Concepts » Installing Reflective Insulation Systems

Installing Reflective Insulation Systems

Reflective insulation products incorporate trapped air spaces as part of the system. These air spaces, which may be layered or closed-cell, can be included in the system either when the product is manufactured or while it is being installed. In either case, the advertised performance of the insulation requires that these air spaces be present after the product is installed.

The labeled R-values will not be achieved if the product is not installed according to the instructions of the manufacturer.

The thermal performance of the reflective system varies with the size and number of enclosed reflective spaces within the building cavity. Most reflective systems range from one to five enclosed air spaces.

There are other beneficial considerations for using reflective insulation. Generally, these products have a very low water vapor and air permeance. When installed properly, with joints taped securely, reflective insulation materials are efficient vapor retarders and an effective barrier to air and radon gas.

Since reflective insulation materials are effective vapor retarders, care should be taken to ensure that they are installed correctly within the structure. Correct installation depends on the climatic conditions and moisture sources involved. An appropriate installation ensures that all joints and seams are butted against each other and taped, or overlapped and taped. This will reduce the possibility of moisture condensation within the cavity and improve performance.