What Is Reflective Attic Insulation?

Dan Cavallari

Reflective attic insulation is a type of material used to insulate home attics to help keep heat from escaping the house during winter months or to help keep home temperatures down during the summer months. The material is essentially a roll of aluminum that can be laid out across the attic space and affixed to the underside of the roof; the reflective attic insulation essentially bounces heat back down into the house, or bounces heat away from the roof during the summer to help regulate temperature. This material is often used in conjunction with other insulation materials to provide the most efficient temperature regulation system.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

The process of installing reflective attic insulation is generally easy, though a thorough inspection of the attic space will be necessary before the installation process proceeds. If there is existing insulation in the space, it is important to determine if this insulation is safe, clean, dry, or otherwise suitable for continued use. The reflective attic insulation can be installed right over the top of the existing insulation, meaning the old insulation will essentially be sealed off. If any replacement is necessary, it should be done before the existing insulation is sealed off.

The foil can then be stapled in sheets over the existing insulation, over floorboards, and onto the walls of the attic. Special care should be taken when installing the reflective attic insulation around pipes or wires; if gaps exist between pipes and floorboards, these should be sealed before the insulation is laid over them. The foil should be tightly wrapped around the joints between pipes and boards; make sure electrical wires are adequately insulated to help prevent fire hazards. The insulation usually comes in a roll, making installation fairly easy. The foil is also often reinforced to help prevent tearing.

Various types of reflective attic insulation will vary in price. It is best to do some research into the different types before investing in the product, since it is likely that several rolls will be needed to cover an entire attic. The initial purchase price may be high, but it is important to keep in mind that the savings in heating bills and air conditioning costs will usually make up for the purchase price, and then some. Professional installers are available to properly inspect an attic space and install the insulation as well, but keep in mind that hiring a professional will increase the overall installation cost.

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