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A Radiant Barrier vs. Spray Foam

We all want to improve the energy efficiency of our homes. To be able to cut energy cost
and to obtain a better energy rating for our homes we will look for ways to save money and to
reduce our energy consumption. Looking for ways to air seal our homes and to keep unwanted
heat from coming into our homes is a problem that a lot of building contractors and insulating
companies have been combating for many years. Putting up radiant barriers and applying spray
foam to the bottoms of our roofs will keep heat from entering our attics through convection.
There are several types of radiant barriers available today but none will compare to spray foam
Radiant barriers are composed of aluminum foil bonded to craft paper or roof sheathing.

This is applied the roof before installing any type of roofing. It is designed to reflect heat back
away from your attic when heat convects through your roofing materials. This is fine unless it
does not keep all of the heat from travelling through to your attic. Another method that is used a
lot is by installing a Styrofoam sheathing to the underside of your rafters. This will create a
radiant barrier but over time gravity will take over and your Styrofoam sheathing will begin to
work loose and fall. Fiberglass insulation has also been used for radiant barriers but over time the
same thing will happen to fiberglass. Blown in cellulose has been a proven method as a radiant
barrier. This seemed to be the better choice for a long time until spray foam was introduced to
the market.
Spray foam is by far the best choice to apply to the bottom of your roofs. There are
several advantages that a spray foam will bring you when you apply it to your rafters and
roofing. The biggest advantage is the increase in R-value your home will receive. The denser the
spray foam the more R-value you have. Air sealing in another huge advantage that spray foam will offer you. Air leaks around you hips and valleys as well as around roof vents can be sealed.
You will not get this type of air sealing from any other method. Spray foam will adhere to the
surface you are applying it to also. This bond to other surfaces will help it stay in place for years
to come. Another huge advantage that a spray foam will provide over radiant barrier is structural
integrity. As spray foam dries it will become more rigid helping your roof to get stronger
therefore protecting your home. Spray foam can be applied after you construct your home but it
is better to do it while construction of a new home it taking place. It is also not a bad idea to
consider adding spray foam to the bottom of existing roofs.
Any way you look at it spray foam will provide you with a ton of advantages. Consider
using spray foam in your next construction project to help reduce energy cost and save money.


Houston home improvement radio show host Tom Tynan answers questions from listeners. Today’s question, how to spray-in radiant barriers compare with foil? See a new daily mail video answer every day at www.HomeShowRadio.com

One Comment

  • Bill .AzGoodAsItGets July 8, 2014 at 5:52 am

    BS Radiant Barrier requires an airspace. There are three types of heat
    transfer, conducted, radiant and convection. Radiant requires airspace or

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