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Is Radiant Barrier Better Than Insulation?


When you need to add insulation to your home, you have many options including radiant barrier insulation. Is this type of insulation going to help you save money on utility expenses better than other types of insulation?

Radiant barrier insulation features reflective film attached to materials like cardboard or oriented strand board. Instead of being installed on the attic floor, it’s installed on the ceiling under the roof. This type of insulation is especially beneficial in warmer climates, so it would work really well to keep you cooler in Texas’ scorching summer heat. The benefits of radiant barrier include:

  • Lowers cooling costs by 5- to 10%.

  • Can be combined with other insulation for greater energy efficiency.

  • Helps control temperature fluctuations.

  • Puts less strain on HVAC system.

  • It’s lightweight, clean, and durable.

If you are looking to install radiant barrier insulation in Arlington, TX, turn to the insulation experts at American Insulation, LLC. Give us a call at (817) 588-2050.

Which radiant barrier is the best?

Several types of radiant barrier insulation are available. Among the best are panels made up of oriented strand board (OSB) with attached laminated foil. Other barriers with cardboard, kraft paper, or plastic film tend to be the least effective.

How radiant barrier works

Instead of slowing down conductive heat like most types of insulation, radiant barriers reflect heat and reduce radiant heat. It’s radiant heat from the sun that makes your roof hot and it’s this heat that tends to spread to all parts of your attic and increasing the heat. Without adequate insulation, this heat will cause your cooling system to work harder and use more energy, thus costing you more in utility bills. When it’s colder, the insulation will also prevent heat transfer from inside the building.

Does radiant barrier paint work?

An alternative to radiant barrier insulation is radiant barrier paint. This material is basically a type of liquid foil that’s sprayed on other materials to improve insulation. The paint is often only about 15- to 40% reflective compared to the 97% reflectivity of insulation. In some cases, people pass off this kind of paint as exactly the same as the insulation. If you get offers for this type of spray insulation, it’s usually a scam.

Is radiant barrier waterproof?

When you install radiant barrier insulation, you’ll find it does have some waterproofing capabilities. If you have perforated foil water won’t be able to pass through it but water vapor will. On the other hand, if you use solid foil, neither water nor water vapor will be able to pass through it.

Can radiant barrier cause mold?

A radiant barrier itself will not cause mold, though an attic with this type of insulation installation can still be vulnerable to mold. That’s because other parts of the attic like attic entries can allow warm, moist air inside the attic. It’s warm, moist air that causes mold to grow. Sealing holes and leaks as well as providing adequate ventilation will reduce the levels of warm, moist air from seeping into your attic.

Is radiant barrier a fire hazard?

While radiant barriers have many benefits, they also have drawbacks, namely the risks of fire. Because of the way radiant barriers are installed, they become electrically connected to any metal roofing materials, including flashing. This leaves it vulnerable to igniting if another component is electrically charged, which can happen with a lightning strike. Expert installation will reduce the risks of fire hazards.

Is radiant barrier bad for shingles?

You may have heard that a radiant barrier can damage your shingles because of the way it reflects heat. This is a misconception. The barriers do not hold heat, and neither will the shingles. As much as 90% of the heat, once reflected, will emit away from the shingles almost instantly. This is true even in the hottest part of the day. Radiant barriers can, in fact, benefit shingles, especially at night, as it can lower temperatures on the roof by as much as 5 degrees at night. You won’t have to worry, then, about voiding warranties on the shingles or seeing them damaged because of the barrier.


Because radiant barriers are composed of aluminum foil, some concern is shown that they can interrupt Wi-Fi signals. Metals can affect the transmission of radio waves, which is how cell phones and Wi-Fi transmit information. Most research indicates that very little interference with cell phone signals is caused by radiant barrier insulation. And the insulation would have to be directly between you and the Wi-Fi router to cause any interference.

If you are looking for a boost in energy efficiency, especially in the summer, you might want to consider installing radiant barrier insulation in Arlington, TX. American Insulation, LLC provide a comprehensive range of insulation solutions.

Call us today (817) 592-6900. We are here to help.

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