Radiant Heat Insulation Techniques Radiant Heat Insulation Techniques
There are 2 main types of radiant heat insulation, foil slab and foam. While there are other methods available, these are the 2 most popular and widely used techniques in radiant heat insulation.
Foil Slab Insulation
Contrary to what the name implies, foil slab insulation is not found in large chunks or blocks. Foil insulation typically comes in long thin sheets. These sheets are placed into walls or under floors and are also wrapped around duct work. When using the insulation with radiant heating, it is placed with the reflective side facing inward. By placing the reflective side face to the inside, the heat that is generated by the system stays within the structure and doesn't escape.
Foil slab insulation is typically made of pure aluminum, and with the exception of gold or silver, is the most reflective material on earth. Foil slab insulation naturally reflects up to 97% of radiant heat. Since your goal is more then likely to stop the transfer (or loss) of radiant heat, foil slab insulation is the ideal material for the job.
Foam insulation is fairly common in homes. Foam insulation that is used for radiant heating purposes is made out of polystyrene. This is the same material that is used to make cups and packing peanuts. Foam insulation, in this case, comes in boards. The boards are then placed on the other side of the radiant heating system. The foam has a coating on one side that is made of a bonded thermoplastic and reflects heat into the floor while the rest of the foam acts as insulation to keep any heat from escaping.
How Effective are These Types of Insulation?
Both foil slab insulation and foam insulation are extremely effective at keeping your radiant heat inside your home, where you want it. Both types of insulation are also designed to provide an effective barrier against moisture and the cold. The effectiveness of each type of insulation ultimately depends on if it was properly installed. When installed properly, each type of radiant floor insulation is extremely effective at keeping the heat in and cold out.
Are These Types of Insulation Adaptable?
While both types of radiant heat insulation are adaptable, foil slab insulation is far more adaptable then foam. While both types easily cover walls and floors, only foil has the ability to be bent and folded to cover things like exsisting duct work and pipes. While foam insulation can cover your duct work and pipes, it will have to be measured, cut and shaped, proving to be far more time consuming the foil. Foil basically can be bent around the things it is meant to insulate.
What are the Costs of Each Type of Insulation?
Foil slab insulation comes in various sized rolls ranging from 4 by 25 feet to 16 by 25 feet or 2 by 25 feet. The prices range from around $22.00 on up and will depend on your location.
Foam insulation runs lower in price per piece. These prices start as low as $2.00 per sheet and go up to around $10.00.
In the end though, the total costs come out about the same and in some cases foil insulation is actually a better buy because you won't loose any of it from having to cut it to fit your duct work and pipes since it is easily bent around them.