Fold down attic stairs often don’t seal well and aren’t insulated, resulting in increased heating and cooling bills for your home. Watch this video for an inexpensive, DIY way to insulate attic stairs and make your home more energy efficient.

To insulate fold down attic stairs:

  1. Measure the size and height of the stairs from the attic.
  2. Cut sides and top from sheets of 3/4″ foam board with a utility knife.
  3. Assemble the sides of the box with metallic duct tape.
  4. Position the box over the stair opening in the attic.
  5. Attach the foam box to the floor with metallic tape.
  6. Hinge the lid to the box on one side with metallic tape.

For step-by-step instructions on this project, check out our article on How to Insulate Attic Drop Down Access Stairs.

Further Information


A fold down attic staircase, like the one I’m standing on here, is really convenient, because they allow easy access into the attic, but they’re also great energy wasters. That’s because the floor of the attic is always insulated really well, but when you close the attic, all you have is a quarter-inch plywood panel to prevent the air from coming up into the attic. So to solve that problem, I built a box out of three-quarter-inch insulation board – this is polystyrene insulation board.

What you need to do first is get up in the attic and have someone close the staircase. Then measure all around the staircase and the height of the staircase. Then you just cut the styrene with a razor knife to fit. Now, to hold the pieces of styrene together, what I use is metallic duct tape – not regular cloth duct tape, but the metallic duct tape works great.

Then just tape it right down to the deck, Now you can buy readymade units that go over the attic, but they cost about two hundred bucks. Now, this one – for less than twenty dollars – works just as well.

Editorial Contributors
Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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