metalized film oxidation and delamination feature 400x246

Q: Why don't you sell the metalized film radiant barrier anymore?

The metalized film type of radiant barrier was a product we offered at one time. It looks similar to Original AtticFoil Radiant Barrier, but it differs from the original in a few ways. The metalized film material had the following characteristics in common with Original AtticFoil:

  • Tear-resistant
  • Class A/Class 1 Fire Rating
  • Double-sided
  • Available in 48" wide rolls
  • Perforated/breathable material

The metalized film was different than AtticFoil in the following ways:

  • Mylar/metalized film (not made with pure aluminum like AtticFoil Radiant Barrier)
  • Reflectivity was 94% (vs. 97% with AtticFoil Radiant Barrier)
  • The film had issues with oxidations, even though it was coated to prevent this from happening. (see photos and section below for more info)
  • Despite being tear-resistant, the film was still notoriously difficult to work with because of it's inability to easily lay flat once rolled out.

Oxidation of Aluminum Radiant Barriers & Metalized Films

metalized film oxidation

A metalized film material showing oxidation to the point of no foil left.

Question: Does AtticFoil® lose reflectivity over time because of oxidation?

The simple answer is no, it does not.

The reason is because AtticFoil is a pure aluminum product. It's made from 99.5% pure aluminum and a high quality aluminum is NOT AFFECTED by the natural oxidation process of metal.

When an aluminum surface goes through oxidation, it produces an organic clear coat/layer/skin over the top of itself. That coat will develop to a thickness that prevents the foil from continuing to oxidize so it will not degrade or deteriorate over time.  After the coating of itself, the foil content is still significant enough to continue to operate as a radiant barrier - reflecting heat or blocking heat via emissivity.

"In the case of an aluminum foil, for example, thicknesses for radiant barrier and reflective insulation applications generally range from 6 to 10 microns; even in the most aggressive of environments, heavy oxidation of the foil surface will have little, if any, impact on the emissive and reflective properties of the surface. This is generally due to the fact that the oxide layer will rarely grow to a thickness that either absorbs large amounts of thermal radiation, or consumes the aluminum entirely, resulting in an optically clear 100% aluminum oxide film."1

Metallized aluminum, however, is made up of a very thin layer of aluminum deposited onto a polymer film. These products utilize an artificial coating and claim it protects against oxidation; however, many versions of the mylar foil films have shown problems in stopping oxidation when the coating fails and the foil layer practically disappears from the inner scrim!  

BOTTOM LINE: Choose a PURE aluminum, high quality foil radiant barrier (like AtticFoil® brand Radiant Barrier) and let nature take its course. 

1RIMA Technical Bulletin 106: http://www.rimainternational.org/index.php/technical/tb-index/tb106/

 

Welcome to our video FAQ series where AtticFoil® owner, Ed Fritz, answers Frequently Asked Questions about radiant barrier foil. Many people are learning about the year round benefits of adding a green energy barrier like AtticFoil® to a home or building and with that comes a lot of questions. Ed, the Radiant Barrier Guru, addresses some of the most frequently asked questions we receive here at AtticFoil.com.

If you have a question you'd like answered that you don't see here, take a look at our FAQ page on AtticFoil.com or submit your own question.

Click on an image below to view the question and the video response.

 

 Attic-Air-Temps-Video-Screenshot

        

Question: I have two thermometers in my attic but one is always reading about fifteen degrees hotter than the other. When I bring the thermometers inside, both read the same temperature. What is going on?

 

Can-I-Install-By-Myeslf-Video-Screenshot

       

Question: I'm interested in installing a radiant barrier - can I really install it myself? Just how difficult is it?

          

   

Leaving-Gaps-Video-Screenshot

    

Question: I'm installing AtticFoil® radiant barrier using the staple-up method. How much of a gap should I leave at the tops and the bottoms of the foil to allow for proper ventilation?

      

 

Air--Surface-Temperatures-Video-Screenshot

 

Question: How much cooler should my attic be after installing a radiant barrier?

 

 

Partial-Coverage-Video-Screenshot

          

Question: Will AtticFoil® radiant barrier still be effective if I can only cover part of my attic space?

 

  

Is there a top or bottom, are both sides the same?

For the double-sided products, both sides are the same.

For the single-sided products, the foil side faces the air space/gap.


What is the advantage of using a heavyweight radiant barrier foil?

Both the lightweight and the heavyweight radiant barrier foils have the same reflectivity quality; the difference is the lightweight products can tear easily.  Atticfoil.com only sells the heavyweight foil because it is virtually tear-proof and will never rip or sag in your attic.  One loose critter in your attic can easily knock down all the foil if you use a lightweight product. 


Will the AtticFoil® aluminum radiant barrier oxidize & show signs of corrosion over time?

In short, NO. When aluminum reacts with oxygen in the air, it produces an organic aluminum-oxide barrier via a process called passivation. This layer protects the metal's surface from oxidizing and therefore the product will resist corrosion. Additionally, this protective layer does nothing to diminish the foil's ability to reflect radiant heat so you have a superior heat barrier that will stand the test of time.

Read more: Oxidation of Aluminum Foil Reflective Radiant Barrier Insulation  

Additionally, we have several samples of product in testing that have been exposed outside to the elements, undisturbed for 4+ years and none have shown signs of corrosion or a decrease in reflectivity. If those are results from pieces outside and unprotected, you can be confident that inside an attic or a wall the conditions are even better. More info here: http://www.rimainternational.org/index.php/technical/tb-index/tb105/


Can I really save 50% on my electric bill with this product?

Probably not. Radiant Barrier is a great product, however the benefits are often over-sold. Realistic savings are probably in the 5%-25% range.  Read about Expected Savings with Radiant Barrier.


I keep reading you must have an air space for radiant barrier to work.  Why?

This is probably the most misunderstood requirement for a radiant barrier to work. Watch this video, hopefully this will make it all clearer and easier to understand. 


I went to a presentation and they called the foil something else. Is this the same stuff?

It might be. To be totally honest, we sell to home owners and many professional installers. Some installers "re-label" or "brand" the foil. The best way to compare products is to get a FREE SAMPLE of our radiant barrier and compare it with the product in question.


How can I determine how much foil I will need for my home? Is there a trick to measuring?

First decide which method you will use to install the foil. After that, it's fairly simple to measure or estimate how much you will need.  Read our article on How To Measure Your Space For Radiant Barrier Foil.


Can I buy this stuff at Home Depot or Lowes? They sell bubble foil, is it better?

The product you see at major home improvement stores is often the lightweight product. We have had many customers buy from us after they bought from a large home improvement store and learned the hard way that the product they sold wasn't tear-proof.

The bubble foil is a good product and has many uses; however, bubble foil insulation is often overused in residential attics. It works, but it is the foil doing the work and not the bubbles in a ventilated attic. Add ot that the fact that bubble products cost a lot more and bubble foil products do not allow water vapor through, often creating an unintended vapor barrier.

Read about the difference between Bubble Foil, eShield, Prodex and other products compared to Attic Foil®. 


Some companies sell laser-perforated foil. Is there a difference?

We don't know of any company that makes laser perforated foil, but somehow it's in the market? It sounds really high-tech and advanced, but here is the deal: we are talking about a bunch of little holes. Do you really care how the holes (perforations) are made, or just that they are there? 


Will radiant barrier foil work with a whole house fan?

Yes, a whole house fan is basically just pushing air into the attic. Your attic should have enough vents (holes) in it to allow the air to be pushed out of the attic. AtticFoil® is not intended to be installed airtight; if you install the foil so that the air being pushed into the attic still has a path to the exhaust vents, then air can still get out and the fan will work fine.


I have heard conflicting views on which method is better: the staple up method or laying it on your insulation.  What is the best way to install a radiant barrier?

Every home is different, so while there are general recommendations for certain climates, sometimes one method is best for a particular home depending on what they have inside the attic space.

To determine which installation method would be best for your home, read the article on our website: What is The Best Radiant Barrier Install Method?


My attic has tricky parts. Is it OK to staple radiant barrier up in some areas and lay it on the floor in others?

Yes, this hybrid method of installing radiant barrier foil will work fine. Remember, your main concern is to reflect the heat coming off the roof; it does not really matter where the reflector is placed or if is mixed in placement. Just cover as much as you can for the best results. 


Will a radiant barrier still help if I can't get it under my whole roof?

Yes. Think of radiant barrier as shade for your home, the more the better. If you park your car under a big tree and just part of it covers your car, you car isn't as hot inside, right? AtticFoil® works the same way - radiant barrier has a cumulative effect (partial coverage works) and most people end up getting between 70-90% of their attic covered. Just install as much as you can as fast as you can, and don't kill yourself on the last little bit unless that's just how you are. 


I'm getting a new roof installed.  Can I install radiant barrier between my shingles and my roof deck?

NO! NO! NO! It will not work. You must have an air gap to have a radiant barrier that works. Please read our article on Why Radiant Barrier Will Not Work Under Shingles.


Do you sell the foil tape? Should I tape the seams?

No, we do not sell the tape.

You should not tape the seams, unless you really want to. It does not help/hurt the effectiveness of the foil, it just makes the foil installation look prettier. Plus, since there is really nothing to press the tape on to, taping the seams is more difficult than you think.  


Is this the same stuff that was developed by NASA?

NASA did develop radiant barrier technology; however it has been a public domain technology since the 1970's. Radiant barrier technology is used in thousands of products today, like candy wrappers, potato chip bags, oil rig fire fighting suits, thermos bottles, emergency fire shelters, and construction and insulation materials. Yes, NASA technology is used in all radiant barriers, but this is not the actual stuff used by NASA.


Wouldn't the foil be more effective if I cut it and installed it in between the rafters, directly on the roof deck?

No, it would not be more effective this way.  If you cut the foil and put it between the rafters, you will still allow thermal bypass through the rafters. Heat will pass through the rafters and will re-radiant below the foil decreasing the overall effectiveness of the foil.

When you staple the foil below and across the rafters, it will eliminate the rafters from emitting heat as well as reflecting heat from the deck. Plus, it is a lot easier to install to the bottom of the rafters since you do not need to cut the foil or deal with thousands of nails sticking through. The bottom line is that installing it that way is more work to get less benefit: bad choice. 


What size staples do I use to staple the foil up?

1/4" or 5/16" is all you need. Estimate about 500 staples for every 1,000 square feet of foil installed. Check out Supplies Needed for Radiant Barrier Installation.


Will the foil affect my TV antenna mounted in the attic?

Maybe. The best way is to install the foil as normal. Afterward if there is a problem with reception, remove a small section of foil over the antenna. This will usually fix any problems with TV reception. 


Will the foil affect my cell phone reception?

Typically a modern-day cell phone won't be effected by radiant barrier foil. An easy way to test is to use your free sample and cover your cell phone with it. Then, using a different phone, call the cell phone. If it rings, then the phone should work fine after installing foil insulation in your attic. You can request your free sample here if you haven't already done so.


Can I install this product in walls too?

Yes, but only if there is an air gap in the assembly; typically the air gap would be between the outer layer and the foil layer. If you add the radiant barrier on any external walls that are getting direct sunlight, this will make a big impact on the temperature in the rooms sharing those walls.

If you install AtticFoil® in the walls, the application is the same as it is for the cathedral ceiling method. The best way to install it is to have the foil closest to the outside layer as possible, while still maintaining an air space on one side of the foil.


Do energy savings improvements really pay off?

This video explains how spending money on making your home more energy efficient results in a great return on investment.

 

 

Your website makes it look easy to install. Truthfully, how hard is it to install?

You can do it yourself. If you do regular do-it-yourself projects like painting or insulating, then you are probably capable of tacking this type of installation.

Truthfully, some attics are easy compared to others; depending on how crowded or tight your attic space is tends to be the biggest factor to make the job hard.  Thing thing to remember is that it's your attic. You can do a job that doesn't look that nice, but it will still work fine. 


Can drywall be applied on top of the foil?

Yes, but only if there is an air gap in the assembly; typically the air gap would be between the outer layer and the foil layer. If you are placing the drywall directly on top of the foil, then the other side of the foil must be open to an air gap, not insulation or some other material. See photos of radiant barrier installed in walls with drywall/sheetrock.


Can I use radiant barrier foil in place of traditional insulation?

Radiant barrier does not take the place of traditional insulation (fiberglass, cellulose, etc.). Traditional attic insulation has R-value; this works to slow conductive heat. Radiant barriers reflect radiant heat. You have both types of heat trying to enter your home on a hot, summer day. The sun heats up the roof and then the heat is transferred by radiant heat across the attic space until it hits the attic insulation. Then, the heat transfer method switches from radiant heat to conductive heat to move through the attic insulation and into your home.

This is why you need BOTH types of insulation. Traditional attic insulation and radiant barrier work together and each do their part. Radiant barrier is your first line of defense (against radiant heat) and traditional attic insulation (fiberglass, foam or cellulose) is the second line of defense against conductive heat gain. 


Is there an advantage to installing this material in a crawl space?

Using radiant barrier foil in the crawlspace is only beneficial if you are losing heat in the wintertime through the floor of the house into this crawlspace; if the heat is radiating across the air gap from the flooring to the ground outside, then AtticFoil® can help stop that heat loss. The foil should be stapled across the bottom of the joists; ideally you would have about a half inch to an inch of air between the insulation and the foil.

Other than heat retention, there really is no added benefit to using a radiant barrier in a space that does not have a regular source of radiant heat.  


Do I need to push the existing insulation down (compress it) before I lay the foil on top?

No, do not push the foil onto the insulation - just lay it over the top, like a blanket. If it peaks and falls in certain areas, that's fine & ideal. Learn more about How to Install Radiant Barrier Over Insulation.


Will this product reduce the ice dams on my roof during the winter?

A radiant barrier will usually reduce the possibility of ice damming. Ice damming is caused when the top of the roof warms above the freezing point and the lower part of the roof is below freezing. To prevent ice damming, you want a COLD roof. The roof gets warm due to warm air leakage into the attic from the house AND from the home emitting radiant heat.

A radiant barrier installed in the attic will help keep the radiant heat emitting from the home from hitting the roof. The result is a cooler roof deck, which will reduce ice damming. Many customers have seen a significant reduction in ice damming after installing AtticFoil® radiant barrier. We also also suggest checking to make sure you have good attic ventilation, since cold air entering the attic will also help keep the roof cold.


Is AtticFoil® fire rated? 

Yes, our products carry a Class A/Class 1 fire rating.  

Please note: Class A/Class 1 does not mean the radiant barrier is fireproof; virtually all products will burn under the right conditions. The classifications are used to measure how the products burn compared to other products.

More information on fire testing. 


Can I apply this to my garage door to help with the heat?

Yes, you can apply the radiant barrier to your garage door, but the only way you could put panels on top of the barrier is if there is an air gap between the foil and the garage door. Leave the expensive garage door kits at the store and DIY; check out our application page for information on Installing Radiant Barrier on a Garage Door.


What is the R-value of a radiant barrier?

Radiant barrier on its own has NO R-value; R-value is attributed to materials slowing conductive heat.  AtticFoil® works to block radiant heat (97%) coming in to the attic by stapling it to the rafters, but it has no R-value. More information about R-value and radiant barriers.


Do you ship internationally or overseas?

We ship to Canada via FedEx International Economy. More info on this page: FedEx Shipping to Canada.

Outside of Canada, we typically ship to freight forwarders in the USA who then arrange international shipping. If you are interested in an order or to find out if we ship to your area, please contact us by phone or by email


I'm installing radiant heat flooring, can I use AtticFoil® to help keep the heat in the floor?

As long as you are able to maintain the required air space on at least one side of the foil, this application will work fine. Half an inch to an inch of space is all you need, install the foil below the tubing layer (to direct the heat up) and then the radiant heat from the pex tubes can pretty much only go upward.

 For more information in installing AtticFoil® in radiant flooring, check out our page Installing Radiant Barrier with Radiant Heat Flooring.


If I lay the foil on the floor can I then blow more insulation on top of it?

No, this application will not work because the radiant barrier requires an air space for it to work properly. If you cover it with blown in insulation (or anything for that matter) then you have eliminated the necessary air gap that must be present for the foil to work as a radiant barrier.  See the video at the top of this page for more information on why an air gap is required for radiant barrier to work. 


How much should I expect to pay to have a radiant barrier installed?

Oftentimes installations can be very costly due to the time of year, the size and accessibility and the installation method of the barrier. Prices can range all over the map, it's just like any other home improvement or repair job - you are going to pay for the labor and it will be substantially more than the actual material. Try our Find An Installer Page to look for installers in your area.

If you can do it yourself, you'll save quite a bit; another option is to try asking a handyman, an off-season or slow-on-work roofer, or even a couple of college kids - all of those routes can prove to be much more economical than using an installation company. 


I already have the radiant barrier paint on my roof deck, can I also add this foil?

Overall, painted barriers are not effective because even in best-case testing conditions, they only achieve a reflectivity of 75%, whereas aluminum foil achieves a 97% reflectivity, assuming there is an air space on at least one side. So that being said, we don't really promote them.

You can definitely add a foil barrier on the bottom of the rafters with no problem at all. The space will be vented, so the hot air will find a way out of the attic. Find more information on Radiant Barrier Foil compared To Radiant Barrier Paint


I thought a radiant barrier needed air on both sides, is that true?

No, a double sided radiant barrier does not need an airspace on both sides of it, just one. You can have an airspace on both sides, but it doesn't change the effectiveness of the foil, just the options for airflow/ventilation. 


I'm adding decking to my attic floor to make a walking area.  Does that alter where I place the foil?

If you are putting flooring down, you will need to install the foil OVER the flooring. Simply lay the foil directly over the plywood and staple it down - the foil is strong and durable and can handle light to moderate traffic.

The only thing you can NOT do is to put the foil on the plywood and then cover it with stuff. This will not work. Radiant heat only exists in an air space (or vacuum) so if you eliminate the air gap above the foil you are essentially eliminating the effectiveness of your reflector/barrier.  Again, see the video at the top of the page.  


Is aluminum backed OSB board just as effective as this product?

Radiant barrier decking (like TechShield® and PolarPly®) works and can actually be quite economical if you are having a new roof deck added. The foil is applied to the plywood and then laid face down (toward the attic space) as it is installed. This application leaves the foil with an air gap (the attic space) so the foil works to block radiant heat from emitting (emissivity) into the attic space, and ultimately the home.

decking radiant barrier polarply techshield

The photo above shows the radiant barrier decking facing the open air of an attic.

However, the main down side to using a product like radiant barrier decking is that it doesn't take in to account thermal bypass on the rafters (meaning the heat is still moving through the rafter ends that are not covered with radiant barrier, and then radiating off the ends into the attic space).

Using AtticFoil® across the rafter bottoms does not allow for thermal bridging to occur, so you get complete protection from radiant heat gain through the roof.


How can I find someone to install this for me?

If you haven't already done so, please check out our Find an Installer page on our website and type in your zip code to find installers in your area.

If you do not find any results, it means we do not have anyone at this time that we can recommend in your area. Although we sell to companies all over the US, because some choose to re-brand or re-label the foil and sell it as something else, we must be diplomatic about who we list on the website. 

As an alternative, you could try hiring a handyman or an off-season roofer to do the job; we've also heard of customers looking on Craigslist or searching Google for "Radiant Barrier Installers" and a zip code.

Are you a contractor who wants to be listed on our website? Contact Us for details on how you can get listed in your area.


How thick is AtticFoil® Radiant Barrier Foil Insulation?

The total product is about 5 mil thick; AtticFoil® is made of two layers of pure aluminum that are adhered to an internal layer of heavyweight woven polyethylene; this is what makes it tear-proof. The material is about the same thickness of a typical business card/cardstock. See it for yourself by ordering your FREE SAMPLE here.

Complete product technical specifications here  


Do you offer military discounts? 

Thank you so much for your service to our country - we are grateful for the men & women like yourself who have helped our country stand for what it was founded on. However, because we are an online company, we are unable to offer any discounts that would require verification, as they are too hard to verify online. 


What if my question wasn't answered here?

We have a technical support line open Monday - Friday, from 9am to 5pm CST to answer any technical questions you might have. You can also email us using the contact form on our Contact Us page located at the top of the screen. 

 Radiant Barrier Applications

Buy Radiant Barrier Foil Online

Return Policy for All AtticFoil® Radiant Barrier Foil Type Products

100% Satisfaction Guaranteed. We will gladly accept any complete (i.e. un-cut) and re-sellable rolls of foil within 30 days of purchase. Refunds will be issued for the cost of the materials (not shipping) to the original credit card used for purchase, minus a 20% restocking fee. Stocking fee applies to all returns. The customer is responsible for return shipping charges and ensuring the product is returned un-damaged.

Please call 800-595-8772 to obtain return authorization number before returning any product.

Do you feel your AtticFoil is not working in the Spring and Fall? Read more about the Spring/Fall effect of radiant barrier by AtticFoil.

Return Policy for Attic Tents

Attic Tents may be returned if they are in "like new" condition. This means there can be no staples through the skirt and the Attic Tent must be returned with the original packaging. Refunds will be issued for the cost of the materials (not shipping) to the original credit card used for purchase, minus the restocking fee. We charge a 20% restocking fee on all returned Attic Tents. The customer is responsible for return shipping charges and ensuring the product is returned un-damaged.

Please call 800-595-8772 to obtain return authorization number before returning any product.

Mailing Address For Returns:

AtticFoil Radiant Barrier Supply LLC

2710 Regency Dr., Suite 200

Grand Prairie, TX 75050

To avoid returns and restocking fees, we recommend you measure the space you need and then order accordingly. If you have a partial roll that you are trying to get off your hands, we suggest you try Craigslist or some other type of classified ad to see if you can sell it that way.

Question: What is the R-Value (or R-Rating) of Radiant Barrier Foil Insulation?

This will probably surprise you but radiant barrier on its own has no R-Value!  

This is important to understand because radiant barrier does not take the place of traditional insulation (fiberglass, cellulose, etc.). Traditional attic insulation has R-value; this works to slow conductive heat. Radiant barriers reflect radiant heat; both conductive and radiant heat are trying to enter your home on a hot, summer day (or leave on a winter day when you are running the heat inside).

The sun heats up the roof and then the heat is transferred by radiant heat across the attic space until it hits the attic insulation. Then, the heat transfer method switches from radiant heat to conductive heat to move through the attic insulation and into your home. This is why you need BOTH Types of insulation. Traditional attic insulation and radiant barrier work together and each do their part. Radiant barrier is your first line of defense (against radiant heat) and traditional attic insulation (fiberglass or cellulose) is the second line of defense against conductive heat gain.

What is R-Value?

R-Value is a term to describe how quickly heat will pass through (or be absorbed) by a product. This testing to designate an R-value only applies to conductive heat flow, not radiant heat flow.  Conductive heat will only pass through a solid object (or several objects that are in contact with one another - like the layers of your roof on your home). Radiant heat is heat that passes through a gas or a vacuum, so this is the kind of heat the sun produces that radiates to earth until it is absorbed or reflected.

Every product has a different R-Value. For example, wood has an R-Value of 1 for each inch of wood; so three inches of wood has an R-Value of 3. Styrofoam or EPS (expanded Polystyrene) has an R-Value of 3.85 per inch; therefore, three inches of Styrofoam will have an R-value of over 11. This is a great real-life example of why we don't make coffee cups out of wood, Styrofoam keeps the heat in longer!  

How Do Radiant Barriers Affect R-Value?

Reflective radiant barriers reflect (or reject) 97% of the radiant heat from hitting an object. By doing this, a radiant barrier makes the r-value of a material more effective.

Here is an example: if you fill two plastic ice chests with ice cold drinks and place one in the sun and the other in the shade which one will stay cold longer? They both have the same R-Value because of the plastic. Well, by placing one ice chest in the shade you effectively put a radiant barrier over it (since radiant barrier acts like shade) and you remove the opportunity for the ice chest to absorb any radiant heat. So the answer is the chest in the shade stays cooler longer because radiant barrier works to make R-value more effective at blocking heat gain.

What about R-Value and Bubble/Fiberglass/Foam Insulation?

Bubble foil does offer some R-Value because of the bubbles (because remember, radiant barrier does not have an R-value on its own). However, we see claims of up to R-14 for some bubble products.

If you read the fine print, this rating is always achieved as part of an overall assembly, which usually includes a lot of dead air spaces.  In a lab you might be able to create a perfectly tight seal on bubble foil, but in the real world it is virtually impossible to get these results.

Besides, if there is air flow around an object, the R-Value does not really matter. For example, if you have a heavy jacket and you unzip it and let air get between you and the jacket then it does not matter how thick the jacket is because you have no dead air space. So unless you can completely air-seal the bubble foil you will not get the full effectiveness of the R-value and you will be investing a lot more for no supplementary benefit.

other products compared to AtticFoil radiant barrier

Using Bubble Insulation in Attics

If you are installing Bubble Foil in a vented attic (meaning the attic is not sealed air tight), then you don't need bubble foil; all you need is a foil radiant barrier. You will pay extra for the bubble foil, but you will not get any additional benefit.

Would a 2" inch thick umbrella keep you any cooler on a hot sunny day than a regular umbrella? The answer is no. The thickness of the umbrella is irrelevant because the air temperature is the same on either side of the umbrella.  This is the perfect example of why when we are building a home or structure, we do not put insulation/radiant barrier on the interior walls between rooms. We usually only insulate EXTERIOR walls since there is a big temperature difference between the inside and the outside of the structure.

R-Value only matters if there is a difference in temperatures on either side of the insulation.

Bubble foil is recommended for metal buildings to stop condensation and on the backside of knee walls to stop "hot walls."  Other than those very specific applications, using it in an attic (for example, stapling it to the bottom of your roof deck) is overkill and furthermore, you create the potential to trap moisture since bubble foil does not allow water vapor to pass through.

Even though radiant barrier can be attached to some products (like bubble insulation, insulated sheathing, TechShield, and Polar-Ply), the product is achieving the r-value from the non-foil materials.  Oftentimes the R-values are exaggerated and impossible to achieve in a vented, residential attic space. 

Bottom line: Radiant Barrier does not have any R-value; therefore, you need a radiant barrier in addition to your traditional insulation to have the most effective insulating assembly.  

Buy Radiant Barrier Foil Insulation Online

At AtticFoil.com we are always trying to provide the absolute BEST information about radiant barrier insulation. Whether you are a Do-It-Yourself homeowner or a professional installer, we promise to provide truthful information without overselling the benefits of installing a radiant barrier. We want to help make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. 

Want More Videos? Please contact us if there is a topic you would like covered and we will do our best to either show you where you can find the content on our website, or in some cases if content is not available on a popular topic, we will try to create a new video to address it.

Question: Can I Install Radiant Barrier Under the Shingles When I Have a New Roof Installed?

This is an extremely common question. People often think, "If they are taking off my shingles, why don't we just lay radiant barrier foil out and then put the new shingles back on top? This would be a whole lot easier than stapling the foil inside the attic."

STOP.

It won't work; in fact, it will actually work against you!  Do not do this, and please run away from any roofer who tells you otherwise!  

 

It gets a little tricky, but we will attempt to explain it in simple terms. Radiant heat by definition is heat transfer from one object (the hot object) to another object (the cooler object) by NON-CONTACT. We really wish you could put foil between shingles and roofing felt or roof deck because we would sell a ton more foil. However, physics is physics – and it just won't work.

Air Spaces and Gaps

If you take radiant barrier foil and sandwich it between the shingles and roof felt, you have now created one solid assembly. Aluminum is a unique element, it is both reflective and very conductive. This is one example why we cook with aluminum cookware;  it conducts heat very well, which is good for cooking, but not so good for living spaces.

Here is an illustration most people can relate to: Have you ever picked up a hot potato that was wrapped with foil? It feels super hot, right? Why is that? Well, when your skin touches the foil it creates direct path (there is no longer an air gap, just the foil touching your skin) so the heat flows directly into your hand, making your hand very hot.  The idea is that heat doesn't care what objects it's traveling through to carry heat flow, as long as objects are touching and there is no air space, the heat might as well be traveling through one, large object.  When an air gap is present, the heat is then forced to convert to its radiant form so it can jump the gap and continue traveling via conduction.  

This is a clear sign the roofer does not understand the concept of radiant heat.  Does the roofer have a good lawyer? We know of several cases where the roofer installed a radiant barrier in this manner, essentially not installing a radiant barrier since radiant heat is not present if there is no air gap.

We often see products (sometimes even AtticFoil®) incorrectly installed in this way to try to create a radiant barrier. The roofers had no defense since the laws of physics, combined with the definition of radiant heat/radiant barriers apply to roofs too. In most of these cases the roofer/roofing company ended up settling the case since the lawyers said they had no defense since a radiant barrier isn't a radiant barrier without radiant heat, and you can't have radiant heat unless there is an airspace for radiant energy to travel across.

Yes, now we are talking! Here is complete information on Installing Radiant Barrier Under A Tile or Metal Roof.  If you are going to install a roof like this, what a great time to go for it; you will have the necessary air gap to make it work and the results are awesome. You can install the radiant barrier foil below the raised shingles either on top or below the battens. The easiest and best way is to run the foil out over the roofing felt, tack it down and then install the battens followed by shingles or metal roofing.

This is an example of a tile roof over a batten system. The battens create the necessary air space to make the system work. This is the same for concrete or slate shingles. The heat radiates toward the roof deck and 97% of the radiant energy is bounced back. This is a GREAT SYSTEM. This is also the best system to use on non-vented and sealed foam closed attics. This was a re-roofing job using stone-coated metal shingles. After tearing off the old shingles, the roofing contractor installed roofing felt covered by perforated radiant barrier foil. Then wood battens were installed over the foil so they could attach the metal shingles.
Installing the radiant barrier foil under a metal roof is quick and easy. Installers just roll it out and cut it with a knife. Use a few staples to hold in place, then install battens. Be careful to work so the sun won't reflect in your face, it can be blinding and even possibly give you a sunburn; sunglasses are highly recommended for these installations. This roof is complete and ready to attach the shingles. Our radiant barrier is so durable, you can take it up on the roof and be rough with it.  Don't worry about tearing it, it won't tear and the foil can be exposed to sun or rain for a limited time without problems.
This is a close up of the space (air gap) provided by using the metal shingle. The red shaded are is the void below the shingle where the heat will travel in radiant form to the foil, then it will be reflected back out the roof.  Most tile and metal roofs provide the required air gap for this to work. Adding a radiant barrier to your re-roof project is a smart idea because it involves minimal labor and cost and it is a great way to get full coverage without maneuvering around tight attic spaces. The increased energy savings can usually pay for itself within the first year.
Here the battens create the necessary air space to make the system work. This is the same for concrete or slate shingles. Installing the foil first allows the foil to reflect the radiant heat back toward the shingles and away from the attic.  It also makes walking on the roof easier. A finished standing metal seam roof with radiant barrier installed below the roof. Considering the expense of metal roofs, it's a small additional cost to install radiant barrier during the roofing installation for the large benefits it will bring.

Question: What's the deal on the "new" fire test requirements ASTM E84 and ASTM E2599? Is one product better than the other?

Over the past couple of years we have heard a lot about “new” fire codes and this talk has caused a lot of confusion among people researching radiant barrier.  As an educated customer it is important that you get all the facts straight. First, there is nothing "new" to report; yes, some (very few) places have updated their building codes, but the majority of building is operating off of the same codes they have been for years. Secondly, ASTM E84 is a test that measures burn characteristics of the tested material; E2599 is simply the standard of how the product being tested should be mounted when it is tested.  Sadly, some companies have downright resorted to scare tactics to imply that there is a new world-wide mandate on radiant barriers and that pure aluminum foil radiant barrier products are somehow inferior to metalized film products.

Let me clarify this for you: at AtticFoil.com we only sell a PURE ALUMINUM radiant barrier.  logo ASTM

AtticFoil® is the best radiant barrier product available. Period. You don't just have to take our word for it either, we recommend you read some of the over 1,000 customer reviews on our radiant barrier reviews page. The difference between our product and a metalized film material is that their product is made with a metalized film (mylar-type) outer layer.  This metalized film is the exact same product used to make silver potato chip bag liners.

As of now, most buildings codes have chosen not to adopt the new ASTM tests regarding burn characteristics of a radiant barrier.

Burn Test Procedure

Another thing to consider with all this hype and misinformation is the actual burn test. Having a Class A/Class 1 fire rating does not mean the product will not burn; all radiant barrier type products will burn, the metalized product is not fireproof.  If you still need convincing, go to the ASTM website and you can read summary pages of each standard, so don't just take our word for it - go straight to the source!

The classifications assigned based on the testing are just a measure of the burning characteristics of each product tested, not the fireproof-ness of the products. Aluminum covered radiant barrier products (like Original AtticFoil®) are pretty difficult to start burning, but once they flash (catch fire) the polyethylene scrim inside will continue to burn at a relatively slow rate.

Ironically, the metalized film Mylar radiant barrier product starts burning very easily and burns very quickly. Truthfully, that is the reason that the film  can "pass" the mounting test. The metalized film products burn up faster and therefore produce less total smoke than other products when compared in an E84 burn tunnel test.

Test Them Out Yourself

test the samples for yourself

We encourage you to get samples of both products and put them to the test!

Do you want a product that is harder to start burning, or do you want a product that will burn up quickly? There are many different conflicting opinions on which burn theory is best. One product (Original AtticFoil®) will resist burning all together and in some cases act like a fire-retardant, while the other product (mylar film) can burn up quickly, but because of that it may not cause other items nearby to catch fire.

Compare how they burn when a flame is exposed to both the surface and to the edges. You will see that the pure aluminum radiant barrier is much more difficult to get burning. In fact, there are many cases where a fire inside an attic was actually slowed down or smothered due to the fireproof quality of the layer of pure aluminum.  Metalized Film Radiant Barrier products offers less protection against a flame and easily will catch fire if exposed to any flame.

Which Product Is Best For You?

This is where your research comes in, we cannot make the right decision for you - every situation and set of circumstances is different; therefore, what might be right for you might not be right for your neighbor.  Please don't misunderstand us - both products are strong, offer virtually the same reflectivity and achieve Class A/Class 1 fire ratings, but that is about where the similarities stop. Ask for samples, test the samples out, and then make the best choice for your application based on your research and testing.

Buy Original AtticFoil Aluminum Radiant Barrier Foil

Subcategories

  • FAQ Videos

    Welcome to our video FAQ series where AtticFoil® owner, Ed Fritz, answers Frequently Asked Questions about radiant barrier foil. Many people are learning about the year round benefits of adding a green energy barrier like AtticFoil® to a home or building and with that comes a lot of questions. Ed, the Radiant Barrier Guru, addresses some of the most frequently asked questions we receive here at AtticFoil.com.

    If you have a question you'd like answered that you don't see here, take a look at our FAQ page or submit your own question.

    Click on an image below to view the question and the video response.

     

     Attic-Air-Temps-Video-Screenshot

            

    Question: I have two thermometers in my attic but one is always reading about fifteen degrees hotter than the other. When I bring the thermometers inside, both read the same temperature. What is going on?

     

    Can-I-Install-By-Myeslf-Video-Screenshot

           

    Question: I'm interested in installing a radiant barrier - can I really install it myself? Just how difficult is it?

              

       

    Leaving-Gaps-Video-Screenshot

        

    Question: I'm installing AtticFoil radiant barrier using the staple-up method. How much of a gap should I leave at the tops and the bottoms of the foil to allow for proper ventilation?

          

     

    Air--Surface-Temperatures-Video-Screenshot

     

    Question: How much cooler should my attic be after installing a radiant barrier?

     

     

    Partial-Coverage-Video-Screenshot

              

    Question: Will AtticFoil radiant barrier still be effective if I can only cover part of my attic space?

     

      

AtticFoil Radiant Barrier Supply, LLC, Insulation Contractors Equipment & Supplies, Argyle, TX

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