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Radiant Guard – Reflective Insulation

RadiantGUARD® radiant barrier and reflective insulation have earned the ENERGY STAR label and help you save energy and lower utility bills. Our world-wide recognized radiant insulation products are the highest quality products found on the market with millions of square feet installed across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Korea, and Dubai among other locations.  RadiantGUARD reflective insulation has proven to be an effective technology that reflects radiant heat back to its source no matter how cold the product may be on the opposite side. When using a radiant barrier or reflective insulation, if a heat source is present, 95-97% of the radiant heat will reflect back to its source when installed properly. 

How much money will I save?  See the answers to other Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this page.

Learn more about General Heat Transfer Questions and Radiant Barrier History from the RadiantGUARD website.

Visit Radiant Barrier 101 to increase your understanding on how radiant barriers differ from conventional insulation, how radiant barriers work and how a radiant barrier can benefit you.

How Much Money Will I Save If RadiantGuard is installed?

The most commonly asked question about radiant barriers is “How much money can I save on my utility bill if I install a radiant barrier?”

Although RadiantGUARD® radiant barriers BLOCK 95% of radiant heat, your utility bills savings will vary because there are other forms of heat flow in a building that contribute to the total cooling (or heating) load.  Data varies by region.

Direct quotes from a radiant barrier study performed by the Tennessee Valley Authority help to point out the heat transfer reductions you can expect although heating and cooling economic savings will vary based on other types of heat flow and local climatic variations:

  • “All the radiant barrier configurations tested yielded sizable percent heat transfer reductions (ranging from 16 to 40 percent) and statistically significant reductions in summer attic heat transfer compared to the non-radiant barrier case.  Also, as the ambient temperature increased, the reductions also increased.”

  • “The radiant barrier configurations provides statistically significant winter attic heat transfer reductions in many, but not all, situations. The percent reductions during night hours and during below 35 degree F conditions, when heating loads are highest, are usually sizable (from 6 to 23 percent) and the differences between the radiant barrier configurations and the non-radiant barrier case are often statistically significant during these conditions.”
Note:  Note: The above study was conducted in Chattanooga, Tennessee and references radiant barrier performance tests when used in conjunction with R-11 and R-19 insulation however, R-30 is the least amount of insulation permissible under 2006 IECC.  R-11 and R-19 are not reasonable baselines in 2009.

Top 10 Most Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between radiant barrier, reflective insulation, and “radiant barrier paints?”

A radiant barrier and reflective insulation product are very similar in that they both reflect an average of 95-96% of the radiant heat that strikes their surfaces across and air space.  A radiant barrier is a fairly thin product that is about the thickness of a standard business card.  A quality radiant barrier has a reinforcement layer in the middle (typically referred to as a woven scrim) to make the product strong and tear resistant.

reflective insulation product is a thicker product with an “insulating” middle layer such as fiberglass, foam, or air bubbles. Because of the presence of the small insulating layer, a reflective insulation product by itself achieves a small R-Value typically around 1.0.  While this R-Value is for the product only, when installed in certain applications with a dead air space (sealed cavity with no air movement) a much higher R-Value can be achieved. It’s the dead air space that provides the additional R-Value and the greater the dead air space, the greater the overall R-Value.  To view our measured R-Values for various applications, please see the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Radiant barrier paints” are really not true radiant barriers as they fall short of the required reflectivity of a radiant barrier which is 90% or more.  They are actually termed as Interior Radiation Control Coatings (IRCC).  There are many manufacturers of such products with a wide range of reflectivity from as low as 15% to 80.5%.

As a general rule of thumb for selecting the correct product:

  • If you are looking to reflect or block radiant heat, use a radiant barrier.

  • If you also need to achieve an R-Value (typically in order to meet specific building code regulations), OR need to control condensation such as in a metal or steel building, use a reflective insulation product.

For more information on each of these products, see the information below found on our website:

  1. I found many companies selling similar products so why should I have RadiantGUARD installed?

RadiantGUARD is an established company that carries an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, is a manufacturing member of the reflective insulation industry association, and is a Department of Energy/EPA ENERGY STAR® Partner.  All our products are manufactured in the USA.

Additionally, their high quality products are widely accepted in many different sectors such as residential and commercial building construction, healthcare, steel buildings, and government among many others.

  1. For an install in an existing home in the attic, should I staple the radiant barrier up or lay it over the attic floor?

In an existing home, there are two installation methods to “retrofit” a reflective product in an attic; stapled up to the underside of the roof decking/rafters and laid over the attic floor. Both of these methods have been proven effective however, there are advantages and disadvantages with each.

The layover method is the easiest install as it takes much less time and does not require stapling or require the use of a ladder.  When installing in this manner, a breathable (perforated) radiant barrier is basically rolled out over the attic floor with each section overlapped by one to two inches.  There is no reason to tape the seams or staple the product down unless you are covering decking and plan to walk on it in the future.  This method will block the heat from penetrating into the living space below during the warmer months as well as hold the heat this is trying to escape the living space in the cooler months.

There are some concerns with the layover method which are based upon the opinion of the Department of Energy/ENERGY STAR program.  The first concern involves the potential of dust accumulation on the top of the radiant barrier’s surface over time and how this would affect the performance of the radiant barrier.  The second concern involves the potential for condensation to collect underneath the radiant barrier although a breathable (perforated) radiant barrier is utilized.  The potential condensation concern is a very rare occurrence and more probably in the northern climate zones.  Because of these concerns, our preferred method of installation is to staple the product up under the roof rafters.

The staple-up method may take more time but the concerns of dust accumulation and condensation are completely avoided with this installation method. The staple-up method is much more effective for the warmer climate zones as most homes have A/C duct work in the attic.  By installing the radiant barrier underneath the rafters, this dramatically lowers the temperature of the entire attic space keep the A/C ducts cooler.

  1. Will a radiant barrier “cook my shingles” if installed under the rafters?

This is a very common myth (intentional scare tactic) used by competing product suppliers.  The answer to this question is NO, a radiant barrier will NOT “cook” your shingles. A radiant barrier may cause an increase in shingle temperature by 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot summer day.  Given that shingle temperatures on a hot date are in the range of 160 to 190 degrees, this small increase is negligible and does not accelerate shingle degradation.  Although roofing manufacturers were concerned about shingle failure in the years when radiant barriers were first used, it is no longer a concern.

Read this roof shingle temperature study for more details.

The Florida Solar Energy Center also conducted a study on the use of radiant barriers under shingled roofs and found that properly installed, radiant barriers do not void the warranty of shingles.

  1. I was told that radiant barriers are for new construction only and cannot be retrofitted in an attic.

This is not true; actually a majority of our radiant barrier jobs is installing into existing homes.

  1. Can I install a radiant barrier between my decking and asphalt shingles?

NO, this will not work. Any reflective product needs at minimum a ¾” airspace in order to work. Without this airspace, the product acts as a conducting material and transfers all the heat from the roofing material into the attic. We receive calls all the time on this issue and in many cases a potential customer had been told by a roofing contractor that this installation method would work, unfortunately either the contractor is miss-leading the consumer or he just does not understand how reflective products work. Please see this page for more information about how radiant barriers work.

  1. Are Radiant Guard products made in the USA?

YES! All Radiant Guard products are manufactured in the United States. We receive many calls on this subject where people have been told by some competitors that there are no companies selling radiant barriers that actually manufacture in the US and that they are all made off shore and boxed in the US. This may be the case for some suppliers, but not Radiant Guard. It is true that some of our raw materials are bought outside the US, but ALL manufacturing is here in the USA. Typically the companies making these claims are buying from Asia and want to convince consumers their products are the same as ours.

  1. I have heard that bubble products loose air over time and lose their effectiveness.  Is this true?

This is a fairly new myth that was recently created from a competing product manufacture and it is completely false. This is their way to redirect the customer to their foam based product which is significantly more expensive than the equally performing reflective bubble insulation products in the market today.

Our Reflex-Air™ bubble insulation products are industrialized products, not basic packaging bubble wrap, that are manufactured to last and maintain the enclosed air space. The independently enclosed bubble layers are sealed with multiple layers of polyester creating closed air bubbles which prevent the loss of air. We are so confident in our products that we offer a 10 year warranty. All our reflective bubble insulation products are available in 16″, 24″, 48″, 72″, and 96″ widths and of varying lengths. We offer straight edge, staple tab and tape tab versions.

  1. What is the issue with the Fire Ratings?

This is a very popular question so Radiant Barrier has devoted an entire page to the E84-10 & E2599 fire rating subject.