Poorly insulated attic doors act as a gateway for outside air to enter the home. This leads to less control over home temperatures and more money spent on energy bills. Attic stair insulation greatly limits the amount of air exchanged between the attic and the living area. There are three major forms of attic stair insulation. Knowing which one would work best for your needs is the first step to reducing air infiltration and energy bills at home.
Insulating with the Attic Tent
An attic tent is a form of attic stair insulation that is secured above the attic door, and made of synthetic casing that is adhered to micro-fiber urethane insulation that is ½ thick. Heavy duty zippers around the tent allow easy access into the attic without allowing dust particles, insulation, and unwanted air into the house.
The Attic Tent is installed using a staple gun to secure it in place. Once this has been done, use silicone caulk around the seams to create an airtight seal. The Attic Tent is available for attics measuring from 22" x 54" x 7" to 30" x 60" x 13”. A benefit to this insulator is that it offers a bit of flexibility with the measurements. Whether you get a tent that is 2-3 inches too large or 2-3 inches too small, this attic stair insulation allows the tent to fit over the door that is being insulated. In addition, it can be used for not only attic stairs, but knee wall doors and attic scuttle holes as well.
This form of insulation also provides a large amount of savings. Providing an R-Value of 3.2, it reduces the transfer of air by at least 71%. This leads to a payback time of approximately one year. Following that first year of use, the attic tent continues to save at least $145 every year that it is in place, and is eligible for a 2011 tax credit.
Insulating with the Therma-Dome
This insulator is made of a 1 ½” thick polyisocyanurate board of foam insulation that is placed between laminated foil. It seals using foam gaskets around the edge of the material and a Velcro tie-down. This form of insulation is heavier than the previous insulator, yet still lightweight, also providing ease of access into the attic.
Installation is a bit more difficult for this insulator than it was for the last one. The tools required include 2 staples for mounting, 1 tube of adhesive, 1 roll of tape, and 6 lap-joint foam parts. The Therma-Dome attic stair insulation comes with a set of instructions that estimates approximately 15 minutes for installation. Produced to fit all attic stair sizes, the dimensions are 27” x 57” x 10.5 inside, and 30” x 60” x 12” outside. With an R-Value of R-13, this form of attic stair insulation provides payback within the first year of use.
Insulating with the LadderMate
The LadderMate attic stair insulation is constructed of weatherstrip and 2” foam gaskets that both seal and insulate the attic opening and door. It is not as lightweight as the previous insulators, but ease of access into the attic is provided through a 30” push/pull rod and hinged panel that comes down behind the attic ladder once opened. This also eliminates the need for an additional finish trim around the opening of the attic door.
From inside the attic, the attic stair cover installs in a matter of minutes with the magnetic closure provided. It is constructed to fit over attics that have one of the following measurements: 22.5" x 48", 22.5" x 54", 25" x 48", and 25" x 54". With an R-Value of 10, the insulation continues to accumulate savings throughout the course of the year, whether the temperatures outside are cold enough to make ice cream or hot enough to fry an egg.