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Old 10-16-2014, 07:34 PM   #1
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Shear Wall in Attic? Need Access...


Hey Folks,

I just recently bought a new construction (building completed April 2014) home in Phoenix - roughly 2,800 square feet, single story, 2x4 walls with stucco.

Upon entering the attic (just to explore) I noticed that the attic space above the master suite (bedroom, bathroom, closet) is completely walled off with sheathing from the rest of the attic. There is no access hole.

I thought this was odd, so I asked the builder about it. They told me it is a "Shear Transfer Wall" or "Shear Transfer Box" that adds structural rigidity to the house. I asked how I would get in there if I needed to, and they said that you couldn't unless you cut a small opening in the sheathing. I'm thinking such an opening would probably void the warranty on the house if an issue ever came up... Yes?

So I have a few questions...

1. Is this normal? I thought all attic areas were to be accessible via at least a small opening...?

2. Maybe this is covered under my first question, but is this to code for Phoenix, AZ?

3. I noticed this summer that the master suite seemed to get hotter than the rest of the house. It has its own A/C unit, but it just seemed to be warmer in there. It got warmer earlier in the day, and stayed warmer longer. Would lack of attic ventilation due to the area being sealed off cause this?

4. Do you think I have a leg to stand on in asking the builder to come cut an access port?

Thank you!!
Nick
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:48 PM   #2
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Cut an access door in the bedroom closet ceiling
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:53 PM   #3
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Definitely not having ventilation in that section of the attic is a huge part of the problem with cooling your bedroom! All sections of an attic need adequate ventilation in any part of the country. You need both a place for the air to enter, usually under the eaves, and a place for the air to exit, at or near the peak. I'm not sure what the building codes say about having access to all sections of the attic in your area but it's not a big project to do it in any case. If your builder is reputable he would do it if you ask without making a big deal about it. Above that he needs to correct the lack of ventilation and that portion of the attic, that is in direct violation to the codes.
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Old 10-16-2014, 09:17 PM   #4
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We don't know that there is a lack of ventilation in that section of the attic, only that there is a shear panel
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:52 PM   #5
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you can no wider than 14-1/4 X 14-1/4 inches or the space between the studs and no larger then that!
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:25 PM   #6
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If you post a pic of that place then, then it's easy to understand.
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nailbags View Post
you can no wider than 14-1/4 X 14-1/4 inches or the space between the studs and no larger then that!
?? I agree that the space between studs is 14 1/4" but in the other axis it can be longer.
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