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Reflective Insulation: What It Is & How It Works

With summer—and even higher temperatures—quickly approaching, you’re probably looking at ways to stay cool and comfortable inside while saving money. It’s time to install insulation!

Attic Reflective Insulation

But there are many different materials and areas that need to be insulated—what should you use? As a huge source of energy loss in homes, the attic is a great place to start. And reflective or foil insulation (like radiant barrier) is a great material to use.

Keep reading to learn more!

What Is Reflective Insulation?

Reflective insulation is a material with reflective facing—typical materials are foil-faced kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles and cardboard. Radiant barrier insulation consists of a reflective material (generally aluminum foil) and can be combined with other materials in reflective insulation systems.

How Does Reflective Insulation Work?

Most common thermal insulation materials (like fiberglass) work by slowing conductive heat flow, but reflective insulation works a little differently. This type of insulation is designed to reduce radiant heat gain. When the sun heats a roof, it’s primarily the sun’s radiant energy that makes the roof hot. Much of this heat travels through the roofing materials to the attic side of the roof. The hot roof then radiates its gained heat energy onto the cooler attic surfaces. Reflective insulation, installed in the attic ceiling, helps reflect sunlight and reduce the radiant heat transfer from the underside of the roof to the other surfaces in the attic.

This helps keep your home cooler and more comfortable. Reflective insulation and radiant barriers work well in warm climates, particularly in homes that have:

  • Air ducts in the attic
  • Asphalt roofing (which more easily absorbs heat from the sun)
  • Little to no shading from trees

Learn more about reflective insulation by visiting the Department of Energy online »

Sacramento Area Insulation Installers

If you need to install insulation in your home, you count on the Gold Star Insulation family! We love helping homeowners increase the energy efficiency and comfort of their homes with the right reflective insulation solutions.

Ready to start your project? Contact us today!

Where should you insulate in your home? Check out our interactive infographic:

Products We Install
Energy Audits

Our team can help you save money with a home energy audit and air sealing services.


Our insulation team installs batt and blown-in fiberglass insulation.


Environmentally friendly and effective, cellulose works well in homes and buildings.

Spray Foam

Gold Star Insulation is a leading installer of spray foam insulation in the Sacramento area.

Radiant Barrier

An attic radiant barrier can help keep your home cooler and more comfortable.

Insulation Removal

Gold Star Insulation provides home insulation removal services.

Air Sealing

We are committed to saving you money by sealing your attic—which is the main source of air leaks in the home.

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