Attics are important, though often overlooked in a home inspection. It is not unusual for a homeowner to have never entered their own attic. Attics can hide a lot of problems-from mold and insulation problems to electrical and fire concerns.
Attics come in two main styles: Full and Crawl attics. Full attics are large enough for a person to stand and walk around in and may have a full floor. The walls and ceiling of this type of attic may or may not have exposed beams. A Crawl attic is usually smaller than a full attic and may not have a floor. In such crawl attics one must support themselves on the ceiling joist or you may step through the drywall ceiling into the room below.
The attic should be inspected to identify the type and amount of insulation present in the house. Insulation directly pertains to heating and cooling costs, so make sure there is an adequate amount of insulation present. Insulation should lie between the roof rafters, with the vapor barrier facing the heated portion of the structure, namely the ceiling of the room below. The vapor barrier is usually attached to the insulation bundle and may be made of a number of impermeable materials. All of these barriers reduce the amount of moisture moving from the heated portion of the house into the unfinished attic.