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Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap insulation will provide the an equal performance as to radiant barriers and in some cases both can be confused as being the same product. However this is not the case. They would both look very similar in their appearance with both bein foil faced but the main difference is the bubble wrap underneath the foil. This bubble wrap will act as a trappment for air and will slow the passage of air if not stap the passage of air through the product.

It maybe worth noting the perforations maybe required to be inserted into this product if it is being placed in a location with little to no ventialtion of in a crawlspace or roof or attic. The application in which this product is used are very much similar to radiant barrier. See locations below and applications of this product.

 

Bubble wrap in your roof space;

So what happens when you put a bubble wrap into your roof. Well first of all if you do not use a bubble wrap in your roof space what will happen is your shingles will get very hot on the outside from the beating sun which will in turn warm up the underside of the shingles. This will in turn heat up the osb underneath which will also inturn heat up the underroof side of the osb thus heating up the attic space. By installing the reflective bubble wrap it will reflect this heat outwards thus keeping the inside room temperature at a comfortable level.

It is also possible to use a white shingle tile or a reflective tile on your roof which will perform quite well to reflect the heat outwards but will not perform as well as a bubble wrap will and also a white shingle or reflective roof is not always aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Radiant barrier can also be applied to insulation during the manufacturing process you will notice some companies such like Owens Corning / CertainTeed / Johns Manville etc all fabricate a foil faced glasswool insulation. Other insulation types like Polyisocyanurate insulation (Polyiso / PIR) also have a foil face and again this is purely as a reflective barrier and will act similarly to bubble wraps.

 

Bubble Wrap in your attic space;

The most common application here is laying the bubble wrap over the glasswool or mineral wool insulation. However there are some precautions to take as per the Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association International whereby they advise that perforations be installed into the reflective insulation to allow for the movement of air and vapours that may get trapped between the reflective insulation and the ceiling. This could over time cause mould build up on the underside of the reflective insulation or the glasswool / mineral wool insulation. Perforations the size of at least 5 perms are recommended here. Another downside to this application is the buildup of dust over the reflective foil on the up side. This will over time decrease the bubble wraps performance, so maybe best to set your alarm for once every 6 months to go up and wipe off all that dust.

Another application for the bubble wrap in your attic could be to the underside of your rafters. A simple staple gun and some elbow grease will get the job done in no time by stapling the bubble wrap to the rafters. This is a quick and easy fix for your attic and will be very effective at reducing your heat lose and reflecting your heat back into your home.

 

Bubble Wrap in your Walls;

Again much like with your attic it is recommended that your bubble wrap can breath here to avoid any buildup of high moisture content air within the cavity space behind the bubble wrap. Again the bubble wrap can be stapled to the stud framing at whatever centers the stud framing is at. Again just make sure there is plenty of space for the movement of air and nothing will get trapped in behind that wall.

If you wish to use a bubble wrap on your external wall then again you can vent the cavity with a breeze block or wall vents can be used to allow for the circulation of air from bottom to top. This is vital to get right so make sure when the job is finished that nothing has fallen in behind the vents or anything is blocking the airflow through them.

 

Bubble Wrap in your Floors, Crawlspaces and Basements;

Radiant barriers work very well for floors and crawlspaces especially when underfloor heating systems are deployed. The bubble wrap will prevent the warmth from passing through to the crawlspace or basement. Just like the walls and roof applications the bubble wrap can be stapled to the underside of the floor joists again at whatever centers the floor is already at. In this situation however where a crawlspace is under the floor it is not a good idea to perforate the bubble wrap as the moisture from underneath will pass through the barrier into the underfloor void and into the living space of the home. So the bubble wrap will act as a vapour barrier also.

Single Bubble and Double bubble insulation should be viewed in a similar manner as different thhicknesses of insulation like glasswool or mineral wool. Double bubble insulation will of course give you a much great performance when compared to single bubble insulation. In most cases when it comes down to the purchase of which type of insulation you would choose its down to how much you wish to spend on the product and its application. Both products will perform exceptionally well.

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