The History of Radiant Barriers for Wall Cavities
This entry was posted on January 30, 2012.
When it comes to insulation, there are products and the applications they are installed in. The specific applications determines the product used and vice versa. Staple tab is a unique product design that allows bubble foil insulation to be installed correctly and efficiently in a wall cavity. Here's some great information on the history of radiant barrier use inside walls, ceilings, and crawlspaces.
The modern day staple tab insulation is standard double bubble foil insulation manufactured with a tab or extra material in order for the insulation to fit between studs or joists. This allows you to use radiant barriers in your walls and ceilings. You use the tabs to staple the insulation inside the cavity at whatever depth you require. This guarantees at least one airspace is created, giving you an ideal radiant barrier installation.
This concept is certainly not new. Years ago, testing labs and government agencies such as the National Institute of Standards & Technology discovered how effectively radiant barriers worked using dead airspaces in building construction. This technology was even more effective if there were multiple reflective layers. This led to the development of accordion aluminum foil insulation. Over 300,000,000 square feet of accordion foil insulation was manufactured and installed in the 1940's and 50's here in the United States. Two notable examples from this time are the Frank Sinatra residence in Palm Springs California (Harry Williams & Sons, architect). Another is the student housing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT.
Today, the same technology is used in the same applications only the product has changed. Now reflective cellular insulation is the low cost, affordable way to install radiant barrier insulation in a wall or ceiling cavity. This is why staple tab is used with great results in walls and ceilings. The product comes in 16", 18" 24", and 48" widths allowing you to insulate any cavity. Staple tab insulation is the leading product used for radiant heat applications and crawlspaces as well.
Take a look at some of the accordion insulation images of yesterday compared to the staple tab insulation today. You will see the applications have not changed at all, only the product has.