Attic Access Area

For the last fifteen years one of the easiest ways  of insulating attics in Central,  Jacksonville  was to  use loose-fill blown insulation – either cellulose or fiberglass.  An improvement over traditional  fiberglass  batt insulation because  batts tend to loosen up from the ceiling joist cavities (after being pushed into place when first installed) developing air spaces . Plus batts cost more to install.  For insulation to be effective, it needs to be installed in a “closed air space”.  Even though fiberglass batts in attics are less easier to install, I still find the installation. What most people do, later on, is to add more insulation going the opposite direction, that makes a big improvement.

But what to do above the the attic access panel, where  about 75 % of the homes that I inspect lack proper insulation. This is one of the most important areas to provide adequate insulation because it can serve as the weakest link in you ceiling insulation system.  That’s an insulation fact.

When using a fiberglass batts to insulate the scuttle hole, it needs to fill the entire space and be in contact with all four sides of the wood frame. When the insulation piece is too small, it doesn’t touch all four sides and allows for heat loss because insulation must be installed in a “closed air space” to be effective.  When I enter the attic during an inspection, either the batts loose inside the frames, they’re too large, too small or missing.

When the fiberglass insulation above the attic access panel doesn’t get installed properly, the home experiences unnecessary heat loss here.  There are a few solutions:  One is to have the panel re-insulated with rigid foam boards that fit the attic scuttle hole snugly.  Another solution I’ve found is to use a fiberglass batt that’s slightly too large glued to multiple pieces of scuttle board. This makes the panel fall down in to place, pulling the insulation down . Using a blue/or grey not so sticky tape where the panel makes contact with the finished opening frame can be done right before it get cold to make sure there is no air escaping upwards, along with the heat in your room.  Don’t forget heat rises.

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