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How Radiant Barriers are Installed
Installation of Radiant Barrier for completed homes:
When looking at installing radiant barrier insulation in your attic, you will have three basic options. You can staple a traditional Radiant Barrier Foil to the rafters, lay it over the floor in your attic, or spray a paint product to the underside of the roof decking. I am still amazed that most people in the energy efficient business do not know about the new installation methods being used and are misinforming people that paint can be installed into areas that aluminum cannot. Energy Attic has a unique engineered installation method to get where paint wands cannot get to or will not even try to get to. We have been called many times after the paint companies refused to install paint because it was to difficult for them to install their products. I have customers that would be glad to back up this claim.
Your Energy Attic Radiant Barrier insulation system is Engineered specifically for your home. We will then install the radiant barrier by stapling it to the rafters and taping all the seams with aluminum tape. It is the most effective method because it prevents the heat from entering the attic and heating up or cooling down the duct work so that your air stays closer to the same temperature as it was when it left the unit. It also makes the units work less hard which will increase the life of your air conditioning system. The space between the roof decking and the radiant barrier forms an air space which will make the radiant barrier more effective and creates air flow from the eave vents to the roof vents which will also keep the attic cooler. We will also install baffles on the attic side of the aluminum from the eaves to promote airflow within the attic envelope. The great air flow cool will keep all moisture and condensation issues out of the attic.
Baffles are a 2" x 10" x 3' air tunnel that we install at the inside of the attic under the foil to direct air flow from your soffit vents to the inside of your attic. This creates air flow on both sides of the aluminum flushing convected heat from the aluminum up and out your roof vents.
To fully enhance the A/C efficiency, Energy Attic Radiant Barrier will seal plenum joints and ductwork connections to the unit with mastic duct sealant eliminating air leaks, eliminating attic air pulled into unit and increasing the units air pressure.
Many radiant barrier companies will roll the foil radiant barrier over the attic insulation which is NOT recommended in Texas. Laying over the insulation will compact blown insulation reducing the R-Value, reduces air flow to just one side of the foil, could cause moisture buildup resulting in mold issues and over heats A/C units and ductwork. Only in very specific applications should the aluminum be applied to the floor of the attic. Be sure to ask about how it will be installed. How it is installed can be as important as the product itself. Beware of companies coming from the northern states that apply the product as if Texas has the same insulation issues.
Another thing to consider when speaking with companies who insist on laying it on the floor is how do you know where to walk? A customer recently called us to make sure we didn't lay it on the floor because her neighbor installed it that way and then a contractor came in to do some work on their A/C unit and wouldn't go in the attic because he was afraid he would fall through the ceiling. He insisted that it be removed before he would go any further. This is definitely a safety issue you should be concerned with in your home whether it is you walking up there or a contractor.
Paint radiant barriers are installed by spraying a thin coat on the roof decking without being primed causing the latex paint to be absorbed by the wood and deteriorate rapidly. Most do not spray the rafters which leaves them exposed to radiant heat into the attic. The paint product has emmisivity of 33% to 90% in lab tests only compared to EnergyAttic Radiant Barrier at 3%. Even the emissivity ratings are questionable because latex paint which encapsulates the aluminum flakes has an emmisivity of 95%. The paint also coats everything exposed in the attic and causes airborn contaminants that can get into the home.
A product must be at least 90 to 100 % reflective to be a radiant barrier according to the Department of Energy. None of the paint products meet this criteria.
Please refer to our paint versus foil section for more details.