Cord-Cutting 101: Best Attic Antenna

Some cord cutters opt for an attic-mounted antenna. Let Solid Signal help you determine whether you really can enjoy cord cutting with a TV antenna in the attic.

When it comes to best OTA TV reception, the top of your roof is the best place for your TV antenna. Even so, some cord cutters opt for an attic-mounted antenna because their homeowners association (HOA) prohibits large antennas to be mounted upon the roof. It’s important to know that your HOA cannot stop you from putting up an antenna smaller than 39 inches. This is true even if you are a renter or own a condo. If you absolutely, positively, beyond the shadow of a doubt want an attic-mounted antenna, Solid Signal is here to help you make it happen. You just need to keep a few things in mind before mounting a TV antenna in the attic.

Why Wouldn’t You Want an Attic Antenna?
Putting the antenna in the attic seems like a dream come true compared to going up on the roof, but not every dream is a pleasant one. An antenna in the attic means that you’ll lose at least half the signal, possibly more. This is due to the materials in your roof blocking or reflecting the signal. If you do plan to install an antenna in the attic, you’ll need to buy one rated for 20 miles more than your actual distance to the broadcast towers.

It’s All About That Space
If you live more than 40 miles from the nearest broadcast tower and have to use an attic installation, you’ll likely need a large outdoor TV antenna. Is there enough space in your attic to house this device? If the attic is too small, some cord cutters downsize to a small antenna but this doesn’t solve the problem. Smaller antennas pull signal from smaller ranges, and this ability is further reduced when the TV antenna is installed in the attic. When you need to use a large outdoor antenna, you need to make sure you have the room to mount it. It’s best to go up there and take some measurements.

What Materials Are Used in Your Attic?

This is an important question, since some building materials can block TV signals. You might have a difficult time getting signal to your antenna if your attic contains any of these materials:

  • A roof made of metal, brick, masonry, or tile
  • A two- to three-foot wide metal stripping beneath roof shingles
  • Foil-faced insulation
  • Solar panels

The real culprit in building materials is metal. Metal is used in ways you don’t realize; Spanish tile is colored with iron oxide, and many composite roofs use copper for coloring. If you have a tin roof or solar panels on the roof, you’ll lose almost all the signal below them. Wood absorbs some signal but for the most part, it isn’t a problem.

Here’s an Option…
So what happens if you just can’t get the signal you desire from an attic-mounted antenna? First of all, it happens. Secondly, it’s good to know that you have options. The best solution for addressing problems with attic antennas is simply not using one. If you’re mounting the antenna in an attic because you just don’t want to go up on the roof, think again. It’s worth the extra effort to get better reception. If you can’t do it because you’re physically unable, reach out to a friend or hire a contractor. You’ll be glad you did. If you have no choice but to use an attic antenna, make sure it’s the biggest one you can get.

Amplifiers are not very useful for addressing loss of signal because they also add noise, and therefore don’t really improve the overall quality of digital signals. A preamp could help, but in many cases it won’t. If your signal quality is good if you hook up a TV in the attic, but gets worse throughout your house, try using a distribution amplifier. This helps deal with signal loss through the cable.

To the Roof!
Remember when we said that TV antennas work best when placed atop your roof? When all else fails, you might want to consider this option. Raising most antennas just three to four feet can have a huge impact upon your reception. In some cases, you might be able to use a smaller outdoor TV antenna, depending on where you live and the location of the nearest broadcast towers. We can help you figure out all of that.

We also might be able to make some sense of your HOA’s rules to help match you with the right TV antenna. Remember, you have the absolute right to mount any antenna or satellite dish on any surface you own, even outside, as long as that antenna is smaller than 39” in all three dimensions. At Solid Signal, we have many antennas that meet these requirements. This is not our first rodeo, after all!

Cord Cutters, Call Solid Signal
You can have the best attic antenna when you decide to cut the cord. Just remember to call your friends at Solid Signal. For years, we’ve been helping cord cutters get the best reception from their TV antenna. We’ll match you with the right antenna and walk you through the installation process. And if you have questions, we’re here to answer them. This is the best way to cut the cord.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.