Create a Bigger Attic Access
LESLIE: Mark in Tennessee needs some help adding some insulation to the attic space. Tell us about the project.
MARK: What I have is a 23-year-old, split-level home. And I’ve got about 800 square feet over the bedrooms and the two bathrooms upstairs, with only very, very limited access to the attic area. There’s one hole that’s 18×12, which was put in the original house, and the other is an outside gable vent, which is 18×18. And those are the only two ways that I can get into to add insulation. Neither one would be good for a blower or the rolls couldn’t get through the holes. Help me, help me.
TOM: Put a bigger attic access in there. It’s a very easy thing to do. You simply have to cut more of the drywall out. In the same way that that access point was put in to begin with, you could certainly put a larger one in. Just cut the drywall back along the ceiling joist. You need to sort of frame it out so it’s square on the ends and then you can make a panel that drops in there to keep it closed. Best place to do that, of course, is in a closet where it’s not very obvious.
Now, do you have much height in that attic? Would it be worth putting a stair – an attic stair – in?
MARK: Well, it would be too tight for a stair. And the current access is located in a shallow closet anyway.
TOM: Can that be opened up and made larger?
MARK: Not the depth of the closet, no. I could go width of the closet but I’m guessing I’m going to be hitting some trusses.
TOM: Well, the thing is you’re going to work around the trusses. If you’ve got trusses, they’re probably 24 inches on center. That’s where most trusses are set. So make the width of the opening 24 inches and make the depth of it about 36. And that would be plenty big enough to get a ladder up into that hole and get yourself up there and anything else that you need to get up there, as well.
MARK: Well, outstanding. That’s why I listen and that’s why I call.
TOM: Good luck, Mark. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.