Radiant Barrier Buyers Guide
Our radiant barriers and reflective insulation products are
available for purchase online by homeowners, retail store operators, resellers,
installers, distributors and all other consumer types.
This Buyers Guide
is intended for potential consumers trying to decide which product to choose for
their intended installation application and consumers currently comparison shopping for
their ideal product.
Product Selector Guide
This Product Guide is designed to help customers easily determine which RadiantGUARD® product
is recommended for their installation application. If you need further advice,
please don't hesitate to contact Customer Support via live chat, email or by
calling toll free (866) 528-8412.
For detailed installation instructions, visit our
& How to Install page.
√ === recommended product for this application.
X = this product must NOT be used for this application as moisture from home would
be trapped under vapor barrier and result in condensation damaging insulation
and attic structure.√ * = check with local building code to determine if vapor barrier is
required for this application in your area.
√ R = this product is
recommended if a specific R-Value is required per local building codes OR to
control condensation typically found in metal buildings.
Comparison Shopping Guide
Radiant barriers have been used commercially for over 30
years, but with the ever increasing cost of utilities, they are becoming more
mainstream and, in certain states, even required in new construction.
Radiant barriers can reduce utility consumption when installed properly and
therefore, lessen the demand on utility power plants.
Many potential consumers are introduced to radiant barriers
and reflective insulation products via dinner parties, home shows, door-to-door marketers, and even radio and
television advertisements. With such mass marketing, consumers are
sometimes exposed to a fair amount of misinformation about the radiant barrier
technology. Such misinformation leads to confusion about the different
products and providers in the marketplace.
It is important to understand the differences between a
radiant barrier and a reflective insulation product in
order to make the correct purchase decision for your application.
In general, a radiant barrier is a reflective
sheet which encompasses a middle reinforcement layer, referred to as a
"scrim" that gives the product strength and durability. The thickness
of a radiant barrier is usually between 3 and 5 mils (thousandths of an
products are intended for use in the following applications: attic
floors, attic roof rafters, and as a house wrap behind brick or siding.
A reflective insulation product is a radiant
barrier which encompasses a middle insulator rather than just a scrim.
The insulator can be fiberglass, foam, or air bubbles and the thickness of
these products is usually between 3/16" and 1/2".
The main difference between a radiant barrier and a
reflective insulation product is that reflective insulations have an R-Value
associated with the as the middle insulator provides a small thermal break
between the two outer layers. Reflective insulations are used when you
need to achieve a certain R-Value for building code requirements or if you
need to control condensations issues typically incurred with metal
Reflective insulation are higher in cost due to the fact
that they are comprised of more raw material under a more involved
manufacturing process than a radiant barrier. Most quality radiant
barriers and reflective insulations reflect the same amount of radiant heat,
insulation bubble products are intended for use in the following
applications where a solid vapor barrier or specific R-Value is required:
crawl spaces, basement walls, floors, metal buildings, pole barns, concrete
If the goal is simply to reflect radiant heat, a radiant barrier would be the best choice.
The most commonly referenced radiant barrier key concepts are
present below to serve as guidelines when looking to purchase a radiant barrier.
For more detailed information on radiant barriers, please see
Radiant Barrier Key Concepts
Click to view PDF version to save and print
||This is the American Society for Testing and
Materials (ASTM) test method used to independently test a radiant
barrier product for the purposes of providing verified and uniform
specifications of a radiant barrier.
C1313 testing performed results
in the following specifications which are important when comparing
- surface emissivity (and conversely reflectivity)
- water vapor transmission
- surface burning characteristics (ie. flame spread & smoke
development resulting in fire rating [see below]).
- tear resistance
- adhesive performance
- fungal resistance
A radiant barrier that has been tested under the C1313 testing
methods results in verified and comparable specifications that can be
used to compare against other radiant barriers in the market.
These specifications help the consumer know what they are comparing
All RadiantGUARD® radiant barriers have
been tested under ASTM C1313 and each product's specifications are
listed on our website.
||Per the Department of Energy (DOE), for a product to
be officially classified as a "radiant barrier" it MUST have a
reflectivity rating of 90% or higher and conversely, an emissivity
rating of 10% or lower.
Reflectivity defines the amount of radiant
heat is reflected away from the surface of the barrier facing a heat
source. Emissivity defines the amount of radiant heat that
radiates from the surface of the barrier and it typically measured on
the surface of the barrier facing away from the heat source.
Higher reflectivity ratings result in more radiant heat being
RadiantGUARD® radiant barriers have a
reflectivity of 95-97% (and an emissivity of 3%).
|Single-sided radiant barriers have only one
reflective surface adhered to a non-reflective substrate (for example,
kraft paper). Single-sided radiant barriers reflect radiant heat
only from the reflective side facing a radiant heat source.
Double-sided radiant barriers have two reflective
surfaces, one on each side of the radiant barrier, allowing the radiant
barrier to reflect radiant heat from both sides independently.
All RadiantGUARD® radiant barriers are
|Scrim & Durability
In order for a radiant barrier to have
durability and strength, a middle "scrim" layer is present in the center
of the product.
Our Ultima radiant barrier product is comprised of a tightly woven
scrim which makes it a much stronger product which allows it to hold
staples and nails and not tear or pull through.
|# of Layers
||Many consumers have been mislead to believe that a
radiant barrier with more layers is more effective than one with less
layers. It is not the number of layers that makes one radiant
barrier better than the other. Based on your criteria, the results
of the C1313 testing should be used to evaluate what makes one radiant
barrier better than another.
In many cases, additional layers of raw
material (fiberglass) makes the product more expensive. In addition,
this added thickness makes it bulky and heavier which makes it more
expensive to ship. It also makes it more difficult to work with.
For example, our radiant barrier products are comprised on two outer
reflective layers with a middle scrim layer which adds
strength and durability. We consider this a three layer product; however
some similar products are marketed as five layers because they count the
adhesive bonding on both sides of the scrim as an independent layer.
We don't count glue as separate layers.
||Radiant barriers, like most building materials, must
be tested and meet specific fire ratings. The fire rating of a
radiant barrier, determined by ASTM E84 fire test with required E2599
mounting method, is determined by the flame spread and smoke development
results of the surface burning characteristics test performed as part of
the ASTM C1313 qualification tests.
There are two organizations that
provide fire ratings for building materials based on a products flame
spread and smoke development results: The National Fire Protection
Organization (NFPO) and The Uniform Building Code (UBC). NFPO's highest
fire rating classification is "Class A." UBC's highest fire rating
classification is "Class 1."
All RadiantGUARD® products
pass the current ASTM E-84 w/E2599 mounting method resulting in Class A & Class 1 fire ratings.
|Perforated vs. Solid Vapor Barrier
Radiant barriers come either perforated or
non-perforated (solid vapor barrier).
A perforated radiant barrier has small holes
throughout the product that allow moisture vapor to pass through (click
to view example). Per ASTM C1313, the permeance of the material
shall exceed five (5) perms as determined with Test Methods E96/E96M
(Procedure A—Desiccant Method). RadiantGUARD®
Ultima-FOIL Breathable has a permeance
of 8.5 perms; above the required
A non-perforated (solid) radiant barrier has no holes
and serves as a vapor barrier. Per ASMT C1313, the permeance of the
material shall NOT exceed one (1) perm as determined with Test Methods
E96/E96M (Procedure A—Desiccant Method). RadiantGUARD®
Ultima-FOIL Vapor Barrier has a permeance of 0.02 perms; well below the
A general rule of thumb for deciding on a perforated
or non-perforated radiant barrier:
If the radiant barrier is to be installed in a
closed wall cavity nearest the living space (such as a side wall or
cathedral ceiling), a solid radiant barrier should be used.
If the radiant barrier is to be installed in an
attic, we recommend a perforated radiant barrier.
For more information, please see
perforated vs. solid and our
installation instructions for specific installation methods.
Some companies claim their radiant barriers are "NASA
certified." Although NASA was the first to embrace and use the
radiant barrier and reflective insulation technology, NASA does NOT
certify any radiant barrier product or manufacturer.
|Made in the USA
||We are proud to say that our products are Made in
the USA. This not only helps our economy, but also allows us to
have a quick supply chain to provide consistent availability of our
products for customers. Please contact us if you need to see our
Certificate of Origin.