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Lettuce Raft Aquaponics-5 tips for Growing Lettuce

  
  
  
  

Are you ready to toss a fabulous salad with lettuce that you grew yourself?lettuce just picked resized 600 It's much tastier, healthier, and fulfilling to know you grew this lettuce yourself. In no time you will have your own lettuce on the table.

Lettuce in lettuce raft resized 600

Tip #1: Get a Beaver Plastic Lettuce raft (click here) which will float on top of the tank/aquarium you are going to use for your aquaponics system.

Tip #2:  You will need a container to hold water.  An aquarium or any clean container that can hold more than 10 gallons of water will work.

Tip #3: Next you need a means for moving the water around and a way to filter it. Your filter needs to pull water through the gravel to promote bio-filtration. Either an air pump and air stones can be used, or you can get power heads that have an active water pump that draws the water up the riser tubes of the filter. This method is called a RAS raft system or Recirculating Aquaculture System.

If you are wondering why we are not adding fish to the aquarium- Some people contend that if you float rafts in fish ponds, the contaminants in the water cover the roots, keeping them from absorbing the water and nutrients for them to grow.  In an informal side by side test, the plants without the fish did much better.

Tip # 4:  Aquarium gravel is a must- so much so that you will need 2 inches of gravel to put under your filter.  Aquarium gravel is preferable since int won't leach into the water.

Tip #5:  Now you need the seeds and the grow media that you will place in the lettuce raft.  

Tip #6.  pH seems to be the key to life in so many areas.  It's the key to the success of your growing lettuce in your lettuce raft as well.  Get a pH test kit to maintain the proper pH.

Tip #7:Good light either from a window or a grow light is a must.

With these few components you have the start to growing lettuce in your lettuce raft. 

 

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Polypropylene- Is it different from Polyethylene?

  
  
  
  

How is Polypropylene different from Polyethylene? Well.....

polyprop structure resized 600Poluethylene structure resized 600

Polypropylene, also know as polypropene is a form of plastic just as polyethylene is. What separates polypropylene from polyethylene for starters is the fact that polypropylene can be molded in essence becoming pliable above a certain temperature. When it cools it will return to its solid state. Polypropylene can be used not only as a structural plastic, but it can be used as a fiber. It also has a high melting point, which differentiates it from polyethylene. One area where polyethylene has over polypropylene is that polyethylene is more stable. Polypropylene has the advantage that it can take repeated motions such as being a hinge.  A hinge made out of polypropylene can be opened and closed many many times, and hold up just fine. This is known as having "good resistance to fatigue".

Polypropylene can be combined with other materials, as can polyethylene. Rubber for example can be added, to make it more pliable.  One of the exciting additives that is added to polypropylene are minerals. These minerals allow a polypropylene sheet to become a synthetic paper.  synthetic paper is essentially plastic paper.  It can be easily printed on. It can be folded, hot stamped, die cut, sewn and more.  Best of all it is environmentally friendly! All of a sudden polypropylene is transformed into a slew of products. Synthetic paper made from polypropylene is used to make banners, membership cards, maps, menus, phone cards, signs, tags, floor graphics, counter mats, and booklets. The list goes on from here!  What is outstanding about synthetic paper is that is is durable, tear and water resistant!

Polyethylene has more demand however than polypropylene. Polypropylene is used extensively in the automotive industry as well as the packaging industry. 70% of the polypropylene  uses is for packaging needs for the food industry. It can be made into bottles, food containers, food crates and pallets.

Polypropylene is used to make house wears, appliances and toys. It is also used to make make carpeting and upholstery. The polypropylene is heated and made into fibers. There are so many uses for both polypropylene and polyethylene.

Polyethylene is inert, translucent and creates a lower static charge than polypropylene. That makes polyethylene a candidate to be a sleeve to house collectible documents.  It is "inert" and cannot product mold or mildew.  It is also translucent in nature so it allows less light through it than polypropylene.  It has a lower static charge than polypropylene so it attracts less dust and dirt.  Polyethylene costs more than polpropylene because it has a higher purity (100% virgin).

Here is a list of some of the differences between polyethylene and polypropylene: 

  • Polyethylene and Polypropylene are very similar as far as physical properties.
  • However, Polypropylene can be produced optically clear where polyethylene can only be made translucent like a milk jug.
  • Polyethylene does have physical properties that allow it to stand up better in cold temperatures, particularly when using it as signs.
  • Polypropylenes are light in weight. They have a high resistance to cracking, acids, organic solvents and electrolytes. They also have high melting point and good dielectric properties and are non-toxic.
  •  Monomer of polyethylene is ethylene and monomer of polypropylene is propylene.
  • Polyethylene has a lower melting point compared to the higher melting point of polypropylene. (this may be a good test for you)
  • Polypropylene is not as sturdy as polyethylene.
  • Polypropylene is stiffer and resistant to chemicals and organic solvents compared to polyethylene.
  • Polypropylene is pure, non-stretching and generally more rigid than polyethylene.

HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE- What's the difference anyway?

  
  
  
  

What  is the difference between the various polyethylene sheeting liners when someone specifies HDPE over LDPE, or LLDPE over MDPE for example? In the simplest terms, each liner will vary by its thickness and its flexibility.  The main difference between the different types of plastic is the way their cellular structure, or molecules bond with each other, and how tightly they are formed.

describe the image

Which is the most flexible of them all?

Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) is the most flexible of the plastic sheeting films. LLDPE is blended form of LDPE where the film has much more flexibility, tensile strength, and more conformability. It is more pliable and softer. LLDPE is used for pond liners or blended into other films to give them more flexibility and extra strength. LLDPE is used for films that need a tremendous amount of strength to absorb impacts while not tearing or puncturing. An example of this is a carpet plastic filmthat adheres to the carpet. It is strong enough to withstand foot traffic, even from stiletto high heels! The molecules all line up and strongly hold together as the film is stretched. The most common thickness range is from 0.5 mil to 40 mil in flexible plastic sheeting.

Which is the most common of them all?

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is the most common type of plastic sheeting. It is very flexible, most often from 0.5 mil thick to about 40 mil in flexible sheeting forms. Due to its flexibility is conforms well to a variety of surfaces. The downside is that this LDPE is not as strong or dense as some other types of plastic sheeting. It is not nearly as puncture resistant either. LDPE is used quite widely in construction, agriculture, surface protection applications, covers of all sorts, tarps and much more.

Which is least commonly used of them all?

Medium Density Polyethylene (MDPE) is the least commonly used form of polyethylene for flexible plastic sheeting. Its positive attributes is that it is stronger than LDPE and has a little more chemical resistant. It has a tighter cell structure making it more tear and puncture resistant. When pond liners are manufactured they are often made with MDPE and blended with LDPE or LLDPE to achieve a strong yet flexible pond liner.

Which is the toughest of them all?

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE, aka HD), has the distinction of being the strongest, toughest, most chemical resistant and least flexible of the four types of flexible plastic sheeting referenced in this article. HDPE is also the most UV resistant- holding up to the harsh rays of the sun without needing UV additive packages. HDPE’s strength comes from its tight cell structure that makes it very difficult for other molecules to pass through its structure on a microscopic level. When applications call for very large liners such as pond liners, HDPE is the most easily seamed or “sewn” together. Used industrially, the thickness range from 12 mils to100 mil thick. HDPE is used as secondary containment liners for oil tanks, and most industrial ponds and canal liners where chemical resistance is needed.

In conclusion, who is the fairest of them all?  That all depends on your application!  Gratefully there are many more types of plastic sheeting products to do all sort of thing to protect the surface or project it is intended for.  Take a look around our website, and you will see some of the choices available to you.  We haven't listed all our products- there's just too many.

Click here to visit our home page and a listing of our products, and/or call 866.597.9298 to share your thoughts.

 

Polymer

Flexibility

Color

Impact Strength

Chemical resistance

Water

Vapor barrier

Gas

Barrier

Stress

Crack

Impact

Resistance

Density

HDPE

Flexible but more rigid than LDPE

Natural color is milky white, semi-translucent depending on density

Good

Good

Good

Poor

Good

 

0.963

LDPE

Very Flexible

 natural milky color, translucent

High

Good

Good

Poor

Good

Good

 0.910–0.940 g/cm3

LLDPE

Very Flexible

natural milky color, translucent

High

Good

Good

Poor

Good

Good

0.93

Polypropylene

Rigid  for containers

Opaque, natural grayish

yellow in natural form.

 

Good

Excellent

Poor

Excellent

Excellent

0.905 g/cm3

Polyvinyl Chloride- PVC

Flexible to Rigid

Transparent to yellowish color in natural state

Low

Good

Good

 

Some

 

1.35 -1.45

MDPE

Good

Translucent

Good

Excellent

 

Poor

Average

Good

0.926-0.940 g/cm3

Organic Certification- What is it?

  
  
  
  

Question: Please explain organic certification.

Answer:  The following section would be a good read for you.  It was taken from National List:Below I have highlighted the areas of the National List of allowed synthetic substances that pertain to pond liner and other plastics. We are kind of in uncharted territory with Aquaponics so just because it is not listed doesn't mean it's not allowed. As long as any synthetic substance meets the guidelines highlighted below than we do not expect to have any problem with certification. The blue highlight is the criteria that any synthetic product must meet to meet the certification.  Highlighted in yellow is where it actually states that plastics are allowed as long as it is not Polyvinyl Chloride. Hope this makes sense.

§ 205.600   Evaluation criteria for allowed and prohibited substances, methods, and ingredients.

The following criteria will be utilized in the evaluation of substances or ingredients for the organic production and handling sections of the National List:

(a) Synthetic and nonsynthetic substances considered for inclusion on or deletion from the National List of allowed and prohibited substances will be evaluated using the criteria specified in the Act (7 U.S.C. 6517 and 6518).

(b) In addition to the criteria set forth in the Act, any synthetic substance used as a processing aid or adjuvant will be evaluated against the following criteria:

(1) The substance cannot be produced from a natural source and there are no organic substitutes;

(2) The substance's manufacture, use, and disposal do not have adverse effects on the environment and are done in a manner compatible with organic handling;

(3) The nutritional quality of the food is maintained when the substance is used, and the substance, itself, or its breakdown products do not have an adverse effect on human health as defined by applicable Federal regulations;

(4) The substance's primary use is not as a preservative or to recreate or improve flavors, colors, textures, or nutritive value lost during processing, except where the replacement of nutrients is required by law;

(5) The substance is listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when used in accordance with FDA's good manufacturing practices (GMP) and contains no residues of heavy metals or other contaminants in excess of tolerances set by FDA; and

(6) The substance is essential for the handling of organically produced agricultural products.

(c) Nonsynthetics used in organic processing will be evaluated using the criteria specified in the Act (7 U.S.C. 6517 and 6518).

§ 205.601   Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production.

In accordance with restrictions specified in this section, the following synthetic substances may be used in organic crop production: Provided, That, use of such substances do not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water. Substances allowed by this section, except disinfectants and sanitizers in paragraph (a) and those substances in paragraphs (c), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, may only be used when the provisions set forth in §205.206(a) through (d) prove insufficient to prevent or control the target pest.

(a) As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems.

(1) Alcohols.

(i) Ethanol.

(ii) Isopropanol.

(2) Chlorine materials— Except, That, residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

(i) Calcium hypochlorite.

(ii) Chlorine dioxide.

(iii) Sodium hypochlorite.

(3) Copper sulfate—for use as an algicide in aquatic rice systems, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to those which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

(4) Hydrogen peroxide.

(5) Ozone gas—for use as an irrigation system cleaner only.

(6) Peracetic acid—for use in disinfecting equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material.

(7) Soap-based algicide/demossers.

(8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (CAS #–15630–89–4)—Federal law restricts the use of this substance in food crop production to approved food uses identified on the product label.

(b) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable.

(1) Herbicides, soap-based—for use in farmstead maintenance (roadways, ditches, right of ways, building perimeters) and ornamental crops.

(2) Mulches.

(i) Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

(ii) Plastic mulch and covers (petroleum-based other than polyvinyl chloride (PVC)).

(c) As compost feedstocks—Newspapers or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

(d) As animal repellents—Soaps, ammonium—for use as a large animal repellant only, no contact with soil or edible portion of crop.

(e) As insecticides (including acaricides or mite control).

(1) Ammonium carbonate—for use as bait in insect traps only, no direct contact with crop or soil.

(2) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #–1312–76–1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(3) Boric acid—structural pest control, no direct contact with organic food or crops.

(4) Copper sulfate—for use as tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice production, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

(5) Elemental sulfur.

(6) Lime sulfur—including calcium polysulfide.

(7) Oils, horticultural—narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

(8) Soaps, insecticidal.

(9) Sticky traps/barriers.

(10) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s—42922–74–7; 58064–47–4)—in accordance with approved labeling.

(f) As insect management. Pheromones.

(g) As rodenticides.

(1) Sulfur dioxide—underground rodent control only (smoke bombs).

(2) Vitamin D3.

(h) As slug or snail bait. Ferric phosphate (CAS # 10045–86–0).

(i) As plant disease control.

(1) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #–1312–76–1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(2) Coppers, fixed—copper hydroxide, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, includes products exempted from EPA tolerance, Provided, That, copper-based materials must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil and shall not be used as herbicides.

(3) Copper sulfate—Substance must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation of copper in the soil.

(4) Hydrated lime.

(5) Hydrogen peroxide.

(6) Lime sulfur.

(7) Oils, horticultural, narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

(8) Peracetic acid—for use to control fire blight bacteria.

(9) Potassium bicarbonate.

(10) Elemental sulfur.

(11) Streptomycin, for fire blight control in apples and pears only.

(12) Tetracycline, for fire blight control only and for use only until October 21, 2012.

(j) As plant or soil amendments.

(1) Aquatic plant extracts (other than hydrolyzed)—Extraction process is limited to the use of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide; solvent amount used is limited to that amount necessary for extraction.

(2) Elemental sulfur.

(3) Humic acids—naturally occurring deposits, water and alkali extracts only.

(4) Lignin sulfonate—chelating agent, dust suppressant, floatation agent.

(5) Magnesium sulfate—allowed with a documented soil deficiency.

(6) Micronutrients—not to be used as a defoliant, herbicide, or desiccant. Those made from nitrates or chlorides are not allowed. Soil deficiency must be documented by testing.

(i) Soluble boron products.

(ii) Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt.

(7) Liquid fish products—can be pH adjusted with sulfuric, citric or phosphoric acid. The amount of acid used shall not exceed the minimum needed to lower the pH to 3.5.

(8) Vitamins, B1, C, and E.

(9) Sulfurous acid (CAS # 7782–99–2) for on-farm generation of substance utilizing 99% purity elemental sulfur per paragraph (j)(2) of this section.

(k) As plant growth regulators. Ethylene gas—for regulation of pineapple flowering.

(l) As floating agents in postharvest handling.

(1) Lignin sulfonate.

(2) Sodium silicate—for tree fruit and fiber processing.

(m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.

(1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern.

(2) EPA List 3—Inerts of unknown toxicity—for use only in passive pheromone dispensers.

(n) Seed preparations. Hydrogen chloride (CAS # 7647–01–0)—for delinting cotton seed for planting.

(o) As production aids. Microcrystalline cheesewax (CAS #'s 64742–42–3, 8009–03–08, and 8002–74–2)–for use in log grown mushroom production. Must be made without either ethylene-propylene co-polymer or synthetic colors.

Lettuce Rafts- Simple Hydroponics

  
  
  
  

lettuce rafts

Lettuce rafts (Deep Water Culture) are perhaps the simplest most economical way to grow small herbs and plants in an aquarium or water container that is at least one foot deep. Essentially small plants such as herbs, spinach, basil, cilantro are placed in the lettuce raft and placed on top of the water source. You can grow your seedlings in a growing medium. One example would be the Hydroton balls. They are placed around the seedling to help support them in the lettuce raft.  The water source is nutrient filled to feed the floating plants. Some examples of nutrients is, GH Flora Series. It consists of Flora Grow, Flora Micro and Flora Bloom. It's important that the roots of the plants are long enough to reach the water right after you plant them in your lettuce raft. You will also want to keep the pH of the water in the proper range which is 5.5 to 6.5. Of course, 6.0 if ideal!  The reason the pH is so important is because the plants cannot assimilate the nutrients well if the pH is off. 

The water must be aeriated so that the nutrients and the water itself do not become stagnant. One option for an aeriator is called an Air Stone. This stone is hooked up to a small single-outlet air pump which is outside the reservoir. Some people like to place the air pump higher than the reservoir so that the nutrients don't back up into it.

If you are excited to see plants grow right away, consider choosing plants that have a short growing cycle.  Lettuce and other leafy greens are great for a start.  For your kitchen you may want to have herbs at your fingertips! Just place your lettuce raft system in a sunny window. Some types of plants may require an additional light source such as a T5 compact fluorescent grow light.  Other fun plants to consider growing are hot peppers, endives, watercress, basil and dill.  What you don't want to grow are heavy bulky plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, or sweet peppers.

A little hint for success is to cover any glass aquarium sides with thick paper or cardboard. This will block out the light and help prevent algae. When you want to show off the roots to your visitors, simply remove the paper for all to see.

Most of all have fun and happy growing!

Make a Haunted House with Black Plastic Sheeting

  
  
  
  

Designing a haunted house is achievable in almost any location in your home. In case you would like to break from Trick or Treating, why not develop a haunted house at your house? With the help of some fire retardant black plastic sheeting, you can build multiple rooms that are creepy, dark and scary! Of course those lucky folks who have a basements to work with- all the better!  Use illumination and music to manufacture a terrifying surroundings.

Many different house hold accessories can be put to good use to make a spooky design. These things can work with nearly any budget. Old articles of clothes as well as materials, or perhaps previous bottles as well as canisters may be recycled as well as employed to create a spooky home-crafted interest. Continue scouring magazines and get ideas to help make your own haunted household.

black plastic fire retardant

Fire retardant black plastic sheeting plus a garage or carport, can transform that space into a wonderful haunted room. Just give it a creepy name, and have a blast! Positioning Halloween props, creepy sound effects, and giant spiders crawling up the wall will have the little ones screaming. Put up fake tombstones as well as a great inflatable haunted household entrance for the wow factor!

Most likely you will need something to hold up your black fire retardant plastic sheeting.  This is where fire retardant tape comes in.  It is so important to use a many fire retardant items in your haunted house, just in case it should come in contact with an open flame.  Fire retardant plastic will not add to the fire. It will melt or extinquish when the flame hits it.

If you want to suspend some creepy things from the ceiling, consider using fire retardant red stripe strapping.  It's much stronger than most twine, and will not be a fuel source should a fire break out.  We know it's unlikely that your haunted house will have a fire- but it's better to be safe than sorry.  If you are building a haunted house for the general public- say at a school, church, or a warehouse- check with your local fire marshal.  They may require fire retardant plastic sheeting, along with the documentation to prove it meets the fire codes.  Click here if you would like to view fire retardant plastic sheeting and tape for use in your haunted house adventure!

Plastic Sheeting and Wine- Do they Go Together?

  
  
  
  

What does flexible plastic sheeting and wine have in common?  If you are a vineyard trying to conserve water, plastic sheeting can play a big role in your effort.  One of our customers, Pahlmeyer Waters Ranch Vineyard came up with the brilliant idea to take our scrim reinforced plastic sheeting and place the tarps between the rows and connected them under the vines, insuring there weren't any gaps.  When the rains came, the water ran down the plastic right into their silt pond as planned.  This plan worked like a charm saving water while allowing the vines to grow.

 

plastic sheeting for water reclamation

Black Plastic Sheeting For Haunted Houses!

  
  
  
  
black plastic sheeting halloween
It's that time of the year again when Haunted House designers are ordering our GPS Black Plastic Sheeting that is fire retardant.  Now more than ever, fire marshals insist that the black plastic sheeting be flame resistant in the even someone lights their lighter. This insistance on the plastic being flame resistant is happening not only in commercial places like amusement parks, but also at smaller venues such as fund raising events at local schools.  Plastic sheeting when ignited makes for an "exciting" fire- meaning it burns like crazy!  By using fire retardant black plastic, the plastic won't add to the fire as a source of fuel.
To see the difference between regular plastic sheeting, and fire retardant plastic sheeting, click here to see the video!
As you can see, that amazing thing called fire retardant additive transforms the highly flammable black plastic sheeting into a tame non-burning product. It's important to understand that fire retardant does not mean that it won't melt. It merely means it won't add to the fuel source.
When you order fire resistant black plastic, make sure you get the Certificate of Compliance (COC) which documents that your are getting the real deal.  This certificate is what the fire marshal looks for.
Make your Halloween season safe for everyone, and use as many fire retardant products as you can in our haunted house.
Happy Halloween everyone!

Redline Fire Retardant Polyester Strapping Is What??

  
  
  
  
Redline FR Strapping GPS "Redline" Fire Retardant Strapping is just that....Fire Retardant! What does fire resistant mean? It means that when you hold a flame under the polyester strapping it will not catch fire and burn. It will not add to the fire source. Redline meets the requirements of  the  NFPA 701, "Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Flame Propagation of Textiles and Films, 2010 edition,  (Test 1, Small Scale)  for being fire retardant!  We have the documents to prove it! The U.S. Navy has specified fire retardant strapping for a wide variety of applications. 
Why the redline you ask?  Because this way when the product is in use, people can see that the strapping is the flame retardant version.  This can mean a matter of life or death if the strapping is securing items from the ceiling.  This strapping can secure pallets on trucks, item in the cavity of a plane or ship...and the list goes on. 
How strong is the Redline FR Strapping?  It outperforms steep strapping/ banding not only in strength but in fuctionality.  When you cut steel banding it can snap and fly wildly from the pressure and seriously injurt people. The Redline FR Strapping can be cut with scissors, and wouldn't think of hurting a fly.  It's just like cutting rope.  
  • How heavy is the FR strapping?  The coil weighs 1/4 the weight of the streel strap coils.
  • How is is disposed of?  Unlike streel banding, disposal is as simple as tossing rope into the garbage. Just gather it up, and toss it out. 
  • Can it be re-used?  Absolutely! If the piece is long enough, and nothing has been spilled on it, to compromise the FR additive, it can be reused. Just re-tension the strap and use it again!
  • Forget workman's comp claims...this strapping cannot cut you like steel can!
What to test it yourself? 

 

Crawl Space Encapsulation Gone Wrong

  
  
  
  

Is your crawl space encapsulated? Does your crawl space look anything like this? Does it smell like old moldy sox, dead rodents or worse? Just because you have plastic sheeting 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 hazzardous 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 Crawlspace 1800, VaporBlock 20+ and more.) 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.  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.

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