Home Performance practitioners resist the concept of attic floor weatherization measures that are not measurable in a blower door test. That is, just about every measure other than wishful smothering in a disaster of blown cellulose. Pick Label: Attic Floor Pits, for several posts on this subject.
A stairwell is a common example, concealment failed. Simply a large growth of the attic floor, subject to attic conditions, not insulated. Covering is difficult, and very worthwhile.
Not an attic wall. Not an attic floor. Not a Thermal Bypass. What is that, a patch of missing insulation? This is a pit.
This Attic Floor Pit was found and fixed in August 2010.
Closed up with thought. A set of steps up the floor/ stairwell ceiling. A manhole for closure, giving future access for wiring down to an important wall of the kitchen. Photo records given to the customer and saved by me indefinitely, to answer future questions.
Shouldn't all important contractor records, now digital files, be securely archived?
Here is a story of this pit as a Google Docs PDF.
Pit all gone. Safe walking is allowed on a deck. R38 everywhere.
This repair could not have been done through the found access in a closet ceiling. All the work, hauling large objects, was permitted via a wonderful new attic ladder. I think those who fail to provide access, generally fail to do the most important work in weatherization. They will often boobytrap against inspection.
At November 2016, add photos of my first-discovered attic floor pit, understood but not yet named.
Look for unmarked danger between two ABS vent pipes and a steel HVAC return at center of this found-conditions photo. It is a typically darki and dangerous attic under R10 weighted-average. Fixing an attic floor pit is the most-golden opportunity.
The pit is hidden-only, by draped batts, concealed further by general cellulose covering. Could a home owner be sued for maiming an honest, struggling workman stepping-through?
Here is the fully-revealed pit over a basement stairwell with bump-in of a bathroom cabinet, nothing insulated against attic cold and hot temperature.
Safest covering is with 3/4" plywood upon 2x4 bridges. Did I seal it air tight just a year into my learning curve as a weatherization contractor able to learn only by my own intelligence and experience? Maybe not.
The efficient plywood covering was an option only because of a new attic ladder. Recognize the now-safely hidden pit at the duct cluster mid-photo. The plywood covering is buried too by my added 2x6 access flooring.