Do it Right the First Time- Have you ever heard this used in terms of crawlspace encapsulation?
What about, “You get what you pay for” or “if you’re going to do right do it right the first time.” When it comes to encapsulating the crawlspace to keep moisture out of the home nothing rings more true than these expressions.
Crawlspace Encapsulation Misconceptions:
The most common mistake that is made in crawlspace encapsulation projects is in selecting a vapor barrier. Most homeowners just know they need to get the humidity level down in their homes so they will not have mold problems in the future. They have heard that laying plastic down in crawlspace will help with this problem. People head out to the local hardware store or calling an in-expensive handyman who knows how to install plastic in a crawlspace to quickly solve the problem. However what most homeowners don’t know is that has not fixed the problem but instead have just set themselves up for greater expenses down the line.
What??? My Newly Encapulated Crawlspace isn't Fixed?
What you may not know is that plastic is not just plastic. The 4 & 6 mil visqueen we have all come to know well does have a place in the home improvement world when it comes to temporarily blocking off rooms you don’t want dust to fly into or covering up your furniture from getting messed up, but it does not have a place in crawlspace to protect you from moisture coming up from the ground. The problem with 4 & 6 mil visqueen you can buy at any local hardware store is that it is made from recycled plastic products thus making it inexpensive. The problem with this inexpensive visqueen product is that because it is made from recycled resin it degrades fast. In fact visqueen starts to degrade 6 weeks after being exposed to the elements in your crawlspace. Also because visqueen is made for recycled resin it does off-gas those giving mold spores food to grow on. Thus in 3 to 5 years homeowners will have to replace this liner in their crawlspace and once again shell out more money to fix a problem such as moisture in their home.
What Plastic Sheeting Vapor Barriers Should I Use?
Well like they say “if you going to do it right do it right the first time.” This means do a little homework and not rush to fix a problem with a quick fix. First select a good Vapor Barrier for your Crawlspace. When looking for a good Vapor Barrier for your Crawlspace you should look for a liner that is made from Virgin Resin. This is the most important thing because Virgin Resin Vapor Barriers will not break down over time and also don’t off gas making it so mold can’t grow on the barrier itself. There are many different types ranging in thickness from 8 – 20 mils in thickness depending on your crawlspace needs. Using a Virgin Resin Vapor Barrier in your crawlspace will ensure that you only have to encapsulate your crawlspace once and that your home will be safe from further moisture problems.
What are some good brand names to look for?
Use what the professionals use: Dura-Skrim, Poly-Scrim and Vapor Block. How do you know these products will do the job? Ask for data sheets that will show you whether the vapor barrier passed the tests (ASTME) for doing the job properly. If you live in an area with radon, now your life depends upon getting the correct vapor barrier that has a tight knit cell structure to keep the radon at bay.
If you are looking to have your aquaponics farm have an organic certification, what plastic liner should you use? You may want to start by researching Dura-Skrim 20WW or NDT 24.
Let's start by examining what it means to be, "Organically Certified". Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers, etc. The organic certification verifies that regardless of where your farm or handling facility is located in the WORLD, your operation complies with the USDA organic regulation.
If you plan on going for Organic Certification, you have a detailed road ahead of you. Sometimes it takes trial and error, and this could be very costly in the scope of things. When dealing with organic certification, it is our belief to ask for permission on the material you plan on using. Yes it is important to do all of your homework and be prepared and educated on the process. But sometimes things will fall in to “gray” areas, in these cases, it is best to reach out to the organizations that certify and tell them exactly what you are doing. Things to remember when you do this.
For example, if you wish to use Dura Skrim 20ww or NDF 24 as a liner for your grow beds:
Show the data sheets to your certifying body and tell them exactly what you wish to do.
- Get it in writing
- Have them sign off
- Make friends
- Ask about pitfalls and valleys that they may see coming
By being straightforward with them, they will soon realize that you are trying to comply with all and any regulation. Truth and approval PRIOR to installation is the key. If they know you are trying to be perfect they will be happy to help you. It is there job to maintain the quality levels and they want to do a good job. Just ask them for help and they will almost always help you.
NFPA 701-04 Test 1 versus Test 2...What's the difference?
Being in the Plastic Sheeting business, numerous questions have been raised about the difference between the NFPA 701-04 Test 1 and NFPA 701-04 Test 2 for plastic sheeting passing the proper certifications
to meet the fire safety codes.
We went to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Flame Popagation of Textiles and Films handbook to briefly explain the differences. To quote from their website (http://www.nfpa.org/)
Test Method 1 shall not apply to specimens having an areal density greater than 700 g/m2 (21 oz/yd2).
Test Method 2 (flat specimen configuration) shall be used for fabrics, including multilayered fabrics, films, and plastic blinds, with or without reinforcement or backing, with areal densities greater than 700 g/m2 (21 oz/yd2).
In other words, black fire retardant plastic sheeting in the 4 mil or 8 mil does not have enough density to qualify for this test.
NFPA is an international nonprofit organization that was established in 1896. It's mission is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other harzards by providing in part codes and standards for fire prevention.
You sell what? Plastic Sheeting? What do you mean, “Plastic Sheeting” they will ask. You mean like the hard plastic you see in signs? No… You mean like the plastic sheeting that is in Las Vegas that covers tall building advertising Celine Dion? Well yes you are getting closer. “How else can you describe the plastic sheeting that you sell” they will ask. How about this, “Our plastic sheeting is like a GIANT roll of Saran Wrap, only its 6 feet wide by 100 or more feet long.” Then the light starts to come on- sort of. At this point they visualize one type of plastic sheeting- such as visqueen that they see at a home improvement store!
“What does one do with this roll of plastic sheeting” is the next question! I go on to explain that Global Plastic Sheeting doesn’t just sell one type of plastic sheeting- we sell a large variety of engineered plastic sheeting or flexible polyethylene. When you throw in the words, “engineered plastic” you have really done it now! “WHAT”?? You see, plastic sheeting is designed to work specifically for the surface or job it is intended for. “HUH”?? It’s kind of like seasoning for cooking. Do you use just one type of seasoning for all the food you prepare? Or do you have different seasonings that are designed to enhance the type of food it will be added to? It’s like that with plastic sheeting.
TEMPORARY SURFACE PROTECTION
If a person is painting the interior and exterior of a house, or a contractor is working in a hotel, they want to make sure they don’t damage the floors, carpets, countertops, wood railings, etc. with paint drops or spills. Each one of these surfaces can be optimally protected with a plastic sheeting film that is designed just for it. Let’s take the countertops. Do you want workmen to put their bulky tools, or painting trays on the beautiful granite counter tops without protecting them? No. You want to make sure that what is protecting the counter won’t slide off, or allow paint to seep through it. Properly protecting counters calls for a product called, GPS Countertop Plastic. This plastic sheeting is sticky on one side, so the contractor can adhere it to the surface of the counter and be assured it won’t slip off until he/she removes it. Self adhesive plastic sheeting for countertops has specially formulated adhesives that are strong enough to stick to the counter, but not so strong that it won’t come off at the end of the job! You need an adhesive formulation that won’t ruin the counter- whether it is Corian, marble, granite, tile, etc. The GPS Countertop Plastic is an engineered film, meaning it was engineered in the lab to make sure that it would property protect the counter without doing any damage, or leaving any glue or adhesive behind.
Now, let’s think about the carpeting. Carpeting is very expensive to replace. Professionals and informed home owners know that it is a very cost effective measure to put self adhesive GPS Carpet Plastic down on the carpeting so nothing can get through to the carpet and ruin it. Do you think the adhesive in the GPS Carpet Plastic is the same formulation as the formulation for the hard countertops? Of course not! Once again you need an engineered plastic film that will allow adhesive to be applied to one side so it will stick nicely to the carpet. This adhesive is stronger than the adhesive for the counters due to the nature of the carpet fibers. Again this is an engineered film because research had to go into making sure that the adhesive formulation would not leave any glue or adhesive residue on the carpeting when it is pulled up. Why do professionals use self adhesive GPS Carpet Plastic instead of drop cloths? For several reasons. For one thing, once you put the GPS Carpet Plastic down, it’s not going to slip or inadvertently slide off the carpet exposing the carpeting to potential damage. Plus, have you ever knocked over a paint can, or stepped in the pan? Trust me, you want a plastic sheeting product that won’t let the paint get through to the carpet.
CRAWL SPACE (Crawlspace) AND UNDER-SLAB VAPOR BARRIERS (retarders)
So now at this point I hope you are starting to get a feel for what engineered plastic sheeting is. Let’s take it one step further. Have you ever thought about why wood floors don’t warp or get ruined when they are placed on concrete slabs? How is it that the ground water under the concrete isn’t permeating the concrete and ruining the wood? Once again we have an engineered plastic sheeting vapor barrier that is placed under the concrete so it can block the water that naturally wants to rise to the surface. Can any plastic hold up in that environment year after year? Absolutely not! A lot of time and money went into designing all different types of vapor barriers that will retard vapors from rising from the ground. And another consideration is creating or engineering a vapor barrier that can also block methane gas, radon gas, and other dangerous gases that cause lung cancer. A vapor barrier must be engineered with a very tight cell structure to stop the gas molecules from penetrating the plastic sheeting, also called a vapor retarder. WOW what an invention! Most people will comment that they never once gave a thought to needing a vapor retarder that goes under their home of office building.
Another place where plastic sheeting is used extensively is in crawl spaces or basements. People who live in the part of the country that have crawl spaces and basements are all too aware of needing plastic sheeting to encapsulate their crawlspace. The crawlspace is often smelly or musty smelling. When a contractor puts down a crawl space vapor barrier/ retarder it will keep the water from seeping up into the crawl space.
Additives for Plastic Sheeting: Fire Retardant Plastic Sheeting
When you bring up “fire retardant plastic sheeting” the eyebrows seem to go up. “What?? Plastic can become fire retardant….NO WAY” is often the comment. “How is that possible?” Once again, the reason there are so many varied types of plastic sheeting is because polyethylene can accept additives to its formulation. A fire retardant additive is added, and voila- fire retardant plastic sheeting is here to serve applications that require fire retardant materials. Where is fire retardant plastic used? Lots of places-Ship building, aerospace, hospitals, commercial building projects, theatre, haunted houses to list a few. Any place where a fire could be an issue, and where life and limb are at stake- fire retardant plastic sheeting is a must. So much so that the fire marshal will inspect and make sure the plastic is fire retardant. What confuses some people is that when a fire retardant sheet of plastic is exposed to a flame, the plastic won’t be a fuel source for the fire. It will merely melt and extinguish. If you would like to see a video of this, click here and watch as we put a blow torch to a piece of regular non-fire retardant plastic, and a fire retardant piece of plastic. Seeing is believing!
What are some of the other additives that are added to Plastic Sheeting?
Anti-Static Additive: This additive is added to our Anti-Static Fire Retardant plastic- or ASFR-6. The Anti-static additive resists static build up. The reason this is necessary is because unlike so many common every-day items that have an equal number of positive and negative charges, friction can cause the plastic to become electrically charged. If this happens sparks can happen which will damage electronic devices. ASFR-6 doesn’t allow dust to stick to it. This matters in abatement applications
UV Stabilizers: So often plastic sheeting/ liners are used outside in direct sun light. The UV from the sun is a direct enemy of the plastic. The sun’s UV will decompose a liner pretty quickly over time. UV stabilizers give plastic sheeting a much longer life outside.
Color Additives: While you may not stop and think about it, plastic sheeting comes in a rainbow of colors. The most common colors are black and white, but other colors prevail.
These are just a few of the additives that can be added to polyethylene to engineer its performance to suit the application.
THICKNESS OF PLASTIC SHEETING
The next topic that seems to come up is the thickness of the plastic sheeting. “Is it all the same thickness- or are there different thicknesses”? When you haven’t given a thought to the flexible film industry before- how could you know if there are varying thicknesses of plastic. The answer is, “yes”. Plastic sheeting goes from 1 mil all the way up to 100+ mils thick. A “mil” is a measurement that equals one-thousandth of an inch, or 0.001 inch. For example, most human hair is one-thousandth of and inch thick. It then goes to follow that a 6 mil film (plastic sheeting) is thicker and is 6-thousandths of an inch, or 0.006 inch. Does thicker mean stronger? Is a 10 mil liner stronger than a 6 mil scrim (String) reinforced liner? OH OH! Let’s take this a little further….
Not only can plastic sheeting have fire retardant additives added but it can be manufactured in layers. In the middle of 2 layers, and can a layer of scrim (String). This is applied in a pattern. The Dura-Skrim plastic sheeting products put their heavy duty scrim in a diagonal pattern space 3/8” apart. They then add an additional machine direction scrim every 9” across the width. Why?? The string or scrim as it is referred to addes a great deal of strength to the film. When an application needs enhanced tear resistance and a long life for the plastic sheeting, adding the scrim makes the difference. What happens is the string/scrim responds immediately to tears and surrounds the tears and stops them. Applications that appreciate string reinforced plastic sheeting are ones where you want a thinner film such as a 6 mil that can still do the job of a heavy duty plastic sheeting product. Dura-Skrim 2 is a champion for use in construction enclosures, temporary walls, temporary covers, and much more.
PLASTIC SHEETING USED IN AQUAPONICS AND WATER FEATURES:
What happens if you want to line a fish pond with plastic so the water won’t seep back into the earth? Will any old liner do the job? What things must you consider when building a pond? One of the first things that has to be established is whether you will be adding fish to the pond. Did you know that common plastic sheeting can leach bad chemicals into the water which can kill your fish? Have you thought about how robust a liner you need depending on how rocky the ground is where you are putting the liner? You also need to think about whether animals such as deer will be walking into your pond. If they are, you need a strong liner that won’t puncture when their hooves dig into the pond liner. This is one more example of why there are so many varieties of plastic sheeting product engineered for the application.
GREENHOUSE PLASTIC SHEETING
Oh that’s right. You have seen countless greenhouses that have roofs made from plastic sheeting! They are everywhere! What if a green roof film was made similar to bubble wrap, but with industrial strength? What could be accomplished by adding bubbles to plastic sheeting? What you would get is a product called, SolaWrap! Engineers long ago discovered that by adding the bubbles you could attain a R-vale of 1.7, with a transparence of 83%. With 83% diffused light you will have plants that flourish! What else does this plastic sheeting need to do it’s job as a green house roof? It needs UV additives so it can last 10 years! The film needs to be strong enough to support a snow load! Look what can be done by making some additions to the standard polyethylene film!
HEAT SHRINK WRAP
Have you ever stopped to realize that those building that you see surrounded by plastic sheeting are being done so with “Heat Shrink Wrap”? How genius it was to discover that you can formulate the plastic in such a way that when you add heat to it, it shrinks and envelops the object it is surrounding! Heat shrink wrap is used for wrapping yachts, boats, bridges, US Navy ships, scaffolding, all sorts of packaging for shipment and more. When you see a building wrapped, this is because the construction crew may want to protect the interior from the elements. It also makes for a warmer environment to work in during the winter months.
This article just barely scratches the surface regarding “plastic sheeting”. It’s quite an expansive product line that serves aerospace, aquaponics, automotive, FEMA, haunted houses, ice skating rinks, maritime/marine industry as well as the packaging arena. The best part of this product is the fact that it can be manipulated to best serve the customer. One can decide how much adhesive they want added to the plastic depending on what it needs to stick to. Plastic sheeting can be made with a very tight cell structure, or one that needs to breathe. It can be stiff or flexible, withstand the cold, heat, wind, sun, etc. As much as plastic takes a lot of heat for harming the environment, engineered plastic is here to serve and protect as they say- the surfaces they are used with. Ground water is protected with HDPE liners, and roads use plastic sheeting to capture the dirty oily water that comes off the road, and direct it to a place where it can be filtered before in enters the earth. Many plastic can be recycled as well. Our goal is to provide the very best plastic sheeting made in the USA to perform it’s designed duties it was designed for.
GPS Carpet Plastic, Glass Plastic, Floor Plastic and Countertop Plastic are a few of the products known as surface protection films. Some people call them the “Sticky Poly” films.
Today's surface protection films (plastic sheeting/ polyethylene films) are inexpensive insurance against damaging carpets, floors, and windows (glass). Because these surface protection films are self adhesive- this means they stick to the surface they are placed upon. What people don’t always realize is that the glue or adhesive system used for each product is different. You don’t want too strong an adhesive on one surface versus another. That is why is is important to use the proper film with the correct surface.
Surface protection films are a growing segment in our business because home owners and contractors alike realize the benefit to preserving what exists, and not taking a chance on damaging it. Consumers now realize that there is a product out there that will adhere to the carpet and protect it vastly better than throwing a drop cloth or draping some visqueen type plastic. This highly touted and greatly regarded carpet covering is called, GPS Carpet Plastic. GPS Carpet Plastic is a self adhesive flexible film that can be safely rolled out onto the carpet to keep debris or paint off the carpet while work is being done. This carpet covering is also used for protecting the carpet during parties! Yes sir, GPS Carpet Plastic will keep Aunt Millie's glass of red wine off your carpet, when she starts waving her arms and throws her red wine onto your carpet!
The secret behind GPS Carpet Plastic is the state of the art adhesive. Not just any old adhesive from outside the U.S. will do. The adhesive has met certain unique criteria that will insure that when you lay it down on your carpet, that your carpet won't turn colors when you remove it. Imagine your horror, if you pull up a sub-standard product only to find your fine wool Berber carpet is now orange! NO Thanks! It's best to play it safe and use GPS Carpet Plastic, that has safely covered the most expensive carpets to regular old carpet.
Clean-up is a small fraction of the time when proper surface protection is used, especially when coupled with containment of the work area to keep the mess and dust to a minimal area. Tacky door mats can also be used just outside of the contained area, so any debris from the work area is not tracked into clean areas. (Further in the article we will cover how to install GPS Carpet Plastic.)
In commercial jobs, the number one reason to use surface protection is the increase in customer satisfaction that takes place when the customers see how much the contractor cares about the customer's property. Have you ever hired someone to do work in your home, and the first thing they do is make sure they don’t track dirt into your home? This goes a long way with the home owner. This is hard to measure in dollars and cents, but the increase in referrals is not so hard to measure. Additionally, contractors save time and money on the job sites by using these measures. Workers tend to be more careful, realizing that someone has taken these steps to make sure the job site is kept in perfect condition, which also tends to make subs do a better job within these job sites. The quality of the workmanship actually increases in many cases, because the psychology changes within the work area.
Glass Film keeps windows protected during painting
Glass Plastic is the best thing you can use to keep your windows nice and clean during painting. By covering the glass with a self-adhesive glass film/ Glass Plastic that is made specifically for glass will make the job so much easier. It is quite a job to get paint off a window pane after it gets covered. The biggest mistake people make is to take a razor blade to the paint in hopes of scrapping it off. What can result is a scratched or etched window glass. Of course you can have the glass professionally buffed, but that is much more expensive than taking the proper precaution before your windows are spattered with paint.
Glass Plastic from Global Plastic Sheeting is made specifically to go on windows both inside and outside. Depending on the length of the job will determine if you want the standard Glass Plastic, or the one year version that can be left on for a year. This glass film is made with a special UV additive that keeps the sun and its rays from destroying the plastic. While the glass film comes in both blue and clear, you may want to consider the clear so that your interior won't take on a blue hue! Both the clear and blue window films hold up just as well as each other. When the job is finished, just pull off the Glass Plastic and dispose of it. What is left are nice and clear windows.
Carpet Plastic Installation
1) You want to roll GPS Carpet Plastic out starting at one end of the room. You don’t want to install it in a stretched state. This happens mostly when people adhere one end, then walk or run to the other end of the hallway or room with the roll in the air, then adhere the film. It will appear to adhere well, but will be floating by the next day. This film has a ton of memory, so wants to go back to the original length. I liken it to trying to adhere a stretched rubber band.
2) Make sure your carpeting is completely dry if it has been recently cleaned. If it is brand new carpeting, make sure it has a few days to off-gas before you adhere GPS Carpet Plastic to it.
3) Check wool or wool blend carpeting, where the carpet is losing a lot of fibers. GPS Carpet Plastic may not work on Wool carpets that contain a lot of oils. They also tend to have a direction where the carpet feels like it shifts when you step on it. This causes the film to move on the surface, and often works its way loose.
4) The adhesive system is pressure sensitive. Make sure you apply pressure, so you get a good bite to the carpeting.
5) BRRR it’s cold in here…Make sure the temperature is warm. The initial grab strength is important. Adhesive basically gets less and less sticky as it is colder and colder, up to the point where it is frozen and loses adhesion all together. This product uses a "soft" adhesive which becomes less soft as the temperature decreases. It gets its bite by flowing microscopically around the ends of the carpet fibers. Being able to do so makes a big difference on how well it adheres, both initially, and over the next couple of days..
*****Do NOT put Carpet Plastic on hard wood floors!*******
For Surface Protection Pricing, click here.
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 http://www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.htmlfor 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 http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/understand/chain.html 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 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.
I hear that one in four of us will have cancer in our lifetimes. I wonder 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!
ASTM E1745 has nothing to do with ASTM E 84! Vapor Barriers also known as Vapor Retarders, are subjected to a test known as ASTM E1745 to determine if the vapor barrier/retarder will perform well under certain conditions. ASTM E84 is looking at the surface burning behavior of a building material when it is exposed to flames.
Let’s look at ASTM E 1745 first. ASTM E1745 is the standard specification for water vapor retarders used in contact with soil or granular fill under concrete. ASTM E 1745 covers flexible, performed sheet membrane. The values are stated in inch-pound units. Vapor barriers have a very important role in the building industry. They are responsible for retarding water vapors that rise out of the earth headed to ruin the flooring above. The water can cause warping of wood floors, break down the adhesion, or worse yet, rot carpeting- allowing for mold to grow. One can quickly summize why it is critical to have the proper vapor retarder/ vapor barrier that will do what it was intended to do! There are times when contractors will try to save money by using a plastic liner that is not intended to retard water. Common construction grade plastics that are 4,6 or even 10 mil polyethylene that are made from low grades of polyethylene resin and post consumer recycled materials will cause inconsistencies in the physical strength and permeability of the liner. No one will see what is used once the building is built. That is why certain architects and engineers specify liners that meet ASTM E 1745. Vapor retarders need to stay intact and resist attach from organisms in the soil and chemicals. They must also be strong enough to withstand construction traffic during installation. They cannot be susceptible to punctures. This is why ASTM E 1745 measures the physical characteristics such as puncture resistance, tensile strength and moisture vapor permeability.
There are three performance classes are outlined A, B and C (with Class A being the strongest). Permeance (how much water or vapor that passes through) levels are the same for each class. Tensile Strength and Puncture Resistance change with each class. ASTM E 1745 refers to ASTM E 154 "Standard Test Methods for Water Vapor Retarders Used in Contact with Earth Under Concrete Slabs, On Walls or as Ground covering crawl spaces." These test methods evaluate * Water-Vapor Transmission of Material as Received * Water-Vapor Transmission after Wetting and Drying and after Long- Time Soaking * Tensile Strength * Resistance to Puncture *
As this chart indicates, a Class A liner is stronger across the board than an Class C vapor retarder. So how do you decide which one to use? It depends on the installation scenario. If there is a great deal of sharp rocks versus if the vapor retarder is going into a wall- there is a big difference there. Vapor Retarders control the building envelope from mold, condensation and degradation. They are used in both walls and ceilings to effectively control both air infiltration and water vapor migration.
Standard 6 mil plastic sheeting that has not under-gone any testing in most cases will not hold up over time.
Click here to visit vapor retarders for Crawlspaces, or here for vapor barriers for under-slab vapor barrier applications
ASTM E84 also known as the Steiner Tunnel Test looks at the surface burning characteristics (burn behavior) of building materials when it is exposed to flames. It only provides a comparative measure of the surface flame spread and smoke density measurements with a select grade of red oak and fiber-cement board under specific fire exposure conditions. This test method measures flame growth on the underside of a horizontal surface using the Steiner tunnel test. ASTM E84 does not measure heat transmission through a tested surface. For example, what is the flame spread and smoke density when flames hit a ceiling? Flame spread and smoke developed index are reported. However, there is not necessarily a relationship between these two measurements. The resulting values are stated in inch-pound units, which is to be regarded as standard. This standard is used to measure and describe the response of materials, products, or assemblies to heat and flame under controlled conditions. The test does not assess the fire-hazard or fire-risk assessment of the materials, products, or assemblies under actual fire conditions.
Interior designers are well aware of ASTM E-84 because of the materials they use to decorate commercial facilities. Products applied to the walls, ceilings and other structural elements including columns all come into play.
We are often asked what the "True" thickness of polyethylene (plastic sheeting) means. The plastic sheeting (engineered films) industry is somewhat unique in that lots of terms get used. "True" means that a film that says it is 6 mils in thickness will measure at that thickness of 6 mils by a micrometer. People in this industry understand that most films are +/-10%, so in the case of 6 mil, a 5.4 mil is commonly accepted as 6 mils. When films are reinforced, meaning they have strings running through the film, then the film is often measured at the thickest point, where the reinforcement crosses. Some of these films are as low as 3 mil between the reinforcement grid, yet are sold all day long as a 6 mil film.
There are films that are "true" 6 mil films. One of our films is called, PolyScrim 6. This reinforced film measures at 6 mils. Another example of a "true" 6 mil film is, Anti-Static Fire Retardant 6 mil. It's important to note that plastic sheeting can be made to a multitude of thicknesses to suit the application's needs.
If we look at the terminology behind the thickness of plastic sheeting, it starts with the Greek alphabet. The Greek letter µ when by itself stands for micron. This term has recently been superseded by micrometer or µm. The thickness of plastic (plastic gauge) is expressed in microns. 1 micron = 0.0254 mm =1 millimeter = 1 mil = 1µm.
If you consider the application for the plastic film, now not only does the thickness comes into play but the additives that are added to make the film perform for it's intended use. For example, often people need plastic that is fire retardant- so a 6 mil film won't do the job, unless it is certified as fire retardant. The same goes with whether a film will be in the sun. Without UV inhibitors, a regular piece of plastic won't hold up over time to the sun regardless of the thickness.
There are so many things that go into making an engineered plastic film. Feel free to call us anytime to learn more. Thank you- 866.597.9298
Polypropylene 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.
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.
Corrugated plastic sheets are high impact twin-wall plastic sheets that are made from polypropylene copolymer. Think of cardboard that is made from plastic.They are used many different industries for varied applications.Corrugated plastic is also referred to as "fluted Plastic".
Agriculture: Corrugated plastic sheets (fluted plastic sheets) are waterproof, recyclable, re-usable, sturdy and visually pleasing to the eye. Boxes are often made from this product because it is so practical over time.
Automotive: Often the automotive industry is looking for a material that is tougher than corrugated fiberboard yet light, waterproof, and stain resistant. Because of its strength, corrugated plastic sheets are widely used in automotive applications.
Packaging: Corrugated plastic sheets are used all the time in the packaging industry. Due to its design versatility, durability, waterproof feature, and recyclability, corrugated plastic sheets make into wonderful boxes for a variety of products.
Signage and Graphic Arts: Have you seen all those open house signs that real estate agents use to advertise their open houses? More often than not, corrugated plastic sheets are the foundation fore these signs. They allow for consistently high-quality printable surfaces for the verbiage and graphics that go onto signs of all types. They will hold up to rain, stains, and are tough enough to be used time and time again.
Corrugated plastic sheets come in a wide variaty of colors and thicknesses. They can be fire retardant or non-fire retardant.
If you want to learn more about the corrugated plastic sheeting product that Global Plastic Sheeting carries, please click here.