Radiant Barriers & Foil Insulation, Why the Confusion?
This entry was posted on July 22, 2010.
There is a ton of information on the internet regarding radiant barriers and foil insulation. Due to this, there are some common misunderstandings regarding the specific products and where they are used. This post will describe in more detail the various types available in order for you to obtain the best results.
First, is the most commonly advertised "Radiant Barrier" product. The misunderstanding that arises is that all reflective foil insulation products are radiant barriers. And, this is also the name for a specific product. "RB"s are rolls of insulation, two to four feet wide and anywhere from 75' to 1000' long. The material is very thin and strong with a facing of highly reflective aluminum on one or both sides. For strength the foil is either laminated to another material or woven with a mesh making it ideal for the rigors of commercial and residential use. RB's are used primarily in attic and house wrap applications. Installed correctly and in accordance with local climates (there are two attic installation methods), RB's are extremely successful in blocking the transfer of radiant heat, which is a significant source of accumulated heat transfer in hot summer months and a loss of heat in cold, winter months.
The second material is foil or reflective insulation. Ironic enough, RB's are a type of reflective insulation. But, from a specific product view they are called different names. It certainly doesn't make sense but that's how they are coined within the industry and across the internet. Bubble foil is a common reflective foil insulation product used in every insulation application except attics. Reflective bubble foil insulation is available in rolls as small as 12" wide and as wide as 72". The roll can be as short as 25' in length to 125'. Smaller rolls of foil are used in duct wrap installations, behind walls and ceilings in stud bays, under in crawlspaces. The larger rolls, generally measuring 48" to 60" x 125' are used as insulation under concrete slabs, all areas for metal and steel buildings, behind walls and under roofs (an airspace is required for these), and in pole barns, and large duct wrap installations. The material varies from single or double bubble and is also available in foil/foil for foil/white. There is also foil faced fiberglass and foil faced foam insulation available as well.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the different types offered and their attributes you can determine where to use them in your insulation projects. Blocking radiant heat either by itself our used in conjunction with other insulation types (foam, fiberglass, or cellulose) is important in maximizing your buildings insulation efficiency. Take a look at all of our radiant heat reflecting insulation at InsulationStop.com.