What are the Different Types of Attic Access Door?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Nearly every house has an attic, and with it, an attic access door. The types range from the common attic hatch, sometimes with pull-down stair, to the knee-wall door. Most attic doors come with the house, but changing the type to suit the homeowner's preference is usually an option.

The simple attic hatch, also called a scuttle hole, is quite common in homes. It is a removable part of the ceiling that is typically in the shape of either a rectangle or square. To access the attic, the homeowner simply has to push up on this ceiling cut-out and move it to the side. Once the access door is out of the way, a ladder can be used to enter the area.

Some homes come installed with a pull-down stair attic access door. This type of door is spring loaded so that once the door is pushed up and a nearby cord is pulled, the stairs can easily come out. The stairs are typically made of either metal or wood, and fold up just as easily as they fold out. This type of attic access door looks similar to the simple attic hatch, but is more convenient in that the ladder is already built in.

The knee-wall door is another common way to access the attic. It is usually located at mid-height on a short, vertical wall rather than on a ceiling. This type of attic access door is typically found within a small room on the top level of the house, which can be used as a loft, storage area, or bedroom. The ceiling in the room is usually sloped.

One concern with any attic access door is the amount of insulation. No matter what kind of door the attic has, many houses lose heat through the area. For this reason, it is recommended that all attic doors be outfitted with some insulation, such as weather stripping and foam board. The method of adding such insulation aids varies depending on the door type.

Yet another consideration to make when thinking about attic doors is the level of security. A homeowner can add a lock to any kind of attic door. In fact, this is suggested for doors on outer walls in both office buildings and homes. Many people do not realize the easy access to their possessions that an attic can offer, which makes learning about door options recommended.

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Discussion Comments


If you just choose to use your attic space for storage, it will still require maintenance, just as every other part of your home does.

The attic door being properly insulated, no matter which version you choose, is just one of the things you take care of when you have an attic.

You need to check your vents and fans in our attic every year to make sure they aren't blocked and gathering debris. You also need to check the insulation in the entire attic to see if it has moved and created gaps over time. This should be done once every 5 years.

Lastly, the attic should be checked for any cracks that can let critters in, or leaks that can damage your home.


Many people focus on finishing their basements when they buy a new home, but very few think about the potential of their attic. With some homes, the space above your heads is large and spacious, as well as ready for renovation. If it has high enough ceilings you can easily add in a loft space or another bedroom.

A good idea is too see what the access to the attic is like before you buy the home. Homes that have a pull down staircase are great because you can see where the staircase would fall. Putting in a permanent staircase is a must if you are going to make the space a fully integrated and functional part of your home.

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