Up Up And Away! ...Scuttle Hatches................A Best Practice Technique

Home Inspector with Aspect Inspection

Attic hatch

Here the 'best practice' that I've come across in the last few years is placing the hatch in the door swing space of  a bedroom. 


This does several good things;

1.                         It gets it out of tight closets that are difficult to position ladders in.

2.                         It does not require the emptying of shelves to gain access to the hatch. 

3.                         Opening the hatch does not cause loose insulation or other attic debris to rain down on the clothes in the closet. 

4.                         Positioning in the swing area of the doorway ensures that there will never be any furniture in the way.

5.                         It can be sized adequately, usually 24" by 30 ", as it is not limited to closet dimensions.

It is more visible but;

·      Newer designs are done without the big trim moldings drawing your eye to it,

·      And the best ones have magnetic strip weatherstripping edges that lock into place just like a fridge door

·      And all you can see is a trim minimal square outline on the ceiling.

·      Above the door is out of sight for anyone looking into the room.

·      If a hatch has popped you are going to see it, but in a closet it may not be noticed for years.



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Comments (6)

Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Boy those pull downs can lose a lot of heat in northern climates.

Mar 12, 2011 05:34 AM
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Andrew this is not a pull-down. It's a regular lift hatch . The ladder is my inspection telescoping unit.

Properly weather-stripped and secured will mean almost no air bypass. What's sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander. In air conditioned houses a leaking a hatch will bleed hot air in, causing the cooler air to sink and the higher areas to heat up. So the same problem exists in Southern climates, but in reverse. It still causes an expense.

Mar 12, 2011 05:46 AM
Dale Ganfield
Leland, NC

Hi Robert, the magnetic weatherstripping caught my attention.  Usually the bypass on the standard gaskets for hatches is a stiff breeze.  Going to take a look next trip to the building materials store.  I agree same issue heating or cooling.  Thanks for the info.

Mar 12, 2011 06:55 AM
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Hi Dale, the magnetic weatherstriping works the same as the door seal on most refrigerators. You can get a hatch that is manufactured in metal with an insulation core just like a fridge door.

Mar 12, 2011 07:48 AM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Robert, I appreciate this post.  I've never seen one in the bedroom ceiling... sounds like a good idea as long as it looks nice and the way that you have described the minimal border around it sounds good.    Love the magnetic weatherstripping.   Seems like the opening into the attic is always in a bad spot and usually a tight fit for the home inspector.

Mar 12, 2011 01:43 PM
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

It very often is a tight fit, especially in older homes. I've seen places where thy have been relocated for cable, video, phone and security servicing , not just inspectors. Thanks for commenting Judi.

Mar 12, 2011 04:01 PM