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Does the code require a barrier/well around the attic access hatch for blown insulation?
Saturday, July 20, 2019
We don’t know of any building code requirement for a well around the attic access hatch, likely because it is not a life-safety issue. There are code requirements, however, for keeping insulation away from soffit vents, flues, and any ceiling lighting that is not rated for insulation contact. A raised barrier, usually plywood or OSB, around the attic access opening prevents loose fiberglass or cellulose insulation from collecting over the access panel.
Customers sometimes find it amusing when we open a cover panel at an attic scuttle with blown fiberglass insulation and no well. For a second, it looks like the inspector is inside a Christmas snow globe from all the fluffy white stuff falling down. But we bet it won’t be so funny if it happens to you.
Here’s what the Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association says at their website www.cellulose.org: "A rigid barrier should also be created around the attic access to keep insulation from falling into the house when the access is opened. The barrier should be at least an inch taller than the planned height of the installed insulation.” Also, the cover panel inside the well should be insulated with a piece of batt insulation attached to it.
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