Attic Access

Attic Access Requirements

1. Provide an access opening to every attic with at least () 30 square feet of attic area and a vertical height of at least () 30 inches at some point in the 30 square feet. Measure the vertical height from the top of the ceiling joists (or truss bottom chord) to the bottom of the rafters (or truss top chord).

2. Provide a rough opening (size before finishing) for a ceiling attic access of at least () 22 inches by 30 inches. Locate the opening in a hallway or other readily accessible location. Locate the opening so that at least () 30 inches of unobstructed head room exists at some point above the opening.

3. Provide a rough opening (size before finishing) for a wall attic access of at least () 22 inches wide by 30 inches high.

4. You do not need to provide attic access if the ceiling and roof systems are built using noncombustible materials. This is rare in residential construction.

5. Refer to Chapter 13 for additional access requirements if appliances are located in the attic.

Attic Access Best Practice

Avoid locating attic access in places such as reach-in closets, along the edges of walk-in closets and in pantries where shelves will be located, and over spaces where appliances such as laundry appliances will be located. At some point during the home’s existence, attic access will be required. A convenient and safe access opening is best for workers, inspectors, and homeowners alike