Radiant barriers are the most affordable way to keep your home cool during those hot summer days. These barriers are made of thin sheets of aluminum or other reflective material and are laid over the attic insulation to keep off heat.
There are two main methods of installing radiant barriers; on top of attic floor insulation or on the underside of the roof. The method you choose to use depends on your needs and whether you use your attic for other purposes.
On top of the floor insulation: If you want to install the barriers yourself, the easiest method to use is on top of the floor insulation. However, this method exposes the barriers to dust and decreases its efficiency by up to 50% according to the Department of Energy. Installing barriers on top of the floor also means that you can’t see where the joists are so walking around the attic will be dangerous. In addition, there is a likelihood that water vapor will accumulate on the underside of the barriers and dampen the insulation. This can lead to mold and mildew not to mention reducing the efficiency of the insulation. Laying radiant barriers on the attic floor may be easier but it is not the best method. If you use your attic to store stuff or the HVAC unit and duct work are located there, you may want a cool attic and that can’t be achieved with this method.
To the underside of the roof: The best method to use if you want proper ventilation and coolness in the attic is attaching the radiant foil to the underside of the roof. This method ensures that heat is reflected back before reaching the attic so everything you keep in there will be cool and safe. The downside of this method is that it reduces the lifespan of your roof because the shingles get very hot as the heat is reflected out. Installing barriers under the roof is also a bit complicated so you need more time to do it and probably the services of professionals to do a good job. Additionally, this method requires more foil as the roof area is bigger.
How to get perfect results
Whether you choose to install the barriers on top of the floor or underneath the roof, there are things one must do to ensure efficiency. For one, the reflective side must face upwards so as to reflect heat from your attic. Secondly, it is wise to do the installation when it’s cold. You can do it early in the morning or during a cooler season because the attic gets very hot. Finally, have a helper because installing insulation is not easy. You need someone to help you hold stuff in place and to call on if anything goes wrong.
• In everything you do in the house, you must observe some safety precautions to ensure everything goes as planned. Radiant barriers are great conductors of heat and electricity. It is therefore imperative that you keep them away from electrical wire and avoid covering vents or lighting.
• During the installation, you must wear protective clothing to protect your head and feet from nails and other dangerous elements in the attic. Be sure to walk very carefully especially if your attic is unfinished to avoid falling.
A well installed radiant barrier can reduce the amount of heat that gets into your living space tremendously and also keep warm air in when it’s cold outside. If you need help, Attic Projects professionals are ready to take on this technical installation.
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