how does AtticFoil® compare to eshield®, reflectix®, prodex®, bubble foil, etc?
Are foil-foam, foil bubble wraps, fiberglass + foil products better?
At AtticFoil.com, we want to help customers get the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to energy efficiency improvements. This means spending money wisely to get a good return on your investment. This also means telling nothing but the truth when it comes to serving our customers.
The most common question we hear is: How does AtticFoil® radiant barrier compare to other products like eShield, SolarGuard, Prodex, Ultra Power Shield, Green Energy Barrier, Enerflex Radiant Barrier, Reflectix Bubble Foil Insulation, etc.?
There has been big-dollar advertising by different companies to try to convince you their product is better. Please take just 5 minutes or less to watch the videos below and read the following information, and decide what is the best way to invest your money.
Spoiler: all of these products are basically the same!
Most of these products are basically the same in structure and function. They have the following things in common. A piece of aluminum foil has been attached to some form of insulation about a 1/4″ thick. The insulation is typically fiberglass, foam or plastic bubble wrap material. Some products are considered vapor barriers while others are not. The claim is that when you combine a little bit of R-Value with foil (a radiant barrier) the product and the results must be better.
First, all these products are not bad products; they are all good products that are often being used for the wrong purpose. These products work very well in metal buildings and some commercial applications but have now found their way into residential attics. In a residential attic application, these products do help. Why? Virtually all of the heat entering from a roof into an attic is radiant heat. Please do some research. It is common knowledge that over 90% of heat from a roof is transferred by radiant heat into the attic. So, here is the secret: it’s the foil (radiant barrier) doing all the work to reflect the heat. The fiberglass, foam or bubbles are just along for the ride and offer virtually no additional benefit in reducing heat flow from the roof (these products only slow conductive heat flow)! Conductive heat flow is less than 10% of the total heat transfer from the roof. Why spend extra money for a product that gives you virtually no additional benefit? This is why AtticFoil® is the ONLY Product you need to reflect radiant heat inside an attic. Combining AtticFoil® with good traditional attic insulation on your ceiling will result in the best possible combination to reflect radiant heat and slow conductive heat into your home.
We believe in giving good information and getting the best “Bang For The Buck” solutions to help consumers make their homes more comfortable and energy efficient.
The truth and the fine print.
Here is the bottom line: You DON’T NEED R-VALUE (insulation) UP ON THE BOTTOM OF YOUR RAFTERS IN A VENTILATED RESIDENTIAL ATTIC. This is like holding a jacket over your head to stop the heat. Yes it works, but an umbrella would do the same thing. You need R-Value on your attic floor and you need a radiant barrier either stapled to the bottom of your rafters or laid out over the attic insulation.
Let’s take a look at the actual R-Value of eShield, SolarGuard, Prodex, and Bubble Foil Products; most are about a ¼” thick or less. Standard foam board by Dow Chemical or Owens Corning has a known R-value of between 5 and 6 per inch. An R-13 batt of fiberglass insulation is 3.5″ thick. So, common sense tells you that the true R-value of eShield and similar products about ¼” thick can be no more than an R-VALUE of 1.
When you read about claims that these products have R-10 to R-20 values, be sure to look at the fine print. These R-values are only achieved in tightly sealed assemblies like a wall and often require over 8 inches of dead air space.
Since there is typically no dead air spaces in a ventilated attic, these products simply cannot achieve a higher R-value than the actual R-value of the ¼” layer of insulation product attached to the foil. There is no product for attics that has an R-value of 10 and is only ¼” thick; common sense should prevail to confirm this for you. Remember the old saying: “If it sounds to good to be true…”
Products like eShield are stapled to the bottom of the rafters. This method works fine to stop the radiant heat, but why waste your money for a small amount of R-value (typically R-1) when what you really need is the R-value on the attic floor and not your roofline. Plus, you can buy R-19 of blown-in insulation material for about .25/per square ft. and install it yourself, or have it professionally installed.
In light of all of the info above…
AtticFoil® Radiant Barrier Foil alone will accomplish the same benefit as any and all of these products to stop radiant heat for a whole lot less money. Then, use the money you save on these other products and put in additional attic insulation, if needed. You can easily install R-19 or about 6″ or more of additional attic insulation and the total cost will be the same or less, and you will end up with a better overall reduction in heat gain/loss. Home Depot and Lowes offer a free insulation blowing machine with purchase of their insulation. It’s not too difficult to install radiant barrier AtticFoil® to the bottom of your rafters and then add additional attic insulation OR add additional attic insulation and then lay AtticFoil® directly over the attic insulation.
Remember, traditional attic insulation has R-value that works to slow conductive heat; radiant barriers reflect radiant heat. Both types of heat are 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 and traditional attic insulation (fiberglass or cellulose) is the second line of defense against heat gain. Keep things simple, spend your money wisely and be hesitant when you hear outrageous claims for energy saving products. Follow this advice and you are on your way to making your home more comfortable and energy efficient.