attic panel insulation resized 600You probably don’t have any insulation on your attic access panel. If you are like most homeowners, you will simply have a piece of drywall cut to fit into a hole and held there by resting on a lip from some molding.

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If you have R-30 in your attic but have no insulation at your attic panel, you are lowering the R-value for the entire attic.

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You will need a few parts for this but it won’t break the bank. I would get a 1”x3” strip and cut it to fit around the perimeter of the scuttle hole. You can paint it to match the ceiling. Secure it to the bottom perimeter of the opening so that it sits on top of the lip of the molding (where the attic panel used to sit. You can caulk it and paint it and make it pretty if you choose.

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For the insulation, you can use poly-iso (poly-isocyanurate) or polystyrene rigid board. These are rigid foam boards that you can cut to fit. You can cut the board with a utility knife. You could use the attic panel as a template and cut them to fit, or you can just measure and cut the pieces from your measurements. You will need several layers of the boards to get a good R-value. Poly-iso has an R-value of 7 per inch while polystyrene is 4-5 per inch, depending upon whether it is extruded or expanded. You can build up the back of the panel with several layers of the insulation board. Use the appropriate adhesive for these boards, as some adhesives will degrade the boards

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Finally, lay a strip of weather stripping along the top of the ledger board you previously installed at the perimeter of the attic scuttle hole. You will lastly want to fashion a way to hold the panel down with enough tension that air won’t leak. You can do this with an eyehook, or even a latch. You can get as creative as you want, but the point is to compress the weather stripping to stop any air leaks.

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