What is a Scuttle Attic?

A scuttle is another type of attic that is accessed through the ceiling. However, it is reached through a small opening like a hole. The hole is covered with a panel cover or a hatch. The general term scuttle attic refers not only to the attic area but also to the whole opening collectively.

What is a Scuttle Opening?

The scuttle opening or the hole is through which you can reach the attic. There may be different dimensions and sizes of attic openings. But the 2012 International Residential Code has declared a specific requirement for this. It states that the attic opening needs to have an area of more than 30 square feet and a vertical height of more than 30 inches. The frame opening should also have a minimum area of 22×30 inches. 

How to Cover a Scuttle Hole?

Scuttle holes are usually covered with a thin drywall remnant or plywood sheets. The opening of covers creates a significant heat loss from the house. This would bring cold drafts into the house in warm climates. The insulation of the attic door would depend on the type of closing. Access doors and panels can be used upon the usage of the attic, as some people use it as a storage space.

Attic Scuttle Doors

The hatch or attic access door is used to cover the scuttle. They are also known as scuttle doors. Different types of doors can be used for this. Let’s find out what they are.

Simple Attic Hatch

The attic hatch or an attic hole is one of the most common types of attic scuttle doors. It is a removable part of the ceiling, usually in a square or rectangular shape. These are mostly found in residential use. It should be reached by a ladder and used to access the attic area or the ceiling. To open this, the attic hatch should be pushed up and moved sideways. As this is up in the ceiling, you need a ladder even to push open this door.

Spring Loaded Attic Scuttle Doors

Some attic hatches are spring-loaded. This means there is an attic access stair that can be pulled down from the ceiling. When the pull cord is pulled down, the hatch cover will push up, and the stairs would come down. The stairs are made of wood or metal and are foldable. Thus, it goes in the two directions quickly. This looks similar to the normal attic hatch but comes with a built-in pull cord and a ladder. Hence, it is more convenient for use.

Knee-Wall Attic Scuttle Door

This scuttle door is located in a different position than the other types. It is installed on the vertical wall, at a moderate height, instead of being on the ceiling. This is often found in a small room on the upper level of the building. These doors are often used for applications of regular use, where the scuttle attic is used as a storage area or a small bedroom. 

Attic Scuttle Ladders

The attic scuttle ladder is a special stairway that comes down from the ceiling. It is foldable and used to reach the attic space. When not in use, it can be folded back upwards, and the attic entrance will be closed. Generally, this is a faster and easier method to access the attic and also safe for use.

Can you Insulate an Attic Scuttle?

The amount of insulation of the access hatch is a major concern. Regardless of the type of door, the hatch needs to have proper insulation. If not, heat would be lost through the area during the winter season, while on the other way around, the heat would get into the house in warmer climates. Therefore, it is necessary to have proper insulation of attic covers by using a weather-stripping or foam board in the gaps and spaces.

If you purchase insulation for the attic, then there is an indication of R-value on the packaging. The recommended R-value for attic insulation in cold climates is 50. Make sure to avoid any roof leaks when insulating the attic. Also, if the space is wet throughout, then it might even cause mold and fungi. 

Does it Need to be Ventilated?

Even though the attic should be insulated to keep proper internal temperature regulation of the house, the attic also needs to be ventilated. If not, moisture would get trapped inside the attic, creating molds and eventually rot the structure. Fresh air can be brought inside using intake vents and release old, stale air to the outside using exhaust vents.

For What Can You Use a Scuttle Attic?

Some people use the attic area for storage. Sometimes they are left as free space to be accessed when needed for repair and maintenance work. Since most attics don’t have a permanent staircase or access method, they are not suitable for living space. 

What is the Difference Between an Attic and a Loft?

The term attic refers to the whole floor situated on the topmost level, close to the roof. The loft is an area consisting of only some rooms and has one or a few sides open to the lower floor.

Can You Turn Your Attic into a Living Space?

If you need more living space, you can try utilizing your attic as well. But there are some things that you need to consider before changing your attic. 

As most attics are designed to hold only light weights, you might not be able to add heavy furniture. This would create a sagging ceiling and damage the integrity of your entire house. The structural limitations, such as the low roof, might also hinder easy movement inside the attic. You would have to walk around, bent over, and renovating the structure might be more expensive. 

As most attics don’t have a fixed method of reach, using it as a living space might be difficult. You should also check proper access to clean air inside the area and even a possible fire escape route. You would also have trouble taking the requirements into the attic through the latch or perhaps windows on the roof. Most importantly, make sure that the roof remains supported, regardless of whatever you do to the attic.