Underlayment: Insulation, Radiant & Moisture Barriers

Some questions that arise when purchasing a new roof may be what type of underlayment you should purchase to protect your investment. There are numerous underlayment products to choose from and you may hear the terms insulation, radiant barrier and moisture barrier. At some point through your journey you may try to choose one or all products. But before you decide let’s go over just how different these three products are.

 

Insulation: materials used to insulate your building from the loss or gain of heat by radiation, convection, or conduction. This can be sold in many different forms including rolls, foam, and batts. Depending on the R-value will help determine which product you should use.1

Radiant Barrier: also known as a reflective insulation is used to reflect thermal energy form entering a building (i.e. keeping heat out during the summer). The goal is to have a low emissivity barrier to keep out thermal energy.2

Moisture Barrier: also known as a vapor barrier, it is used to help protect your home against any moisture created by humidity and condensation.

 

With any new construction usually some type of vapor barrier is mandatory and then as an added benefit you can include either an insulation or radiant barrier for comfort. Other roof applications like recovering you can use a vapor barrier to ensure that the condensation from your metal roof will not transfer to your decking through the shingles. If you decide not to use a vapor barrier while recovering you can install insulation or a radiant barrier instead which could help decrease heat loss in the winters and cool down, you home almost 30° in the summer.

 

Now that we know what each product protects your home against it may be hard to choose between one or the other. Depending which underlayment benefits your project best our knowledgeable staff will be able to help narrow down the best products within your budget. No matter the project we can help find you the underlayment you need to protect your investment.

 

 

1 r-value is the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow; the higher the r-value the greater the insulating power

2 low emissivity refers to a surface condition that emits low levels of radiant thermal energy