You Should Know About Attics for Your Home Improvement

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Attics: we all know where they are, but what do they do for us?

They hold up the roof;

Help keep the sun out;

Keep rain from getting into our homes and doing damage; and

They are a place to store stuff.

What about the squirrel nest, you ask?

The picture to the right is of a nest of a squirrel family who was not paying rent so I evicted them after I bought this house.

They moved out for the summer because it got too hot. So, during the rehab of this house, we closed their access hole and covered it with a ¼” heavy-duty wire mesh stapled with ¾” staples. (Squirrels will rip standard window screen out and eat through the vinyl.)

We then cleaned out this nest. Squirrels add to their nest every season, so they must have lived in there for several years.

It is also a place we expect to be safe to run the electrical wiring. Just remember, squirrels love to eat the PVC in the wiring.

What about the carpet on the floor you ask?

We bought a house that had carpet on the attic floor. There was a door from the second floor that leads right into it. The first time I went in there, I walked over to the light that was on a pull string about 10 feet from the door. As I was walking across the floor, there was this strange sensation that the floor moved as I walked.

After I turned on the light, I realized the previous owner had taken carpet and placed it on top of the insulation. No support at all. I could have fallen through very easily and can you believe it, they were even storing stuff out there!

In this section, we will be discussing:

Fans:

Fans have positive points and negative points.

The positive points are that the temperature and moisture can be controlled if the fan is on a thermostat.

The negative points are that if the outside humidity is high, the fan will operate and bring more moisture. When the outside temperature drops at night the excess moisture can condense and add to the moisture problem.

Insulation:

The proper insulation is mandatory if you want to save energy. Without a doubt, this is the most important item.

There should be a vapor barrier facing the occupied space. Older homes and ones with fiberglass bats usually have this. Newer homes with blown-in insulation do not have this vapor barrier. The vapor barrier is very important.

Ventilation:

Temperature and moisture control are the two major reasons you must control ventilation. Very few houses today have the correct amount of ventilation. I think the perfect ventilation would be the way houses in the islands are built or the way the Seminole Indians build theirs.

Is this practical for all homes?  

Besides, we have become way too acclimated to air conditioning. That invention is what allowed Florida and the Southwest to experience a population boom. Today’s insulation is needed to keep our electrical consumption down.

Stairs:

If you have enough room to stand up, you should consider installing a set of stairs to make the entrance easier and safer. Stairs are easy to install and usually can be completed in a day. Your safety is also very much improved.

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