Insulating A Crawl Space/Attic Door

9 Materials
$20
1 Hour
Easy

I love our nice big closet in our bedroom but I don’t love the uninsulated access door to our crawl space which is in the closet. It gets a little frigid in there winter mornings.
This is the access door to our crawl space which runs along the length of our bathroom. The access door is in our closet which is fine except the fact that the crawl space has very little insulation and neither does the door.
As you can see, using the ”flame test”, the door is a little crooked which leaves a gap at the top and the bottom which allows cold air to flow into our closet.
My husband and I have made numerous attempts to quickly put up insulation but it always ended up not working.
I decided enough was enough and I was going to insulate it correctly.
I began by removing the old stick-on insulation using a putty knife.
Then I went inside the crawl space and closed the door. Using a pencil I drew onto the door where the door frame came in contact with the door (Red line)
I purchased this pack of foam panels. They are 3/4”x13-5/8”x48” and there are 6 in a pack. I only used 3 for my door.
I began by measuring the width of the door.
A. I marked one foam panel
B. Drew a straight line
C. Cut using a utility knife
To hold the panels in place, I used painter’s tape and taped the panel to the door.
A. I drilled a pilot hole
B. Using a #10 washer & wood screw
C & D. I attached the panel to the door making the screw snug but not too tight.
I used a washer to assure that the screw didn’t got completely through the foam.
Once the door was screwed in place, I removed the painter’s tape.
For the inside door handle:
A & B. I measured and cut pieces to fit around the handle
C. I used white 3M Heavy Duty duct tape to hold the pieces in place
D. Then I added more duct tape to assure that everything out hold

I continued to add foam panels working my way down the door. Where sections of foam came together, I taped the seam with duct tape.
The red circles indicate where I attached screws to the door.
I continued to add foam panels working my way down the door. Where sections of foam came together, I taped the seam with duct tape.
The red circles indicate where I attached screws to the door.
Once all of the panels were in place, I chaulked around the edges of the panels.
Whlie the chaulk dried,
A & B. I added rubber tubing around the edge of the door
C. It is adhesive and the back peels right off
D. I attached it around the inside edge of the door
To finish,
A. I used a door sweep
B. This is also adhesive and the backing peels off
C. I applied the sweep to the bottom of the door
Now my door is completely sealed and as you can see by the “flame test”, no air is leaking through.
I’m ready for you, Old Man Winter!
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Have a question about this project?

19 questions
  • Judy
    on Jan 14, 2018

    Do you plan on insulating the crawl space, so it won't have the cold draft? All you have to do, is to insulate it, and no draft will creep in the other areas to your home. We did, and it is so great. Best wishes, and you did a great job, on the door. Very pleased with your work, and I am sure you are too. Tho what was your hubby's expression when he saw your work? Give us some follow up, ok? J.
  • MMM
    on Jan 15, 2018

    Could you put the door sweep on the interior of the door? Just so it doesn't show. Or would it not work that way? :)
    • Alicia W
      on Jan 15, 2018

      Hi Rcwmmm. Usually doors have a threshold at the bottom of the door so if you install the sweep on the back of the door, it wouldn’t be able to close. If you don’t have a threshold on your door and the door meets the floor, then I don’t see why you couldn’t put it on the back of the door.
    • MMM
      on Jan 16, 2018

      Thanks, Alicia. I just wondered - for a cleaner look to the door. :)
  • Diena Cameron
    on Jan 15, 2018

    What a great project and tutorial, so glad it helped you. I was wondering about our floors ! They are (((FREEZING))), even in the summer. They are hardwood floors, it's a 3 story home on the bay that was buildt in 1911 and I love it but (((burrr))) those floors are like ice. I have access to the floors from underneath in our basement. There is some insulation in between the floor joist but missing in a few others. The basement itself in not completely sheetrocked and we do have some problems with rain if the ground gets to saturated and for that we have a sump pump. I was wondering if I could glue the foam board to the underneath side or if it would promote mold or if it would even help to begin with ?? (If you know 😊) Thanks for any info you might know and for sharing your project.
    • Sheryl Gilliland
      on Jan 30, 2019

      I wouldn't try to patch this repair. Call an insulation company that will use a blown foam insulation. The savings in heat will off set the cost.

    • Shirley
      on Jan 30, 2019

      I think Sheryl has a good idea. Foam board combined with all of the wood joists would be a challenge to seal permanently.

  • Renata
    on Jan 16, 2018

    Why use the screws, why not just glue the insulation onto the door?
  • Gayl
    on Dec 1, 2018

    Why not buy a piece of Tyvec from Home Depot & just cut it to fit the door? It’s pink but it can be spray painted white

  • Nancy Peterman
    on Dec 22, 2018

    I think this is a great idea, but why not also insulate the roof?

    • Carolyn Benston
      on Jan 30, 2019

      No need to unless ur going to leave door open

    • Joyce Bryant
      on Jan 30, 2019

      I'm sure the roof is insulated but that doesn't stop the warm air in the house from escaping into the colder attic space.

  • Marguerite leonard
    on Jan 30, 2019

    Great idea...but....what if your cubby space isn't big enough to crawl inside? Mine is a small storage space that was created half way up under the stairs. My other 2 are up to the ceiling in my kitchen. My apartment is in an almost 200 year old home. Thank you.

    • Cathy Landslide
      on Jan 30, 2019

      For the ceiling openings - cut a piece of the foam larger than the opening (maybe cover it with fleece fabric?). Then place it over the opening and close the door. It won’t seal it completely, but should help.

    • Lifestyles Homes
      on Jan 30, 2019

      You can still insulate it. Consider other types of sheet insulation.

  • Jean Chalupsky
    on Jan 30, 2019

    Instead of cutting lots of pieces to go around the hardware, why didn’t you just take off the handle and use the plate of the removed handle as a trace around to cut out the area? Then simply replace the hardware? It will be a perfect fit over. Take care so the handle is able to be replaced with the foam as a collar. Not under it.

    • Sarge
      on Jan 30, 2019

      Not an answer to your question, however, I was thinking the very same thing about unscrewing the doorknob and tracing the circle onto the foam. Seems as if it would have saved the time/effort of the tape job.

    • Renata
      on Jan 30, 2019

      I also had this question.

    • Em
      on Jan 30, 2019

      my thoughts exactly. Hold the insulation on the back, from the front reach in the hole with a marker, make the circle then cut the hole.

    • Fran2
      on Jan 30, 2019

      I thought the same thing myself. Remove door handle mark the hole then hold the handle thru the hole and mark around the handle cap to cut hole to fit completely around. No tape. Just my opinion.

      They should have used an insulated door during construction.

    • Pamela Hunter
      on Jan 30, 2019

      Well sense I don't ever go inside mine all I did instead of all that work was put white duct tape and taped the whole area over the crease and lift up the outer edge if I had to go in there and rub the tape back down to seal back when I'm done in there works like charm

  • Donna Messinger
    on Jan 30, 2019

    I don't have a question, only a suggestion for future reference. When cutting styrofoam, you want it perfectly straight and easy to cut. Here's what to do: Use an exacto knife, or an old kitchen sharp blade - heated and it cuts like butter. There's a number of ways to heat it. I used a Tiki torch flame, works like a charm. I saw someone else put a sharp knife on his fire coals. Use your imagination. Happy cutting!!!

  • Karen Bradford
    on Jan 30, 2019

    Is this a hollow-core door or solid?

    Thank you

    • Fran2
      on Jan 30, 2019

      It has to be hollow-core or it wouldn’t be that cold would it? I felt that during construction a sold-core or insulated door should have been hung.

  • J
    on Jan 30, 2019

    Instead of a match use an insence stick. You can see the trail of smoke easier than a wiggle of a match and for much longer.

    Jack

  • Jane
    on Jan 31, 2019

    About the bottom door sweep, with carpeting do you find it hard to open and close the door? Love what you did, great solution.

    • Sunshine Kat
      on Feb 6, 2019

      I have one of those that is under a door in the kitchen that leads down to the first floor which I guess is technically a basement but the reason I say technically is kids basements are like dark and dingy and our basement has like five windows in four doors and gets so much natural sunlight that it's really doesn't fit the description and likes thought of a basement but we have hardwood floors and I can't even tell you how many other things we've tried and just buying one of those has made the biggest difference like ever and before we bought one my boyfriend kind of made one that didn't hold up as well because it was put together using like paper towel holders connected and then like this spray kind of foamy insulation stuff but I would totally advise and getting something like that if you have any type and draft situation or just in general because we've noticed the difference in our electric bill which is only after using it for one month like a $200 difference so walk or run safely and buy one and of course they come in different ranges of quality and price and the one we got was like 15 or $20 I and as saved us $200 in one month!!! You can kind of adjust how it slides under the door and a way that is it interacts with your flooring as well which is not hard to do and it does make the door like tighter to open and close but that's a good thing!!!

  • Beverly Shaffer
    on Feb 6, 2019

    Why did you mark red around the door it seem unnecessary

    • Kaye
      on Feb 6, 2019

      She used a pencil. The red is done onto the picture so that we can see where she marked with the pencil.

  • Cheri
    on Feb 6, 2019

    How do I share this on facebook?

  • Jose
    on Feb 6, 2019

    Where can I find a home / apt organizer?

  • Trecia Gillett
    on Feb 6, 2019

    I could also incorporate this into the back side of my garage access door that is in my kitchen couldn't I? We can feel a lot of cool air coming in from the garage when we stand near it.

    • Diana Kehoe
      on Feb 6, 2019

      You might want to check , I think there is a type of insulation for outdoor use- it use to be blue.

    • Charitie Drye
      on Feb 6, 2019

      Yes. You can also find bigger pieces to actually insulate the garage door itself. It will keep your garage cooler in the summer as well.

  • Mark
    on Feb 6, 2019

    My storm door sticks at top - opposite of hinge side

    • Dianna Blumricl
      on Feb 6, 2019

      You need to level your door. You could just shave the top of the door in that corner. Mark where it sticking so you know how much to take off. Probably just a couple of times. Go to your hardware store & tell them you need a shaving tool. Just tell them what you are wanting to do to the door. You have to take the door off probably, because it will be the easiest way to do it. Are you a handyman?

    • Shuganne
      on Oct 15, 2019

      Mark and Carrie, below, have you tried tightening the hinges first? Especially on the side away from the frame, if the hinges get worn and sag,it will cause that side of the door to not square up. The solution requires a strong, well, able-bodied and willing friend anyway, some wooden matches or toothpicks, and wood glue. And a screw driver. Loosen the hinges and have the friend push the door up and as tight as possible. Does it look even now? Then take out several screws, one at a time, fill the screw hole with whatever will fit: matches, toothpicks, a couple of each. Your friend can use a handy bar - like a 12 inch crowbar but an inch and a half wide and with a subtler curve in it - I've seen them called various names, anyway, he can jam it under the door and just apply downward pressure with his foot to hold the door up snug while you do the screwdriver thing in the hinge. Use your judgment on how many screws per hinge, but I'd go with about 2 per hinge, top, center, and bottom. Also check the door side of the hinge, as long as you've got all your supplies on hand. Then shut the door and leave it until the wood glue says it's ready for use. Take your friend out for a pizza and beer, or call for delivery (the delivery person will have a good story to tell about delivering to your window) and you'll have a good excuse for watching whatever sports event you've conveniently planned this around. 😁 Then if this really doesn't do the fix completely, you can always go with Plan B, the sticky plastic air blockers around the frame. The whole description will take longer to read than to execute. I've done it several times (I have an ooolld house.) Let us know how it goes - we're hunkering down for winter here in the nothern American states, so you could be helping a ton of people if you say it works for you as well as it did on my doors. Thanks bunches!!

    • Carol Stowell
      on Oct 22, 2019

      Good idea and thanks for the info! 😊

  • Carrie Berg
    on Feb 6, 2019

    My front door does not match up to the frame very well. And I can see daylight from every side. I'm a renter, so I'm limited to some options. Is it even possible to do something like this to my front door and have it look nice? I have tried all store products and nothing stays for very long.

    • Gail Baker-Morehouse
      on Feb 7, 2019

      I think I would try the rubber window seal product she used around the door frame to help fill in the gaps between your door and the frame. Also, the door sweep at the bottom is pretty important there and I'm wondering if the door sweep may also be applied across the top and opening side of the door as well.

    • Cynthia
      on Feb 7, 2019

      CARRIE, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO JUST GO TO WALMART OR HOME DEPOT AND GET SOME INSULATION TO WRAP AROUND YOUR DOOR. . MOST OF IT IS STICK ON. SO YOU CAN SHOW YOUR LANDLORD AND THEY WILL PROBABLY APPRECIATE YOU FOR DOING THIS. IF NOT YOU CAN ALWAYS REMOVE IT EASILY WHEN YOU MOVE.

      P.S. PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU DO AND HOW IT WORKS FOR YOU.

      C.PHILLIPS

    • On the edge of the frame on my doors (the part that your door closes up against) there is a 1/2 inch collapsible rubber-like seal. It goes on the sides and top of the frame. When the door is closed upon it, it collaspes n seals the door so air will not come in around it. The bottom of the door has a strip the depth of the door. It has several rubber-like strips going down from the door to the bottom of the door frame. This has been attached to the inside and outside of the bottom of the door.

      Both items have evidently been attached with a builders grade adhesive. There is no air coming in around my doors. I have owned my condo since Aug of 2017. Gone in n out the garage door whenever I have left, and the door seals have not budged, except to collaspe n expand.

      They also make a v-shaped seal you can put around the inside of your door frame. The point of the “v” faces towards the inside of your house. It collapses when the door is closed to seal against air coming in. It expands out when the door is opened. The ones on our old house were made of metal n probably installed around the time the house was built.(about 1975). I do not know if you can get metal ones anymore, but do know you can get them made of synthetic materials.

      I would ask a building supply store what type of door seals n adhesives builders use for doors.

      Even if you had to replace these every year, it would probably be a minimal cost vs the extra dollars you are paying for heating n cooling your home every year.


      If this solution does not work, I’d ask the landlord to fix the door. There is a slight possibility that he does not know there is a problem?

    • Michelle
      on Oct 23, 2019

      That's up to your landlord to fix.

    • Michelle
      on Oct 23, 2019

      Definitely doing this to my front door. Now to figure out the slider.. Brr

  • Nancy
    on Feb 7, 2019

    We have a bilco door...horrible...not insulated...any ideas.?

Join the conversation

3 of 80 comments
  • T davidson
    on Oct 16, 2019

    I am totally inspired and look forward to doing this within the next few days. Thank you so much, Deanna!

  • Donna
    on Oct 17, 2019

    In your case, I am wondering whether it would have been faster, and easier to cover the inside the closet walls with the foam panels to insulate the walls, rather

    than the door. I am thinking that there must be some kind of removable glue, such as post note pad type glue to attach the panels to the walls and ceiling, of your closet and then tape the panel joints.

    • Lisa West
      on Oct 21, 2019

      The air was and is coming from the door opening. That's what she wanted to stop to hold in the heat in her closet and bed room. Now for extra insulation I would do that around the bathroom walls to help keep the bathroom from getting cold. I feel there is nothing more uncomfortable is a bathroom. We use the bathroom more then what we think. Beside going potty we shower brush our teeth. S ok me use the bathroom to do make up hair. Men use to shave and do their hair if they have hair. Wash hands and so on. It amazing how much we really are in the bathroom. For me I hide in here from people when I need a few min of quiet lol.

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