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Radiant Barrier: Benefits,Types, Uses For Metal Roofing
Lauren Risotto

By: Lauren Risotto on December 20th, 2021

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Radiant Barrier: Benefits,Types, Uses For Metal Roofing

Roofing | underlayment | Accessories

What’s underneath your roof is just as important as the metal roofing material itself. When it comes to radiant barrier, it’s a small part of a metal roofing system that can help keep your home cooler while keeping your energy costs down.

At Western States Metal Roofing, we not only manufacture metal roofing and siding panels but we also offer all the accessories you’ll need for a successful metal roofing installation


radiant barrier

Radiant barrier is a valuable part of a metal roofing system. While there are many different brand and varieties to choose from, we proudly sell Sharkskin Ultra Radiant which is a high performance roofing underlayment that also acts as a radiant barrier. 

In this article, we discuss the benefits and types of radiant barrier, as well as when it is necessary to use.


<Sharkskin Ultra Radiant Hubspot Video>

What Is Radiant Barrier?

Radiant barrier, also known as reflective insulation, is a reflective building material that reduces radiant heat transfer. By reflecting UV heat, radiant barrier insulation helps to keep a building cooler and assist its energy performance. It is not a substitute for insulation. The radiant barrier material is usually made of aluminum foil and is attached to one or both sides of a substrate.

Benefits of Proper Radiant Barrier Installation

  • Keeps A Building Cooler
  • Keeps Energy Bills Lower

Keeps A Building Cooler

By reducing radiant heat transfer, the radiant barrier is keeping your home or structure cooler by not allowing your home to absorb as much heat as it would without radiant barrier.

Keeps Energy Bills Lower

When your home absorbs less heat, your energy bills are going to decrease as less energy is required to cool down the home.The HVAC system will not have to run as much to regulate the temperature inside your home.

Radiant Barrier Effectiveness

While there is no standardized method for testing the effectiveness of radiant barriers in reducing energy costs, studies and consumer feedback have shown that radiant barriers can reduce energy costs by reflecting heat. However, there is a lot of misinformation about how well they work and how much money they can save. Remember if something is too good to be true, it probably is. 

Certain radiant barrier manufacturers have released exaggerated claims of the reductions in both heating and cooling costs that radiant barriers can bring which has now made consumers skeptical about the radiant barrier in general.

The effectiveness of radiant barrier varies depending on factors including:

  • Climate
  • Ductwork
  • Existing insulation

A study by the US Department Of Energy showed that installing radiant barrier in the attic will decrease radiant heat gain through the ceiling and will reduce cooling cost by 17%.

Other studies have shown that radiant barrier foil can result in energy savings from anywhere as low as 12% to as high as 39%.


Do I Need Radiant Barrier?

If your home meets any of the below criteria, then radiant barrier is a good idea:

  • Roof receives direct sunlight
  • Located in a hot climate
  • Attic is poorly insulated
  • Attic has ductwork

Roof Receives Direct Sunlight

When a roof receives direct sunlight, radiant barrier is necessary as the roof is going to get considerably hotter from the UV rays versus a roof that is often in shade and blocked from the sun.

Located In A Hot Climate

Radiant barriers are designed for and perform better in hot climates where there is more sunlight as opposed to cool climates.

Attic Space Is Poorly Insulated

When attic insulation is present and in good shape, you probably wouldn’t notice a difference if radiant barrier was also included. However if an attic is poorly insulated, radiant barrier can help support the insulation as an extra way to prevent the structure from absorbing additional heat.

Attic Has Ductwork

If you have an older home, then there is a good chance that you have ductwork running through your attic. As the air ducts get warm, the heat flow will pass through your attic into your home, making your cooling system have to work harder while energy costs go up. Adding a radiant barrier will reduce the heat absorbed by the ductwork. 


Which Type Of Radiant Barrier Is Best?

Each type of radiant barrier system on the market is different, however, radiant barrier foil is more effective than a radiant barrier paint or IRCC. The best radiant barrier paint on the market can reflect only approximately 75% of the radiant heat transfer while the radiant barrier foil will reflect 97% of the radiant heat transfer.


Why Would Someone Choose An IRCC Over A Radiant Barrier?

An IRCC, or Interior Radiation Control Coating, is a liquid spray coating that changes the emittance of the surface by lowering it to reduce the ability to radiate infrared energy. 

While some may choose an IRCC because it has lower labor costs and faster installation times, these products are controversial as many say radiant barrier paint often features misleading advertising and is not as effective as radiant barrier.


Sharkskin Ultra Radiant


Radiant Barrier Roof Underlayment

An alternative to using traditional radiant heat barrier is to use radiant barrier roof underlayment. These products, such as Sharkskin Ultra Radiant, are essentially two products in one. They provide the protective functions of underlayment while also serving as a reflective device to reduce roof and attic temperature. 

Sharkskin Ultra Radiant was developed to exceed “California Energy Code” requirements. It contains a reflective insulation layer that reflects infrared energy to reduce heat gain and the cooling load on a home which contributes to a cool roof and a more energy efficient structure overall.


Radiant Barrier For Your Metal Roof System

Radiant barrier is not meant as an alternative to insulation, but rather as a complement to traditional building insulation methods by reducing the amount of radiant heat absorbed by your home. By using radiant barrier, you will have a more energy efficient roofing system that can significantly reduce your heating and cooling costs.

A metal roof installation includes utilizing accessories that will prolong the lifespan and performance of the roof. Have a more efficient installation by using one product that combines these accessories. 

Sharkskin Ultra Radiant combines radiant barrier and underlayment in one product that reduces roof and attic temperature and lowers energy costs while also providing secondary moisture barrier protection that enhances the roof’s durability.

Learn more about Sharkskin Ultra Radiant and request a quote today.

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About Lauren Risotto

Lauren is the Content Manager at Western States Metal Roofing and provides insight on content creation and product promotions.