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The Barrier

My local supplier just started stocking this product and I was wondering if anyone has input on the product. Does this prduct perform up to its claimed rating, unlike foil bubble.
Thanks for the input


  • Last I knew, it claimed equivalence to 2" of rigid foam.

    If that's what they are claiming, I say no way.

    If you're just looking for a low-level thermal break (maybe R2 or 3?) then I could swallow it.

    Just MHO...
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    Not true

    Their seminar I attended claimed 1.65. Perhaps the only manufacture with realistic numbers :) It's not a bubble foil or even a bubble product.

    I would still do the edge and a perimeter, perhaps 4 feet, with 1-1/2 or 2" foam. Then use the barrier for the interior spaces. Keep in mind it is not that much cheaper, if at all, than 1" honest R-5 foam.

    The flexability and vapor barrier feature is a plus, especially over rough subgrades that cause foamboard to break into pieces :)

    hot rod

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  • that's not what some of the uppity-ups I have talked to claimed. However, maybe they are backtracking. I was told in no uncertain terms that it was equivalent to 2" of rigid foam.

    I do think the guy had no idea what he was talking about though. But then, I felt the same way about the foil guys for a long time...
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    as I recall the seminar in Denver

    was put on by the owner of NW foam and maybe his son? They were very aware of the unsubstanciated R value claims out there. They stressed the actual testable R value of their product R-1.65.

    I'd be interested in the name of that Uppity up you spoke with, and I'll bet the owner would also ;)

    hot rod

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  • well, I looked through my old email. the only stuff I have in writing is what says that ".019 K-value" decimal is not wrong (even though that would indicate it was far beyond any foam insulation I am aware of, unless I'm missing something)... anything else was a phone conversation it seems, so I have to acknowledge I might be remembering it incorrectly before getting anyone into trouble.

    I'm STILL waiting for a good answer about the k-value thing though. I.E. how it achieves a factor of ten improvement over rigid foam... does rigid foam's testing miss this in conductive situations, or is the Barrier's testing eschewed? No one can say... so far...

  • 8-ball
    8-ball Member Posts: 24

    This is how I understand it:


    units of K are Btu/(hr x ft x degree farenheit)

    X represents the thickness of the material in feet,
    if I remember correctly that stuff is 3/8" thick or .03125 feet thick.

    based on K= .019 Btu/(hr x ft x degree farenheit)


    so R=1.64

    Am I sold on it, no

  • ding ding ding!

    I AM missing something. The thickness basis for the conversion. duh!!!!

    Thank you very much for that, it's been driving me nuts. Now I see!
  • 8-ball
    8-ball Member Posts: 24

  • R- WHAT???

    I spoke with one of my local wholesail suppliers today, and he told me it is rated at R-10 for the thin roll out stuff. If I were the manufacturer, I'd get a hold of their local representation and make sure they are not blowing smoke up peoples skirts.

    I told him I wanted to see the thermal testing results for the R-10 rating, and am still waiting...

    My suppliers are good guys, but sometimes the wool can be pulled over their eyes too...

  • Cosmo_3
    Cosmo_3 Member Posts: 845
    what do you think of this K-value stuff

    Cosmo Valavanis

    Dependable P.H.C. Inc.
  • Interesting

    k-value (which is the true measure of conductance) of 0.019 is exceptionally low.

    Here's one table I've found comparing k-value with r-value but I have not found verification Conductance vs Resistance

    Note a phenomenal r-value (60+) associated with 0.019 k

    The products in the referenced page that achieve a similar k-value are vacuum-based.

  • Here's an short, simple and interesting link Emissivity: The Unknown Factor

    A nice quote from the article:

    "The K value of insulation has not changed dramatically over the years. As P. L. Schneider, a pioneer in heat transfer calculations wrote, '...since it is harder to keep improving insulation by decreasing the K value, let's increase the thickness where necessary.' If this is still true the only other variable that can affect the outcome of the insulation thickness calculation is emissivity."

    Seems hard to believe that this is the K-value for the product itself in the manufactured thickness.

    Perhaps there is an incredible breakthrough where "thickness no longer matters". I do know that emissivity plays ZERO role in the suggested application of Warmboard over their product with earth below. Nearly any traditional insulation not subject to compression would perform very well in such an application...
  • bob_50
    bob_50 Member Posts: 306

    Are you sure about X being expressed in fractions of a foot? ASHRAE and Trane both say inch.

  • http://www.nofp.com/barrier.html is the MFG's page (no mention of R value equivalence). The page above is a reseller claiming BS though!

    Still claiming a .019 k value as installed though on the MFG page.. No mention of a one foot thickness in the testing or anything... *Certainly* nothing about a 1.65 R value!
  • Smoke....

    From their web page...

    Quick Q and A

    How about Heat / Cold Migration?
    The Barrier™ provides excellent resistance to the transfer of heat and cold energy. By utilizing an extruded EPS foam for our core component, the material effectively creates an “igloo” effect. Think of it this way. Have you ever poured hot coffee or an ice-cold beverage in a thin foam cup? What happens? You’re able to hold that scalding cup of coffee or that freezing cup of ice in your hand without feeling the effects of the contents. A normal foam cup is 1/16” thick—can you imagine how well a foam cored component that is 6-16” (3/8”) thick will work? It goes without saying—it works extremely well—as laboratory testing has shown. As shown on the test data—The Barrier™ has a K-Value of .019. This means it eliminates 99.981% of the heat and cold transfer that occurs in an underground insulation application.
    How About Moisture Transfer?
    The other critical area for an underground insulation material is its ability to stop all forms of moisture transfer. Because we’ve used an extruded EPS—we can laminate the heavy-duty polyethylene film to both sides. This combination of extruded foam and heavy film completely stops—100%- of any and all forms of moisture transfer.
    Why is The Barrier™ the fastest growing underground insulation?
    The barrier is the hottest product on the market today for a couple of simple reasons. (1) IT WORKS BETTER THAN ALL OTHER MATERIALS (2) Cost-effective (3) Ease of use. No other single application material is a thermal barrier, a vapor barrier, and a moisture barrier all in one. Blueboard? NO. Blueboard is a rigid material that cracks and breaks everytime it’s walked upon. Once this happens—you’ve effectively eliminated the whole purpose of the product—you might as well use nothing. Can you walk on the flexible Barrier™ - YES! Does blueboard stop 100% of thermal, vapor, and moisture transfer? Definitely not. Does The Barrier™? YES!!! 99.981% of the thermal transfer and 100% of the moisture transfer. This material is formulated for performance.

    Man, 99.981% of heat transfer. So, the way I read it, this stuff is virtually 100% effective in stopping back of slab losses, no???

    Wonder what THEY'VE been smoking:-)

    Ever seen what the concrete workers do when they see a vapor barrier placed on the ground? They walk around with sharp stakes poking holes in it to make sure the water runs out of the concrete so they don't have to stay until midnight, trowling the cement to finish it...

    So much for 100% permeability:-(

    No thanks, I'll stick with my blue/pink/green board.

  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
    A Must Read...

    I've said for years, "most people will gladly believe any glossy brochure...." Especially if the product costs less, as if that argument validates truth.

    John Siegenthaler wrote a great colomn this month in Sept. PM Mag about this very topic. I suggest everyone read it.

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  • bob_50
    bob_50 Member Posts: 306
    If you go to the

    link that Swamp Mike has (conductance vs resistance) and look around there is a lot of information about this product and some derivitives from it.
    sounds like it is used in marine refrigeration. R-value 50 per inch. K-factor .02 per inch. Those numbers sound fanjaculative!

  • Those aren't the values for the product being discussed. As far as I could tell they are for products akin to vacuum thermos bottles.
  • 8-ball
    8-ball Member Posts: 24

    The units of K that I see most often are (btu x in)/(hr x ft^2 x degree F)--Like you said

    Those units would allow you to express X in inches.

    But for some reason the units of K that I've seen with the "Barrier" are Btu/(hr x ft x deg F)

    What they've done is converted the inch unit to feet by dividing by 12 and then canceling one of the foot units.

    Its dimensionally correct, but if you want to use the barriers K factor in the R=x/k equation you must express your X in feet so that the units cancel correctly.

  • john_27
    john_27 Member Posts: 195
    radiant barrier

    the key with barrier is to double or triple layer it to create airspaces....use at least one inch airspace, and seal the ends tightly.....it's primary value is in its blockage of long wave radiant heat, and lower conductivity is only achieved through the creation of airspaces......a simple test is to simply put a section of it behing your radiator with the shiny side facing you, and see if you get a higher heat output. If, as we know, half of a the outout of a radiator is radiant(that's why I hate
    radiator enclosures), than r.b. will help. But, is it a magic bullet? Probably partially.

  • "The Barrier" doesn't seem to claim to be a radiation-blocking product. Conduction blocking and water blocking(liquid and vapor) are stressed.

    Call me a skeptic if that K-value [seems] unreasonable for the product as produced.

    Call me a cynic when I'm bothered by claims that [may] be based on an unspecified thickness.

    Call me a realist when I say that a breakthrough product has no need for exaggeration.
  • 8-ball
    8-ball Member Posts: 24
    Conductance vs Resistance

    That chart is interesting, because what the chart refers to as "K" or Conductance is what I have usually seen labeled "C"

    Where R=1/C
    That C value is independent of any thickness.

    But I think that the K value that "Barrier" is talking about needs to be divided by a certain thickness in order to be transformed into the R value.

    I think that the truth lies in the units.

    correct me if Im wrong beacuse Ive surely been wrong before
  • john_27
    john_27 Member Posts: 195

    ...just did a little web looking for 'the barrier'.....
    The product doesn't interest me because it does not aapear to be reflective....in fact, if it is black, wouldn't it absorb
    radiation....an interesting concept which I intend to explore is: how does a spacesuit work? Think of the extreme temperatures seen in space....and...look at how the suits
    are reflective and have cushioning airspaces.....guess I'll
    have to go to "How stuff works"!

  • John,

    reflective insulation is even worse under slabs. That is the application "The Barrier" is intended for (as several reflective products are as well, which are not well suited to that application).

    It appears, so far, that "The barrier" is a marginal improvement over those foil products under slabs.
  • The Barrier Insulation directly from the manufacturer


    My name is Wally and I'm directly from the manufacturer and I will hopefully clean up some of the issues discussed in the threads. I can be reached at 800-339-4850 and further info on the product can be seen at www.thebarrier.com.

    1. The k-value of the Barrier is .019 which standard units are in feet, so to get the R-value of the product which is 3/8" you convert as has been discussed below to get an R-value of 1.65 for the 3/8". The R-11 equivalency talk which I've seen on some websites is due to the fact of how the Barrier is installed vs. rigid insulation. We deal with installers/specifiers/designers all over the U.S. and we haven't found too many that can install 2" rigid insulation correctly with taped seams, no breakage, etc to have a nice finish with no thermal breaks let alone vs. 1" board even though we're pretty much the same material cost, which doesn't include savings on time/labor, etc.
    2. Reflective foil properties. I’m not sure why this is still a subject among under concrete insulations, but the plain physics of it is that reflective foil needs an airspace to work and if there is no airspace then it’s a waste of money using foil. It actually can work against you as the foil deteriorates in contact with cement. You can download an article from our website that also talks about foil under a slab. I’m sure some of you are familiar with an article written by The New Hydronics called “The Bubble Bursts” which writes about a test by the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Association in Canada. The first paragraph states which I’m sure all or most of you already know that the having bubble/foil/bubble under your slab is like having no insulation at all. The link to the pdf file is http://www.thebarrier.com/pdf/hydronics.pdf. Even if you don’t decide to use our product at least don’t use foil. We manufacture reflective foil insulation and have never recommended or advertised foil under a slab. You might see some bubble/foil/bubble advertise higher R-values, but they are including a layer of sand on top of the bubble pack and in some cases the slab as well. The R value of 1.65 for the Barrier is the product by itself.
    3. In regards to the perimeter insulation noted by Hot Rod, this is a good idea. We’ve recommended this in some cases to use our product in conjunction with rigid insulation. Our product doesn’t replace 2” foam, since The Barrier and rigid insulations insulate against conductive heat flow and since warm always goes to cold because of equilibrium issues, then in this case thicker is better. However, sometimes 2” is overkill and an expensive solution and 1” is impossible to work with so the Barrier makes the most sense. In these cases, as mentioned in another thread, you would want to insulate the inside perimeter with 2’ of rigid insulation and use the Barrier for the rest of the interior surface area. With the Barrier's taped edges making installation easy and its vapor barrier and water barrier properties, this is an effective product to use.

    Hopefully I’ve answered some of your concerns and have Simply Rad dissuaded from using any foil under their slab and please contact me with any further questions.

  • Space suit material

    The reason why space suits and satellites have reflective surfaces and usually are gold (not in the case of space suits) is because space is a vacuum and 100% of the heat transfer in space which comes from the sun is radiant energy. This is where the idea of reflective insulations comes from in the first place.

    Reflective foil's thermal properties comes from its ability to reflect radiant energy which is directly related to the foil surface reflectance. Gold has the highest surface reflectance, however since we're not NASA and have limited funds, we use the next closest thing which is aluminum. Most foils have a surface reflectance of 97% which means that they reflect 97% of the radiant energy that strikes the surface.

    This is why it's a good idea to use reflective foil under a "dry" radiant heat application like under the floor joists to reflect the radiant heat back up to the room you are trying to heat and not into the basement/crawlspace below.

  • Why Do You Make Claims Like This?

    From your website:

    "The Barrier™ has a K-Value of .019. This means it eliminates 99.981% of the heat and cold transfer that occurs in an underground insulation application"

    The K-value of 0.019 is misleading as few will know that such is based on a ONE FOOT THICKNESS when the product itself is 3/8" thick.

    "This means IT eliminates 99.981% of the heat and cold transfer" Such seems to be actual deception to me as it not only implies, but states that the product itself as used blocks 99.981% of conduction.

This discussion has been closed.