Installing Reflective Insulation Behind Radiators

  • 2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 45
What You'll Need
Utility Knife
Tape Measure
Reflective Foam Insulation
Pine Trim
Miter Saw
Finish Nailer

Reflective insulation is a great product that can be used to help save money on heating bills by placing it behind hot water radiators. This type of insulation is built with reflective properties that do not absorb heat but direct it in another direction. Radiators are a common sight in many older homes. They provide a lot of great heat, but they lose a lot in the direction of the wall. With reflective insulation installed behind the radiators, you can keep your room heated more efficiently and save money in the process.

Step 1: Prepare Area Behind Radiator

The installation process of the reflective insulation is quite easy with the foam material. One of the most important parts of the entire process is making sure the adhesive that is used will be applied to a clean surface onto which to adhere. Clean the wall behind the radiator so that it is clean of any dust, dirt, or grime that has been built up.

Step 2: Measure Area for Insulation

Use a tape measure and find the measurements for the length and width of the radiator. Then add another 8 inches to the length and the sides of the radiator. This will give the insulation enough room behind to continue reflecting the heat 8 inches away.

Step 3: Cut Reflective Insulation

The most common type of reflective insulation is a thin foam board with a sheet of aluminum covering the surface. Cutting this material requires a sharp blade in a utility knife and a straight edge. Place the insulation on a hard, flat surface before you cut. A scrap piece of plywood is perfect for this job. Mark the foam board on the rear of the insulation. Place the knife at the top of the piece and cut straight. This will cut through the foam and score the aluminum underneath. Run the knife again on the aluminum sheet and you will have cut through.

Step 4: Spread Adhesive on Wall

The adhesive that is commonly used for installing a reflective insulation piece is one that can be used with a caulking gun. However, once you have applied the bead, use a scraper to smooth it out over the entire surface area.

Step 5: Install Reflective Insulation

Working quickly so that the adhesive does not start to dry, place the insulation foam board against the wall. Make sure the aluminum covering is facing out from the wall. Press the foam board into the wall along the edges and as far as your hand can reach.

Step 6: Finish With Trim

One optional way of completing this project is to surround the insulation with decorative trim pieces. Measure around the insulation and transfer these to each of the trim pieces. Cut them to size with a miter saw. You can elect to cut a 45-degree angle at the corners for a better finish. Hold trim against the wall and secure with 1 1/2 inch finish nails. Cover over the nail holes with putty and paint to the desired color.