Good insulation in your attic is imperative to a comfortable home. It can save you money on your energy bill and reduce the load on your HVAC system. Walk-in attic door insulation is an important part of your attic insulation. There are two things you can do to help create an energy efficient attic door, insulate and seal.
One type of walk-in attic door insulation to use is rigid foam insulation board. You will use this on the attic side of the door.
The first step is to measure your door. For outward swinging doors, measure the attic side of the closed door to account for the trim. Inward swinging doors will be exactly the same size as your door. Always err on the side of caution and cut the foam slightly larger than you think you need. It’s easier to shave off a little after you cut, than start all over because your board is too small.
If you have multiple sheets of foam, glue them together. Some adhesives can create a chemical reaction that will gradually melt the foam. You don’t want this to happen so use an adhesive that is meant for foam insulation.
Once your foam is cut and glued, gently press it to the door to mark the size and position of the doorknob. Then cut the hole for the doorknob. Try to get as close to the knob size as possible while still maintaining the ability to open and shut the door.
Attaching the Foam
The foam board needs to be attached to the door. Use screws that are the depth of your foam plus half the thickness of your door (drywall screws with larger washers are perfect for the job). You don’t want your screws poking out on the other side. Be careful when driving the screws so you don’t puncture and split the foam too much. It’s best to start with a screw gun and then finish driving them in by hand. You can also glue the foam insulation to the door to hold it in place while you secure it with screws.
Take note if your door has recessed panels. You may need to use smaller screws for these areas or avoid them altogether. Finish by covering all the screw heads with insulation or duct tape.
Once the walk-in attic door insulation is installed, it’s time to seal the door. You can seal with caulk or expanding foam. If you use the expanding foam, be sure to get the low expansion foam. Otherwise, you may do a lot of trimming. Start by caulking around the sides of the insulation board and the hole for the doorknob.
Next, use weather stripping to seal around the sides of the door frame. The weather stripping will need to have the right thickness to ensure a good seal. If it’s too thick, your door won’t shut. Too thin and it won’t seal. For the hinge side of the frame, attach the weather stripping on the same piece of wood that the hinges are on. The weather stripping should be compressed when the door is closed. Finally, add a door sweep to the bottom of the door.
How’s the Rest of Your Attic Insulation?
Insulating and sealing your attic door is only one step in the process. Evaluate the quality and quantity of the other insulation in your attic. If it’s in questionable condition, you can get it evaluated and upgrade if necessary. An energy audit can also help you know of other problem areas in your home so you can save even more on your energy bill.