When it comes to home improvements that can help save homeowners money or enhance their home, everyone wants to know the answer to the same question: Which one is the absolute best investment for me? This is especially true when it comes to any project related to roofing. The reason for this is twofold. One, roofing projects are, quite simply, expensive. There’s just no way around it. If you want a quality project done with the best materials, it’s going to be a pretty major investment. Secondly, these projects tend to take a much longer time to complete because of their complexity. As a result, it’s absolutely normal for homeowners to want to go through the pros and cons for every option before making a decision.
First off, let’s have a look at TechShield®, which is one of the most popular brands of roof decking material available today. TechShield® is put out by the Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, which also trades as LP Building Products, but there are other brands of this kind of roof decking available as well. Norbord® manufactures the SolarBoard® brand and industry giant Georgia-Pacific manufactures Thermostat®. Regardless of the brand or manufacturer, these products all work in basically the same way and are generally used in new construction projects.
When it comes to a new construction project, using TechShield® or a similar brand is pretty much a no-brainer. The cost of upgrading to TechShield® from traditional OSB decking is minimal and it doesn’t add anything to the labor since they are installed in exactly the same way. The biggest thing to remember when working with TechShield® on a new construction project is to ensure that foil is facing down, into your attic. If the foil is facing up you’re essentially insulating the world outside your home and obviously you’ll get no benefit from that. In fact, I almost always recommend TechShield® or one of its counterparts when it comes to a completely new construction job. They are a perfect fit for that situation but, when it comes to renovating or improving an existing home, AtticFoil™ is my absolute first choice.
So does this mean that TechShield® and AtticFoil™ will do essentially the same thing for your home?
Yes and no. TechShield® works because it uses a property called emissivity in order to maintain your home’s temperature. Put simply, emissivity is the action of not converting energy into heat. The roof deck may warm up but that foil on the bottom of the decking helps reduce the ability to convert the energy into radiant heat that will ultimately heat up the insulation.
AtticFoil™, when stapled to the bottom of your rafters, works through reflectivity, meaning it bounces heat off of your home and back into the outside. The foil part of AtticFoil™ prevents heat from coming into the home which keeps the attic space cooler and prevents your home from heating up in the first place. AtticFoil™ is also versatile and can actually be used to make a decking that will work just like TechShield® decking. Simply roll it out onto standard sheets of OSB or plywood and staple it down. Once it is stapled into place, install it over the attic rafters just as you would any other type of radiant barrier decking. Another option is to run the foil across the rafters and let it fall, or droop, 4 or 5 inches between the rafters. Allow a gap at both the top and bottom of each run to allow for air circulation and you’re done. So, it’s easy to see that AtticFoil™ is a bit more versatile, as well as being ideal for existing home renovation. Plus, the Department of Energy published a full-scale study that proved a radiant barrier stapled across the bottom of your roof rafters was the most effective way to reduce radiant heat gain from the roof.
As with any home improvement project, it’s vital that homeowners consider their own needs as well as their climate in order to determine what product they need as well as the most effective way to have it installed. Understanding how each product works will let you make the most informed decision so that your investment is one that pays for itself over the seasons.