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VOL. 41 | NO. 18 | Friday, May 05, 2017

Stay out of the attic. It’s a dangerous up there

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Last week, word spread that a woman who was walking about her attic had fallen through the ceiling and onto the floor below. She experienced a mean fall that injured several vertebrae and opened a gash in her scalp that required several staples to close.

Although the prognosis is good for a complete recovery for her, others have not fared as well.

As the news spread, others began to share similar falls that their family members had experienced. On one occasion, a pregnant woman had been in her attic retrieving something stored there when her slipped off the joists and onto the plaster (it was an old house) that had formed the ceiling of the floor below. As she fell, she straddled the joists and eventually lost the baby as a result of complications caused by the fall.

There is another tale of a woman who fell through and broke both of her legs, another broke his ribs, and the list goes on.

Certainly, there are numerous tales of youngsters falling through ceilings and onto sharp objects causing even more significant injuries. A person who crashes from eight feet onto carpet may have a different experience from one who falls 10 feet onto tile.

Attics are dangerous. The design and construction lull the attic dweller into a false sense of security as some of it is floored and other areas are not. While the floored portion can support the weight of a human, the other cannot.

The joists that span the ceiling have drywall attached to it. Above the drywall, the area must have insulation installed, sometimes it is rolled, other times blown. Then, plywood flooring is often added, usually around the access door.

The insulation usually extends over the lumber that comprises these joists and reaches the height of the flooring thereby creating the illusion of a continuous floor composed of different materials.

To make matters worse, if the person traipsing through the attic is lucky, one or two of that person’s steps may accidentally land upon a joist and make a successful step or two before stepping through the insulation and onto the drywall.

At that point, the conditions are like the booby trap with the branches spread over a 10-foot-deep hole. Just as the animal falls prey and drops into the hole, the attic visitor suddenly drops in on whatever is happening one story below.

For all the building codes that municipalities and the federal government have implemented to protect us from ourselves (handrails, GFCI breakers) and banning material (asbestos, lead-based paint), it would seem that the attic issue would be addressed.

In checking with the OSHA website, there are numerous injuries and several deaths each year that resulted from people falling through attics.

Sale of the Week

Houses flaunting contemporary designs have grown in popularity, and that demand has spawned a new generation of contemporary design.

By definition, the word contemporary means something that is occurring in the present. Yet, a house that would be classified as contemporary in 1950 is similar to a contemporary home in 2017.

Luckily, for architectural amateurs like me, there are men like Michael Ward around with brilliant minds filled with history and knowledge. Ward, a partner with the esteemed firm of Allard Ward, says architects “haven’t invented anything in about 75 years,” adding that most of the change occurred from the turn of the century and into the 1930s.

In defining the contemporary style, Ward says anything devoid of traditional elements such as columns, certain windows or roof lines may be perceived or labeled as contemporary. He shared that he once had a boss that used a term “soft contemporary” to describe “non-traditional design that would not offend anyone.”

“The reality,” Ward adds, “is that the thing that has changed is how we live in the house.”

Ward says he prefers the word modern versus contemporary.

Be it modern or contemporary, songbird turned Realtor Beth Hooker listed the home at 113 West Tyne Drive for $1,699,000.

Hooker, who hails from Village Real Estate Services, has enjoyed a long career singing all over the world with people like Elton John, Billy Joel, Don Henley and others, has transitioned into a successful real estate career.

With 6,114 square feet, five bedrooms, five bathrooms and one half bath, the house sold for $1,650,000 in a mere six days by Jameson Roper.

Roper was first on the scene to this home described by Hooker as “one of the Belle Meade Highland’s finest creations with a guest suite and exquisite master down with a dream closet, safe room, chef’s kitchen and open plan.”

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com

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