Insulating Pull-Down Attic Stairs

Insulating Pull-Down Attic Stairs

Have you ever noticed how poorly insulated your pull-down attic stairs are? If your house was built like most, the builder stuffed some insulation between the steps and that’s if you have any insulation at all. You would also be lucky if you have an air tight seal at the attic stair opening. We all know how hot the Texas summers can be, especially in our attics. Poor seals and lack of, or improper insulation is a huge year-around energy loss. I looked at many options to properly insulate my pull-down attic stairs but building my own insulated enclosure ended up working best for me, here’s what I came up with.

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First off, I’m not a pro contractor, although I have built and renovated my fair share of homes. I’m merely sharing what I did to insulate my pull-down attic stairs. I found the best solution to insulating the pull down stairs is to not insulate the stairs at all. Basically I built a box to cover my attic stair opening, put a lid on it and then insulated the attic side of the box and made sure the lid had a tight seal.

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I started in the attic measuring how high my box frame needed to be to clear the top of the stairs in the closed, folded up position. In my situation a 2×6 did the trick. I then purchased 3/4″ thick MDF for the lid and attached with a 48″ piano hinge. I made everything on the ground in the garage and then carried up to attic and screwed it in place. Added weather stripping at the top of framing for the lid to rest on. Then wrapped everything in foam board insulation and then wrapped everything again in batt insulation. I siliconed every joint and crack inside of the box for an air tight seal. Add pull knob and magnetic catches and wallah, finished in a few hours!

So now there’s no longer any messy insulation stuffed between the attic stair steps and have a good, air tight seal. Also a bonus, the once noisy blower units in the attic can now hardly be heard. Since I did this work in the fall I haven’t seen the benefit of how it performs in the summer but definitely expect it to help save on my cooling and heating costs.

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