Do you want to know how to install an attic stair tent cover?
Anyone can install an attic stair cover within an hour or two. You simply need a staple gun and some optional silicone caulking.
In this guide, I will go over...
- Install an attic stair tent with a staple gun
- Adding caulk prior to stapling
- Making your own attic stair cover
Let's get started with this guide!
Installing An Attic Stair Tent (4 Steps)
Attic stair tents (or covers) are a great solution when you have attic stairs. The simplest way to install these attic stair covers is to use a heavy duty staple gun.
You basically take a staple gun and staple the seams of the attic stairs cover to the inner frame of your attic stairs.
As home inspectors, we are constantly talking to our clients about how the attic stairs or door often goes uninsulated. When you have an uninsulated attic stairs, it is equivalent to having an open window in the home.
What Are The Specs?
In general, attic stair covers are around 25-inches wide, 55-inches long, and 10-inches deep. They are made of a insulation material such as flexible bubble insulation and an aluminum or reflective exterior.
The reflective material will help reflect up to around 95%+ of the radiant heat. Most attic covers have an R-value of around 15.
#1. Dry Fit The Attic Cover
I always recommend that homeowners first dry fit the attic cover over your attic opening. When dry fit the attic tent, you can make sure it will fit properly without a hassle.
Many attic stair insulators have one side where the zipper makes a low bend. You want to put this low side where the stairs is connected to the attic. Manufacturers add this low zipper end to make it easier to open and close.
You also want to make sure that there is enough clearance for the stairs when you close it.
#2. Add Silicone Caulking
This is an optional step, but before you staple the seams, you can lay down some silicone caulking onto the wood frame. This step will give it a better seal than just using staples on their own.
Prior to adding a bead of caulking to the attic stair frame, make sure to clean the wood with a simple cleaner or degreaser so it won't peel off down the road.
After you have placed a caulking bead, you can smooth out the edge of the attic cover onto the caulking.
The main fastening method with attic stair insulators is with staples.
Basically, the idea is to use a heavy duty staple gun and staple the seams or edges of the attic tent to the opening frame.
How many staples you want to use is personal preference, but I recommend stapling at least every 5-6 inches for a good hold. After the stapling, you can add some additional silicone or foam insulation into the corners for even more insulation.
Read Also: What Is The Best Roof Mounted Attic Fan?
#4. Opening & Closing
When you pull down the attic stairs and climb up, all you have to do is unzip the attic cover, and then you push the top section out of the way behind you.
And then when you exit the attic, you simply pull the top section over your head, and rezip it for a tight seal.
Install Your Own DIY Attic Cover (5 Steps)
A simple way to make your own attic stair cover is to buy 1-inch thick foam insulation board and make an insulated cover box that fits over your attic stairs.
Basically, it is so lightweight that you can just push it out of the way when you enter the attic, and then you can re-position it when you leave.
To start, you will want to measure the opening of your attic stairs.
Read Also: How Does An Attic Fan Work?
#1. Take Measurements of Opening
Only measure the opening, do not extend the measurements into the wood frame.
The foam insulation board will rest on the stairs inner frame, so you only measure the opening. The usual attic stair opening size is in the 25-inch (width) to 55-inch (length) range.
You will also want to know the necessary depth of the insulation box. So enter into your attic, and have someone close the stairs. Usually, the attic stair depth is in the 9-10 inches range.
#2. The Insulation Board
Now that you have purchased some 1-inch rigid foam board insulation, you can start to make the cuts.
To cut the insulation board, you just need a simple utility knife, tape measure, straight edge ruler, and aluminum tape.
The utility knife will cut fully through the insulation board, but you want to make sure you use a straight edge such as a solid ruler to make the cut.
#3. Dry Fitting
Before you tape together the foam board with the aluminum tape, its a good idea to dry fit at least one section of the box over the attic opening.
If you need to make some adjustments, it will be much easier to do if you haven't already done the taping.
Once you are sure it is a correct fit, you can tape together the seams of the foam board with the aluminum insulation tape.
You simply have to pull off the white backing of the foil tape.
I recommend that you tape the interior and exterior seams of the foam board. Now you can place it over the attic stairs.
Read Also: How To Install Attic Fans On Roof?
#5. Entry & Exit
To enter the attic, you simply push the foam board out of the way behind you or to the front. And when you exit, you simply place the foam box back over the opening — it's that simple.
To increase the insulation of the box, you can also add an additional layer to the top or even to the whole box... making it two inches.