Attic Stair Covers

Our upstairs hallway is always 10 degrees warmer in the summer and 10 degrees cooler in the winter than the rest of the house. Can you tell us why?
It is probably because your pull down attic stair is located in the hallway. The only thing separating your conditioned hallway from the unconditioned attic is a piece of 1/4 inch plywood. Heat and cold go right through it.

Sometimes builders try to compensate by adding a piece of fiberglass insulation behind the steps. This does very little to stop heat gain and heat loss. Not to mention, the fiberglass insulation reduces the space to put you foot and is considered a potential trip hazard.
A much better solution is to install a foam box over the entire stair and insert the insulation directly on top of the box. Foam boxes can be made out of a 4 x 8 foot sheet of insulated wall sheathing that can be purchased at any home store. You can either glue the joints or tape the joints with metallic duct tape to hold it together. Be sure to add weather-stripping on the bottom and along the entire face of the door to cut off the drafts.
When you go into the attic, simply lift the light weight box out of the way. When you are finished in the attic, replace the box back in the original position.
If you do not have a pull down attic stair, but do have a scuttle hole or an access door, you can glue either rigid insulation or fiberglass batt insulation directly on the attic side of the cover or door. Be sure to weather-strip along the outside to prevent air leakage.
PULL DOWN ATTIC STAIRS

SCUTTLE HOLE COVER

ACCESS DOOR
 
AVAILABLE FROM LOWES:
Lowes has the Owens Corning Attic Stairway Insulator II R10 Faced Fiberglass Batt Insulation.
Item # 315681- Model # AS2 - Price $53.98
Owens Corning Attic Stairway Insulator is comprised of durable insulation with PureFiber® Technology and tough, highly reflective foil for attic stair openings. The product is light weight and easy to install and remove, and helps reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. The Attic Stairway Insulator is available in one standard size to fit most attic stairwell openings and provides an R-value of 10, when installed properly.
AVAILABLE FROM HOME DEPOT:
Home Depot has the ThermoClimb, 25 in. x 54 in. Attic Stair Cover in Double Reflective Insulation with Adjustable Straps and Zipper Opening. Model # TC-5425 - Internet #206482921 – Price $108.98   
ThermoClimb Adjustable Attic Stairway Insulator will keep hot air and air-conditioned air where you want it. An average attic will lose up to 27% of its total insulating properties without insulating the 10 sq. ft. of space over your attic door. An attic stairway cover or attic tent, such as ThermoClimb, will significantly increase your overall attic thermal insulation properties.

If you have a question, comment, or home tip, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can email your questions to us at rod@cbiga.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length.


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