Can You Insulate a Roof With Aluminum Foil?

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Can You Insulate a Roof With Aluminum Foil?

We all know that aluminum foil is great for keeping food fresh, but did you know that it can also be used for insulation? That’s right; aluminum foil can be used to insulate your roof and keep your home cooler in the summer months. You may have seen videos or blogs about people insulating their roofs with aluminum foil. It’s usually pitched as a low-cost way to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But is it really effective?

In this blog post, we’ll explore how aluminum foil works as an insulator and whether or not it’s a good option for your home.


How Roof Insulation Works

There are two main ways to insulate your roof: reflectivity and insulation. Reflective insulation works by reflecting heat away from your home, while insulation works by trapping heat inside your home. Aluminum foil does both things to some extent, but it’s not as effective as other materials regarding reflectivity or insulation.


Aluminum Foil and Heat Reflectivity

One of aluminum foil’s primary claims to fame is its ability to reflect heat. This is why it’s often used when heat needs to be contained, such as in solar ovens. But does it work when it comes to reflecting heat away from your home? The answer is yes… sort of.


Aluminum foil has a reflectivity of about 80-95%, reflecting about 80-95% of the heat that hits it. That sounds great, but there’s a catch; the reflection only happens if the foil is smooth and clean. If the surface of the foil is crinkled or dirty, the reflectivity drops significantly.  So unless you’re planning on keeping your foil roof completely flat and spotless, you will not benefit much from the reflective properties of aluminum foil.


Aluminum Foil and Insulation

Aluminum foil is also sometimes used as a makeshift insulation material. This is because it stops heat from passing through it so well; aluminum foil is used as an insulating material in some circumstances where heat needs to be contained (such as in space blankets).  However, there are two problems with using aluminum foil for insulation.  First, cleanliness is an issue; if there are any folds or crinkles on the surface of the foil, heat will escape through those gaps. Second, aluminum foil isn’t very thick; most commercial varieties are only about 0.006 inches thick. That means you need A LOT of aluminum foil layers to create a semi-effective insulation barrier. We’re talking 10-15 layers, at least. And good luck keeping all those layers flat!  Even if you could manage it, you’d be better off just using traditional insulation materials like fibreglass batting, which are cheaper and easier to work with.




Is Aluminum Foil a Good Option for Roof Insulation?

Aluminum foil is one of the choices for roof insulation because it is inexpensive and easy to install. Additionally, aluminum foil reflects heat very well, which helps to keep your home cooler in the summer months. However,  there are many downsides to using aluminum foil as roof insulation. First, it is not as durable as other options like fibreglass or foam board. Additionally, if not installed correctly, aluminum foil can cause your roof to overheat, leading to damage. Overall, aluminum foil is a good option for roof insulation if installed correctly and used in conjunction with other materials.



So there you have it! Unless you’re planning on covering your roof in a layer of perfectly flat, perfectly clean aluminum foil (and good luck with that), it’s probably not worth your time or money to try and insulate your roof with aluminum foil. There are much easier and more effective ways to do it!


If you like to know how thick aluminum foil is, you can read here or even if wrapping your feet In Aluminum Foil could Help You Sleep better.

Of if wonder where did the phrase tin foil hat come from? We have them all!


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