Radiant bubble insulation reflects heat and has R-values as high as R-17. Bubble insulation reflects 97 percent of radiant heat rays, which keeps radiant heat from ever leaving the space. Reflective bubble insulation is actually one or two layers of polyethylene air bubbles. The layers of bubbles are laminated between 99 percent aluminum materials. Radiant bubble insulation is very durable and can withstand punctures and tears.
Reflective bubble insulation is versatile when it comes to residential and commercial applications, including roofs, ceilings, attics and crawl spaces. Steel buildings, concrete floors and heating ducts can also benefit from reflective bubble insulation.
Check the local building code in your area before installing bubble insulation. Make sure that you understand the use of vapor barriers and how to apply them for your climate. Conduct a thorough visual inspection of the work area. Cracks or openings must be properly sealed before you install the insulation. Also make sure that there are no open electrical boxes, loose connections or other electrical wiring issues. If there are potential hazards, repair them before proceeding with the insulation project.
When water pipes are below the bubble insulation, such as in a crawl space, insulate the water pipes to avoid possible freeze in the winter. Remember, for most installations you’ll need to create air space of, at minimum, ½- to ¾-inch depending on the product. This is necessary for the radiant barrier bubble insulation to work properly.
If you want to install a concrete floor in a basement or a concrete slab for a garage or home, a concrete slab in a garage of for a home, double bubble insulation is a popular choice. Double bubble insulation will help eliminate the coldness and dampness associated with these components. The installation is fairly easy. Fit the insulation in the area where you will pour the concrete. The insulation should be butted close together. Tape the seam with foil tape. Do not use ordinary duct tape.
To retrofit metal walls, attach 1 by 2 inch furring strips to the wall and secure the edges of the bubble insulation to the strip. Make sure that all seams are properly taped and that there are no openings or gaps, which can cause a problem with condensation. In crawl spaces, cut the bubble insulation to fit in between the floor joists. Again, make sure that the electrical boxes and connections are safe before for installing reflective bubble insulation.
An extremely effective approach for insulation building components is to install fiberglass batt insulation between wall studs or floor joists, and staple the radiant insulation to framing members. You can get an R-value of 16.0 using a combination of reflective bubble insulation and R-13 fiberglass batt in 2 by 4 wall assemblies. For 2 by 6 framed walls, you can get a R-22. You must install un-faced batt insulation.
Bubble insulation is also effective in attics where it can be installed between the floor joists and rafters. Make sure that the attic is properly ventilated. Refer to your local building codes for guidance on ventilation.
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