Have you ever wondered about the architectural hole in the ceiling that can be seen mainly in an old house? It is called a scuttle attic that provides an entry going through the ceiling space.
A scuttle attic is an attic accessed through a small hole in the ceiling, with a panel cover or a hatch. But the scuttle attic term specifically refers to the hole opening rather than the whole attic itself; you might also hear it is called attic hatch or a scuttle hole.
A scuttle attic does not have a staircase; instead, a ladder allows easy access up through the hatch. However, some scuttle attics’ design incorporates a pull-down stair set usable after the cover hatch is open. Attic sizes vary. Some have a total length with an allowance to stand during the access or just a crawl space that doesn’t allow you to stand up in it. Moreover, it can impact the structure’s overall proper operation when not adequately cared for or insulated. Mostly it is found in hallways and walk-in-closets.
Attic Scuttle Doors
A scuttle attic door is a door that covers the scuttle; it is also called a hatch or attic access door. There are different types of attic scuttle doors or attic access doors; these are as follows:
- Simple Attic Hatch – This type of attic scuttle door is also known as a scuttle hole, and it is one of the most common attic hatches and widely-used attic for residential use. It is a removable part of the ceiling and usually has a square or rectangular shape. It is also equipped with a ladder once it is open and used to access or enter the scuttle attic or ceiling area. When accessing the attic, a person would push up on this attic hatch and move it sideways, but you need a ladder first to push the cover.
- Spring Loaded Attic Scuttle Doors – In some buildings, they usually installed a pull-down attic access stair because this type of hatch cover is spring-loaded. It is equipped with a pull-cord that once it is pulling, the hatch cover will push up, and the stairs will come out smoothly. And its stairs are usually made of either metal or wood, and it is foldable, going up quickly. Although this attic hatch or scuttle door looks very similar to a simple attic hatch, it is more convenient because of its built-in pull-cord and ladder.
- Knee-Wall Attic Scuttle Door – This type of attic hatch is installed mostly at the vertical wall, short mid-height instead of the ceiling typically found in the top level of the house or within a small room. This type of attic scuttle door is ideal for providing access to a storage area or even a tiny bedroom, and usually, the ceiling in this room is a slope.
Attic Scuttle Ladders
An attic scuttle ladder is a retractable stairway that comes down from the ceiling that provides access to the scuttle attic space. And then it can be folded up going into the ceiling frame or scuttle attic entrance when it’s not needed. A scuttle ladder provides faster, safer, and easier access when accessing the scuttle attic.
How Do You Insulate An Attic Scuttle?
For the scuttle attic, the biggest concern is the amount of insulation to its access hatch or door cover. It will not matter what type of scuttle cover; without proper insulation, it can lose heat through the area during winter or lose cold air during summer. Sound insulation in all scuttle attic covers is a must by weather stripping or foam board.
What Is The Required Size Opening For An Attic Access Scuttle?
The 2012 International Residential Code requires an attic opening with an area of more than 30 sq ft and a vertical height of greater than 30 inches. And the frame opening must be a minimum of 22×30 inches.
Can You Store Stuff In A Scuttle Attic?
Several homeowners use their scuttle attics for storage but mostly leave this area empty to have free access whenever needed or require any repairs or maintenance. And because most of the scuttle attics don’t have a permanent staircase, it is not ideal for living space.
How Do You Cover a Scuttle Hole?
A thin drywall remnant and sheet of plywood are the usual covering of attic scuttle holes. The cover openings are prone to significant heat loss in the house, and lack of insulation could invite cold drafts during summer. Insulating the attic door will depend on whether you have a scuttle hole or pull-down attic stair.
However, Ceiling and Attic Access Doors and Panels are essential for residential and commercial use. The general purpose of the scuttle attic is to provide access going up to the ceiling during repairs and maintenance, but some homeowners use it as storage. And proper insulation to its cover is necessary to prevent heat loss.