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What Is A Scuttle Attic

By October 8, 2021No Comments
Attic Ladder

Imagine that you are walking through a home that is “For Sale” and you notice something very unique to that home. You aren’t used to what it is for because this architecture is not found in your current home. You continue about the walk-through and jot down a list of questions for your realtor. The first one on the list is, what is the architectural hole that is in the ceiling of the home? Your real estate agent responds, it is a scuttle attic.

What is a scuttle attic you ask? Well, a scuttle attic is a small hole that allows you access to the attic space or even to access to the roof. Typically, they are found in older homes and contain attic ladders. In some cases, they are just attic access points with no attic ladder and you will just move the drywall piece up and out of the hatch area, climb your ladder, and gain access to the attic. They can also be found in the garage space.

Let’s take a look at how the scuttle attic works and how much these might cost to add to your current home, should you need the access. 

Attic scuttle or roof scuttle ladder
Attic scuttle or roof scuttle ladder

Why Are Scuttle Attics Necessary

Your home will need a scuttle attic to access the attic and use it as a storage area. In commercial buildings and schools, any attic that houses mechanical equipment requires an access space. Mechanical equipment can include an HVAC unit or even fiber optics for your internet or network. The access space is called a “scuttle hole” and the area in which a scuttle hole gives access is called a “scuttle attic.”

How Do I Insulate My Scuttle Attic Hole

The biggest concern is the amount of insulation to its access hatch or door cover. Without proper insulation, the type of door or cover used is irrelevant. You can lose heat through the scuttle attic hole during winter or lose cold air during summer. All scuttle attic covers should have insulation, generally in the way of weather stripping or foam board.

Additionally, the easiest way to insulate is using a piece of batt insulation to cover the top of the scuttle hole panel.

Open attic space with ladder
Open attic space with ladder

Size of a Scuttle Attic Opening

Attic openings with an area of more than 30 sq. ft. and a vertical height of greater than 30 inches are perfect for installing an attic ladder. The frame of the opening hole in the ceiling must be a minimum of 22×30 inches. Scuttle holes are covered by a piece of drywall that is cut to fit the scuttle.

Be sure to contact a professional if you are looking to install an attic stairway or scuttle. Moreover, do not cut into any trusses or structural components of your home in order to install one.

What Do I Need To Create One

Believe it or not, you can create a scuttle attic if you need access to your attic for storage or inspections. There are some necessary tools and items that you will need in order to create this space. Let’s take a look:

  • Drywall Knife-helps cut the extra drywall parts to the perfect cover of the scuttle.
  • Stud finder-shows you where to connect the ladder frame for support.
  • Nail Gun-allows quick and easy attachment of the wood trim and frame of the ladder.
  • Air Compressor-attached to nail gun.
  • Paint-covers up any damage caused while installing the new attic ladder.
  • Caulk-used to cover imperfections and seal the areas needed sealing.
  • Caulk Gun-needed to use the caulk.
  • Nail filler-covers the holes that the nails created, and makes them no longer visible.
  • Circular saw-cuts the 2×4’s for the framing of the ladder.
  • Miter saw-for cutting the wood trim to fit with angles.
  • Trim-attaches on the underside of the ladder so that the open spaces are unseen in the home.
  • Utility knife-extra tool for cutting clean lines.
  • Paneling-drywall for covering the hole.

Cost of a Scuttle Attic

Your average cost of installing attic ladders or stairs ranges from $220 to $650. The average rate of $445 including parts and labor is standard across the country. Labor charges for a professional contractor average $240 per project, with an hourly rate of $60. Materials included in the project include an attic door kit and finishing supplies such as trim and paint.

Other Types of Scuttle Attic

Another type of scuttle attic is called a roof scuttle. Typically, commercial buildings with flat roofs may have a roof scuttle. This is an access scuttle hatch, for maintenance, allowing access to the roof. You will also see these in schools and other large buildings that house a lot of mechanical equipment.

Other Maintenance Ideas

While you are installing the attic ladder for your scuttle attic or hole to the attic, it is a great idea to consider exploring the attic itself. An area that is recommended at this time is how to cool your attic. Keeping your attic cool in the warmer months is important to protect the items that you might plan to store in the attic.

Once in the attic, it is a great idea to determine the ventilation system. You most likely have some sort of ventilation in the attic. However, you might wonder, do you need an attic ventilation fan? Depending on where you live will answer that question. Other types of ventilation might be part of your home already.

Another great area to research while in the attic space, is finding a location where you can add skylights. Adding skylights to your home will add natural light and can substantially reduce your electric bill, by allowing you to use more sunlight and less artificial lighting. However, be sure to maintain the skylights and watch to see if they are leaking.

garage attic scuttle
Garage attic scuttle

When Do I Call A Professional

Calling a professional when attempting a home project is always a great idea. When hiring a professional contractor make sure that they know the building codes and that your project is completed correctly. You do not want to make a mistake that could cost you more time and money down the road, should you sell your home. It is also important from a safety perspective to use a professional contractor.


Most people like to access their attic space for storage in their homes. Who doesn’t want to have a workable space for storage? It is easy to create a scuttle attic and add the attic ladder to the space. This will allow you to safely access the attic space. If you need someone to provide a home inspection to recommend the best location for your scuttle attic then reach out to Avalon Home Inspections, we conduct home inspections in Greenville, SC, and Atlanta, GA.

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