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sealed attic hatch


John Dirks Jr
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I did an inspection on a new townhome today. The attic hatch in the master closet was sealed with weather strip. The weather strip had adhesive on both sides so it was literally stuck shut.

I got permission from the builders rep before slicing the weather stripping with my razor to get access. I could have forced it open but that would have made a mess.

The rep said that its a new requirement for the hatch to be sealed with adhesive (both sides) weather strip. He said that after me gaining access, they will have to redo the weather strip.

Is this for real? Can you see inspectors claiming the attic inaccessible because of requirements like this?

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I did an inspection on a new townhome today. The attic hatch in the master closet was sealed with weather strip. The weather strip had adhesive on both sides so it was literally stuck shut.

I got permission from the builders rep before slicing the weather stripping with my razor to get access. I could have forced it open but that would have made a mess.

The rep said that its a new requirement for the hatch to be sealed with adhesive (both sides) weather strip. He said that after me gaining access, they will have to redo the weather strip.

Is this for real? Can you see inspectors claiming the attic inaccessible because of requirements like this?

Ask him where, exactly, it says that.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I got permission from the builders rep before slicing the weather stripping with my razor to get access.

It's better to ask forgiveness than permission. There's not enough hours in the day to try and ask for permission to do my job.

I'm going to make a run to Burger Blast while I'm waiting for permission to enter the attic. Anyone want a burger? I sure hope I get permission before night fall. Good Lord.

If they make a big stink of it John give them 25 clams and a tube of caulk - or better yet tell them to piss off. You put the house up for sale, there will be inconveniences.

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The requirement is probably contained in a change to the energy code.

From the 2010 version of the energy conservation construction code:

402.4 Air leakage (Mandatory).

402.4.1 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 a garage from conditioned spaces.

8. Behind tubs and showers on exterior walls.

9. Common walls between dwelling units.

10. Attic access openings.

Tom Corrigan

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I specifically asked if it was required to be adhered the way it was. He said yes but I don't see where it says that in the info Tom posted above.

IMO, the weather stripping does not need to be gluing the hatch shut to work as intended. Maybe he was stretching it a bit. Stuck on one side to keep it in place should be good enough.

It's ironic how they're so concerned about energy loss when the batt that covers the hatch half cocked and out of place.

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The rule says weatherstrip, but it does not say sticky on both sides. [:)]

If the builder has been told to do that, it is probably just one authority's interpretation of the rule. At least, I hope it is.

Just read your post, John. "Hey, with the hatches all glued shut, maybe we can skip the insulation." [:)]

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I specifically asked if it was required to be adhered the way it was. He said yes but I don't see where it says that in the info Tom posted above.

IMO, the weather stripping does not need to be gluing the hatch shut to work as intended. Maybe he was stretching it a bit. Stuck on one side to keep it in place should be good enough.

It's ironic how they're so concerned about energy loss when the batt that covers the hatch half cocked and out of place.

If that's the code section that he's referring to, it's the same section that governs the joints between doors and their frames. Did he caulk all the doors shut?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I specifically asked if it was required to be adhered the way it was. He said yes but I don't see where it says that in the info Tom posted above.

IMO, the weather stripping does not need to be gluing the hatch shut to work as intended. Maybe he was stretching it a bit. Stuck on one side to keep it in place should be good enough.

It's ironic how they're so concerned about energy loss when the batt that covers the hatch half cocked and out of place.

I agree you are correct. If they adhere the access shut they are no longer complying with:

R807.1 Attic access. In buildings with combustible ceiling or roof construction, and attic access opening shall be provided to attic areas that exceed 30 square feet and have a vertical height of 30 inches.

They just don’t want to pay for something like this:

http://www.contractorstoolsupply.com/fi ... -3044.html

when they can spend $10 on sticky gasket.

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