What Are the Best Tips for Attic Stair Installation?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann
Spray foam insulation increases energy efficiency.
Spray foam insulation increases energy efficiency.

Some of the best tips for attic stair installation involve choosing different types of insulation to do the job. From using rigid foam insulation between the stair steps to installing a tent device over the stairway opening, the tips for attic stair installation cover many different methods of completing the task. Some experienced builders use a constructed cover to insulate the attic stairs, while others suggest building a flip-open hatch to house the attic stair installation. One important tip is to use whichever method is most cost-effective and convenient to install.

One troublesome area to insulate in many attics is the area directly over top of the pull-down attic stairs. These pull-down stair units, while popular for attic access, leave somewhat of a dilemma for some insulation installers. One of the tips for installing attic stair installation is to use a rigid type of foam insulation board to insulate between each of the steps in the attic ladder. Tips include both fastening the foam to the back of the stair steps as well as installing individual sections loosely between the stair steps. The loose pieces of foam can be removed when the steps require use.

Another tip is to purchase a commercially available product known generically as a stair tent. This device works like a type of insulating blanket that is stapled over the stairway framework and functions much like a soft-sided cooler. The soft, insulating material is zippered or hook-and-loop fastened in the center, allowing the user to simply pull down the stairs, unzip the tent and access the attic. The tent type of attic stair installation is commonly nailed or stapled around the wooden framework of the stairway opening to secure it in place. Often, expandable foam is sprayed between the frame and the attic floor joists in an attempt to seal out any leaks from around the staircase.

Some insulating tips call for the construction of a box-like cover to be placed over the staircase. This cover can be created using a square frame with a plywood cover. The box is slid into position over the stairway prior to exiting the attic and the stairway folds up into the cover. More detailed tips for attic stair installation expand on the cover theme and call for an insulated cover to be hinged over the stairway. This attic stair installation uses weatherstripping between the cover and the stair frame, and foam insulating board secured to the inside of the cover and along its sides.

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    • Spray foam insulation increases energy efficiency.
      Spray foam insulation increases energy efficiency.