The first thing I saw when I entered the attic was dozens of little ¾” holes peppering the yellow fiberglass insulation. There were trails stained with urine and studded with feces running between the holes.
I was in mouse heaven.
It is nasty enough crawling around in attics, so when they are vermin infested it makes the job even more interesting. It makes me glad to have a good mask.
An inspector has to be a bit like a rat or a mouse when it comes to crawl spaces and attics.
Rodents explore EVERYWHERE. That is why you generally can find signs of them EVERYWHERE. It also explains why they are able to get into the home in the first place. They look everywhere–it is what they are about–and they spend their entire lives doing it. There is usually something that drives their searching–the smell of food–water–and I think just plain curiosity.
Exploring like a mouse is what pushes me to go to the parts of attics that one might otherwise ignore. This is especially true if I have been given reason to be curious about a particular area of the attic from something I saw before I got in the attic. There was mold or mold-like fungal growth apparent on the drywall in one area and I really wanted to see if I could see any evidence of leaking in the attic.
The attic above the garage was large and circuitous. It was an “L” shaped three car garage. As I crawled through the trusses to the farthest corner, I could see with my flashlight what looked like an opening near the eaves—in the area of suspected leaking. There was no way I could actually get to this location without eating a lot of mouse infested insulation but I knew that I could probably get close enough to get my camera into the area.
In this first picture one can see the opening.
Now this opening in itself should have been fire-blocked to prevent the spread of fire from the walls below to the attic space I was in. This alone was worthy of mention in the inspection report. As I extended the camera even further, to get a shot down into the cavity, I saw something that I would have had no other way of knowing had I not insisted on being a mouse.
At the bottom of the cavity I noticed in the camera picture what appeared to be a blue electrical box that had been covered by drywall. More good information for the inspection report–and more proof of the benefits of acting and thinking like a mouse. Here is a picture of the fungus covered wall and the approximate location of the buried outlet box. As you can see, the mold condition on the interior of the garage is not apparent behind the drywall.
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
If you enjoyed this post, and would like to get notices of new posts to my blog, please subscribe via email in the little box to the right. I promise NO spamming of your email