Can you use Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Kitchen Foil as Attic Insulation?

The jury is still out but we are getting a little closer to an answer!

Well, we heard some folks were doing this, installing Reynolds wrap aluminum kitchen foil in their attic to block radiant heat and we wanted to learn more. So almost 4 years ago, June 2010 we put out a blog post offering a free roll of insulation for anyone who would share details of insulating an attic with Reynolds wrap kitchen foil. Out of nowhere EJ contacted us a week ago and wanted to redeem the free product offer.

Below (in italics) is the description of why he chose to insulate his attic with kitchen foil instead of a radiant barrier. After reading the email, it is clear that EJ understands exactly how reflective insulation works. Although we would stick with our insulation, we now understand why someone would think to pursue the kitchen foil route.

Thank you EJ for submitting this. Please visit and comment on how the kitchen foil is working as well as the radiant barrier we are sending.

"Here are a few pictures I took with my phone. The foil's shine confuses my camera's flash. I'm a retired engineer, I have a HVAC master license and have alot experience with energy audits. This part of my house was built in 1954. About 10 years ago we did a spray in radiant barrier Low/mit-2 and insulated to R-38. This helped considerably with overall electrical usage and temperature variances in the house.

5 years ago we added on an additional 1800 square feet. The newer tighter construction reveals some deficiencies in the old house. What bugs me most is how quickly the bedrooms heat up. I was doing more research on radiant barrier exterior paint additives and started reading about the advantages of foil (and its air gap) vs. paint on barrier. I believe low/mit-2 tests at 77% reflectance vs. foil at 98%. While this is a significant difference, in my situation of already having a paint on barrier I felt the payback in upgrading to a true foil barrier like yours might be too far down the road. However I saw little harm in buying several rolls of kitchen foil and spending an afternoon crawling through my attic. It hasn't been hot long enough this year for comparison.

From experience and theory I'm sure there will be some gains from the channeling and convection effect of the foil and my ridge vent. I would wager there might even be a slightly better advantage with your product because of your bubble wrap you do have a slight R-value keeping the roof side air warmer that should cause a better drafting effect. I did my foil job in March, and just found your site via google in May while looking around to see if anyone else has tried the kitchen foil idea." 

Thanks! EJ (name changed pursuant to privacy policy)

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