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Plastic Sheeting- Is it Flame Resistant?

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 @ 11:53

Is plastic sheeting flame resistant? No...  Can plastic sheeting be flame resistant? Again, no.  Not if you adhere to the definition that differentiates flame resistant and flame retardant, or fire retardant.

It's a bit tricky because more often than not, flame resistant and flame retardant are used interchangeably.  Here is the minute difference.

Flame resistant fabrics (notice the word "plastic" is missing here) are fabrics that are inherently flame resistant by their chemical nature.  If a fire is lit under a flame resistant fabric, it will prevent the spread of fire. They may burn, but they will burn slowly, and often self-extinguish.

Fire or flame retardant plastic and fibers, are items which by themselves will burn if a flame is placed on it.  What makes some fabrics and plastics fire retardant is the special fire retardant chemicals that are either added to the  polymer while it is being formulated, or treated with these chemicals, which then makes the fabric or plastic fire retardant.  

Plastic sheeting made from polyethylene will burn big time when hit by flames.  The only saving grace to slow the fire is if the polyethylene is treated with a fire retardant chemical. Since plastic/ polyethylene is made from oil, it can really make a fire become a big fire in a hurry it ti's not treated with and FR additive.

Better safe than sorry- FR plastic is the way to go to be safe.

Tags: 2 FR

Is Plastic Strapping Poly Strapping?

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Thu, Nov 12, 2015 @ 12:56

What is Strapping?

What do we mean when we speak of “strapping”?  Strapping is defined for this article as a flat material that is most often used for bundling and banding items to hold them in place. Strapping is also used to fasten or reinforce products. Strapping is used in agriculture, construction, shipping, packaging, lumber yards, and just about anywhere items need to be held together (contained) with something more than twine or string. There are different kinds of strapping- Steel strapping, plastic strapping, woven poly strapping....Is plastic strapping also called, poly strapping?

Steel Strapping

Steel strapping is the winner when you talk about time on the market.  From what we can find, steel strapping, also called “steel banding”, was introduced in the late 19th century. Today steel strapping is made by “rolling” the metal to literally flatten it.  There are two types of rolled metal- “hot rolling” and “cold rolling”.  If the temperature of the metal is above its recrystallization temperature, then the process is known as hot rolling. If the temperature of the metal is below its recrystallization temperature, the process is known as cold rolling. Steel strapping also comes in a variety of thicknesses and widths as well as variations in the grade of steel. The industry refers to the strengths as “regular duty” and “High Tensile”. Break strengths can go as high as 12,500 pounds. Regular Duty (RG) strapping is usually a low carbon steel strapping produced for low to medium duty applications, e.g., package reinforcement, unitizing, bundling palletizing and box closure. Regular duty steel strapping can be used in manual and pneumatic tools, as well as automatic steel strapping heads.  High Tensile (HT): A high carbon steel strapping that is heat treated to produce a product which combines high strength and elongation (stretch) for shock resistance.   Typical applications are unitizing compressed fiber bales, securing heavy steel coils and open top railcar and trailer loading.   High Tensile strapping provides more footage per coil than heavy duty sizes of comparable break strength.


Steel is used for holding heavy loads where strength and minimal stretch are desired.  Steel strapping also has different surface finishes.  Some of the finishes include paint, paint and wax, bluing or zinc (galvanized) and wax. Galvanized steel is a process where the steel is “hot-dipped” in molten zinc to prevent corrosion.


While steel banding had its advantages, it also has its disadvantages.  Some steel strapping if left untreated has the potential to rust, and thus stain the cargo which it is touching.  It can also tear and/or scratch the cargo. If a steel band is cut from a bundle in a careless manner, the steel band most likely will lash and cause deep bounds.  In addition, since steel banding coil weigh so much when compared to other banding materials, many people also get injured from loading these coils into a dispenser. Another consideration is the cost.  Not only is steel expensive, but with fluctuating markets, budgeting is erratic.


Steel strapping is a less than ideal solution if the bundle should settle and become smaller.  Steel banding will remain the same size and will no longer hold the cargo securely. The best time to use steel is when the pallet weights are excessive- 4000 pounds or more. If the load has sharp edges, is a non-compressed bundle, and you need the strap to be the package security.,


There are three types of “plastic strapping”. Let’s take a look at each one; polypropylene, polyester, and nylon. So to quickly answer the question, yes, plastic strapping and poly strapping are one in the same. It is how they are manuafactured that makes the difference.

Polypropylene strapping is considered a light to medium duty strap. This economical option is best for light duty palletizing, unitizing, carton closing and bundling. It is used in all semi-automatic strappers and nearly all standalone arch machines It is manufactured in various thicknesses, widths and polymer variations. Often it is embossed or printed. Polypropylene strapping is most commonly used.  It is light and easy to apply and recycle.  It has high elongation and elongation recovery, but low retained tension. Polypropylene strapping will lose about 50% of the applied tension within one hour, and that this tension loss is accelerated with increases in ambient temperature. If the bundle is something that can take up the slack, then this is not such a huge issue.  If however the bundle is a solid brick such as a block of concrete, the slack will be problematic. Additionally, the sun and its UV rays are an enemy to polypropylene strapping. UV degradation can occur is the bundle is left outside in the sun.  If the polypropylene strapping has been treated with UV inhibitors, then the strapping will fare better in the sun.  


Polypropylene strapping can be printed which has marketing advantages for companies. The printing can also offer security.  It is available in manual and machine grade. It can be sealed with buckles, seals, heat seals or friction welds. Polypropylene can be used for loads up to 2000 pounds, has moderate settling, is light weight.


Nylon strap has the greatest “specific strength” of the three plastics.  Specific strength is defined as a material's strength (force per unit area at failure) divided by its density. It is also known as the strength-to-weight ratio or strength/weight ratio. In fiber or textile applications, tenacity is the usual measure of specific strength. While nylon is strong, its high price is a deterrent in today’s market.  Nylon has been replaced by polyester.


Polyester strapping is the third type of plastic strapping. Polyester and nylon are the strongest plastic strapping products and are used as an alternative to steel in some applications. Polyester strapping can be woven or nonwoven. The nonwoven strap referred to as  “composite straps’ consist of polyester filaments in a straight line that are encased in a polymer.  Woven Polyester strapping is even stronger than the composite straps  due to the filaments being weaved together.Woven polyester strapping can be applied using a ratcheting tensioner and a high joint efficient buckle.

Why is woven polyester strapping so popular?

  • Polyester strapping retains excellent tension on rigid loads.  It also has excellent recovery properties to help a load absorb impact without the strap breaking.
  • Woven poly strapping won’t stain or rust like steel strapping can.
  • The soft nature of poly strapping won’t damage the bundle being secured.
  • The polyester strapping won’t snap or break causing injury.
  • It is lightweight and much easier to work with and dispose of.
  • Both woven polyester and the composite strapping maintains its shape even under rigorous weather conditions.
  • Resistant to high temperatures, ultraviolet rays and moisture.
  • Polyester strapping can be printed.




Comparing steel, polyester, nylon and polypropylene strapping we find:

Steel:  Strongest, most expensive, least impact resistant, and lowest moisture resistance.

Polyester: Lowest notch sensitivity, second lowest cost behind polypropylene, best  impact,moisture and environmental resistance.

Nyon:  It falls in the middle of steel and polypropylene.  It is second in cost to steel, had the highest elongation, but adequate moisture and environmental resistance.

Polypropylene: Least expensive, lowest break strength, and great environmental resistance.

The key to selecting the strapping is to know your load characteristics and the strapping attributes.Click to edit your new post...

Haunted House Plastic

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 @ 05:34

What is Haunted House Plastic?

Haunted House Plastic is black plastic sheeting that has 2 distinguishing characteristics that other black poly sheeting products don't.


What 2 things set Haunted House Plastic apart?

  1. Haunted House Plastic from Global Plastic Sheeting has an additive that makes the plastic FIRE RETARDANT!  That is a BIG deal!  It's an even bigger deal if you are planning a haunt for the public. You see, there is a chance that your friendly neighborhood fire marshal will stop by to insure your black plastic is fire retardant..... And what will the fire marshal ask to see?
  2. YOUR FIRE CERTIFICATES! Yes, you will need to provide the NFPA 701-15 fire cert that proves that your black plastic sheeting that you spent days putting up has met the criteria so that it won't add to a fire should a fire occur.

Who issues these fire Certs?  There are various laboratories that has special equipment to test the plastic to make sure it doensn't burn.  Companies have to pay to have their products tested.  Additionally, the testing method can be upgraded. It's important to get the most recent test, which in this case is the NFPA 701-15 test.


Small- Medium- Large or 4 mil, 6 mil or 8 mil.  These are the thicknesses that the haunted house plastic come in.  It's just personal preference how thick of a poly sheeting you desire to work with.  Things to consider is where you are putting this plastic.  Are you putting it outside where it will have to hold up against the elements?  Will it be in an area where it will be left alone? Thinking about this can help you make the best decision for what thickness to purchase.

What about the tape? Don't forget about the fire retardant tape! Most likely you will need to adhere your plastic to a wall, or attach sheets together. This is where fire retardant tape can solve this issue!

Be safe and have a Happy Halloween!


Haunted House Plastic- Top 5 Tips On How to Use it!

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 @ 01:18

Haunted House Plastic- Tip #1

Not all “Haunted House Plastic” is created equal. To be safe, use black fire retardant plastic that passes the NFPA 701-15 fire test.  This is the very best tip we can give you.WHY? Because any type of plastic sheeting, if it’s not fire retardant will burn like there is no tomorrow if it is exposed to a flame. Haunted houses usually equate to lots of people confined to small spaces- or rooms of a house.  Should someone use their lighter to light the path, and that flame hits the black plastic sheeting- you don’t want the plastic to accelerate the fire. You want the plastic to melt, but not go up in flames.

Haunted House Plastic

Haunted House Plastic- Tip #2

Get your certifications for your fire retardant black plastic or haunted house plastic.  WHY? Because if you are running a haunted house that is being used for fund raising or commercial purposes, you may get a surprise visit from your local fire marshal. It is his/her job to make sure your haunted house is safe. Safety equates with ample lighted exits and the use of fire retardant halloween props when possible. If they see any plastic sheeting used for walls or ceilings, they will want to see the documents in most cases.

Haunted house Plastic.png


Haunted House Plastic- Tip #3

Plan, plan, plan the layout of our haunt for better efficiency before you start sectioning it off.  When people decide to use black fire retardant plastic sheeting for walls- to section off a space, careful planning will yield the best flowing maze for your space. Sometime people think they will have plenty of space to create different rooms in a space.  By the time you add the props, actors, etc, you need room for your goblin visitors to be able to walk by and have room to jump back if you scare them! Taking masking tape and placing it on the floor before you start can give you a feel for each room. Some folks have told us they add the  Halloween props before they “build” the wall of black fire retardant plastic.

Haunted House Plastic- Tip #4

Did you know there is black fire retardant tape that will hold up your plastic? The tape is an important consideration as well. It’s also used to tape pieces of plastic together. You can get the necessary fire certs for this tape as well.  If you don’t want to use tape, there are your standard methods such as staples or small nails.  Another idea is to hang a rope across the the top of the walls and drape the haunted house plastic over it.  One haunt created a “haunted bathroom” with a very bloody looking bathtub.  The shower curtain was our GPS Black Fire Retardant Plastic. At just the right moment, a bloody monster would slide the curtain open and scare the guests.  They used a recording of a shower running- and the guest just knew something horrible was going to appear from behind that shower curtain!


Haunted House Plastic- Tip #5

To use or not to re-use the next year?  So what do you think? Do you want to get a heavy mil thickness of fire retardant black plastic with the intention of re-using it next year? Or do you want to get the thinner mil (4 mil) and toss it when Halloween season is over? Companies that specialize in offering a wide variety of plastic sheeting products can offer you string reinforced plastic sheeting that is much thicker and stronger than the thinner black plastic that is used.  This string reinforced  plastic is really strong. It is used outdoors, and stands up to the elements. This plastic sheeting can be folded up and used time and time again. Keep in mind that it is heavier than other plastic sheeting products, so it will need a little more tape, or a few more staples to support it.

Have a Wonderful Halloween!  Keep the spirit alive. Halloween puts so many smiles of the faces of the young and old alike!

Haunted House Plastic Halloween Props.png


Haunted House Plastic- Spooky Yet Safe!

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 03:47

Remember 1984 when eight young people died at Six Flags in the Haunted Castle when a fire broke out in the haunt? It only took three and a half minutes after the fire began for the entire attraction to be engulfed by flames.  It was this incident that prompted several changes to the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code.

When you are planning your Haunted House- begin by consulting with your local fire authority. Their guidelines will provide fire safety standards and regulations for the construction and operation of temporary haunted attractions/events that are open to the public. Generally these guidelines will apply not only to temporary haunted houses, but ghost walks and similar entertainment venues where combustible decorative materials and distracting audio/visual effects are present.Your haunted house may have to conform to the International Building Code for temporary buildings or structures. 

In California for example, the requirements listed in the guideline were derived from the California Building Code (CBC), California Fire Code (CFC), and California Code of Regulations, Title 19.  Check with your municipality for a similar document.

Why is this imperative....aside from the obvious that lives must be protected, the fire marshal can shut you down on the spot if you don't meet the necessary criteria. In many states, a fire safety inspection is required prior to occupancy.

Below are images of the haunted Castle at Six Flags before and after the fire.



Black plastic is a favorite for creating walls and covering ceilings. The key is to make sure it is certified, "fire retardant"  Here is what the California fire safety manual states:

"All decorative materials (decorations, drapes, backdrops, and props) shall be either inherently flame retardant and labeled as such, or treated with a flame retardant registered with the California State Fire Marshal. Any material not appropriately labeled or certified as fire retardant shall be flame tested and approved by OCFA."

If you are going to use black plastic sheeting, insure that it is fire retardant. Make sure the rolls come with the appropriate documents certify that the plastic is fire retardant and will not burn and add to a fire should one develop. 

Some states require the following: "Avoid use of combustible material in displays.  If used, combustibles must be treated with an approved commercial flame‐retardant treatment.  Samples of all such materials must be submitted to this office for flame tests prior to use."  

Be ready to provide a piece of the black plastic sheeting to the fire marshal should he/she want to test it to make sure it is fire retardant.  To see the difference between fire retardant plastic and non-fire retardant plastic sheeting when a flame is present, click here to watch this short demonstration video. 

With a little planning, your haunted house can be a smashing success!  

And now for a little trivia:

Below is a quick internet search for the figures.  They may not be entirely current- but never the less, they are entertaining!

How many haunted attractions exist in the United States?

The Haunted House Industry estimates there are between 1,200- 2,000  haunted attractions charging admission. In addition it is estimated that over 300 amusement facilities producing some sort of Halloween or Haunted House event. Additionally it is estimated there are over 1000 charity attractions.

What is the attendance figures for these Halloween events?

It is estimated that typical haunted attractions average around 8,000 paid guests. A major amusement park such as Knotts Scary Farms attracts over 300,000 paid guests in October alone. On a busy night the mega amusement parks like Universal might host over 35,000 guests!


Tags: FR Plastic, Halloween Black Fire Retardant Plastic

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier Encapsulation Tips

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Mon, May 11, 2015 @ 01:08

Do you have a crawl space vapor barrier in your crawl space?  Is your crawl space encapsulated? Does it look anything like the picture below?  Does it small like old moldy sox, dead rodents or worse?  Just because you have plastic sheeting/ crawl space vapor barrier on the floor doesn't mean your crawl space is correctly encapsulated.

 What is the definition of "encapsulation"?

It is, "to enclose or to be enclosed in or as if in a capsule".  The idea being you want the crawl space to become sealed in a sense so it can keep out moisture, mold and hazardous gases such as methane, radon, etc.

Tip #1: Use engineered plastic sheeting that is designed to hold up year after year- blocking out mold, radon, water vapor and the like. (Click here to see crawl space vapor barriers)  In the image directly below, a 6 mil "visqueen" was used.  Chances are good the home owner did this job himself.  He bought big box store plastic, and merely laid it on his crawl space.  This plastic is maybe 4 years old. It has torn, and started to decay.  Nowhere was this so called vapor barrier taped to the walls, and the seams were not taped  closed.

crawl space torn visqueen resized 600

Tip #2:  Tape the vapor barrier to the walls and colums. As you can see from the images below, the plastic sheeting is pulling away from the post. Somehow, laying it next to the column or post just doesn't do the job. You need to use a proper sealing tape designed for this job.

Tip #3:  See Tip # 1.  If you have a rocky floor you are sealing, you must select a vapor barrier that holds up to rocks.  It's even more important if you plan to store things in your crawl space, and people will be walking around down there.

Crawl space encapsulation nightmare! resized 600

Tip 4:  Properly tape the seams closed.  We recommend a minimum of  6" of overlap taped to the length of the seam.

Crawlspace encapsuation/ sealing done wrong

Tip #5:  Got Mold?  Crawl spaces are a breeding ground for mold.  Mold like dark, damp places to breed. It also likes the off-gases from visqueen. Don't waste your money on the wrong vapor barrier.  Make sure the liner you select won't decompose and let the mold take over your crawl space.

Tip #6: If you live in an area that has radon, please make sure you protect yourself and your family from the effects of radon Raven Industries  VaporBlock 20+ is a heavy duty liner that is tested to insure it is the highest quality vapor barrier you can get to block radon and methane gas.

Crawl Space encapsulation

Tip #7: If you are buying a home that is brand new construction, make sure you have the builder provide you with proof that the home is radon free.


Tags: crawlspace liner

Radon Gas..Can a Vapor Retarder Keep it Out of Your Home?

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Wed, May 06, 2015 @ 02:20

An amazing number of people are not aware of the dangers radon gas poses to our health. Odorless, colorless, leaking out of the earth across most of the USA, and causing Cancer!  Visit information in your area, for more information on this silent killer.  Within the past several years, my parents tried to purchase a number of homes in the Midwest.  My father, being both a cancer survivor and asthma sufferer had the Radon levels checked in each of the properties of interest.  5 homes were tested in this region. In each case, the homes were tested to have levels of Radon at least 5 times the maximum level the EPA considers safe.  Each of these homes were currently inhabited!  My dad's cancer specialist has warned him to be very careful not to ever live in a home with Radon levels above even the lowest levels.  I would venture a guess that most of the homes in the region would have tested at unsafe levels, unless they had been retrofitted with a suitable vapor retarder.        


Where does radon come from?

According to the US EPA, radon comes from the decay of Uranium-238 as part of the decay chain. 

As the earth's crust was formed, Uranium was distributed within it. Thus radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is produced by the breakdown of uranium in rock, soil and water.  Given the age of the earth, uranium's slowly progressing decay chain now commonly produces radon-222 . The biggest health problems are that radon is radioactive, and it is a gas. As a gas it can seep through foundations into homes (particularly basements), and accumulate into fairly high concentrations. It is drawn into homes because the air pressure inside your home is usually lower than the pressure in the soil around your home's foundation.  Due to this pressure difference, your home acts like a vacuum, dragging radon in through any foundation cracks, or other openings. In the United States, radon gas in soils is the principal source of elevated radon levels in homes. Radon decay emits alpha particles, the radiation that presents the greatest hazard to lung tissue. Since radon had a very short half-life (3.8 days) that means that it emits alpha particles at a high rate.  Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of lung cancer deaths each year. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

Please check out for more detailed information.

What can be done about this?  First, people should know that Radon plastic sheeting retarders/barriers exist, which will very effectively keep the radon out of the home if installed correctly.  Until recent times, most of these products contained layers of foil, and were fairly costly materials.  We now have a polyethylene based material called VaporBlock 20Plus manufactured by Raven Industries which retards Radon, Methane, and is a very effective water vapor and VOC retarder.  This product utilizes new technology in plastic sheeting which has a much tighter cell structure.  This tighter cell structure will not allow the gas particles, with very small particle sizes to pass through the membrane.  These gasses readily pass through common vapor retarders used to build most homes today, and certainly the products used a decade or more ago in most parts of the country.  In fact, throughout most of the USA today, the least expensive plastic sheeting known to man, often called Visqueen, C&A film, or Construction and Agricultural grade polyethylene sheeting is all that is specified as an under-slab or under-basement vapor retarder.  In many areas, nothing has been used! We do not recommend this grade of polyethylene sheeting for use as a moisture/vapor retarder or barrier.  I personally firmly believe that engineered films should be used for this purpose, and highly recommend the VaporBlock 20 plus.  The cost difference is very small, and the performance difference is so significant.  It truly is our health at risk.  These gases we cannot see can and do cause us great harm. In many cases, homeowners can install these materials themselves to retrofit their homes and make them much safer.  In all cases, contractors can use these engineered products to ward off this problem for the home's future occupants.  I always urge homebuilders to at least offer this kind of a product to home buyers as an option.  The problem is that not nearly enough people know about the problem or the solution.

Reportedly,  one in four of us will have cancer in our lifetimes.  Have you ever wondered  how many cases could be avoided is such simple procedures as using or installing a good quality vapor retarder under our homes were used?  The technology is here, and the fix is quite easy.  Please tell your family and friends about this, have your home tested, install radon alarms, make a difference in your children's lives! 

Tags: Radon gas, radon vapor retarder

The California Drought-Evonik's Hydrogel to the Rescue?

Posted by Team SolaWrap and the Green Thumbs. on Wed, May 06, 2015 @ 08:43

The California Drought- What can growers do? 

It's no secret that California is facing a severe drought. What can the horticulture community do to save water to save their crops during this California drought or in any arid climate? One solution would be to add Evonik's hydrogel/super absorbent polymer called Stockosorb 660 to the soil and planting medium to save water!   

What is a hydrogel? 


hydrogel is a water-absorbing polymer, that is classified as a hydrogel when cross-linked, absorb aqueous solutions through hydrogen bonding with water molecules. These hydrogels are also referred to as Superabsorbent Polymers or  SAP's. A SAP's ability to absorb water is a factor of the ionic concentration of the aqueous solution. In deionized and distilled water a SAP may absorb 500 times its weight (from 30 to 60 times its own volume) and can become up to 99.9% liquid. 
Evonik Stockosorb 660 is an advanced hydrogel technology that allows the soil to increase its capacity to hold/ retain water. By using Stockosorb 660, you can increase the number of days between waterings while the soil retains the water for the plants to flourish.  The basis of Stockosorb 660 is a crosslinked polyacrylic acid homopolymer partially potassium neutralized. 


Who is using Evonik Stockosorb 660? 
All sorts of entities have discovered Stockosorb 660 hydrogel technology for saving water, and extending the moisture in the soil or medium. 
Here is a list of places where you will find this amazing product:

  • Commercial horticulture
  • Nurseries and production plants
  • Landscaping and reforestation
  • Sod and seeding of grass
  • Plant transportation and storage
  • Inner-city ornamentals and barriers
  • Interior scapes
  • Soil

Isn't it time you consider a solution for your plants? Please fill out the form below if you would like more information. 

Jump on the Evonik Stockosorb 660 Hydorgel Technology Life Raft! 



Tags: Evonik STOCKOSORB 660 hydrogel

Skrim- What is Skrim?

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Wed, Apr 01, 2015 @ 12:31

Skrim...have you seen it used before? Or should it be, "Scrim"?  Or maybe it is spelled, "Skryrim"?  No- it's "Skrim" right?


According to some lisings on the internet, Skrim is a mountain of Buskerud, in sourthern Norway! Really? Did you know there was such a mountain named, Skrim?

Another place where you see the word, "Skrim" is used in conjunction with Raven Industries product called "Dura-Skrim".  This is a product that has a layer of string reinforcement between layers of polyethylene plastic sheeting.  Now you have implied meaning of a durable roll of plastic that is strong due to the string reinforcement- thus it's durable!

What about Skrim spelled, "Skyrim? Again when searching for "Skrim" you come up with Skyrim which is an action role-playing video game! Did we get that right?

Then we find that "skrim" is also spelled, "scrim"!  Scrim is another word for gauze- a very light textile made from cotton or sometimes flax. Scrim can be light weight and translucent which makes it very useful when making curtains. Scrim is also used in making book bindings and upholstery. Scrim is well-known for it's use in the theater. There is a variety that is used for special effects. This variety of scrim/skrim is called, "sharkstooth scrim".  In the theater world, if someone uses the word scrim, they can be referring to a thin screen made out of a wide variety of materials.  Scim can have a rectangular weave.

Where does that leave "scrim"?  There is another plastic sheeting product called, "Poly Scrim".  This is  polyethylene plastic with layers of string reinforcement placed between the layers of poly to make a strong plastic sheeting product that won't tear, and can stand up to wind and harsh conditions, In this case, scrim is referring to the string mesh that is placed within the plastic sheeting. When string reinforcement, often made of nylon, is added to plastic, it allows for hems, drains, elastic cord, webbing handles and more to be made from the plastic.  Poly Scrim can also be made in a fire retardant version. Now you have a skrim/scrim/string reinforced plastic sheeting product that has a multitude of uses.

There you have it- a look at the word, "skrim" and it's many adaptations.

Tags: Skrim

"Visqueen" Vapor Barrier- Will it do the job?

Posted by Nana Hinsley on Mon, Mar 09, 2015 @ 10:16

So often people inquire about, "Visqueen" vapor barrier.  What they are really asking for is some sort of plastic sheeting to use as a vapor barrier/retarder. (Click here to visit the vapor barrier page).

Vapor barrier for concrete

Why are vapor barriers used under concrete you ask...Moisture that is in the ground slowly rises to the surface. This is problematic if you are putting tile or carpeting on top of the concrete in the way of flooring.  Vapor barriers AKA vapor  retarders are a sheet of plastic that blocks the water from reaching the concrete slab. 

Can any type of plastic work for this purpose...not exactly.  You see while you may think a 6-mil layer of Visqueen is sufficient, it simply isn't. This liner is not water tight. Additionally, 6 mil plastic gets damaged during the placement of reinforcement and concrete which will create holes that will let the water right up.

Visqueen has become one of the generic names for plastic sheeting, just as Kleenex has become the generic name for tissue. When someone asks for Visqueen, they are referring to a lesser grade of plastic sheeting. The plastic sheeting known as Visqueen has become a generic name for Construction and Agricultural Grade Polyethylene sheeting (C&A film). C&A film contains up to 25% post consumer recycled content, and is made from the least expensive resins available at any given time. While it is excellent for use in many projects, it is not ideal for any use that requires sustained strength such as a tarp or for use as a vapor/moisture barrier or retarder. People will often do a search for "visqueen vapor retarder", or fire retardant visqueen" when they may be looking for an engineered plastic. An engineered plastic is one that is intentionally designed to meet certain measurable criteria to insure its suitability for the job it is intended for. 

When looking for a vapor retarder/barrier, we recommend  an engineered film like Raven Industries VaporBlock Plus for this purpose to block as much of the moisture, radon, methane and VOC's as possible. VaporBlock Plus engineered films are designed to last forever buried in the soil, where C&A film often completely breaks down within a couple of years. Have you ever dug up some old black plastic? Remember how torn and crusty it was? It's important that today's vapor/moisture barriers or retarders should pass the ASTM E 96 Class A, B and C (standard for under-slab vapor retarders in contact with soil or granular fill).  ASTM E 96 measures in part the "permeance" or how much water can pass through the vapor barrier.  You need a liner that is 0.3 perms or less. In terms of thickness, 10 mils and above will offer much better protection and resistance to moisture transmission.   If you need to over-lap the vapor retarder, 6 inches at the seams, taped and sealed around column and the like.

The bottom line is doing your due diligence regarding vapor barriers and selecting one that is not a "visqueen vapor barrier" and go with  liner that is engineered and tested to do the best job for the application.

Tags: Visqeen vapor barrier