The pros and cons of a radiant barrier

The pros and cons of a radiant barrier

  Radiant Barrier

A radiant barrier is a phenomenal product that reflects thermal radiation and obstructs heat transfer. As we all might aware of the fact that heat is transmitted through conduction and convection, so in order to minimize the transfer of heat through conduction or convection, a radiant barrier is often supplemented with thermal insulators.

Radiant barriers are installed in homes – usually in a place within the rooftop of a building – primarily to reduce the hazards of summer heat and reduce the costs incurred on cooling down the room or building.

 The barrier prevents heatwaves transfer from one side to another side and reflects back the radiant energy rather than absorbing it. The radiant barrier may be one or two-sided. One side of the radiant barrier is connected to an insulating material, such as Polyisocyanate, rigid foam, bubble insulation, or OSB. Additionally, a radiant barrier is also attached to a reflective tape to make it capable of preventing diffusion of moisture through a roof assembly.

How Effective Radiant Barriers Are 

Most common insulation materials work by reducing the heat flow which is being transmitted through a conduction process, and to a very few extents, it reduces the heat flow which is being transmitted through a convection process.

Radiant barriers which are often regarded as “reflective insulation systems” works by reducing radiant heat energy.

So, in order to obtain the maximum efficiency of radiant barriers, they must be installed in a way to reduce the dust accumulation on the efficiency of radiant barriers, and reflecting surface must face an air space. Dust accumulation on the reflecting area of radiant carriers will reduce the reflecting capability of the radiant barriers.

Radiant barriers are more beneficial for the hot climate than in cold climates, especially when there is a pathway for cold air to travel throughout the home in the space inside the roof building. According to data revealed by survey reports, radiant barriers may reduce the cooling cost from 5% to 10% when used in a warm, cold climate.

A radiant barrier gives outstanding performance when it is placed in such a way so that radiant energy will strike it perpendicularly. Additionally, in order to achieve the maximum output from the radiant barrier, there must be a greater temperature difference between the sides of radiant barriers.

Pros of Radiant Barriers 

 Radiant barriers or you may also refer it as a radiant guard is phenomenal industrial equipment which reflects the radiant energy; instead of just absorbing or slowing it down just like other insulation devices do.

  1. Humidity or other external weather conditions do not have any impact on the performance of radiant barriers, just like other forms of insulation
  2. Radiant barriers block 95-97% of the radiant heat transfer when they are installed in a space or room inside the rooftop. They can reduce the temperature of the surface below the radiant barriers up to 30 degrees. Reducing a temperature provides significant benefits by reducing the cost and energy which was incurred on air conditioning devices



Cons of Radiant Barriers


  1. Radiant barriers are not effective for cold weather
  2. Radiant barriers require an air space of at least ¾ of an inch on either side in order to effectively reflects the radiant heat energy
  3. If the reflecting surface of the radiant barriers become dull due to the excess of dust on it, then its capacity to reflect the radiant energy reduces which makes it less efficient.

Cost Incurred in Installing Radiant Barriers


According to the statistics revealed by a survey total cost incurred on installing radiant barriers can range from 10 cents to $1 per square foot. According to the statistics revealed by Florida Solar energy Center, the total cost incurred on installing 1500 square feet in a place at the room top will start from $300-$500 for a single-sided material, and this cost will be $600-$1000 for a complex project using high-quality double-sided material.

Installation cost is comparatively less for floor applications and it becomes more expensive for the labor-intensive process of attaching the radiant barriers to the room or place inside a rooftop.

Additional costs


The radiant barrier doesn’t work properly if the place where it is installed isn’t properly ventilated. That’s why in some cases you need to add an additional fan or another ventilation system to make it work properly which definitely requires an additional installation cost.

 How Radiant Barriers Impact the Different Kinds of Shingles on Roof


Black asphalt roof shingle absorbs over 90% of the radiant energy incident on them, making them easily on a hot summer day. A radiant barrier would be an excellent choice as it reflects back the heat that strikes your living space.

Because Radiant barriers reflect back the radiant energy in the opposite direction from where they originate, there has been a serious concern regarding the effect on increased temperatures of roof shingles. 

The research conducted by Reflection Insulation Manufactures Association asserts: Radiant barriers enhances the temperature of roof shingles up to 3-5 degrees on a hot summer day. Taken into consideration the temperature of roof shingle is in the range of 160-190 degrees, a slight increase in temperature of roof shingle is completely negligible and does not lead to roof shingle degeneration.


By adding Radiant Barrier within the premises of your roof will increase the value and sale ability of your home. It will also reduce the energy and the money spend on air Hear ventilation and air conditioning system. By this way, radiant barriers provide its consumers the best return for their investment.