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Solarbord

IT’S A LOT COOLER

A house protected by Solarbord® Radiant Barrier Sheathing has a head start on comfort. Up to 97% of radiant heat from the sun is reflected by Solarbord, so the attic can be up to 30° cooler. This means the rest of the house will be cooler too. Cooler attic = cooler house.

Features and Benefits

  • Lower energy costs
  • Solarbord can lower attic temperatures up to 30 degrees
  • HERS raters say they can reduce the AC requirments by 1/2 ton in some markets
  • Prolongs life of heating/air conditioning system. An ASU study showed the run time of a test home’s HVAC was cut by 20%
  • Helps hold heat in your home during the winter
  • Increases the efficiency of attic duct work
  • Increases comfort level in home significantly
  • Requires no maintenance and does not deteriorate over time
  • Back by a 25-year warranty
  • Does not adversely affect shingles
  • As easy to install as regular sheathing
  • Meets or exceeds PS 2 standards
  • Costs only a few dollars more per sheet than regular sheathing
  • No added urea-formaldhyde resin, CARB exempt
  • Sizes / Lengths:
    4x8
  • Thickness:
    7/16, 15/32, 19/32
  • Edge Seal Color:
    Turquoise
  • Warranty:
    25 Year Limited Warranty
Have any questions regarding this product?
Contact us today.

SOLARBORD Testimonial 1

We are proud to have Norbord as a partner in our efforts to build energy efficient homes. Energy efficiency takes a number of professionals from various industries working together on a common goal and we are happy to be working with Norbord as one of our partners to create energy efficient homes that are high quality and cost effective. To learn more about Homes’ secret to energy efficiency success click here.

Dave Erickson
Founder / Grayhawk Homes
  • Product Documents

  • Builder Tips

    Solarbord is a radiant barrier sheathing product for roofs and exterior walls that consists of heat-reflecting foil laminated to OSB.

    HOMEBUYERS’ BENEFITS BUILDER BENEFITS
    • Reduces radiant heat transfer through the roof by up to 97%.
    • Reduces attic temperatures by up to 30ºF.
    • Increases the efficiency of attic duct work.
    • Prolongs life of heating/air conditioning system. An ASU study showed the run time of a test home’s HVAC was cut by 20%.
    • HERS raters say they can reduce the AC requirements by 1/2 ton in some markets.
    • Increases comfort level significantly.
    • Reduces cooling costs and makes your insulation more effective.
    • Helps hold heat in your home during winter.
    • Requires no maintenance and does not deteriorate over time.
    • Does not adversely affect shingles.
    • As solar heat increases, Solarbord’s effectiveness goes up.
    • Provides an important reason for homebuyers to buy your home instead of your competitor’s.
    • As easy to install as regular sheathing.
    • The ideal sheathing for roofs and walls.
    • Does not increase labor costs.
    • Does not require special installation or tools.
    • HERS raters may be able to reduce the AC by 1/2 ton when Solarbord is used.
    • OSB certified by APA-The Engineered Wood Association and HUD.
    • Costs only a few dollars more per sheet than regular sheathing.
    • No adverse effect on shingles.
    • Solarbord is CARB exempt and approved for use in California.
    • Potentially helps meet Energy Star Requirements in certain climate zones (refer to Energy Star for details).

    Builder Tips

    It is always a good idea to include information on this product in the material provided to appraisers. It shows that you have built added value into the project. This may help the appraiser understand and see the real value in the home and it will differentiate you from the competition. See the resources section for downloadable files.

    Have your HERS rater calculate the HVAC using Solarbord and use TallWall structural sheathing to reduce air leakage.  You can win two ways.

  • Case Study

    Grayhawk Homes’ Secret to Building Energy Efficiency Success

    Quality and energy efficiency are synonymous with Grayhawk Homes Inc. Based in the Fort Benning area, this plucky construction company is blazing a trail in a tough home market where competition is fierce. Want to know founder Dave Erickson’s secret to success? A return to the good old fashioned principles of value for money, good workmanship, genuine care for home owners as well as a healthy respect for the environment. With two “Builder of the Year” awards, an EPA ENERGY STAR award and recognition as the number one Energy Efficient Builder in Western Georgia from Georgia Power every year since 1996, it’s an ethos that is paying off.

    Click here to view the full case study

  • FAQ

    1. Which way should SOLARBORD face?
    2. How does SOLARBORD reflect the heat if it faces down?
    3. How does SOLARBORD save money?
    4. Will SOLARBORD damage my shingles?
    5. Will SOLARBORD affect the reception performance of an antenna or satellite dish mounted in the attic?
    6. Should SOLARBORD be installed on gable walls?
    7. Can SOLARBORD be installed only on specific portions of the roof?
    8. Can other materials such as spray foam be installed against SOLARBORD in the attic?
    9. How long will SOLARBORD provide a radiant thermal shield before I need to replace it?
    10. Is it possible to estimate the energy and cost savings I can expect with SOLARBORD?
    11. What is the R-value of SOLARBORD?
    12. What benefits does SOLARBORD provide that fiberglass does not?
    13. Will the benefits of SOLARBORD be the same when I replace my cedar shingle roof?
    14. Can I accomplish the same result with improved attic ventilation?
    15. Can SOLARBORD be used for wall sheathing?

    Which way should SOLARBORD face?

    In order to block the radiant energy from your hot roofing materials, the foil side of SOLARBORD must face the attic space. The high purity aluminum (99+%) laminated on SOLARBORD requires an air space in order to provide radiant thermal shield benefits. SOLARBORD must not be installed with foil side in contact with the roofing materials.
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    How does SOLARBORD reflect the heat if it faces down?

    The aluminum that is laminated to SOLARBORD reflects radiant energy very efficiently and it does not radiate heat very well. The fact that the foil faces the attic creates the air space required for a radiant thermal shield to function. Because it is installed in this manner, SOLARBORD will emit (transfer) only about 3%* of the radiant energy to the cooler air space below it, this 97%* of the radiant energy that ordinarily is transmitted to your attic interior is blocked. An additional benefit of facing the foil down is the fact that it does not gather dust which can limit the effectiveness of a radiant thermal shield.
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    How does SOLARBORD save money?

    The savings are achieved through a combination of several related physical changes impacting the radiant energy in your home and the systems used to cool it. Essentially, the savings are achieved by reducing the amount of electricity consumed by your HVAC system to maintain the comfort level you desire.
    A reduced attic air temperature results from lower amounts of radiant energy entering the attic space.
    Lower attic air temperature and decreased levels of radiant energy lowers the surface temperature of the fiberglass insulation, which in turn reduces heat transfer through the ceiling into the living space.
    Additionally, because the fiberglass absorbs less radiant heat, the house cools down quicker in the early evening.
    Because of the effect of the first three items, less heat is transmitted by the interior ceiling, the occupants of the house absorb less radiant energy (heat), and feel a comparable degree of comfort at a higher thermostat setting.
    And finally, for those homes with duct work in the attic, SOLARBORD provides an environment of lower operating temperatures which translates to a more efficient air conditioning system.
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    Will SOLARBORD damage my shingles?

    No. there are a wide range of mechanisms at work which dissipate the heat blocked by SOLARBORD. Studies have shown that shingle temperatures only rise approximately 2-5°F using SOLARBORD and remain well within the 200°F shingle temperature that most shingle companies warrant.
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    Will SOLARBORD affect the reception performance of an antenna or satellite dish mounted in the attic?

    Yes. SOLARBORD will interfere with reception quality when antennas or satellite dishes are mounted in the attic. Exterior mounted antennas and satellite dishes are recommended.
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    Should SOLARBORD be installed on gable walls?

    Yes. Gable walls are also an area that allows radiant energy to enter the house. Utilizing SOLARBORD in this application only adds to the benefits that existing SOLARBORD roof sheathing provides. Here again, the foil side of the board should face the attic.
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    Can SOLARBORD be installed only on specific portions of the roof?

    Although some benefit will be derived by a partial installation of SOLARBORD, this is not recommended. Your benefit will be proportional to the amount of the roof area in which SOLARBORD is installed. Full benefit requires a complete envelope of the aluminum surface, including gables.
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    Can other materials such as spray foam be installed against SOLARBORD in the attic?

    No. An airspace must exist on the foil side of SOLARBORD in order to achieve radiant thermal shield benefits. Spaying foam over the full surface will totally negate any benefits of the radiant barrier.
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    How long will SOLARBORD provide a radiant thermal shield before I need to replace it?

    One of the best features of SOLARBORD is that it does not require any maintenance, and its effectiveness does not deteriorate over time.
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    Is it possible to estimate the energy and cost savings I can expect with SOLARBORD?

    The impact of SOLARBORD (much like conventional insulation) depends upon the climate, and the heating and cooling habits of the homeowner. It is possible to make general estimates using average climactic data for an area, assuming average desired interior temperatures, and local electricity rates. A sophisticated computer modeling program has been used to refine these estimates. However, due to the inexpensive nature of installing SOLARBORD, even with very conservative savings estimates, SOLARBORD will save you money. This is particularly true if your home is mortgaged, and the incremental expense is spread over the life of the mortgage. In these cases the savings go in your pocket starting the first month you own the home. Your SOLARBORD representative can work with you to estimate these savings.
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    What is the R-value of SOLARBORD?

    R-value by definition measures the resistance for heat flow. It is a measure designed to evaluate the benefits of mass insulation through testing. As SOLARBORD is a Radiant Thermal Shield, the use of a mass insulation measurement will result in no true R-value. The benefits of SOLARBORD can be measured based on reduced heat flux, decreased energy consumption, and decreased surface temperatures of the contents of the shielded area. The estimated savings and effectiveness can be accurately calculated using sophisticated computermodeling programs in compliance with ASTM C1340.
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    What benefits does SOLARBORD provide that fiberglass does not?

    There are three types of Heat Flow into your home:

    • Conduction – Heat Flow through a solid (building material)
    • Convection – Heat Flow by air movement
    • Radiation – Heat Flow radiated through air by a hot solid (roofing materials and ceilings)

    Fiberglass primarily slows heat flow by conduction and to a small degree by convection. Mass insulation does not reduce radiation in fact it absorbs it. SOLARBORD on the other hand blocks 97%* of the radiant heat generated by your hot roofing materials. This in turn lowers the amount of radiant heat that is absorbed by the surfaces of both your HVAC equipment, and the fiberglass insulation. This allows HVAC system to operate more efficiently, and the fiberglass insulation to be more effective at slowing the transfer of heat into the living space. SOLARBORD is not recommended as a substitute for conventional fiberglass insulation. It simply works in partnership with fiberglass and other conventional insulation to improve effectiveness.
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    Will the benefits of SOLARBORD be the same when I replace my cedar shingle roof?

    All radiant barriers require a minimum of ¾” air space from the foil surface. Removing all the “space sheathing” boards will allow the SOLARBORD to provide maximum benefits. If all or some of the boards are left in place the effectiveness will be reduced by the amount of foil area in contact with the boards. E.g. if half the foil surface is in contact with another surface the benefits will be reduced by approximately that amount. Removing all the “space sheathing” boards is the best practice. Another aspect to keep in mind is that a Cedar shingle roof typically keeps an attic cooler than an asphalt roof. SOLARBORD fastened directly to the rafters will likely provide a cooler attic than a cedar roof but it is unlikely to see a major drop in attic temperatures. Replacing a cedar roof with asphalt roofing alone could result in a big jump in attic temperatures unless a radiant barrier is used.
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    Can I accomplish the same result with improved attic ventilation?

    No. Even though improved ventilation will lower the air temperature in your attic, this will not produce significant reductions in energy usage. This is because the radiant heat will continue to pass through the air space and heat the surface of the insulation. This radiant heat will in turn be transferred through the insulation to the living space. SOLARBORD works by stopping 97%* of the radiant heat from entering the attic. Performance of SOLARBORD and your ventilation system will be improved by using the combination of products. As with any energy saving systems or materials, and initial investment will improve the comfort levels in your home, and produce energy and economic savings for years to come.
    Top

    Can SOLARBORD be used for wall sheathing?

    A minimum of 3/4″ air space must be maintained in front of the foil surface for any radiant barrier to work. If the foil faces the inside of the building it will be very difficult to ensure there is the required air space between the foil and the insulation so in wall applications it is best to install the foil facing out. To maintain the required 3/4″ airspace strapping/furring strips must be installed to the foil side. Install the house wrap (if required by your local building code) on the outside of the strapping/furring strips. The wood strips will create the required air space depth and then the finished siding can be installed.

    Notes:

    • SOLARBORD is not considered a house wrap or moisture barrier.
    • The extra thickness resulting from the strapping/wood strips may impact the window and door frame depths.
    • Any spacing at the top and bottom of the wall created by the extra depth may require the steps to prevent insects, etc. from getting behind your finished siding.
    • Be sure your finished siding is acceptable over this method.

    Top
    * The 97% reflectivity and 3% emissivity were derived from the aluminum foil laminate utilizing an emissometer in accordance with ASTM C1371.

  • Installation

    Norbord structural panels are to be installed according to the APA’s (The Engineered Wood Association) Construction Guide E30 and the appropriate building code. Below are some key installation points.

    Solarbord Installation

    Solarbord on Roofs

    1. Make sure rafter alignment is uniform and square.
    2. Prior to application, acclimatization of panels to surroundings for at least 24 hours is recommended.
    3. A minimum of 1/8″ spacing is required at the ends and sides of panels.
    4. All panels must be continuous over two or more spans.
    5. Install panels perpendicular to the roof rafters.
    6. Install Solarbord panels with the foil side facing the attic.
    7. Roof clips are recommended and may be required – check your local code requirements.
    8. Fasteners are to be 3/8″ in from edges and corners.
    9. Use 8d nails to fasten Solarbord to the rafters.  Fastener spacing* (minimum typical spacing is 6″ o.c. along edges and 12″ o.c. in the field but local and high wind requirements must be followed).
    10. A minimum of a 2′ wide panel is required at the peak.  (Wind loads are the greatest at the peak and eves.)
    11. Check for “shiners” and refasten or add additional fasteners.
    12. Cover the roof sheathing as soon as possible with shingle underlayment (or #15 roofing felt) to protect panels from weather. If construction delays are anticipated, cover with #30 roofing felt.
    13. Check local building codes for minimum ventilation requirements and build accordingly.
    14. Spraying foam insulation to the underside of Solarbord will negate all benefits of the radiant barrier and my reduce or void some shingle warranties.
    15. Provide 3/4″ expansion joints for every continuous section of panels exceeding 80 feet in length.
    16. Always wear the appropriate safety equipment.
    17. For roofs over 80′ in length, see APA U425 for details.

    Solarbord on Gables

    1. Install the Solarbord panels with foil side facing in, toward the attic space.
    2. Allow 3/4″ air space between foiled surface and all other building materials in the attic.
    3. Maintain 1/8″ spacing between panel ends and edges.
    4. Keep Solarbord panels protected from the elements prior to, during and after installation.
    5. Make sure the support alignment is uniform and square.
    6. Fastener spacing*

    *Consult your local building codes for local requirements and specifications and the APA Construction Guide E30

    Click here for the APA web site

    Prevent Buckling with Proper Spacing

    Download our free app called Onsite.  I-Phones and I-Pads can download from the Apple store and Android devices from Google Play.   Great while on the jobsite or training new employees, the app has lots of videos and info and focuses on the 3 most common mistakes installing OSB.   There are videos for Sub-Floor, Wall and Roof applications plus a Trouble Shooting section.  The app is a guide only. Always consult the local building codes, design professional’s specifications or the APA’s E30 for details that may apply to your application.

    End Uses

    The main application for Solarbord is for roof sheathing and external walls.

    Installing Solarbord on gables reduces heat gain through the attic even more. Solarbord is particularly effective on gables with southern exposures that endure solar rays for prolonged periods. (Please see installation guide.)

    Installing Solarbord as exterior wall sheathing may provide benefits but there are important aspects to consider.  A minimum of 3/4″ air space must be maintained in front of the foil surface for any radiant barrier to work.  If the foil faces the inside of the building, it will be very difficult to ensure there is the required air space between the foil and the insulation so in wall applications it is best to install the foil facing out.  To maintain the required 3/4″ airspace strapping/furring strips must be installed to the foil side.  Install the house wrap (if required by your local building code) on the outside of the strapping/furring strips.  The wood strips will create the required air space depth and then the finished siding can be installed.

    Notes:

    1. Solarbord is not considered a house wrap or moisture barrier.
    2. The extra thickness resulting from the strapping/wood strips may impact the window and door frame depths.
    3. Any spacing at the top and bottom of the wall created by the extra depth may require the steps to prevent insects, etc., from getting behind your finished siding.
    4. Be sure your finished siding is acceptable over this method.

    Resources

    Visit the resources page for more information on product documents, forest certification, APA publications, seminars & trade shows.