Advantages and Disadvantages to Radiant Barrier, Fiberglass and Foam Insulations

If you are building a new house, there are a lot of important decisions to be made about the types of materials you use. Some of these decisions will affect the costs of heating and cooling for the life of the home. One of the most important decisions you have to make is choosing the right insulation. You will need to take into account the climate in which you are building your new home. You will also need to take into consideration the materials used to build the home. There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to radiant barrier, fiberglass and foam insulations.

Radiant barrier comes in foil rolls and can by applied to unfinished walls, ceilings, floors and attics. It’s the most effective at preventing downward heat flow and can be considered a do-it-yourself project. It’s affordable to install and does not require any special tools or safety precautions to do so. Its effectiveness often depends on the spacing and framing of your home. If you live in a colder climate in which the summers do not get overly hot, it may not be as important to have the heat reflection properties.

Fiberglass insulation typically comes in blankets. While you can install it yourself, it can very easily irritate skin and eyes if you are not careful. It is more suited for standard stud and joist spacing that is free of obstructions. It can require special tools to fit and cut. Unlike radiant barrier, it merely slows the transfer of hot and cold air rather than reflecting it. On the other hand, foam insulation often offers a better insulating value for less thickness. It is typically installed by a professional and can fill irregular areas. It must be covered with gypsum board or other approved material for fire safety.

Which will you choose? Radiant barrier or fiberglass?