Most Americans prefer do-it-yourself (DIY) home renovations, but these remodeling statistics reveal that only 7% of homeowners focus on their attics. For this reason, entering this part of the house can be dangerous. You could fall through a ceiling, trip on safety hazards, or get an electric shock.

If you’re unsure about your attic’s materials, ventilation, and insulation, it’s best to learn how to walk in an attic to prevent accidents. Read on to discover how to reach this goal.

Is It Safe to Walk in an Attic?

Is it safe to walk in an attic?

Yes, it’s safe to walk in an attic, but only if you observe certain safety precautions. Below are some factors to keep in mind.

  • Safety gear: It’s essential to use safety clothing for any home renovation project, even in your attic. Before attempting any DIY activity, protect yourself with a hooded sweatshirt, long pants, sneakers, and an N95 mask for your respiratory system.
  • Enough light: If you’re not sure if you have ample light in your attic, bring light with you. You can use a work light for lighting up most of the room and a flashlight for extra brightness in hard-to-see corners.
  • Stairs: Improperly installed attic ladders can be dangerous, especially pull-down types. Whenever you use the stairs, face toward the ladder and be careful not to snag your clothes on the metal arms.
  • Flooring: Be wary of drywall and plaster that look like floors. Stepping on such surfaces can cause injuries and damage.
  • Faulty wiring: If you see loose wires in your attic, steer clear of them and call an experienced electrician immediately. Damaged wires can cause fire hazards and electrocution.
  • Protruding items: Watch out for sharp edges, nails, splinters, and truss connector plates. These razor-sharp materials can cause massive cuts.
  • Hazardous materials: You can find mold growth, asbestos, and rodent droppings in unkempt attics. When in doubt about unidentified objects, it’s best to stay away.

How To Walk in an Attic

How to Walk in an Attic Safely

Most ceiling joists only hold anywhere between 10 to 40 pounds per square foot. Keep in mind that these surfaces have to support household items, books, and seasonal decorations along with your weight.

Typically, thicker rafters offer more security. However, there’s no way to tell if they can hold your mass if you don’t test them first. If you don’t check your attic regularly, external factors such as water, mold, or animal damage might have compromised its stability.

If you’re unsure about your floor’s capacity, it’s best to tread across your attic carefully. Treat every space as a potential safety hazard, and be mindful of every step you make. One wrong move can lead to catastrophic consequences.

How To Walk in an Attic Safely

Now that you’ve learned about potential safety threats in your attic, it’s best to protect yourself from them. Once you have your safety gear on and you have enough light to find your way, it’s time to avoid surfaces and items that can harm you.

If you have to work in your attic, it’s best to move slowly and methodically. Treat all its components as potentially harmful hazards. Watch out for faulty wiring, protruding items, and toxic materials. You naturally want to avoid falling through your ceiling.

Undamaged joists should be strong enough to hold you and your stored items. However, they typically can’t support various people, furniture, and boxes. If you become too complacent, you might fall through.

How To Walk in an Attic Without Falling Through

The best way to move around attics is to walk through platforms; however, not all of them have flooring. In such cases, you can create a catwalk by screwing 1.27 cm boards or strips of plywood to your attic’s joist.

Below is a step-by-step guide to achieving a makeshift floor:

  1. Identify your attic’s floor area.
  2. Determine how many planks you’ll need to cover it.
  3. Cut the boards accordingly.
  4. Place the planks perpendicularly against the trusses.
  5. Screw the boards in place. Avoid using nails because hammering them onto the surface might damage the drywall or plaster.

Even with this additional flooring layer, avoid putting all your weight in one area. Doing so can lead to injuries or damage to your property.

How To Walk in an Attic With Insulation Covering the Floor

When you see raw insulation sticking out of your attic, there’s likely nothing underneath to support your weight except for some drywall. These systems make it challenging to find joists. In such cases, don’t hesitate to fold insulation pieces that block your view.

The safest way to move around an attic without falling through is to walk on wood. If you have to walk on debris, clear it off and create a safe path across the room. Never step on a surface and put all your weight on it if you can’t confirm any framing. Also, watch out for trusses that connect to your roofing system.

In most cases, you can find 16 or 24-inch studs under your home’s insulation. You can use these beams to move from one point to another. Sometimes, you’ll come across two-by-four planks that run the distance. They’re your best bet at a safe route.

Achieve Your Dream Attic Now

Most homeowners focus on beautifying their kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas. Not many people have the time and money to enhance home spaces they don’t use. For this reason, walking in an attic is not always a safe idea.

If your garret has become a breeding ground of dust, mold, asbestos, and other such hazards, it’s best to ask professionals to help you achieve your dream attic. After all, renovating this area helps boost a home’s value, energy efficiency, and storage space.

Are you ready to transform your attic? The experienced professionals at (Company) can help you achieve your goals. Book a free appointment now through (number) or (email address).

We often think of these parts of our house as empty spaces or, at most, the place where old boxes and dusty heirlooms are kept.

But that’s only for traditional attics. A growing number of residences are now converting theirs into areas that their families can use as extra dens or bedrooms.

In this post, we’ll discuss what most people can expect to find in a traditional attic and a converted attic.

What’s Inside a Traditional Attic?

The traditional attic has open spaces with sloping walls that match the roof’s shape. At first glance, many first notice the most significant feature of traditional attics – the exposed house frame. Some homes even have joists or rafters holding up the roof.

Insulation covers the flooring of most attic floors. As for the walls, traditional attics usually don’t have windows but if they do, they are usually small and only exist for the purpose of air circulation.

Other things that are typically seen in a traditional attic include:

  • Rarely used items: Rarely used items such as camping gear and luggage bags are often kept in the attic. Sometimes excess ceramics, utensils, kitchen appliances, and electronics can be found here as well.
  • Seasonal decorations: Holiday décor, particularly Christmas decorations, are usually stored inside traditional attics. You might also find decorative lanterns, menorahs, Halloween props, and other decorations here.
  • Off-season clothing: Another common find in attics is clothing that is used only a few times each year. Maternity clothes, old kids’ outfits, and the like are often kept in the attic along with a few mothballs here and there.
  • Books and toys: Toys and recently read books are usually kept in the attic. This is especially the case for households with avid readers and/or children. Similarly, some families keep bulky nursery essentials such as rocking horses and cribs if they anticipate using them down the road.

What Should I Expect In a Converted Attic?

Rather than leaving their attic as-is, many homeowners these days opt to convert their attic. It provides an affordable alternative to those looking to add more space to their residence than extending their homes.

Some of the most common materials that you can expect to be used in an attic conversion include carpeting, drywall, and insulation.

Based on the size of the attic, it can usually hold at least two more additional bedrooms, which is great for growing families or guests.

For some homes it’s used as an office, and for good reason. Since attics are above the living area on the main floor, it’s usually much quieter in there.

Before you’re able to convert an attic, though, there are a few things you need to look into:

  • 7-foot ceiling: To meet building codes, your attic floor-to-ceiling height must be 7 feet. If it’s not, you’ll need to have your roof raised
  • Ceiling panels: You may want to add panels so the space feels more finished
  • Insulation: If you don’t have insulation, it’s a good idea to add this since the space may get too cold or too warm compared to the rest of the house. This is also the case if your insulation is old or insufficient
  • Staircase or ladder: Most homes have pull-down staircases, which is fine for traditional attics, but a hassle for converted attics. You may want to consider having a permanent staircase installed. To save space, you could also opt for a ladder or a narrow spiral staircase

What Shouldn’t Be In the Attic?

Given that most attics aren’t climate controlled, these areas are often not insulated well, resulting in significantly varying temperatures during different times of the year.

That’s why it’s important for people not to store the following items in their attics:

  • Flammables: This could be lighter fluid, paint thinner, or firewood. Any item that could catch fire easily would be difficult to notice in the attic.
  • Photographs: Storing old photos in the attic isn’t a great idea as the shifting temperatures could ruin them.
  • Antiques and important documents: Anything sentimental and priceless shouldn’t be stored in the attic where humidity and the risk of pests are common.
  • Food: Food items, even when canned, can be eventually be accessed by rodents and pests like squirrels and mice.
  • Animals: This probably goes without saying, but if there’s an animal in your attic that isn’t your pet, it shouldn’t be there. If you notice this, call a professional immediately.

Conclusion

The attic is one of the most unique areas of the house. Although many people would easily think of it as a musty, dusty, and dark place where things are usually stored, it can also be used as an added location in a home.

Many attics have been converted into extra bedrooms, studios, offices, and entertainment areas for households that need the extra space.

Just to be safe, though, you’ll want to keep flammables, photographs, antiques, important documents, and food away from the attic to avoid problems.

The attic is an often-overlooked space in a home that can be used for storage, a home office, an extra bedroom, or many other purposes. It is a space in a home between the roof and the ceilings. While the use of this space can vary depending on the home and its needs, it is important to understand what they are and how they can be beneficial.

So, do all houses have attics? No, not necessarily. The attic is a defining feature of many houses, but that doesn’t mean it can be found in all of them.

While some houses have large attics, others have very small ones, but most of them vary greatly depending on the structure and design of the house. That is why it’s important to understand what an attic is and how it can be used before taking advantage of this unique space.

Do Most Homes Have Attics?

Do Most Homes Have Attics

Most homes in America have an attic, though some may be too small for even a single person to stand up in. These attics can usually be found at the top of a house and are typically used as storage space, or the home’s furnace and unit will reside there. This makes them slightly unpleasant spaces if one must venture in; however, they aren’t typically used by many people, so the lack of comfort is usually not an issue.

The answer to this question is also dependent upon where you live. Homes in cold northern climates are much more likely to have attics or other storage spaces, while southern locations or tropical locales are less likely to have them. However, since most homes in the United States have at least a small storage area in their attic, it can safely be assumed that the majority of homes in America do have attics.

Is an Attic Necessary?

Is an Attic Necessary?

Understanding why attics are necessary can help you decide whether or not to include one in your own future home design plans. There are many benefits and good reasons for adding an attic to your home. Apart from structural purposes, attics provide functional purposes as well. The floor of the most of attics are typically insulated, which is a great way to keep your home comfortable and more energy efficient.

Most homes built before the 1920s had an attic. It has been a common feature in most homes for the last two centuries, but as Americans began to migrate from rural areas into cities, new homes lost their attics. By the mid-20th century, there were very few true attics left in new construction. As those homes began to age and some began to be renovated and were demolished, attics became even more difficult to find.

Do Modern Homes Have Attics?

Do Modern Homes Have Attics

50 or 60 years ago, attics were common in all but the driest climates in the United States. The 1950s introduced significant innovations to home construction, most notably in the way roofs were built. The new style of roof construction minimized the need for attic space. Many homes today are designed with roofs that are slanted so steeply. This is why many of today’s homes do not have attics.

Times have changed, and most new homes are built without an attic. Homeowners noticed that the basement was really a more practical location to store items because they did not have to worry about a pull-down staircase or carrying items up and down a tiny doorway. And, unlike many attics, a basement provides ample headroom. If the home required additional usable space, the basement might be renovated, heated, and cooled at a lower cost than air conditioning and attic space.

Are Attics a Uniquely American Phenomenon?

Things begin by investigating how houses are built and discussing the different types of construction methods. This is an examination of the increasing popularity of attics as a place of residence in the United States.

Attics are not a uniquely American phenomenon; homes have historically had attic space throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. These attics have served as living quarters for people on occasion across these regions and countries. They have been a part of people’s homes for centuries and can be found everywhere around the world.

These are some of the types of home construction across the globe:

  • Ranch-style home: Ranch-style houses have a single level with sloping roofs and often have an attached garage. This home is a single story with attic space beneath the roof that can also be found in Europe.
  • Two-story houses: These homes can vary in design and architecture and may or may not have an attic. Two-story houses are also popular across Europe and Asia. They have a second floor with an attic. Multi-story homes may or may not contain attic space.
  • Gabled roofs houses: A gable is an architectural term for triangular structures above the openings in the walls of buildings. These houses have a second floor with an attic underneath them and can also be found throughout Africa.
  • Pitched roofs houses: Pitched roof types are ubiquitous throughout the United Kingdom. They have a second floor with an attic that has space within the sloping walls of the home.
  • Mid-rise homes: Mid-rise homes are houses with two or more stories and can be found in Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. They contain attic space on top of the ground floor.

Conclusion

It is important to know that not all houses have attics. This means that if you are looking for a house with an attic in order to store your items and there aren’t many available in the area, then you will need to make sure this detail is on any list of requirements when making a decision about where to live.

You may not have a choice as to whether or not you include an attic in your construction plans, but it is good to be aware of the benefits and limitations of having an attic so that you can choose wisely if given the opportunity to do so.

Some states have a year-long summer. Others are cold for 12 months.

In New Jersey and the Delaware Valley, homeowners experience all four seasons. Under these circumstances, there are specific actions homeowners can take to get the most out of their home.

One of these actions is improving the attic — specifically, the attic’s energy efficiency.

Keeping the attic energy efficient helps keep the home healthy during all four seasons.

Here are 4 of the best ways to improve your attic energy efficiency.

1. Improve Your Attic’s Access Point

The attic access point — you probably see it every day without thinking twice about it.

Your scuttle hole and/or attic door could be wasting your home’s energy.

If the attic access point is not optimized for energy efficiency, air will be leaking between your living area and your attic. Your conditioned air can escape through the attic access point, wasting energy and money on conditioning the lower levels of your home. It doesn’t matter what season it is either — whether you are trying to keep your home toasty in the winter of cool in the summer, your attic access point can contribute to energy loss.

The solution?

We recommend two things:

  1. Weatherstripping
  2. Attic access cover

Attic accesses often have gaps between the door and the ceiling/attic floor. When these gaps are present, weatherstripping is a simple do-it-yourself solution.

For homeowners looking to get the most out of their time and effort, installing an attic access cover could be the perfect remedy.

Attic access covers are a simple installation made for attic scuttle holes and latches. They insulate the attic access and prevent the air from escaping in the same way that weatherstripping does. Other benefits of attic access insulation covers include:

  • Prevents bugs from entering the living area
  • Saves money on monthly energy bills
  • The material is durable and built to last

Weatherstripping and attic access covers are both excellent options. However, for the strongest means of insulation and energy saving, attic access covers provide the best results.

2. Improve Your Attic’s Sealing

After you tackle your attic access, the next step to improving attic energy efficiency is to improve the attic itself.

The first part of that is sealing.

The main goal of improving sealing is to prevent air leakage from the attic.

As mentioned in part 1, air can leak out of gaps and cracks in the attic access. However, the concept of air leakage can be a problem elsewhere.

Polyurethane foam seals gaps in wooden frame construction conserving energy.

Air can leak in gaps in windows, walls, and the floor especially. Take a look around and examine if you have gaps around the following:

  • Wire holes
  • Can lights
  • Ducts or vents
  • Cracks in the floorboards
  • Spaces where walls/floors/ceilings meet

If you find spaces near these elements, materials such as sealant, caulk, and/or weatherstrips can often be good solutions. All three will help limit the amount of air leakage in the attic.

For those with duct-work in their attic, air sealing can be critical.

When your air is leaking from ducts, all of the air that would be funneled directly into your living room may not be leaking up from your attic access, but directly from the ducts themselves. Thanks to something know as the “stack effect” (rising heat in the house), air leakages from ducts happen constantly, even when your air is not running. The joints that hold the ducts together leak air, the space in between the ducts and walls leak air, and you end up paying for it (literally — in utility bills).

When it comes to sealing duct-work, a materials such as spray foam, duct mastic, or duct tape can be a homeowners best friend.

Homeowners should also consider the importance of insulating the ducts as well. This concept should actually be applied to the entirety of the attic.

3. Improve Your Attic Insulation

Thanks to infrared technology, we are able to further see where homes need insulation.

When our technicians go into homes, the attic is one of the usual suspects for under-insulation.

In the Delaware Valley, where recommended R-Value (resistance to heat) ranges from R38 to R60, having the right amount of insulation is a necessity if you want good whole-home health. R-Values vary by material, but to get a better sense of what kind of R-Values you may already have, check out this chart. For the most accurate measurements, it’s always best to have a healthy home professional inspect your attic and determine what R-Value will work best for your home.

So how do you insulate your attic?

First, consider R-Value.

Next, identify what kind of insulation and what amount of insulation you will need for optimal insulation.

Some of the most popular attic insulation materials include:

  • Fiberglass (comes as batt)
  • Cellulose (comes blown)
  • Mineral wool (comes batt or blown)

Your walls, joists, and attic floors may all need better insulation. You may be able to judge this with the naked eye, but we recommend having an expert take a look. Experienced technicians will be able to give you more insight into R-Values, identify every spot that needs insulation, and offer actionable advice on the best way to handle any under-insulation.

Bonus Tip: Use Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation.

Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation (MLI) is the hidden gem of insulation materials.

MLI reflects radiant heat from the sun that permeates through the roof to keep R-Value consistent, and the temperature in the living area contained.

While most MLI installations take place in the attic, we can apply our reflective insulation products anywhere in your home to better insulate your home. Attics, crawl spaces, garage doors, below your floors—we even have wraps for old hot water heaters. MLI can help you improve your home’s energy efficiency levels and enjoy increased savings and comfort.

4. Improve Your Attic Ventilation

Ventilation, often thought of as “airflow”, tends to be overlooked.

Unlike other parts of the country like the southern and western states where it is hot year-round and attics can reach deathly high temperatures, the northeast only experiences high-heat for about two months. Likewise, the importance of airflow in the attic can easily escape the minds of homeowners.

Plus, most people aren’t really hanging out in their attic. So why does your attic need ventilation?

The truth is, ventilation is needed during every month of the year.

If you don’t have a healthy stream of air in your attic in the summer, you could be looking at moisture damage and mold.

And if you don’t have that healthy airflow in the winter, you could be looking at different yet similar issues. The potential for mold growth will be there, and excess moisture could cause warped joists, unsafe ice damming on the roof, and rotting wood.

The solution?

We recommend using a solar attic fan in New Jersey.

Solar attic fans — as the name implies — run solely on the power of the sun. That means less electricity is needed and more energy efficiency is earned.

They regulate your attic by expelling hot air and circulating fresh outside air to maintain healthy, consistent air quality.

To learn more about the benefits of installing a solar attic fan, click here.

Take Action — Improve Your Attic

If you want to improve your attic, we recommend seeking out the advice of an expert. Our technicians offer free attic inspections and can give you personalized advice based on the condition of your house and the climates that your house will be going through. To get an expert’s perspective, contact us today for a free inspection.

Most people tend to think of their homes as their happy place, like a warm embrace when entering your home after being outside in the cold. Even the walk from the car to the front door makes you long for the warmth of your home and the comfort that lies within.

Thanks to COVID, things have changed a bit, and in the face of a post-COVID world, things will continue to be different. Many of us who work from home due to COVID will continue to do so in some form. With the horrors of the pandemic came a new way of working and living.

I frequently get calls from customers who are setting up shop at home, and they aren’t physically comfortable in that space. Areas of the home that were once designated for cars, guest bedrooms, walk-in attic storage, or basement storage are now little carved out nooks for many remote workers to find a quiet place to get their work done. With so many of us re-locating within our abode and spending a large quantity of time there, we realize that these areas are suffering in the “warm and cozy” department. If you are feeling that way now, just wait until summer — if that area is not insulated or under-insulated, you will be roasting.

There is so much we can do for you at Attics and More, and we are only a phone call away. One complimentary, no-pressure visit from our friendly Attic Inspector, and you’re this close to finding comfort again. We can add blown-in insulation to finished walls, ceilings, and floors; we can install batted and unbatted insulation on open walls’ we can place blown-in insulation in the attic. Gaps in the attic? We air seal them.

Hot air and cold air are in a constant contest to see who can reach the other following the shortest path. We will send out a friendly Attic Inspector with his infrared camera at the ready and take pictures to show you where the air is escaping. ( We will email the images to you as well.) We wrap ductwork, create an insulating barrier for bedrooms that live above your garage and are colder than the other rooms on a second floor. We hunt down all the little places where air escapes and burdens your furnace in winter and air conditioning in summer by making them work overtime. I always explain it this way: “It’s simply science.” And science doesn’t lie.

home-energy-loss

Give our super-friendly Customer Experience Team a call today to get the ball rolling and make your new workspace worthy of its own “Welcome” mat.