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How many attics do you have?

You may have more attics in your home than you think.

You may have more attics in your home than you think.

Every house has its mystery spaces. Tucked behind little hidden doors and often hard to access, these nooks, crannies, and mini rooms are easily ignored and sometimes completely unknown to homeowners.

This may be why we find that people are often surprised when our home comfort experts ask, “How many attics do you have?”

Many homeowners believe they have only one. But there are actually multiple kinds of attics, in addition to the big one upstairs we all know. And these other attics can play a huge role in your home’s comfort and efficiency.

How many attics do you have? Read on to learn about the other attics and why they matter.

Knee attic

What is it?

Also known as a side attic, these spaces are located at the point where your roofline meets the uppermost portions of your walls. They’re usually found connected to one or more of the bedrooms upstairs, and are especially common in Cape Cod style houses. If you have one in your house, you may use it as an extra storage space, or just ignore it altogether. 

Why does it matter?

Knee attics are most often uninsulated and lack proper air sealing. This can make your second floor super hot in summer and cause upstairs bedrooms to feel like ice boxes during winter because there isn’t a proper thermal boundary separating these semi-outdoor spaces from your living areas.

A Cape Cod style house has two knee attics alongside the second floor, and a devil’s peak on top

Devil’s peak attic

What is it?

The small attic partially covering the ceiling of second floor of a house where all or most of the attic has been finished. This type of attic is also very common in a Cape Cod style house.

Why does it matter?

A devil’s peak attic is often inaccessible to the homeowner, so it is rarely properly air sealed and insulated. This means that there is little to no thermal boundary between the second floor rooms’ ceiling and the roof. As a result, these rooms are too hot in the summer and heat escapes in the winter.

Flat roof

What is it?

The anti-attic. A flat roof is a top-floor ceiling with just a small, rectangular cavity above it and below the roof.

Why does it matter?

Without air sealing and insulation, a flat roof can be a major source of heat loss in winter. In summer, with the sun beating down on the roof, heat radiates into the rooms below. A flat roof can be tricky to repair. To insulate a flat roof often requires demolition, so we often recommend leaving it alone unless absolutely necessary.

Tame your attics

You may not go into your attics much, you can feel their impact every day. Want to learn more about how to rehabilitate these often overlooked spaces with air sealing and insulation? Give us a call!

February 3, 2020