best way to seal attic?

i have one of those attic doors with the pull down steps. read an article saying these really blow the heat out of the house....best way to seal it wihtout spending a fortune?
thanks
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bpuharic wrote:

Make an insulated box to set over the opening.
I've seen versions made from 1x2 wood slats covered with roll insulation and plastic mesh netting, but the simplest were foamboard fastened together with metal tape. Put some stick-on weatherstripping around the bottom to improve the seal.
--
Steve B
New Life Home Improvement
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wrote:

thanks much...appreciate it
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Start with duct tape all around where the board attaching to the steps meets the ceiling, just to keep any air from blowing into the attic. Heat transfer is nothing compared to air movement.
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On Fri, 14 Jan 2011 19:37:19 -0800 (PST), Shaun Eli

i thought that might be the case...will try...thanks
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Won't duct tape seal it permanently, or leave sticky residue when pulled off?
I only have a hatch, and I have foamrubber self-stick tape all around the 1" leddge that the board rests on. It's not visible from underneath.
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+1 to Steve B's idea...
You want that insulated box to be larger than the disappearing stairs and be equal to the insulation in the ceiling joist bays below your attic floor to stop the heat from escaping from your heated space below to the attic above through the stairway opening...
Attempting to "seal" air leaks and stop heat transfer using the gray adhesive duct tape has to be the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard even on UseNet...
A few layers of the foam board insulation which is attached to a light weight 1x frame will do what you are looking for... Just make sure that both layers of the foam board are foil taped at all the seams... The weatherstripping along the bottom will be good but only if your attic has a finished (plywood at the minimum) floor in the area around the stairway opening...
~~ Evan
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-snip-

That *is* the correct answer- if there is such a thing. -snip-

New here? That doesn't even move the crazy-meter.
I'll further answer in a.h.r'ian, that when you take down the duct tape with your vice-grips, there might be some residue. That can easily be removed with a quick soak in WD-40, and if that doesn't do it, get out the HF multi-tool.
Jim
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On 1/14/2011 8:12 PM, Steve B wrote:

After I had another 6-8 inches of cellulose blown into my attic, I was getting an avalanche every time I opened the 24x24 hatch. I built a corral of 1x8 I had laying around, including a spot to park my butt as I was getting up or down off the stepladder. I then raked the insulation back up against the fence I had screwed to the attic floor, and made a couple of plugs out of layers of foil-face foam sheet- a small one the same size as the drop-in hatch, and a larger one to fit the inside of the corral I built. So in addition to the foam. I have about a 4" dead air space between the plugs.
All in all, it ain't perfect, but for a quick'n'dirty made up of trash I had laying around, it works pretty well. One of these days I probably ought to re-do it with a tighter fit on all the parts and thicker foam . In hindsight, there is more wiring I should have done up there before adding insulation, but now I'm not real eager to disturb it and have to try to rake it back smooth. Attic was no good for storage anyway- hot as hell in summer, only a 5-12 roof, and no good access, so no loss there.
--
aem sends...

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wrote:

smart idea! thanks
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The heat is not being "blown out of the attic", the cold air will be drawn from the attic. Especially when the furnace blower is pulling air from the rest of the house. So my suggestion for the time being is to simply use painter's tape, masking tape, duct tape to secure a section of plastic over the transition. I'm a housing inspector, I've seen the attic access treated as though it were a window to stop the infiltration. It makes a big difference on some. If you really had to get up there, you could. In the meantime, a temporary fix. Turn your furnace fan "on", move a candle around near the edge of the stair unit and decide if you need to be heroic.

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On Fri, 14 Jan 2011 22:11:21 -0800 (PST), Michael B

actually i have electric heat so there's no forced air. it's all diffusion.
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-snip-

If you use infra red radiant heat- air movement is minimal--- but you might want to Google "chimney effect".
Apparently also referred to as 'stack effect'- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stack_effect
Jim
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Okay, I should've been more specific.
Yes, duct tape will probably pull paint down or leave residue when you take it off, and it'd have to be reapplied every time you go into the attic (so maybe there's better tape to use that's less sticky).
But that's IF you go into the attic. Some people go there a lot, some people go there twice a year (storing clothing, or window screens, so it's seasonal) and some people rarely go there.
Closing off an air gap will make much more difference than adding insulation where there's no gap but, say, only a wood barrier. Compare, for example, a window vs. a slightly open window- which do you think is worse for losing heat?
If you can put weatherstripping all around wherever there's a seal when you close it up, and you can get a perfect seal, that's great. Most attic pulldowns I've seen (and no, I haven't seen all that many) eventually warp or bend or something so parts don't meet exactly flat.
Just by way of example, I resealed the weatherstripping on my front door last week. I had to use a couple of different widths of weatherstripping because the parts that met weren't perfectly plumb. And those are vertical parts where gravity's not an issue, vs. pull- down steps that may not hit the ceiling exactly right when they're pulled up by a spring on one side. The only weight on my front door's hinges is the door whereas the weight on my attic step hinges includes part of my body weight when I climb upstairs (yes, most is on the floor, but not all of it).
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Then I count myself corrected on that point. It would indeed be a loss by the heat being lost, rather than cold air being pulled in.
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