"Why do you need to check the insulation? It's a new house." So asked the builder's supervisor.
The answer is simple - because a home inspector observes and reports a variety of things during a home inspection, whether the house is new or old. And insulation is a HUGE part of that inspection.
So what was promised?
Virginia requires an insulation certificate for new construction.
It is to be provided by the insulation company verifying what they have done.
It lists the kind, weight (red arrow), and depth of the insulation.
The formula stated on this cert would obtain an R-44, shown in the red circle.
The stated depth, 16.5", and the stated weight, .65 pounds per square foot, would produce an insulation R-value of 2.7 per inch of insulation.
If you multiply that you get an R-value of 41, so I am not sure what they are touting. Weight and depth are everything. But let's go with their claim to have 16.5" all over the attic floor. Remember, 30% of the thermal protection in a house happens in the ceilings abutting the attic. So if it is not uniform the insulation value (thermal barrier) is compromised.
These are just two photos of many which showed that contractors had walked all over the attic space, without paying attention to how much they disrupted, and ruined, the insulation. Certainly the vaunted 16.5" is not present in either photo above.
Amazingly, the builder installed an attic access panel instead of the advertised access ladder. They put the ladder in later, replacing the panel with drywall. Unbelievably, the access panel was in the tray ceiling of the master bedroom!! However, after installing the drywall to patch the hole (NOT very professionally done) they somehow forgot to replace the insulation! The thermal image on the right shows how that lack of insulation looks from inside the bedroom with a thermal camera. Can you imagine how hot or cold that spot would be during severe weather?
"Why do you need to check the insulation? It's a new house."
THIS IS WHY!
My recommendation: don't let the builder talk you out of a home inspection on new construction!! Don't let the builder try to sway you from investigating this or that aspect of the house because it's a "new house"!! Hire a bull dog home inspector who will take his time and look around, and observe and report. You might just find out things that you will really appreciate down the road!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560