A leaky attic stair hatch is one of the biggest offenders of a home’s air loss. Sealing this opening and installing a good insulated cover can help reduce energy bills and increase your savings. There are many different prefabricated covers available for you to purchase, such as an Attic Tent. However, If you don’t want to spend money on an Attic Tent or have an unusual access, here is a simple DIY attic stair insulation cover that might help.
The materials you will need in order to build the attic stair cover include:
- 2-inch thick foil-covered foam boards with an R-value of around 13 (The foil will act as insulation against radiant heat, while the foam will act as insulation against heat transfer through conduction.)
- Foil tape
- Polyurethane spray foam
- ½ inch thick self-adhering weather stripping.
- framing material
Seal Air Leaks
Start by insulating and sealing any cracks of the staircase opening with the insulating spray foam. Next, measure your attic stair opening and use the framing materials (2x4s) to create a frame on the outside of the opening. This will help keep your cover in place.
Measure and Cut
The second step is to measure the outside of the frame you just created. Make sure to measure with the stairs folded up into the attic to get the height requirements for your cover. Adjust your measurements to accommodate the thickness of your foam boards. For instance, if the outside of your frame is 25 inches by 54 inches, you will need to cut two pieces of foam board that are 29 inches and two pieces that are 54 inches. When the box is put together, the inside measurements of your box will be 25” by 54”, perfect to fit over the outside of your frame. You can even make the box cover a little bit larger than the outside of your frame to add some wiggle room, but don’t go smaller.
The foam insulation board is fairly easy to cut with a handsaw or you can try using a utility knife to score the foam board. Put the foam board over an edge and apply pressure to snap it apart where it was scored.
Build the Cover
Now it’s time to put the box together. Use small pieces of foil tape to hold the pieces of your box together. Then apply the tape to seal all the seams of your box cover. For added strength, you can put tape or caulk on the inside seams as well. Add weather stripping to the bottom edge of the cover box to help it seal better. This attic cover will have an R-value of 13. The recommended R-value for attics is typically around 30. To increase the R-value, you can add blanket insulation wrapped in plastic on top or more layers of foam board.
Is This DIY Attic Stair Insulation Cover for You?
This DIY attic stair insulation cover is lightweight with a simple design and inexpensive materials. Building your own attic stair insulation cover can save you up to $200, but may not last as long as some prefabricated covers. If you are on the lookout for a cheap way to save money on your heating/cooling bill, this DIY attic stair insulation cover is for you.