Are All Radiant Barriers Created Equal?

It looks shiny, does that mean it is highly reflective?

No, not necessarily. Take for instance, a Mylar balloon or the inside of a potato chip bag. Both of these surfaces are often a very shiny silver, however, will only be 40 – 60% reflective. The same is true with some suppliers of Radiant Barrier. We recently tested some samples of Radiant Barrier from other manufacturers.

While at first glance, the samples may appear to be the same (see Figure 1), they are in fact quite different. The results were quite surprising. Many of the samples tested were only 48 – 50% reflective (see Figure 3), yet they were very similar in appearance to the quality products produced by Innovative Insulation which test 95% reflective (see Figure 2) or higher.

Figure 1. Innovative Insulation, Inc. Super R Plus® (A) and unnamed supplier (B) Radiant Barrier samples