There is much BUZZ today about new reflective foil insulation materials. In reality these have been around for years. Ever since the invention of aluminum foil in the 40’s we have been finding ways to use the versatile material. Low-E metallic glass coatings take their basic reflective characteristics from this early foil research. Industry has simply found a way to bring the reflective foil properties to a transparent level. All of this has lead to a rebirth of interest in heat reflective insulation wraps. The newest wraps are using far greener methods of production and adding new ideas to enhance their value. Some even use new foamed inner layers to add body and provide better service.
The questions now are, what is the best application of all the various types of insulation materials available? Should I use fiberglass, Cellulose, expanded foam, chopped glass, or a foil? Where should the insulation be applied? The answer lies in the use of a combination of all these materials. Their applications are dependant on the buildings construction and geographic location. Reflective foils do a wonderful job of reflecting radiated heat energy from the sun in the attics of homes located in southern climates. They can also be helpful to reflect radiated energy back in to a northern home. The key is that they must be installed properly to provide an air space on both sides of the foil. Keep in mind that the foil is metallic and so will act as a conductor of heat and electrical energy. Always follow the manufacturers instructions. Fiberglass, foams and wood fiber materials do an effective job at reducing conductive energy flow. So the best bet is to use both materials in harmony to both stop conductive energy loss and radiated energy gain in your homes envelope.
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