Business Advice5 min

How To Choose Between Radiant Barrier Sheathing And Spray Foam Insulation

If you’re a builder weighing the choice between radiant barrier sheathing and spray foam insulation for reducing attic heat, there are many factors to consider. LP recommends that you consult an energy rater to determine which option provides the most value for your application.

However, radiant barrier sheathing in general offers a number of advantages over spray foam insulation, including:

  • Proven Durability: Traditional vented attic assemblies with radiant barriers have a long history of reliable performance. Such systems allow for continuous drying of roofing materials during construction and throughout the life of the structure. Spray foam applied to the underside of the roof deck has the potential to trap moisture caused by roof leaks, potentially leading to rot and decay of the roof framing. These issues may go unnoticed for years until it’s too late.
  • Complementary Systems: Attic insulation works by slowing conductive heat flow from the attic into the living space, whereas radiant barriers reduce radiant energy from heating the attic – resulting in reduced attic temperatures by up to 20° to 30° F. This reduction in attic temperature significantly improves the efficiency of attic insulation. Combined, the two systems result in a highly energy-efficient and cost-effective solution.
  • Cost Efficiency: Spray foam is expensive – sometimes thousands of dollars more than other types of insulation. Plus spray foaming the entire roof deck consumes far more insulation than would be required on the attic floor in a typical vented attic assembly.

lp techshield radiant barrier benefits over spray foam insulation

  • Better Ratio of Conditioned Space vs. Livable Space: Foam-encapsulated attics significantly increase the volume of space the homeowner must pay to condition (when attic floor insulation is eliminated) without increasing livable space. 
  • Easier Installation: Radiant barrier sheathing doesn’t require any special expertise to install, while spray foam insulation requires highly trained installers using special equipment.
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Business Advice6 min

Why It’s Important To “Respect the Spec”

While it’s perfectly alright for a jazz musician to improvise, that approach doesn’t always work as well in homebuilding. Architects, specifiers, engineers and product reps spend many hours collaboratively choosing the right materials for each job – and an abrupt substitution to save a few dollars can ironically be very costly in terms of callbacks, design underperformance and even code violations. “Ideally, all parties involved – the architect, builder and developer – have reviewed the spec before it’s final and have agreed on all the products being used,” says Karen Alves, LP Brand Marketing Associate. “That’s because finding an ‘equivalent’ for siding or fire-rated sheathing involves not just the substrate but the codes that the product meets as well.”

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Business Advice4 min
Siding That’s a Cut Above

Siding installers use many different brands of circular saws, but their preferred saw may not be as important as the siding material they are cutting with it. Some builders can sometimes be a bit removed from the importance placed on saw choice and would probably rely on their subcontractors choice, like Brent Taylor. “I don’t have much of an opinion on that because I use subcontracted labor,” says Brent Taylor, owner of O.C. Taylor in Raleigh, North Carolina, who was featured in an episode of Designing Spaces on Lifetime Network renovating a century-old house using LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding.

Inspiration6 min
Budget-Friendly Architectural Styles for Modern Multifamily Builds

Masterfully achieving modern architectural styles in multifamily designs takes expertise and patience, especially when a tight budget competes with other design goals like staying on top of trends, addressing resident preferences, and seamlessly incorporating a desired look into a community. Dominic Rigosu of RIDA Architecture, PLLC, balanced all of these factors in a recent project. He designed Woodrow Wilson Townhomes, a 100-unit affordable housing development originally built in 1972 in Amsterdam, New York. It was surrounded by a mix of market-rate, well-maintained, single-family homes.