I have noticed that older houses typically have smaller access holes. My
1992 house the access to the attic opening is about 26"x26", and my 1972
house have five access holes to the attic and each one is only about
16"x16". This is too small for many people to get through - electricians,
pest control etc...
Does this mean in general the population is getting bigger over the years?
I'm glad to hear this. You're the first person to confirm my one-time
My hatch in my 28 y.o. house is plenty big enough for me, but I tried
to do something for a friend of mine, and I couldn't get into her
attic. I was real fat at the time, but it wasn't my belly, it was my
rib cage that was too big. There was barely any fat on my sternum,
ribs, and backbone.
And I'm only 5'8' with a best weight of about 150. I don't think I
was more than a half inch or an inch thicker than what I would be at
my minimum weight.
I'm really glad I didn't get up there and then have trouble getting
down. I'm sure she's glad too, that she didn't have to call the fire
department. They get F's in neatness.
I only have two data points but maybe. Her house isn't much older than
mine, but I forget how old it is. 35 or 40 years at most. That's
only a 12 year difference.
Oh yeah, our house built in 1953 or so had a whole drop-down fold-up
stairway, so I guess that's not a valid comparison.
copy to her
Shrug. Usually means the builder was cheap, or the designer never actually
swung a hammer, and was trying to shave pennies to hit a price point. One
summer as a kid, I worked for a builder throwing up low-end cookie cutters.
These places had a roof overhang in front, and 3 feet down the sides, but
then cut back to no overhang. All to save a few bucks on the roof system. As
to attic access holes- these places had 16x20, in a small closet above the
shelf. This 1960 cookie cutter I am in is pretty good for access- 24x24, in
the hall at attic centerline. My other house, we put in a pull-down stair,
headered off properly.
I'd hate to have me for a customer- I grew up in the business, with a good
designer for a father. Sadly, I didn't inherit his talent, but it was a good
education in what is and isn't good design and workmanship.
It is the framing, the joists are 16" apart so the hole is 16". However I
don't think this is cost related. This one is a custom built house and I do
not see anywhere choices being made there were directly cost related. Even
the access itself it was using a standard cover - metal with hindges, you
loosen a butterfly screw, the cover swings down and hang by it's hinges, and
you get in. These seem like standard access plates that are 16x16. May be
it was an after thought someone forgot to put them in and had to put in
after the fact.
Huh. Never seen 16x16 metal access hatches used for a man-way inside, only
for access to mechanicals right above the hole. (sprinkler valves, etc.)
If they frame in a hole before the rock goes up, it isn't a big deal, unless
the roof uses trusses. With those, you are pretty much limited to the truss
spacing, but can go longer in the other direction. If, like you said, this
was an oopsie discovered when the punch list was run, maybe they did take
the quick and dirty approach. Attic access is almost always a panel you push
up, not a door that drops down, unless there is a staircase attached to the
top of it.
Following up my own post here- my favorite attic access method for
single-story ranches is how my father used to do it on the houses he built-
instead of having a tall basement stairwell that catches cobwebs, with a
light too high up to change the bulb, he would put a closet backing up to
the basement stairs, and frame in an actual stairway up to the attic hatch.
All you had to do to get up there was take the stuff off the closet rod in
front of it, and walk up till your head pushed the hatch cover out of the
way. A clever use of what is usually dead space, and the people who he was
designing the houses for pretty much all loved it.
I did this for my mom, had contractor take out back wall of closet,
and cut joists in attic, add nice stairwell, then insulated attic and
put in plywood floor, it took 34 sheets of 4 by 8 plywood but was
worth it storage space galore. added some lights too.
Have you been off the planet for a while? Haven't heard all the
distress about obesity? Back in 1908, average life expectancy for men
was 45 yrs, average height about 5'8'. In another 20 years, the access
opening will be 60x60, with reinforced beams :o)
Do you remember the episode where Carrie Heffernan describes Doug as
wearing his house as a belt?
She has to come up from the outside to feed him while he waits for his
friend in the fire department to free him. Ray Romano (I forget his
character's last name) is in that one too.
This is "King of Queens", btw, on a par with the I Love Lucy and Mary
Tyler Moore shows.
I had a '50s vintage house where I had to enlarge the attic opening to
accommodate new HVAC equipment in the attic. After all was done the
building inspector measured the opening and found it too small only
because of the molding trim. I don't know if there was a minimum code
requirement or whether he was just ensuring that the furnace could be
removed without building modification.
No. In older homes, HVAC and water heaters went into a closet
size opening down below. Most attics were no longer used for
storage unless designed for it and access to the storage
attics was by a stairway. Attic access was provided for the
off chance that an inspection was required.
Now you have HVAC attic units, water heaters in the attic, and
all manner of devices which have to be accessed (junction
boxes, cable wiring, telephone wiring, network wiring, etc.).
The attic access is now controlled by code. Back then, it
wasn't even required.
I was told that the access to an attic, without equipment in it was
based on looking in for fires. I think with time, firemen didn't want
to take off their helmets to peek. Just a guess.
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
With framing on 16" centers, you will not even have a 16" opening-- it
will be approx. 14 1/2". At about 5'6 and 145 lb, guess who gets sent
up into attics with those openings (a/c work). What I hate is when we
have to remove a pulldown ladder to get equuipment into an attic.
Personally I think putting a water heater in an attic is insane. We
don't work on WHs, but I see more and more in attics. Larry
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