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20 Mil Vapor Barrier
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About Vapor Barriers & How They Should Be Used For Positive Results
It's critical to understand how to install vapor barriers and retarders for moisture control. First off, you must select and install the right under-slab vapor retarder to prevent soil gases from traveling into your home. Unprotected slabs without a good moisture barrier will harm your home's interior by entering from outside and traveling everywhere.
It's well-known that water vapor barriers and retarders are extremely important to control moisture. According to the Dept of Energy, a vapor retarder is made of a material that curtails the rate water vapor can travel through the material.
Vapor barriers will control moisture everywhere from basements and crawl spaces to ceilings and walls. When choosing the right product, make sure it has air-sealing gaps. You must use vapor barriers the right way otherwise it can lead to more moisture issues developing according to the Building Science Corporation.
Originally, vapor barriers were used to prevent buildings from getting wet but in some cases, these barriers can prevent the buildings from properly drying out. Water vapors are installed on AC enclosures and in subgrade areas, or for bricks installed over building paper or vapor-permeable sheathing.
Rolling out 20 Mil Vapor Barriers
The Different Kinds Of Water Vapor Barriers
Vapor retarders are available membranes or coatings according to experts. These retarders come in thicker sheets known as structural vapor retarders which are very flexible. Some materials include insulation of stiff foam, strengthened plastics, stainless steel, and aluminum, to withstand water vapor diffusion. These retarders are fastened mechanically and secured at the joints. There are thinner membrane rolls required for building materials including aluminum, paper-faced glass insulation, and polyethylene sheeting. Another product is foil-backed wallboard that works with most paint-like coatings for retarding vapor diffusion.
Also, there are water-resistant barriers to withstand elements by creating a water vapor diffusion and controlling air movement using only one material. These barriers are believed to work best in southern climates to keep humid outdoor air from getting inside the building cavities which is considered critical during cooler seasons.
Many water-resistant barriers have one or a number of polyethylene plastic sheets, foam board insulation, builder's foil, or other outside sheathings.
How Vapor Barriers & Retarders Actually Work
You can protect your home or other structures from the bottom up with an under-stab vapor barrier system. Below slab water vapor corrections in the aftermath can be costly and complicated to repair.
Getting The Correct Below Slab Barrier
It's important to choose a moisture barrier product manufactured from 100% virgin resin. These products are usually manufactured in multi-layers or co-extruded construction. Co-extruded films are very high in demand because they offer the best properties of different resins and then link them together forming one film structure.
The thicknesses are available in 8-mil, 10-mil, 15-mil, and 20-mil. Keep in mind, the thickness does not necessarily dictate the performance. You should stay away from recycled materials. A 20-mil single-layer extruded film made from recycled material will not live up to the performance of a thinner 8-mil co-extruded film made from virgin resin. When checking out vapor retarders and barrier products, it's important to ensure they are made from virgin resin and are co-extruded films.
Vapor Barrier at Jobsite
What's In The Future For Vapor Barriers
In 2021, there was a change in the Residential Code (IRC) offering improved performance for vapor barriers under concrete slabs. The changes offer better moisture protection against flooring issues, provide healthier air quality, and will increase the structure's lifetime.
Concrete is well-known to be durable and last a very long time but it's also very porous. Not protecting the concrete with a good moisture barrier will harm your home's interior leading to water and soil gasses moving through the concrete. In turn, this will cause flooring problems, high levels of humidity, mildew, mold, and deterioration of the concrete and its components. Keep in mind that soil gasses, including radon and methane, can travel through the interior of your home leading to an unhealthy, environment for you and your family.
Before the 2021 IRC, the residential code required a 6-mil vapor retarder used under concrete slabs. Now the 2021 IRC requires a 10-mil vapor retarder that conforms to the industry-recognized ASTM E1745 Class A standard for under-slab vapor retarders.
20 Mil Vapor Barrier at Jobsite
The ASTM E 1745 classifications are A, B, and C based on their puncture resistance, tensile strength, and water durability. Class A If you want a vapor retarder and barrier with the best puncture resistance and tensile strength you need to look at a Class A or choose a Class C which is on the lower end of performance.
The biggest reason for the new code for a Class A vapor retarder will guarantee the integrity of the membrane during installation. Lamberti said in order to offer the best level of protection the retarder should be continuous without any tears or gaps. For a retarder at Class A, it must offer strong protection against deterioration from construction traffic before pouring.
Knowing the difference between a vapor retarder and a vapor barrier is important. The industry recognizes a vapor retarder has a water durability rating of 0.1 perms and greater than 0.0l perms. Vapor barrier materials have a rating below 0.01 perms. The lower the water vapor durability, the higher the quality of the retarder should be.