Attacking the Attic

Does your home have an attic? When’s the last time you crawled in? Has it been a while since it’s been inspected? This may be the right time to give it some long-neglected attention. On your checklist of improvements to make before the weather changes should be a trip to the attic. It’s true that for many it is easier to ignore, but proper inspection of the attic will help prepare your home for the winter. The best part? It doesn’t take long!

If you have just had your roof replaced by a reliable contractor, your attic is probably in better shape. If it’s been a while since your roof received maintenance, your attic will give you the first signs of its condition. Leaking and excessive moisture coming in the attic is one of your roof’s way of begging to be replaced. This is one reason a regular trip up to the attic is recommended. When doing an inspection, in addition to any obvious signs of damage such as leaking, you will check for: ventilation and pathways, rotted sheathing, insulation condition, mold, and cracks. Let’s dig into these a little deeper.

All attics should have some sort of ventilation built into them. Proper airflow is important to prevent the buildup of excess moisture, which can lead to mold, mildew, and rot. Locate your vents, and make sure there is nothing blocking them on either side. Boxes should not be covering them. Small animals have also been known to build nests in or near vents. If you can, check the outside of the vents as well for leaves, or other debris, that may have built up. Clear pathways for the air to flow are important to prevent moisture from settling in the attic.

Next, you’ll want to check your wood and sheathing. Rot is most commonly found near chimneys, windows, and roof vents. If you’ve had any water leakage, there will likely be rotted sheathing nearby. Look over the frame as well. It’s normal to hear creaking, but if you see cracking and bowing, or feel unstable, you may need to reinforce the frame.

While inspecting your frame, take a look at the insulation. Because heat rises, your attic has the potential to let much of your home’s warm air escape. If you see any gaps, or visible signs of damage, have it repaired right away. During the winter, you want your home to stay heated without destroying your utility budget.

Finally, at least once a year you should perform a detailed inspection for mold. One of your first signs of mold will be a change in the air quality. Mold can create a foul odor in the air, as well as irritate a person’s senses. It is common to experience allergy-like symptoms when breathing near mold. If you are sneezing, noticing your nose and eyes are feeling irritated, look around. Sneezing may just be from the dust, but it can also be a sign of mold. Notice the air quality as well. If the air is moist, there is a higher chance of mold growth. Finally, look for visible signs of it. Because mold can sometimes be hard to recognize, it’s recommended to look around with proper lighting. Often times, mold will fall in corners, and resemble patches of dust. If you notice even a small amount of growth, there is a likelihood of a larger mold colony growing out of sight. Mold should never be ignored, as it has the potential to impact your family’s health, and can even be toxic.

While the attic may not be a favorite area of the home, it needs your care and maintenance too. If you do find damage that needs to be repaired, don’t hesitate to call a professional. You’ll appreciate having it fixed before the cold weather sets in. To find a professional who can help, visit us online at www.responsiblecontractors.com.

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