Inspection Training

How to Properly Inspect the Attic Access Hatch (UPDATED 3/28/18)

When inspecting the attic access hatch there are two pictures that need to be taken to complete the section. The first picture should show the attic access hatch after you have inspected the attic and you have placed the hatch back in place. The second picture should show the floor beneath the hatch in order to prove that we didn’t make a mess and leave insulation all over the floor.

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International Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection

3.9. Attic, Insulation & Ventilation
I. The inspector shall inspect:

II. The inspector shall describe:

III. The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

IV. The inspector is not required to:
A. Enter the attic or any unfinished spaces that are not readily accessible, or where entry could cause damage or, in the inspector’s opinion, pose a safety hazard.
D. Break or otherwise damage the surface finish or weather seal on or around access panels or covers.

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector will describe the location of the attic access hatch at the property and document with two pictures (see procedure below).

Tools Needed

The inspector will require a ladder to in order to get to the attic access.


  • Even though this is listed in the program as the first step, this will actually be the last thing you do after inspecting the attic.
  • After the attic has been inspected, carefully put the hatch back the exact way that it was found and close up the ladder. Make sure the hatch is nice and square, and that there are no handprints or dirt on the hatch. Also, make sure there are no gaps or insulation hanging out from the hatch.
  • If you have any concerns about the condition of the hatch upon arrival, take a picture of it before you even put your ladder up there.  Mention any prior damage or handprints of the hatch to the client on the recorder.
  • Make sure that all the insulation and any mess that was made from removing the hatch has been cleaned up.
  • At this point when everything has been put back and cleaned up the inspector will take two required pictures. The first picture will be of the attic access hatch showing that it has been replaced and not damaged. The second picture will be of the floor below the hatch showing that the inspector didn’t make a mess and cleaned up after themselves. There is not a required picture but it is also important to check if the hatch is insulated and if it’s not to put that as repair/replace in the report.
  • Always look for multiple attic hatches and inspect each attic separately by duplicating each section.

Common Defects

  • Attic access hatch is damaged, missing, or tight.
  • The insulation is loose or the hatch is not insulated.

Common Mistakes

  • Damaging the attic access panel when opening and/or closing. If an attic access panel is painted shut and/or stuck use a razor to carefully cut around the access panel opening. Afterwards, using a flat edge like a level, gently hit the level with your hand or a hammer to loosen the access panel around the edges. The inspector must be very careful doing this so the access panel is not damaged.
  • Leaning the ladder against the trim and damaging/breaking it.
  • Loosening the trim when entering the attic.
  • Breaking drywall panels or corners.


Report / Software

  • Attic access was provided by an opening located [word 1]. The hatch cover was insulated.

-BR Closet
-Coat Closet
-Dining Room
-Guest Bath
-Guest BR
-Guest BR Closet
-Hall Bath
-Hall Closet
-Laundry Room
-Master Bath
-Master BR
-Master Closet
-Wall (BR)
-Wall (BR Closet)
-Wall (Gable)
-Wall (Garage)

  • N/A

  • No access hatch was provided through which to view roof framing. The inspector recommends having the attic area by a qualified inspector after access has been provided, to help ensure that safe conditions exist.

  • The attic access was provided by an opening located [word 1]. The access hatch [word 2]. A qualified contractor should evaluate and repair or replace as necessary.
    • Hatch (Damaged)
    • Hatch (Missing)
    • Hatch (Tight)
    • Insulation (Loose)
    • Not Insulated