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 this way.

When it comes to 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 from being mounted on 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 you make this choice.

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 happens because the materials in your roof block or reflect 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 the actual distance to the broadcast towers. It’s the best way to make up for that loss.

It’s All About The 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?

Some building materials can block TV signals. You might have a difficult time getting signal to your antenna if your attic contains these materials:

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

Wood absorbs some signal but metal is the real culprit. It’s used in ways you don’t realize. For example, 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.

Are Amplifiers an Option?

So what happens if you just can’t get the signal you desire from an attic-mounted antenna? Amplifiers are not very useful for addressing signal loss 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!

The best solution for 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. 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. So, if you want to cut the cord…

…Call Solid Signal

We can help you figure out all of that. For years, we’ve been helping cord cutters get the best reception from their antennas. 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. Just call us at 888-233-7563. You can also fill out the form below and send it to us. We’ll be in touch!

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.