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Old 12-27-2016, 01:31 PM   #1
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Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?


Hi all - I recently hired a guy (came recommended after a few I met with didn't seem to know anything about framing) to install a prebuilt attic hatch for me and it just doesn't look right so I'd like some opinions from those more experienced with framing.

Basics - 1958 house, super tight attic with HVAC retrofitted meaning it needed access on both sides of HVAC run to get to anything.

I do most stuff myself but I don't have a lot of framing experience other than simple walls so I was a little concerned about cutting a ceiling joist. However looking at what he did doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Everything I've read said you should cut the joist and then add a header on each side perpendicular to the joist that's the same size/width as a joist. However this guy cut two joists and then bridged with either 2x6s or 2x4s across them, attaching them to the joists next to the two he cut (which run along walls). Then he ran 2x4s along the sides of where the hatch would go and attached them to the "bridges". He shimmed in these side pieces so tight it cracked the drywall on one corner.

I've attached a drawing of how my joists run as well as a few pictures of what this looks like. Should I just redo this? It just doesn't look like anything I've ever seen.

Thanks for any input.
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Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?-drawing.jpg   Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?-dsc05856.jpg   Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?-dsc05859.jpg   Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?-dsc05862.jpg   Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?-dsc05864.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2016, 03:47 PM   #2
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Re: Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?


He doesn't know framing.... all he needed was a single 2x8 at each end of the box, spanning from bearing walls across the hallway. Then add his side 2x4's. This way, you have 3+" of meat bearing on the side 2x's even with the notch for older 2x's on wall. Or may have required 1-1/2" of bearing w/o notching. He had to shim as the newer lumber is sized smaller than older lumber. Was; 3-5/8"---- now; 3-1/2". It will work, relying on the 2x on flat (lower strength-greater bending to crack drywall finish material) rather than on edge for no deflection. You may/not have problems later, depending on the users weight...

Gary
PS. IMHO, add a hatch "dam" around it or foam cover after racking back the loose insulation.
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Old 12-27-2016, 03:53 PM   #3
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Re: Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?


Sorry mantissa but I'll have to pass for now on commenting. Your description is better than the pictures but I can't connect the two.

From your description it doesn't sound correct. What you anticipated is closer to what I would have expected.

Add to that, there should be a plywood dam around the opening to hold the insulation back.

I'll let some of the pros answer.

Bud
Gary, you type faster

Last edited by Bud9051; 12-27-2016 at 03:59 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 12-27-2016, 05:31 PM   #4
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Re: Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?


Thank you Gary and Bud for the quick answers!!

Sorry the pictures aren't great but there is no way to get a better angle as the attic space is tight and I had to take them standing on the ladder in the middle to get anything decent at all. The first picture is one side where the old joists are in the center with the 2x6s over the top and you can just see the side 2x4s. The second and third photo is that same section looking at the left and right. The fourth is the other side of the hatch where there is a very short run of old joist and the 2x4 he ran over the top to the load bearing walls.

The good thing is the pre-built box has a tall dam (I'm in the center of it in the pictures) and the lid is an R-42 rated foam core so at least that's right

So if I redo this I'd need to do 2x8s and nail (or screw?) those to the load bearing walls and joist ends and then run the 2x4's on the side between the 2x8s with the larger (4) side facing the drywall, correct?
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Old 12-29-2016, 07:17 AM   #5
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Re: Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?


The hatch box itself may be self supporting, esp if it is as wide as you say. In which case you don't need load bearing frame around it. Done as it is, also no need to touch the drywall? If you can get the manual for it, see what kind of frame is a spec. I don't think you need to reframe the whole thing. If worried, add one more screw to all joints.
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:03 PM   #6
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Re: Sketchy looking attic hatch install - should I redo?


Carpdad - the manual said to put in headers and attach the joists to that. I even showed the guy the manual. I think I'm going to chalk this up to an expensive mistake and learn to have more confidence in my skills or at least my ability to read the manual. :D Also glad to have this group to ask!
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