I had an energy company come by the home and look at my energy efficiency. They suggest what would help me the most would be to put a radiant barrier on my underside of roof. The cost was a lot to me. I am a guy who likes to do my own work. Is this something I could do myself and is there a training video or things I could read to help me install it as it should be to be most effective?
If you are just a little handy, installing a radiant barrier should not be a problem. You’ll need scissors, a utility knife, and a staple gun. To get started, measure the lengths from the roof peak to the eaves. If you have open eaves, you’ll want to cover the whole area from peak to the wall plate. If not, you’ll want to leave about 6″ uncovered at the wall plate. Cut your pieces — probably best done downstairs, roll each strip up and push them all into the attic. Start your strips at the peak, stapling them in place, then continue down stapling every 6″ or so on both sides. Continue with the next strip, and so on.
If you can’t get to the roof rafters because the roof pitch is too low or there’s too much insulation on the floor, you may install the radiant barrier on top of the mass. Just make sure the radiant barrier is perforated and do not staple in place — just lay each strip on top like a blanket. Don’t even bother to smooth it out. Preparation of the strips is the same as for the roof mount.
Be advised that dust can accumulate on top of the radiant barrier on the floor, and this will affect the performance over time. How long depends on how much dust over how much time. If it is an older home and you don’t see a lot of dust now, it shouldn’t be a significant issue. If, however, there is a lot of dust in the attic, you might want to seek another alternative. Also, if you have A/C ducts running through the attic, make sure you cover them with radiant barrier– a big energy saver.
You can buy radiant barrier directly from some of the RIMA members. I suggest you go to the Verification section of the web site and find companies that list their radiant barrier products as RIMA Verified. That way you’ll know you are getting a good product that has met all the industry standards for code acceptance.