What Are the Different Types of Attic Ladder Insulation?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2019
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There are several types of attic ladder insulation options, from foam insulation board to fiberglass batts, however, some of the best choices are seen in pre-built tents and box type door covers. Attic ladder insulation is typically required due to the inability to permanently apply blown-in attic insulation over the attic door. It is also not possible to install fiberglass batting over the ladder due to the need of the ladder to be pulled down and used periodically. This makes it necessary to create attic ladder insulation that can be placed over the retracted ladder without creating a mess when the ladder is pulled down for use.

An attic ladder is a device that is installed between two roof joists. The ladder is retracted into the attic when not in use and extended down from the ceiling to the floor when in use. This opening and closing poses a special set of conditions on attic ladder insulation in that the insulation must not fall onto the user when the ladder is used. Some installers cut foam board insulation into pieces that can be inserted between each ladder section as it is retracted into the ceiling. This allows the ladder to be insulated, however, it can pose a problem when pulling the ladder down for use.


The foam often comes loose and falls on the user or jams into the ladder's working mechanism, causing the ladder to bind or simply break. Placing fiberglass bats over the attic entrance is another form of installing attic ladder insulation that can often work well until the ladder is used. The opening of the attic door can result in the fiberglass insulation dropping onto the user causing itching as well as dropping fiberglass strands onto the floor. The attic tent or box is commonly the best method of installing attic ladder insulation. This provides a clean and effective method of insulating the attic ladder and door.

A tent or box is a device that is installed in the attic, over the attic ladder and door. Consisting of a tent-like structure or a box-like device, an insulating material is placed on the attic floor above the ladder. When the ladder is pulled down for use, the user simply climbs the ladder and moves the tent or box to the side. This eliminates the insulation dropping onto the user, the latter binding by insulation getting caught in the sections and, most importantly, this type of attic ladder insulation works to insulate the ladder area to prevent heat and cold from escaping into the home.


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Post 2

When your attic stairs have small gaps around the edges you can also use cord caulking to fill in the small spaces. You can press the pliable caulk into the holes and they will stick to the sides of the wood or whatever kind of material you are working with. The good thing about this caulking is that it is reusable.

Even if the caulking comes lose and falls when you drop the stairs, you can easily press it back into place once the stairs are up and closed again. This is the same stuff you use to keep air from entering through windows, so it is made for stopping the flow of air in and out.

Post 1

I was concerned about how warm (actually hot) the attic was in an old house I was considering buying and fixing up. The guy who inspected the house told me I needed to have some insulation blown in because there was not nearly enough insulation in place, and the added insulation would help with cooling and heating the living space in the home.

Now that the insulation has been added, we can definitely feel a difference, but we did not anticipate how much heat and air would be lost through the part of the ceiling where the attic stairs are. Currently, the foam that is supposed to seal the gaps around the stairs when they are up is hanging

in pieces.

As a temporary solution, we covered the gaps from the inside of the attic with old quilts and blankets. We packed them in the space and closed off the cracks where air was escaping. We are able the exit the attic through a window. As I said this is only a temporary solution, but if you don't use the attic and you need a quick fix until you can do a full repair then this works.

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