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What are the Different Types of Attic Door Insulation?

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  • Written By: Dakota Davis
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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There are three primary kinds of attic door insulation: weather stripping, rigid foam board, and fiberglass batt insulation. These types of insulation are usually used in conjunction with each other to create a proper seal and thorough padding. The combination a homeowner selects should be based on where the attic is located, the kind of door it has, and the location of the house.

Weather stripping is used to block leaks around windows and doors. Self-adhesive foam weather stripping is one of the easiest kinds of weather stripping to apply, and is often preferable for attic door insulation. It's usually made from cushioning poly foam sponge and has a self-adhesive back.

In some cases, particularly when a permanent seal is needed, caulking will be used in the place of weather stripping. This is most common in attics with pull-down stairs. Acrylic latex caulking is often used as a general purpose sealant because it sticks well to wood.

Rigid foam board, sometimes called rigid insulated sheeting, is usually made from polystyrene, polyisocyanurate or polyiso, and polyurethane. These are stiff, firm panels of insulation that can be used on almost any part of a home. In many cases, the rigid foam board is placed directly against the inside of the door to reduce heat loss.

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Batt insulation comes in rolls, or batts, and is the most common type of insulation. It is generally made of flexible fiber or fiberglass, but other materials are available. Fiberglass batts are usually preferable for attic insulation.

The location of your attic will determine what kind of—if any—attic door insulation should be used. A garage attic may not need insulation at all, while an attic that leaks air through a closet or hall should be insulated for efficiency and comfort. The type of attic door insulation selected will also depend upon the R-value designated for your part of the country. R-value indicates the insulation's resistance to heat flow. Of course, the location of your attic will have also an impact on the R-value necessary.

There are several general rules of attic door insulation, which vary according to the type of door. A hatch usually needs weather stripping, two layers of foam board, and batt insulation on top. Pull-down stairs should be caulked or weather stripped to close gaps, then a box made from rigid foam board topped with batt insulation should be placed on top of the stairway frame. For knee-wall doors, the door should be sealed with weather striping before rigid foam board is fixed to the attic side.

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mobilian33
Post 3

When I was feeling drafts in my house I thought the air was coming in through the windows. The glass felt cool and I thought I felt air coming in around them. I had the windows replaced, but I still felt the drafts.

I have since learned that the drafts in a house are not usually caused primarily by old windows. I was told that I would have done better to invest in more attic insulation and in closing all of the little and not so little openings going into the attic, especially the attic door.

Drentel
Post 2

It's unbelievable the amount of heat you can lose through an attic door that isn't airtight. Because heat/warm air rises, all of the warm air that your heating system produces goes towards your ceiling. If you have good insulation above the ceiling then the warm air will stay in the room. Otherwise you are losing it quickly as it escapes into the attic and then outside.

Buying weather stripping and sealing the edges of an attic door will make a big difference, and this is a simple fix if not a perfect one. You can buy the stripping at a hardware store or at a home improvement store, and it is not expensive. An insulated attic door does make a big difference.

Feryll
Post 1

I just had a professional come out and look at our attic. We have been wanting to add more insulation up there since we purchased the house. In addition to not enough insulation throughout the attic, there is no insulation on the door, other than weather stripping. He told me that the extra insulation wouldn't help as much without an insulated attic door.

I wasn't sure what type of insulation to use on the door, or how to install it. This is a tricky area since the door will be opening and closing when we go up into the attic. We have the fold down steps.

The professional told me that the best way to insulate the door

is to get an insulated cover that you can slide over the opening, and the door just closes beneath the cover. The cover is supposed to be easy to push out of the way when you enter the attic. Hopefully this will help lower our energy bills, especially during the cold months.

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