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.
Won't duct tape seal it permanently, or leave sticky residue when
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
+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
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
That *is* the correct answer- if there is such a thing.
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.
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.
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.
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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