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  1. #1
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    Default Insulation is Overrated

    Sometimes less is more......but not in this case. Brand new construction home due to go to settlement in two days. Somebody needs to go back to insulation application school.











    NHIE Practice Exam
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Where are the cardboard rulers? Yeah, they needs sum mo skooln"

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Yep, none of those up in the attic. Bruce.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    I've seen a couple of newer construction houses like that. If you just poked your head up in the hatch you could see big fluffy piles of insulation surrounding the opening but when you actually crawled up in there the insulation just tapered off to barely nothing. I'm guessing it was the builders savings plan.

    Galen L. Beasley
    Inspections Supervisor
    Housing Authority of Kansas City MO

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    I don't see any baffles installed around the perimeter. Likely means that there are no baffles around the attic access opening either.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Do you mean the soffit baffles Jerry? Some are there and some are not and some that are there are filled with insulation.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Do you mean the soffit baffles Jerry? Some are there and some are not and some that are there are filled with insulation.
    Yes, but not just at the soffits, also along exterior walls at porches and where the living space thermal envelope is adjacent to garages, also around attic access openings.

    The baffles need to be at least as high as the minimum depth of the insulation to keep the insulation to at least the minimum required depth before spilling over ... or they can insulate far enough beyond the thermal envelope perimeter that the insulation at that perimeter will not fall over to where the insulation does not meet the minimum required depth.

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yes, but not just at the soffits, also along exterior walls at porches and where the living space thermal envelope is adjacent to garages, also around attic access openings.

    The baffles need to be at least as high as the minimum depth of the insulation to keep the insulation to at least the minimum required depth before spilling over ... or they can insulate far enough beyond the thermal envelope perimeter that the insulation at that perimeter will not fall over to where the insulation does not meet the minimum required depth.
    Nick,

    To clarify my previous post (quoted above), the baffles I am referring to for the soffits are not the ones shown in your photo, those would need to be installed from truss-to-truss all along the soffits without leaving any space for the insulation to fall through. Those baffles are typically used for batt insulation and compress the batt insulation down to open the area above the vent for air flow.

    The ones I am referring to are here: Baffles, Panels & Blocks - right column 1st one, 4th and 5th ones down, left column 4th and 5th ones down. One could also install one of the baffles which simply gets attached to the bottom face of the truss or rafter.

    These create a dam which holds the insulation back. The ones shown in your photo, while used for loose fill insulation, are not much good unless the entire bay between trusses/rafters is protected with the baffles to keep the loos fill insulation from falling into the soffits.

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Nick,

    To clarify my previous post (quoted above), the baffles I am referring to for the soffits are not the ones shown in your photo, those would need to be installed from truss-to-truss all along the soffits without leaving any space for the insulation to fall through. Those baffles are typically used for batt insulation and compress the batt insulation down to open the area above the vent for air flow.

    The ones I am referring to are here: Baffles, Panels & Blocks - right column 1st one, 4th and 5th ones down, left column 4th and 5th ones down. One could also install one of the baffles which simply gets attached to the bottom face of the truss or rafter.

    These create a dam which holds the insulation back. The ones shown in your photo, while used for loose fill insulation, are not much good unless the entire bay between trusses/rafters is protected with the baffles to keep the loos fill insulation from falling into the soffits.

    Was any air sealing done. For those that dont know air sealing is critically important. Reduces energy cost, chance of mold and prevents ice dams.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    I can go one better on a new house ready for closing. NO insulation at all in the attic. No one every even looked in the attic after drywall went up including the county inspector.

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    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Nice find, Stuart. Somebody gets a cuff to the head for that. The builder leaves it up to the subs, the boss sub sends the crew on to the next house, the crew just show up and go where the boss sends them.
    Oh, yeah, the inspector for the county? He drives a sedan, no ladder.

    I had a new house recently with 3 attic hatches, complicated roofline. Hatch 1 and 2, yep plenty of nice insulation. Hatch 3 above the master bedroom? Nope, guess they missed a hatch.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Nice find, Stuart. Somebody gets a cuff to the head for that. The builder leaves it up to the subs, the boss sub sends the crew on to the next house, the crew just show up and go where the boss sends them.
    Oh, yeah, the inspector for the county? He drives a sedan, no ladder.

    I had a new house recently with 3 attic hatches, complicated roofline. Hatch 1 and 2, yep plenty of nice insulation. Hatch 3 above the master bedroom? Nope, guess they missed a hatch.
    Thinking about it, maybe I should send the picture to the head inspector of that county. The builder is required to supply a ladder IF the inspector ASKS.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Oh, yeah, the inspector for the county? He drives a sedan, no ladder.
    County inspector does not need a ladder - contractor needs to provide access, which includes having an OSHA approved ladder there.

    I carry a small Little Giant-type ladder in the vehicle, barely reaches the edge of a low single story roof - any higher than that and the contractor provides the ladder.

    At the apartment complex I am inspecting now (almost every day of the week from last October to this coming November (anticipated finish) I have one of the contractors take me up in a lift (3 story buildings) ... and, yes, I wear a safety harness.

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

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    I can go one better on a new house ready for closing. NO insulation at all in the attic. No one every even looked in the attic after drywall went up including the county inspector.
    I see this on new construction around my way quite often. Some AHJ wants it left out until they have done there inspection and allot of times it's right up to the closing dates. "Why" I don't know but I will ask the next time I see one. I bet if you asked the builder he would of told you something along those lines.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    I see this on new construction around my way quite often. Some AHJ wants it left out until they have done there inspection and allot of times it's right up to the closing dates. "Why" I don't know but I will ask the next time I see one. I bet if you asked the builder he would of told you something along those lines.
    This house had a final inspection. Closing was scheduled for the next AM. There was a problem with the Project Supervisor who quit. The house and probably others fell through the crack. Still no excuse. This was a Centex development.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    This was a Centex development.
    Well ... that explains it ...

    I've seen that in the past too, always the 'national builders' projects and houses.

    Seems that 'the little guys' check things like that - maybe because they have a local reputation to keep, or make?

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

  17. #17

    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    As others have stated, this is no surprise. I my areas large builder typically build to a different schedule than the codes were set up to deal with and they will work out of order or in an order that works for their work flow and pay for re inspections when they fail items. The difference is they will fail the insulation inspection before the drywall was placed but the failure would note the specifics (this would create a record) and they would pay for a reinspect after the ceilings were installed so they can use blow in insulation in those areas. It is still up the the AHJ to do the inspection and sometimes they miss it. IT is a concern that they would sign off on it without looking!

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
    http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/
    http://carolinahomeinspections.com/

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    All the more reason why we as inspectors need to walk every attic interior we can. If I did an inspection from the hatch alone and didn't actually enter the attic, I wouldn't have been able to see most if not all of this. I'll squish a little insulation every time as a trade off to make sure I find stuff like this.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  19. #19

    Unhappy Re: Insulation is Overrated

    Seems like there will always be some conflict between "readily accessible" and getting the job done properly. My son and I have both damaged ceilings by tripping over concealed wiring or plumbing vents in attics. Luckily only egos hurt but it does make you more cautious about the attics you walk.

    Another place where thermography can/will help. With the proper equipment you can now get a feeling for the insulation adequacy and distribution from the rooms beneath it. It doesn't eliminate the need for viewing the attic but does help with areas riskier to access directly.

    I really don't like falling through ceilings, but that's just me.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Insulation is Overrated

    My client didn't want to fall through this ceiling but that didn't stop him.

    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...h-ceiling.html

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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