What Is Radiant Barrier Roof Decking And How Can It Help Me
As we become more energy efficient and environmentally conscious, our awareness of products like radiant barrier systems become greater. You may have previously heard of the technique, but you may not have fully understood how the process works, and how it can help you in the long run. Generally, radiant barriers are installed in the home to deflect heat, thus lowering the costs to keep your home cool in the summer. It is most commonly installed in the attic, but can also be installed within the roof. These barriers will actually deflect radiant heat, as opposed to absorbing it.
Radiant heat travels in a straight line and becomes absorbed by any solid material. What does this mean to you? Typically, without radiant barriers, when the sun is heating up your roof, its the suns radiant energy that is causing this. Then, via conduction, that heat travels through the roof materials and into your attic. Conduction occurs when heat travels from hotter areas to cooler areas. Additional heat travels into your house through the roofs radiant heat at this point, and travels to your attics interior and floor. Point being, your house is being penetrated by large amounts of heat in two different ways, from the roof alone! Radiant barriers reduces the radiant heat transfer from the roof to the interior of your attic.
Radiant barriers are graded on three levels:
Obviously, these types of barriers are more effective in warmer climates, and can lower your cooling costs by 5-10%.
What Is The Best Material For Roof Decking
There are a lot of different materials that can be used for roof decking, but not all of them are created equal.
In residential houses, plywood is the best roof deck material, however, OSB decking is more commonly used and meets residential building codes. Plywood offers more strength than OSB and can handle more load, which is important if you live in a colder climate where snow accumulation on the roof is common.
Can You Install New Roof Decking Over Old Roof Decking
In some instances, you might be able to install new roof decking over old roof decking. However, its usually not a good idea to do this. The old decking might not be attached properly, which could cause the new decking to come loose.
Its always best to remove the old decking before installing the new one. This way, you can be sure that the new decking is installed properly and that it wont come loose.
Also, installing new decking over old decking can cause the roof to sag under the additional weight. If installing new decking over old decking, your contractor may need to reinforce the rafters with additional bracing.
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Radiant Barriers And Title 24
A radiant barrier is a reflective material located in an attic beneath the roof deck that reduces radiant heat transfer caused by solar heat gain in the roof. Radiant barriers reduce the radiantgain to air distribution ducts and insulation located below the radiant barrier. The Title 24 prescriptive compliance approach requires a radiant barrier in climate zones with significant coolingloads . The performance approach does not require a radiant barrier in any climate zone.
The most common way of installing a radiant barrier is to use roof sheathing that has a radiant barrier bonded to it in the factory. Oriented strand board is the most common materialavailable with a factory-applied radiant barrier. The sheathing is installed with the radiant barrier facing down toward the attic space.
Other methods of installing a Title 24 compliant radiant barrier include:
- Draped over the truss/rafter before the upper roof decking is installed.
- Spanning between the truss/rafters and secured to each side.
- Secured to the bottom surface of the truss/rafter . A minimum air space shall be maintained between thetop surface of the radiant barrier and roof decking of not less than1.5 inches at the center of the truss/rafter span.
- Attached directly to the underside of the roof decking. The radiant barrier shall be laminated and perforated by the manufacturer to allow moisture/vapor transfer through the roofdeck.
Whats Best In My Workshop
In a non-conditioned space like a shop, a barn, a shed, etc. the goal isnt to climate control the space to make it comfortable 24/7, because youre not living in it! Even though you may occasionally heat the space or run an a/c in the heat of summer, the main goal is to make these spaces comfortable on their own, without the constant need for heat or a/c. Ask yourself this question, would you rather block heat transfer or just slow it down? A radiant barrier is best for non-conditioned spaces because it will act like a tree over the building.
Bottom line: A radiant barrier out-performs regular insulation in a workshop, barn, warehouse, shed, or any other structure thats not climate controlled .
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When To Install Radiant Barrier
A radiant barrier should be installed at a time when it is optimal to minimize dust accumulation on the reflective surface of the material. When the sun does heat up the roof, its usually the suns radiant energy that actually makes the roof hot. Heat travels by manner of conduction through the roofing materials and into the attic portion of the roof system.
Radiant Barrier Roof Sheathing Can Reduce Energy Costs By About 10% In Cold Environments
Since radiant heat is more of an issue for environments where the sun is beating down on rooftops, you might not think it is very effective for cold environments. Surprisingly, that is not the case.
Even in cold environments, installing radiant barrier roof sheathing has been found to reduce energy costs by about 10%. This is a huge reduction of costs.
More so, many experts recommend using radiant barriers on floors in cold environments. It will help keep the lower areas feeling warm, especially the floor. For example, certain communities in Chicago have started using radiant barriers on the floors.
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How To Tell If Roof Decking Is Bad
There are a few ways to tell if your roof decking is bad. If you see any cracks, splits, or warping, then thats a sure sign that its time to replace it. When plywood or OSB roof decking gets wet for a prolonged period of time, the wood swells and separates.
When roof decking is bad, it is often because of numerous nail holes weakening the wood or due to excess moisture exposure. The roof deck will flex when walked on and youll often hear a cracking sound indicating the wood is breaking underneath your feet.
If youre not sure whether or not your roof decking is bad, then its always a good idea to have a professional inspect it. Theyll be able to tell you for sure whether or not it needs to be replaced.
The Dostie Difference: Radiant Barrier Roof Decking
Dostie Homes prides itself on building a quality home that will last for generations to come. With that quality also comes energy efficiency. One of the differences when building with Dostie Homes is radiant barrier roof decking as a standard feature in all of our homes.
- What is Radiant Barrier Roof Decking?
Lets start with the basic information. Radiant barrier roof decking is a material that is installed on the roof after framing that reflects the UV rays from the sun and helps to keep the attic of your home up to 30% cooler in the summer!
- How do homeowners benefit from it?
A cooler attic means your home stays cooler, which leads to a reduction in energy consumption to cool your entire home. When your air conditioner is able to cool more efficiently, you save $$. And having more money in your pocket each month is certainly a WIN!
- Does Radiant Barrier Roof Decking have benefits during winter months?
In the winter, when you are heating your home, reflective properties of the radiant barrier roof decking reflect the heat back towards the home, thus requiring less energy to heat your home! How cool is that?!
A few times per month, we will be featuring elements that make Dostie Homes a quality builder. You can rest assured that your decision to build your home with us is the right choice. Stay tuned for more blog posts on The Dostie Difference!
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How Long Does Radiant Barrier Last
According to leading estimates, thousands of homes and properties have had radiant barrier installed for more than ten years without any significant issues. In order to find out whether or not a radiant barrier would be optimal for your household, it will be important for you to talk to your local insulation and radiant barrier expert. You can locate a reputable authority by asking a friend or neighbor for a referral or by conducting an internet search. Using relevant search terms like radiant barrier installation near me will yield great results.
How Should I Install A Radiant Barrier In My Attic
The most effective way to install a radiant barrier in an existing attic is simply to staple the foil material to the underside of the top chord of the roof trusses or to the underside of the roof decking. It is not very easy to work in any attic, even one with a steep pitch. Always keep in mind that a misstep could be disastrous, since most attic “floors” are not floors at all, but rather 2x4s holding ceiling drywall topped by conventional insulation. You should consider safety first . Take care to avoid compressing existing insulation in the attic. Tools and materials needed to install a radiant barrier include the following:
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Trust The Protection Experts
If you live in a hot climate, and have a home that was not built with radiant barrier sheathing, installing a radiant barrier in your attic will likely lead to noticeable energy savings. It can also be a DIY project. Americovers Super R Diamond radiant barriers are perfect for home retrofits. Avoid the scams and misinformation! Call us at for expert advice!
How Much Can I Save With A Radiant Barrier
With so many variables such as the amount of insulation and the price of electricity, it would be a big guess for any roofing contractor to put a dollar figure on this . We can tell you it will definitely lower the temperature of your attic during the summer months. Per LP, summertime temperatures can be up to 30 degrees cooler by blocking up to 97% of the radiant energy.
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Is Radiant Barrier Insulation
No. Radiant barrier and insulation are different animals. Insulation prevents the transfer of heat from one space to the next. Insulation helps keep your home a constant temperature regardless of the outside temperature. Radiant barrier keeps your house from absorbing solar energy and being hotter in the summer. Radiant barrier is much more important in parts of the country where cooling cost is the main issue.
Do Radiant Barriers Really Work
Are you wondering whether or not radiant barriers really work? If so, you are not alone. Many people want to understand this important aspect of insulation. A radiant barrier performs the task of reducing the radiant heat transfer from the underside of the roof to the other surfaces in the attic. Radiant barriers typically work best when they are perpendicular to the radiant energy that is striking it. If you live in a warm, sunny climate, you can certainly stand to benefit from reduced cooling costs. Your cooling costs could go down as much as five to ten percent.
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What Kinds Of Radiant Barrier Materials Are Available
There are many types of radiant barrier materials on the market, and more are being developed as radiant barriers become more widely used. Five generic types are most common:
Some of these products may have R-values, which may be claimed only if the product was tested according to Federal Trade Commission regulations for insulation. Although it is not by definition a radiant barrier, there is a low-emissivity paint available that can be applied directly to the underside of the roof decking.
What Is Radiant Heat Transfer And Why Are Radiant Barriers Effective
Radiant heat transfer occurs when electromagnetic waves travel in a straight line through a vacuum or air between surfaces that are at different temperatures, heating any object in its path. The earth receives all its solar heat through radiation. Dark, rough surfaces will generally absorb radiant heat and become warm, while smooth, shiny surfaces will reflect the radiation. This is why radiant heat transfer can be limited by the use of radiant barriers, which have shiny foil surfaces.
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What Is The Effect Of Radiant Barriers On Heating And Cooling Bills
According to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, your savings on heating and cooling bills will vary depending on a number of factors. These factors include: type of radiant barrier application, size of your house, whether your home is a ranch style or a two story house, amount of insulation in the attic, effectiveness of attic ventilation, color of the roof, thermostat settings, tightness of the building envelope, actual weather conditions, efficiency of the heating and cooling equipment, fuel prices, etc. The document, Radiant Barrier Fact Sheet, includes a link to the Radiant Barrier Calculator that includes simple calculations on how to approximate the economics of radiant barriers and added ceiling insulation. The calculator is part of the fact sheet but, for convenience, this is the direct link.
What Is A Radiant Barrier
Radiant barriers are building materials that reduce heat transfer and reflect thermal radiation outside. They are a thin layer of materials that feature highly reflective surfaces, such as aluminum.
In attics, they are often lined on the inner sides of roofs. They are popular because they reduce the need for costly and energy-consuming cooling solutions like air conditioning.
You can transfer heat in one of three ways: radiation, conduction, and convection. Because an attic is at the top of a building, most of the natural heat it receives is radiation from the sun in the form of ultraviolet rays.
As the roof is continually exposed to sunlight, the heat is absorbed and transferred through the roofing material and into the attic air .
The radiant barrier was invented to prevent the radiated heat from being absorbed by the rafters and insulation layers below. For it to work correctly, the barrier must be separated from these other roofing materials by airspace. The airspace is necessary to prevent the barrier from touching the rafters and other ceiling parts.
It is important to remember that while the barrier keeps out radiated heat, it can still transfer heat to anything it comes in contact with via conduction. A good analogy for this is how heat from your coffee travels up the stem of your teaspoon. Failure to include this minute but critical space will result in a radiant barrier that funnels heat into the attic, which is the exact opposite of what we want.
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Is Radiant Barrier Decking Worth It: Benefits Savings & Costs
Today, many new construction homes install radiant barrier decking to reduce heat gain and lower the homes overall energy costs. But is the added cost to install a radiant barrier sheathing worth it? How much savings can you expect on energy bills?
The benefits of radiant barrier decking are greater in warm weather climates and lesser in cold weather climates. Radiant barrier decking has been shown to save homeowners 5% to 10% on utility bills. No significant savings have been shown in colder climates however, other benefits still make radiant barriers worthwhile.
According to Energy.gov, some studies have shown 5% to 10% energy savings in warm weather climates. They state that, in cooler climates, its more cost-effective to install more insulation instead of a radiant barrier.
While Energy.gov doesnt cite the source of these studies, here in South Carolina, Ive seen firsthand that inside attics with a radiant barrier decking can be as much as 25 degrees cooler than attics without. This is often directly reflected in lower monthly energy bills.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory working in conjunction with the Department of Energy, has published some of the findings regarding the testing of radiant barriers but states that not enough testing has been performed north of Knoxville, Tennessee, and the southwest.
Is Radiant Barrier Roof Sheathing Worth It
Radiant barrier roof sheathing is worth it in some conditions but not all. This sheathing may certainly be worth it if you have an attic with HVAC or ductwork systems. More so, it is worth it if you live in a particularly hot or sunny environment.
If your house is already made but you think a radiant barrier will be for you, you might want to opt for stapled foil instead. It has the same benefits as radiant barrier roof sheathing. The main difference is that it is added after the constructed roof.
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How Much Does Radiant Barrier Installation Cost
The cost of radiant barrier installation may vary depending on your location, the type of barrier to be used, labor , the number of materials required, and the jobs overall complexity. Several other factors may also impact the overall installation costs.
According to HomeAdvisor, radiant barrier installation costs for a 1,500-square-foot attic range from $740 to $2,840 on average. Again, these figures may vary so that you may encounter prices over or under this range.
As far as materials, including the radiant barrier itself, prices range from $0.10 per square foot up to $0.90 per foot. The primary determinant of this cost is the type of barrier that is to be used. Often, double-sided barriers are pricier than single-sided ones.
Next, we have labor costs. Most professionals will charge anything between $30 and $80 an hour to install a radiant barrier. This cost is determined by the scale and complexity of the job. The more reputable installers tend to cost more.