fire hazard.
    Jory,

    What type of insulation is above the 1/4" plywood?

    What type of ceiling is required?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
    JORY LANNES's Avatar
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Any non flamible materiel...I reccomend 5/8 plaster board with a fiberglass batt glued to the atic side and weather stripping around the base


  13. #13
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Does anyone have a good graphic showing the need for insulation and draft stopping on interstitial spaces on floor/ceiling joists exposed to the attic?
    It us usually tough to get a good photo to show the problem from the attic and a good graphic would make life easier.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  14. #14
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    interstitial spaces on floor/ceiling joists exposed to the attic?
    Jim,

    You've lost me there.

    The space above a top floor ceiling and the roof above is the attic, no interstitial space there.

    Either that or I am not following you.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Quote Originally Posted by JORY LANNES View Post
    Any non flamible materiel...
    It is?

    I reccomend 5/8 plaster board with a fiberglass batt glued to the atic side and weather stripping around the base
    Why not 1/2" gypsum board?

    Why not wood?

    If you want firestopping, make it 1-1/2" thick.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  16. #16
    JORY LANNES's Avatar
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    THe question was replace plywood with plasterboard as a fire stop in an attic scuttle hole. I suggest 5/8 " becuase most home store sell 4X4 precut plasterboard stock. I have found most home owners will not buy 4x8 shhet of 3/4 " fire retardant retartant stock to replay a 1/4 plywood scuttle cover. Attic acesss weatherization was not my intent. Fire safety was


  17. #17
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Quote Originally Posted by JORY LANNES View Post
    Fire safety was

    I understood that.

    Which is why I said "Why?".

    Simply asking you to point out your reference for that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

  18. #18
    JORY LANNES's Avatar
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Jerry
    I have been on this sight for about 3 yrs. In that time I have enhanced my home inspection knowledge greatly from people like you . You appear to be one of a handfull of CODE MAVINS.

    I was taught about attic scuttle hole covers by a Chicago Fire Dept. Capt. who was also a home inspecter. He told me that there always needs to be a "fire break" for ceilings. When you see a plywood or cardboard cover note it should be replaced with a no combustalbe materail like plaster board.

    Were you looking for another answer? Were you trying to make a point?
    I guess I am missing your the meaning of your probing question.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: attic access weatherization

    Quote Originally Posted by JORY LANNES View Post
    I was taught about attic scuttle hole covers by a Chicago Fire Dept. Capt. who was also a home inspecter. He told me that there always needs to be a "fire break" for ceilings.
    The attic access does not need to be any better or different than the ceiling around it.

    In the old homes with that bead board which was used for the walls and the ceilings, would you require drywall at the attic access?

    In newer homes with 1/2" gypsum board ceiling, why would you require 5/8" gypsum board for the attic access cover?

    There is absolutely NO REASON to make an attic access cover any more fire resistive than the ceiling or wall in which the access cover is in.

    Those were the things I was trying to get you to think about - why make the attic access any more fire resistive than the rest of the ceiling.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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