Keeping your Home Insulated: The Attic Access

I’ll start by saying it’s absolutely mind blowing how many attics I climb into and find outdated insulation, missing insulation, and/or cracks in the HVAC duct work. Honestly, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that 90% of the attics I climb into have some sort of insulating problem. This is due—in part—to the fact that when we think of insulating our homes we typically only think of the insulation itself, but nothing can be further from the truth. This blog post will help you fix one problem that I find most often: The Attic Access.




Attic Access: The attic access is either a doorway, scuttle hole, or pull-down stairway that you use to get into the attic space in your home. Many of these leak significant amounts of air between the conditioned air in the living spaces of your home and your attic. This causes either your heating system or cooling system to work extra hard to keep the living space in your home the temperature you desire. Fortunately, the fix is simple…


  • If you have a doorway leading into your attic, it should be an exterior weather-sealed door, or a door specifically made to perform as a sealed unit. This is usually a metal door with a foam core that has the proper weather stripping. Sometimes interior doors are installed at these locations. An interior door will neither seal nor insulate because interior doors are hollow and do not have weather stripping. I find many attic access doors in homes on the second or third floors that are severely leaking air.
  • If you have a scuttle hole or pull-down stairway, check that it closes with a tight seal when closed. Part of the solution to this is to use weather stripping, and the other part is to purchase an insulated cover that will close over the opening on the attic side–or to make one yourself. I’ve built many of these and have included a link to a DIY video. However, there are several of types that can be purchased.

Here are a few links to purchase one…


Here is a video that can show you how to build a sealed cover yourself for a scuttle hole:

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James Wells

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