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How To Choose Between Radiant Barrier Sheathing And Spray Foam Insulation

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How To Choose Between Radiant Barrier Sheathing And Spray Foam Insulation

If you’re a builder weighing the choice between radiant barrier sheathing and spray foam insulation for reducing attic heat, there are many factors to consider. LP recommends that you consult an energy rater to determine which option provides the most value for your application.

 

However, radiant barrier sheathing in general offers a number of advantages over spray foam insulation, including:

  • Proven Durability: Traditional vented attic assemblies with radiant barriers have a long history of reliable performance. Such systems allow for continuous drying of roofing materials during construction and throughout the life of the structure. Spray foam applied to the underside of the roof deck has the potential to trap moisture caused by roof leaks, potentially leading to rot and decay of the roof framing. These issues may go unnoticed for years until it’s too late.

 

  • Complementary Systems: Attic insulation works by slowing conductive heat flow from the attic into the living space, whereas radiant barriers reduce radiant energy from heating the attic – resulting in reduced attic temperatures by up to 20° to 30° F. This reduction in attic temperature significantly improves the efficiency of attic insulation. Combined, the two systems result in a highly energy-efficient and cost-effective solution.

 

  • Cost Efficiency: Spray foam is expensive – sometimes thousands of dollars more than other types of insulation. Plus spray foaming the entire roof deck consumes far more insulation than would be required on the attic floor in a typical vented attic assembly.

 

  • Better Ratio of Conditioned Space vs. Livable Space: Foam-encapsulated attics significantly increase the volume of space the homeowner must pay to condition (when attic floor insulation is eliminated) without increasing livable space.

 

  • Easier Installation: Radiant barrier sheathing doesn’t require any special expertise to install, while spray foam insulation requires highly trained installers using special equipment.

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