Radiant Barrier Cost: Everything You Need to Know

If you’ve been thinking about installing radiant barriers into your attic space, you may be wondering how much it will cost. In warm, sunny climates like southern California, radiant barriers can be an excellent way to cut down on cooling costs. The Department of Energy suggests that cooling costs tend to be reduced by 5%-10%, while some sources say it can be even higher.

But are radiant barriers going to be a good value for you in the long run? 

Below, find a breakdown of the costs that you can expect when installing a radiant barrier, and the returns that you should expect to see in the long run.

Breaking Down The Cost

Depending on how you’re planning to install radiant barriers in your attic, prices for installation tend to vary from home to home. Consider these three elements when you are looking for an estimate for your attic radiant barrier installation cost:

  • Cost of materials
  • Area of surfaces you need to cover
  • Installing radiant barriers yourself vs. hiring experts

Each of these three aspects are going to factor in the kind of savings that you see in the short term and the long run. While it may be tempting to cut costs as low as possible early on, using ineffective materials or improperly installing radiant barriers can decrease returns on energy savings, and take up a lot of your time in the process.

Radiant barriers are about more than just cooling down your home—they’re an investment that you want a solid return on. Looking into the right methods to keep costs low and energy efficiency high will produce the greatest value in the long term.

Cost of Materials

Like any product, radiant barriers come in multiple varieties. The cheapest of these are single-sided barriers, which are only reflective on one side and tend to tear easily. More expensive materials have greater durability and are much easier to install, but are going to run up the tally a bit higher.

 Using higher-end radiant barrier materials is recommended, especially when you’re installing radiant barriers yourself. Cheaper materials are less likely to hold a staple, and can be less effective at blocking heat. While other kinds of insulation age and become less effective over time, you only need to install this reflective insulation material once, as it doesn’t lose efficacy over time. 

Surface Area

Radiant barrier installation is measured in square footage, and typically involves lining your entire attic space to produce energy savings. To experience a cooling cost reduction that produces the most value, radiant barriers must cover the surface area of your entire attic.

Determining the cost of materials for covering your attic with radiant barriers can be found by multiplying the total surface area of the crawl space you are looking to cover by the cost per square foot of radiant barrier material you purchase.

You may also have to factor in more than just the attic floor and ceilings when calculating this cost—many older homes have ductwork or HVAC equipment. For homes like this, the savings on cooling costs netted from installing radiant barriers can be the highest, but these should be covered as well to see the maximum benefits.

Self-Installation vs. Hiring Experts

Homeowners who decide to install radiant barriers on their own won’t have to worry about installation fees, but doing so comes with risks of their own. For radiant barriers to shine to their full potential, they must be installed properly. 

Here are a few things to consider when installing radiant barriers by yourself:

  • Wear protective equipment – Existing insulation can cause irritation to the skin and lungs when handled. Before venturing into your attic, make sure you purchase protective clothing, eye protection, and breathing protection.
  • Be careful around electrical wiring – Adding hospital costs to your budget is not recommended. When installing radiant barriers, be cautious when stapling around electrical wiring and junction boxes.
  • Don’t compress existing insulation ­– Compressing existing insulation in an attic while installing radiant barriers can decrease, rather than increase, your energy cost and bills. Because attic insulation depends on thickness for its efficacy, flattening existing insulation decreases their resistance value.
  • Watch where you step – Unfinished attics can be dangerous places, with loose nails, toxic materials, and variable headspace. Work only when temperatures are safe, and keep foot traffic to joists so you don’t fall through your ceiling.

Hiring experts to install radiant barriers may add on to your budget, but it’s a recommended expense to prevent the incursion of hidden costs like hospital bills, ceiling repair, and lowering the R-values of existing insulation.

Cut Costs Without Cutting Savings – Attic Construction

With so much to consider with attic radiant barrier installation, hiring experts tends to be the best bet. Attic Construction can help ensure that your radiant barriers are installed correctly, while being sensitive to your budgetary needs!

Contact us today and receive a free attic inspection appointment. 

Our customers will receive a $300 discount off all radiant barrier installation services, keeping costs low and value high.


  1. Insulation Guides. Compare Radiant Barrier Insulation Installation Costs and Values. https://insulationguides.com/home-insulation-prices/radiant-barrier
  2. Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Radiant Barrier Installation Procedures. https://web.ornl.gov/sci/buildings/tools/radiant/rb4/

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