New Roof

by Fred on October 16, 2012

new roof

The Truth About Radiant Barriers And Your New Roof

If you’re looking into having a new roof put onto your home, you may have been hearing about some products that claim to be radiant barriers. While there are legitimate products out there, and legitimate companies that install them, it pays to understand the facts about radiant heat and how it works when incorporated into a new roof.

Installing your new roof can be the perfect time to add a radiant barrier without too much additional outlay in time or cost. Before you decide to do so, you should first understand how radiant heat works, so you install a barrier that actually IS effective, and doesn’t just claim to be. Radiant heat is radiation that travels across a space in wave form. The space can be comprised of air and/or gasses or a vacuum. Though this may seem pretty basic, it’s important to understand this principle when evaluating the claims of various products.

There are some foil roofing products on the market that are marketed as radiant barriers when installed directly under the shingles on your roof. While the foil itself may reflect heat, this is not radiant heat, since the waves are moving through an adjacent object and not through a space. It would be considered conductive heat instead. If the shingles are placed directly on the foil, radiant heat cannot be generated since there is no space through which it can move. While some product manufacturers correctly state that, used in this fashion, it is a thermal, but not radiant barrier, some roofing companies may purposely, or inadvertently still sell it as a radiant barrier.

Knowing all of this, you’re probably still wondering if there is any easy way to install a radiant barrier under your shingles. Fortunately, there is! Once your roofing company understands that YOU understand how radiant heat works, they should be happy to help you come up with a solution. The key is to create some kind of air space between the barrier and the shingles. This can be accomplished with metal, tile or other “raised” type roofs that can provide the required air space. This is usually achieved with wooden battens.

The batten method is quite common and simple to do. Roofing felt or some other type of roof underlayment should be rolled out as usual, followed by a layer of reflective barrier foil. Make sure the foil is perforated so moisture can escape and condensation doesn’t build up. Wooden battens are then installed over the barrier, and then the metal, or tile roof is installed. This method will leave a space for the radiant heat to be reflected away from the roof decking. If possible, small spaces should be left between the battens to allow for even greater airflow.

While this method is usually more expensive and adds a step to the roofing process, if it’s done correctly, you can be assured that your radiant barrier will work properly. Understanding the simple principle of radiant heat will help keep you from falling for scams or products that are incorrectly installed. Your home will stay cooler, helping you to save on energy costs for many years to come.

About the author: Ed Fritz is the owner of His passion is to help homeowners make their homes more comfortable and energy efficient. He has helped literally thousands of customers by sharing his first hand experiences using radiant barrier foil. To learn more about Ed and how radiant barrier foil can help cut your energy bill, visit his blog at The Radiant Barrier Guru.


Frequently Asked Questions

    New shingles roof required – what does the work inlcude? what items should be includes in the quote?
    I need a new roof – the insurance company told me (it’s an old investment property). What should be include in the quote from the contractor? what does replacing a new shingles roof include? (i.e. is there a layer under the shingles that needs to be replaced?, etc.). THANKS.

    • ANSWER:
      My roof is being replaced as we speak. These items were on the quote:

      Remove existing roof surface
      Replace any damaged decking at an addtiona cost of $xx
      Install drip edge to rakes and eves (color)
      Install ice and storm shield to all gutter sections, valleys,and chimneys.
      Apply #15 felt paper over roof deck.
      Install new vent pipe collars
      Install new flashings along wall lines and sides of chimney, where necessary.
      Install 50 year Lifetime Architectural single. Brand/Color
      Install ridge vent to peak for proper air flow
      Remove all job related debris.

      All workmanship will be guaranteed for a period of x years.

      You might also ask the contractor to provide you with their liability insurance company’s name and policy number (i did this and it was on the quote.)

    Is a new roof on a commercial building eligable for bonus depeciation under the 2008 stimulus tax law?
    I read that 50% bonus depreciation is not available for things that have useful lives greater than 20 years. I believe that a new roof on a commercial building usually must be depreciated over 39 years. On the other hand, a new roof probably has a 20 year or less useful life. I am not sure if the IRS has put forth it’s view of the useful varuous items like roofs.

    Thanks for any help with this.

    • ANSWER:
      Yes new roofs are depreciated over 39 years so if the stimulus package does indeed state that the item being deducted not have a class life over 20 years, your roof does not qualify for the bonus depreciation.

    What are my options for cladding and felting a new roof?
    I am trying to work out which material to use to clad and felt a new roof on a new build house that I am currently planning…

    I have to clad it but what do I use, ply, osb, sarking board? What is the difference between them?

    I also have to felt (or equivalent!!!??) the roof though am not sure what material to select.

    Does anyone have any advise?

    The roof structure is provisionally scheduled to be:
    concrete tiles
    tile battens
    counter battens
    attic trusses

    The roof is also to be ventilated (67mm cavity above insulation between rafters) though am potentially interested in making it unventilated (I know osb wouldn’t be suitable if unventilated).

    The roof is to be on West coast of Scotland.

    Any suggestions would be very welcome.

    • ANSWER:
      bitumen impregnated fibre boards, roofshield breathable membrane, counter battens, tile battens and concrete tiles.
      the fibre boards are cheaper than ply, the roofshield save you from fitting vents. if you are using slates use 19mm sarking boards. hope this is of some help.

    How much does a new roof cost?
    I am about to purchase a home that needs a roof. The house is 20 years old and 2000 sg feet in wilmington nc. Can I layer new shingle on top of old? Can I do it myself?

    • ANSWER:
      Bad idea to layer new shingles onto old. Keeping the roof cool is the best way to extend it’s life. Layering the material does not allow air circulation to cool the shingles.
      A job like this is really best left to a pro.
      Cost depends on the style and type of roof covering.

    How to remove concrete roof, raise walls and install new roof?
    My contractor has suggested removing my concrete roof, raising the walls 10 inches, then reinstalling a new concrete roof.

    The roof is in bad shape, and there are other ways of repairing it, but I like the idea of having taller walls that look more like new construction, so I want to think about it a little bit more.

    What would be the process of
    a) removing the existing concrete roof
    b) raising the walls
    c) installing a new concrete roof

    The house is empty right now, and the whole interior is unrenovated.

    The climate is tropical.

    • ANSWER:
      Hi………If the builder has a good crew, that really shouldn’t be to bad. It would be nice to have a very good plan of what they are doing first so you get a good job on the top plates………..what I mean is good anchoring at that point for spreading and wind conditions etc. The rest can be covered by tarp if need be………..maybe he can just jack the existing trusses or rafters, right staight up.

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new roof

Fred (380 Posts)

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