Friday, December 10, 2010

Insulating your attic hatch

Ask Ida

Dear Ida B. Green,

How do I insulate my attic hatch door?

Signed, Windy

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Dear Windy,

An uninsulated attic hatch, pull-down stairs, or door is often one of the biggest deficiencies in the thermal barrier between the attic and conditioned space. "This Old House" claims that a one-inch gap around an attic door or hatch can potentially leak the same amount of heated air supplied by a bedroom heating duct.

If you choose to make your own rather than buy a pre-made cover, here are some ideas.

( For a simple attic door, first weather-strip around the opening as you would any outside door. Then, glue a piece of rigid-foam insulation to the backside of your door. Make sure the door opens freely before fastening the insulation in place.

( For a ceiling attic hatch, glue solid-foam insulation or batts onto the attic side of the hatch. Make sure they cover the whole hatch. Glue foam gasket at the gap between the hatch and your ceiling or the support ledge for the hatch.

( For a hatch or pull-down stairs, you can also build a rigid-foam insulation box that sits over the hatch in your attic space. Make sure this box is sealed at all edges and overlaps the hatch opening. Additional insulation batts can be added to the top of this box for more insulation performance.

Keep it Green,


—Elizabeth Jeffrey

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