Installation Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

General Tips

The following tips are provided to help reduce the labor time involved and make your radiant barrier installation project and easy one.

  • Start early in the morning when your attic is at its coolest.

  • Carry all of your radiant barrier and tools into the attic to avoid unnecessary trips to and fro.

  • Keep plenty of water on hand and drink even if you don't think you're thirsty; especially in the summer months.

  • If your attic is not well lit, bring some type of additional lighting source.

  • Find a centrally located area to set up your work area (see tip below regarding creating a "roll caddy").

  • Always be cautious of the attic floor joists you walk on. Some have a tendency of "rolling" when not securely fastened to the floor of the attic.

  • When installing on the attic floor, work from the outer most regions of the attic and work your way towards the middle (ideally where the "roll caddy" is located).

  • Cut the longest pieces of barrier as fits when laying out in long run sections of your attic.  It will cut down time spend on cutting and positioning smaller pieces.  To determine the length of a piece of radiant barrier needed, count the number of floor joists or rafters that span the area you are working in and multiply this number by 2 if your rafter/joist span is 24".  The resulting number is the linear feet of barrier you should cut to fit this space.

  • For Do-It-Yourselfers (DIY), don't try to complete a large job in one day.  Take your time and spread the installation out over several days taking advantage of the cooler hours of the day.  For professional contractors, work in groups of two to three.  Having someone focused on cutting the product and handing it over to someone else installing it helps cut down installation times.

Roll Caddy Creation & Setup

This roll caddy design is an inexpensive option to help with measurement and cutting of the radiant barrier.  It helps to lift and hold the roll of radiant barrier up at a workable height making it easier to measure and cut.

Parts Needed:
  • 1 four foot piece of 1/2" black threaded plumbing pipe
  • 1 four foot piece of 1" PVC pipe
  • 2 threaded elbow PVC joints
  • 2 quick links
  • 2 snap hooks
  • 2 three foot pieces of chain (see lower picture)
  • 2 safety hooks (see lower picture)


Instructions to Create:

  1. Drill a hole in one end of each elbow large enough to fit the quick link through.

  2. Attach the snap hooks to each quick link.

  3. Screw one elbow onto one end of the black threaded plumbing pipe.

  4. Slide the PVC pipe onto the black threaded plumbing pipe (start at end without the elbow attached).

  5. Screw the remaining elbow onto the other end of the black threaded plumbing pipe.

Completed Roll Caddy


Setting Up the Roll Caddy

Locate an area over some floor decking that will allow you secure the chains (either draping over rafters or nailing to studs) to elevate the roll caddy 4 to 6 feet in the air.  Secure one side of the roll caddy to one of the chains with one of the safety hooks.

Slide the roll of radiant barrier onto the roll caddy and secure the remaining side to the chain with the remaining safety hook.

By knowing the height of the roll caddy, you can quickly determine the point at which to cut based on the length you need by taking the end of the barrier down to the attic floor and back up as necessary.  For example, if your roll caddy is 5 feet off the attic floor and you need a 15 foot long piece cut, you can quickly determine 15 feet by unrolling three caddy-to-floor sections and then cutting.

Reaching Small Places

Some areas of the attic floor can be very tight spaces and difficult to reach.  The following tools can be found at local hardware stores makes pushing and moving the radiant barrier around into tight spaces much easier.  It is also  handy for passing material from one person to another helping with the install.  It's called the "Grip n' Grab" and it's made by Ettore. 

When using extension poles, tape a large nail on the end which can be used to puncture and hold the product until it is in place, then just simply pull the pole back to release the product.


Outline Decking For Visibility

Radiant barriers can be installed in your attic space following a variety of radiant barrier installation techniques:

  • Stapled to the underside of your attic rafters,

  • Draped over the top of your attic rafters before the roof decking is attached,

  • Stapled directly to the roof decking before the roof decking is attached, or

  • Rolled out over the attic floor over the floor joists or existing insulation.

A great tip related to laying the radiant barrier directly on the attic floor is to tape an outline of any underlying decking pieces you use to walk on to access various storage areas or equipment in your attic. By outlining these decking pieces with a brightly colored tape, you, and contractors or repairmen who access your attic in the future, will easily be able to see where it's safe to walk eliminating the risk of stepping in the wrong place through the ceiling drywall.

Got another great installation tip you'd like to share? Email us.