There’s been a lot of talk about the benefits of radiant barrier roof decking, but how much do these products save you on energy costs? One thing to keep in mind is that this is going to vary depending on the climate where you live.

In this blog, you will know what radiant barrier roof decking is, its pros and cons, the installation process, and estimated costs. Read until the end of this article to know if this type of heat barrier is suitable in your house.

What Is Radiant Barrier Roof Decking?

Building materials that inhibit heat transfer and reflect thermal radiation outdoors are known as radiant barriers. In other words, it is a style of heat insulation that is meant to reflect heat. Aluminum sheets, for example, are a thin coating of materials with highly reflective surfaces that are used as radiant barriers.

These heat barriers are popular because they eliminate the need for expensive and energy-intensive cooling systems like air conditioning, which consumes a lot of electricity. The radiant barrier was created to keep the heat from being absorbed by the interior roof components.

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Important Note: A gap for airspace must separate the barrier from the other roofing components for the barriers to effectively reduce heat.

How Does Radiant Barrier Roof Decking Works?

The increase in radiant heat is reduced by the use of reflective sheets. The passage of radiant heat from the roof’s base components to the attic’s other surfaces is reduced by radiant barriers.

It gives optimum performance when a thermal barrier is perpendicular to the radiant energy it receives.

Heat builds up in the attic when radiant energy is transported through ordinary roof sheathing (check out the recommended roof sheathing thickness).

Because there is no barrier to keep the heat out, it penetrates the living rooms through the insulation panel, which causes an increase in indoor temperature. 

By installing radiant barriers, the UV rays from the sun will be reflected outdoors, away from the attic and house, lowering the temperature of the roof deck and minimizing the power required to cool the house.

Pros and Cons of Radiant Barrier Roof Decking

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of having a sheet barrier in your attic.

Cooler house. Although a roof barrier is not required in general housing construction, this heat barrier will aid in the cooling of the house. As a result, utility bills can be reduced by 5 to 10% since less power is needed to cool your house.
Lifespan. It is easy to maintain and does not degrade over time. Also, radiant barriers can make your ceiling panels last longer.
Enhances HVAC efficiency. This is because the home’s HVAC system is less stressed. After all, the ceiling is cooler if you install any form of radiant sheathing. The longer the HVAC system lasts, the more efficient it is to perform.
Enhances indoor comfortability. By eliminating hot and cold zones in the house, this form of heat barrier can significantly improve the comfortability of the house.
Energy Efficiency. When building new homes, many builders employ radiant barrier sheathing because it may deflect up to 95% of the sun’s rays, decreasing ceiling temperatures by up to 35 degrees Fahrenheit during summertime.
Works best in hot climates. As the temperature increases, radiant barriers provide further benefits.
Amount of cleaning required. Since it’s located in the roof deck, the radiant barrier collects more dust. Because of the dust accumulated, the sheet barrier is less reflective. The debris will impair the foil’s reflecting properties and its effectiveness.
Unnoticeable water leaks. The sheet barrier makes it harder to detect any water leakage on the ceiling. Any water that leaks onto the radiant barrier’s rear surface will flow down the slope until it hits the roofline and ceiling panels.
Its internal surface is prone to moisture accumulation. When moisture from the inside of the house evaporates, it tends to rise, which can only lead to the attic. Water vapor has nowhere to go since radiant barrier materials repel both moisture and heat. As a result, tiny drops of water might stream down the wall and into your attic.
The sheet barrier might fall from time to time. Several house owners agreed that radiant barriers need to be maintained regularly to keep them in place, mainly because they installed them improperly.
Might not be effective in temperate or cooler places. These sheets are designed to be used in areas with higher temperatures. Although during winter seasons, they may provide some extra protection from the cold atmosphere by maintaining the indoor heat to last longer.

Is Radiant Barrier Roof Decking Worth It?

Attic radiant barriers are less common in cooler areas. Because of their proven energy-saving properties, cold regions necessitate higher levels of thermal insulation. Homeowners in warmer locations may value radiant barriers more as an element of the home’s total energy-saving strategy.

To sum it up, this type of heat insulation is worth it especially in places with hot climates to repel UV rays from the sun, and in icing weather to retain the heat inside your home. Considering the installation costs, and its long lifespan, you will eventually break even due to the reduction in your electricity bill caused by radiant barriers.

How Much Does Radiant Barrier Roof Decking Cost?

Roof deck barriers including the installation fee cost around $500 to $2,000 for a 1,000 square foot attic and it can last for more than 20 years. For more detailed calculations, the radiant barrier costs $1 to $10 per square foot. While professionals charge between $20 to $70 per hour, depending on the complexity of the task.

How to Install Radiant Barrier Roof Decking?

On one or both sides of the roof deck, a thin sheet of reflective material is frequently installed to create a more effective radiant barrier. Here are the easy steps you must follow to do the task properly.

  1. Using a staple gun, unroll the radiant barrier and fasten it to the roof trusses or a particular roof deck component every 12 inches.
  2. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Overlap each sheet to around 2 inches with the one before it. Keep a gap of at least 2 inches between your roof’s foundation and the crest of your rooftop between your insulation and the radiation barrier.
  3. To provide good airflow for the attic, cut apertures underneath the ceiling vents.
  4. Make sure to seal the ridges or gable vents.
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It’s important to remember to follow safety precautions when working on this project. Don’t forget to wear masks and other protective clothing, examine the electrical wiring in the attic, and use quality materials.

This is the end of our guide about radiant barrier roof decking. Remember, before installing a radiant barrier sheathing, it’s important to take things into perspective.

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Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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