Radiant Barrier Sheathing Warning

This was in the Texas forum, but I think it’s worthwhile for everyone to read about the fire danger of RBS.

very Interesting Thanks Frank Much appreciated … Roy

Your the king mate!
Good reading.

I was thinking that we might want to include a disclaimer in the report when encountering RBS. Maybe even include this information.

Cool read. Maybe a lightning protection system being installed on new construction with RBS is in order.

“[Radiant barrier sheathing]]The home had radiant barrier sheathing (RBS) installed as roof sheathing. RBS consists of a panel of standard roof sheathing that has aluminum foil-backed paper glued to the side that faces the attic. It’s purpose is to reflect solar energy that is typically absorbed by the home as heat, in order to reduce cooling costs. Its use has been widely encouraged as a means of reducing energy consumption.
A recent study by McDowell Engineering Inc. indicated that because of its electrical characteristics, this foil material can be ignited by relatively low amperage electrical current. In addition, studies indicate that its use in a home increases the chance of the home being struck by lightning and that when struck by lightning the chance of a fire igniting in the RBS may be as great as 80%.
The information in the Mcdowell study has not been proven and litigation is pending.”

The agents will love this one.

Great narrative Kenton. I would also include a link to the article.

Nice narrative Kenton.

I never worry too much about the agents myself.
When they are professional, they understand and narrate any fact-based material with…:roll:

Hay…Waite a minute…
I agree with you on that point Kenton.:slight_smile: The agents will love this one.

PS: Anyone ever tell you your the king mate?
Your the King Mate!
No more sleepless nights.
You just have:)

We can now add a new reporting section in our reports!

We can add this to “Stab lock”; “Zinsco”; “CSST”; “Mold in your crawlspace”; Double Tapped Neutrals in a pre 1972 House"; “Knob and Tube wiring”; “Single Strand Alu Wiring”…

Time to take out the required (from my Inspection Agreement)": In accordance with the Tennessee Home Inspector License Act of 2005, T.C.A. § 62-6-301 ; this report does not address environmental hazards, including: Lead-based paint; Radon; Asbestos; Cockroaches; Rodents; Pesticides; Treated lumber; Fungus; Mercury; Carbon monoxide; or Other similar environmental hazards; Wood destroying insects organisms; Sewage disposal; Water supply; or Fuel storage or delivery, Geological soil, Wave action or hydrological stability, Soil and earth measurements and stability, Landslide, Retaining walls, survey, Engineer analysis, Architectural, Latent and concealed defects, Seismic safety, Code and zoning, Underground utilities, Fracking, Sinkhole, Flood plain certification.

All based upon an engineering “hypothesis” (as specifically stated in the article).

Very interesting read though…
Now somebody needs to prove it, and not to continue to produce and use it and expect me to report upon it.

Might be a good idea to keep an eye out for scorch marks on this material during our inspections however… Now we have a plausible cause for what we see.

The McDowell article doesn’t give details about mitigation, but it seems like putting additional grounded metal on the roof would only increase the chances of it being struck by lightning, and with the amperage required for starting a fire so low, might not enough amperage be transferred to the foil during a lightning strike to ignite the RBS?

Seems like all panels should be electrically isolated from other panels, like 1/8" gap all around, and no H-clips used, since heat generated at the H-clip electrical bridges between panels seems to be where heat is concentrated and ignition starts.

Yes, I would be interested in a mitigation plan. That would be a tough one.

A Google search for “Radiant Barrier Sheathing fire hazard” didn’t produce any other studies backing this theory, and other articles about RBS referred to the McDowell-Owens “white paper”.
On the other hand, they’re a forensic engineering firm and the article seems convincing enough to me to at least mention its existence to a client. To know about a “potential” fire hazard and not mention it to a client seems pretty wrong.

Lighting is high voltage and it has jumped a long distance to get here a 1/8 gap I think will do zip.

I was thinking about a small amount of amperage leaking onto the foil from a strike to the lightning arrest system, not a direct strike to the roof.

So we should just dismiss it all together?

Hmmmm, Sounds like there is enough evidence that someone thinks it is worth looking into it.

With lighting I do not think there is a small amount anywhere .

Got that right! I’m in a bungalow at the back of a property. The main house has been hit- about 60 ft away from where I sat at an open window- twice in the last week. Click-BOOM and a big flash of light. Last night right out of dead silence. The lightning storms here are the most intense I’ve ever seen. The thunder sounds like a wild animal.

Thanks for the report . I have never been close to one ,That’s OK for me .

Gee sounds exciting would love to have a picture of you when that happens .

On instinct, diving for the floor with eyes the size of saucers the first time, I kid you not. I’ve never heard a sound like that,