Difference Between Radiant Barrier Foil vs. Metalized


Radiant barriers and reflective insulations must have a highly reflective surface to be effective. In general, there are two ways of creating a reflective surface.

The oldest and most proven method of creating a reflective product is to use an actual thin sheet of aluminum which is laminated to a substrate or “scrim” material. These products are typically called FOIL as they use a foil type material.

The other method which is fairly new to the radiant barrier industry creates a reflective surface using a metallization techniqe. This method of metallization is a process which applies a very thin reflective coating (typically 99% liquid aluminum) to the outer layer. Essentially it is a reflective paint that is sprayed to the outer layer of the barrier.

This new method of metallization was introduced to the radiant barrier industry recently as a way to meet the newest fire test requirements adopted recently by the ASTM. When the new test methods were initially introduced, the FOIL products failed the new test. It was then found that using a metallization process would allow the product to pass the testing. However, we've recently developed a FOIL product that PASSES the new fire test and does so with a perfect 0 flame spread as does our metalized version.

Our metalized products have more of a “plastic” feel to them.  Our foil  products  feel more like holding a thick sheet of aluminum with a rigid firm feel.

When determining which product to use, it's really just a personal preference at this point as both our metalized and foil are both excellent quality products that reflect 95-97% of radiant heat, are extremely durable and pass the required fire test. We have users that love both versions of our products.

For more details, please review the detailed product specifications for each product.