my Old Workshop

Materials to seal, insulate and keep out the cold

Feeling winter already? It’s not too late to snug things up from the inside. Here are a few areas that sometimes get missed.

Even if your attic is well-insulated, there may be a few spots that need attention. When they installed your main plumbing stack, it’s doubtful they cut a perfectly round hole in the top-plate where it enters the attic. Spray expandable polyurethane insulating foam around this area to stop drafts from getting down inside the wall… and warm air from leaking out into the attic.

Insulate and seal the attic hatch. Glue polystyrene insulation to the top of the hatch, and run a strip of neoprene foam or other weather stripping around the outside edge so it seals tight. Caulk the trim on the ceiling around the hatch and use hardware to hold the hatch tightly in position in at least two places.

Build an enclosure for the chimney stack using drywall or other fire-resistant materials and caulk this tightly.

Got potlights in your top-floor ceiling? Look out! Older potlights are notorious for drafts. Insulating around them poses a fire hazard so that’s out. But you might be able to enclose them in a drywall box, to stop cold drafts from getting at them. The Code has restrictions on these, so check it first to get all the details.

While we’re on ceiling fixtures, remember to foam between the outlet box and the drywall, and caulk around the edge of the plate that covers the hole, using latex caulk.

Use a gasket kit to seal light switches and outlets on all walls (because even interior walls can harbor drafts.) The little round gasket in most kits goes on a plug to seal the actual openings when something’s plugged in.