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Does Hard Plastic Sheeting Mean Acrylic Sheets?

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 @ 10:41

Like any industry, when you work in that industry you come to understand what is mean by varying terminologies.  Let's take a look at some common terms that are used in the plastic sheeting world to help clarify what is mean by each term.

Q:  What is considered Hard Plastic Sheeting?


A:    Hard plastic sheeting is plastic that for the most part won't bend. For example, corrugated plastic sheets, polycarbonate plastic, Acrylic sheets, UHMW-PE plastic boards (Ultra High Molecular Weight- Polyethylene, PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) to name a few.

Q:  Is 80 mil HDPE hard plastic?

A:  HDPE as it get thick seems hard, but a better term would be rigid.  It is surprising just how rigid thick HDPE actually is when you get it in your hands.

Q:  What is meant by "plastic panels"?


A:  Plastic panels are boards or panels made from plastic, and various types of plastic. Examples of plastic panels include- Plexiglas sheets, polycarbonate sheets, corrugated panels, etc. 

Q:  What is 6 mil plastic sheeting?

A: 6 mil plastic sheeting is referring to the thickness of generally flexible polyethylene film. 6 mil plastic sheeting can come in a wide variety of colors- for example- 6 mil black plastic sheeting, 6 mil white plastic sheeting and so on.  It someone wants a film that is thicker and a bit stronger than 6 mil, they would ask for 8 mil plastic sheeting or 10 mil and so on.

Q:  When is plastic sheeting for greenhouses used?

A:  Plastic sheeting for greenhouses is used most of the time. It is the most economical way to create a roof of a greenhouse.  Alternatives to plastic film for a greenhouse is making a Plexiglas greenhouse, or a glass greenhouse.  While 6 mil plastic sheeting is used for greenhouses, today there are much stronger forms of plastic sheeting such as Solawrap greenhouse plastic. It too is a polyethylene film, but it has a layer of bubbles in the middle which vastly strengthen the film.

Q:  What are acrylic sheets?


 A:  Acrylic sheets are hard plastic sheets that are used for a variety of things.  What is referred to as "Plexiglas" and "Perspex" are  brands of acrylic sheets. The subtle differences between acrylic and Plexiglas is that Plexiglas is harder than normal acrylic.  It is also more chemical resistant than traditional acrylic. There are colored acrylic sheets. acrylic sheets that are used in aquariums and so on.

Q;  Where can you buy plastic sheeting and hard plastic sheeting?

A:  Global Plastic Sheeting is a company that sells mostly flexible plastic sheeting- but they do have corrugated sheets which are hard plastic.  What differentiates Global Plastic Sheeting from big box stores is that they carry a very wide range of plastic sheeting in different mil thicknesses and made from different forms of polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE, etc).  Plastic Sheeting from Home Depot is usually the thinner generic type of plastic sheeting.

Q:  White Plastic Sheeting is What?

A:  What is meant by white plastic sheeting is a polyethylene film that is white in color. It is also referred to as white poly sheeting. It comes in various mil thicknesses such as 10 mil white plastic sheeting.  White plastic sheeting comes in rolls  but can also come in white plastic panels. White plastic sheeting is quite common. You can find it on line at Global Plastic Sheeting, or big box stores such as Lowes.

 With so many types of plastic sheeting to chose from- thick, flexible, rigid, fire retardant, anti-static, string reinforced and more, ask lots of questions and get the best option for your project.

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"Visqueen" Vapor Barrier  as a Vapor Retarder

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Wed, Jul 06, 2016 @ 04:49


So often people are looking for a  "Visqueen" vapor barrier.  What they are really asking for is some sort of plastic sheeting to use as a vapor barrier/retarder to slow water from coming up through the slab. The term "Visqueen" is actually a brand of plastic sheeting just like "Kleenex" is a brand of tissue. People will ask for a "Kleenex" when really they want a tissue. The same goes for "Visqueen".  It is a brand. 

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. The key to selecting a vapor barrier is understanding the function of a well made vapor barrier. A vapor barrier designed specifically to slow moisture or act as a barrier from water rising up has to meet the ASTM E 1745 "Standard Specification for Plastic Water Vapor Retarders Used in Contact with Soil or Granular Fill Under Concrete Slabs"  testing specifications. This test measures how pourous the plastic sheeting/ vapor barrier material is.  "Visqueen" type plastic as of this writing has not been tested to the specs that insure you can depend on the vapor barrier to slow water transmission.

Vapor barrier for concrete

"Visqueen" is also referred to as a "Construction and Agricultural" film C&A film.  It may contain 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. C&A films 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. The last thing you want is to notice your carpeting is moist, or the laminent is coming un-glued from the floor!

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Tags: film

Aquaponics is Thriving

Posted by Team SolaWrap and the Green Thumbs. on Tue, Jul 05, 2016 @ 05:02

Aquaponics is all the rage and its thriving! It is booming all over the world! People are creating aquaponics systems out of aquariums and making grow beds lined with fish-safe plastic sheeting. Some state of the art facilities are taking SolaWrap- the bubble film that allows plants to grow like no other and creating a green house for aquaponics. 

Aquaponics enthusiasts have also discovered a food grade, FDA compliant liner that is strong, 100% recyclable and much better for the environment.  It is called, Ultra FGC.  Growers that are looking for  organic certifications are drawn to this film.  It is used for not only aquaponics, but hydroponics and food facilities. 

SolaWrap with Aquaponics

Below is a picture of a grow beds.

Aquaponics trough ! resized 600

Where are some of the largest aquaponics farms you ask? One of the world's largest (reportedly) commercial aquaponics project is said to be in Abu Dhabi. The center produces 60,000 heads of lettuce in 21 days!  The image below is not from that farm, but from a farm in the United States. Check out that gorgeous lettuce!

aquaponics lettuce!

Aquaponics farms are cropping up in the most unusual places! Did you know the Hamm's Brewery building in St Paul MN utilized 6 floors to create a giant aquaponics facility?

According to Wikipedia, aquaponics has "ancient roots"...I don't think a pun was intended there...The Aztecs created and cultivated islands known as chinampas which some say was the first form of aquaponics for agricultural use. Plants were raised on islands in lade shallows and the waste material dredged from the Chinampa canals were used to manually irrigate the plants.

Thailand, South China and Indonesia cultivated and farmed rice in paddy fields along with fish to create early examples of aquaponics systems.

Schools are setting up systems to teach children about farming both fish and vegetables. It's a project that brings great pride and joy to school children. They can witness first hand what it takes to grow their own head of lettuce in water.

If you would like to know more about creating your own aquaponics system small or large, please call Ken Aguilar at Global Plastic Sheeting- 866 597 9298. He knows all about it, and he will be happy to help you.

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Tags: aquaponics