A radiant barrier or vapor barrier are commonly used for ceiling insulation for many safety and health reasons. Insulation regulations vary from state to state, and can usually be found in each state’s building codes. For many states, covering exposed ceiling insulation is crucial.
Discover why it’s important to cover your ceiling insulation and which material is best to use below.
Why is it Mandatory to Cover Exposed Ceiling Insulation?
Increased Fire Risk
Exposed insulation is at risk of catching fire if not covered properly because it is extremely flammable. Installing a fire retardant plastic sheeting over insulation slows the fire damage rate in the case of an adverse event.
Poor Air Quality
If insulation is disturbed, especially fiberglass insulation, it can cause a slew of health problems. Plastic sheeting protects builders and residents from toxins, fumes, and air particles in dust that could irritate eyes, ears, and lungs.
What type of plastic sheeting can be used to cover ceiling insulation?
The best solutions to use in these applications are either a Vapor Barrier or a Radiant Barrier. Most climates require a vapor barrier to cover ceiling insulation, but not all insulation requires a vapor barrier. It’s always important to refer to your state’s building codes.
When installing a vapor barrier the goal is to keep water from condensing inside the wall and building envelope because moisture causes deterioration and mold. A general rule of thumb is the barrier should face inside in northern hot climates, and outside in humid southern climates.
Fire retardant vapor barriers like 6 Mil White Dura Skrim Reinforced Plastic Sheeting can be a beneficial choice for covering ceiling insulation. As you can see in these before and after pictures, this vapor barrier product offers a clean-white finish and it passes ASTM E84 fire safety standards, in addition to ASTM E1745 vapor retarder standards.
See our other fire retardant vapor barriers options
Another commonly used plastic sheeting product used to cover ceiling insulation is radiant barrier. A radiant barrier is a form of insulation in itself and r values increase when the reflective surface faces an air space. When properly installed, a radiant barrier keeps the summer heat out and retains heat in during the winter. Radiant barriers, like Americover’s Tempshield provides additional climate control, and because it’s not perforated, it also performs as a vapor barrier.
Related Resource: Fire Retardant Plastic Sheeting and Tapes
|Learn more about 6 Mil White Dura Skrim® Reinforced Plastic Sheeting||Learn more about TempShield® Bubble Reflective Insulation|
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