Why are some rolls of plastic more expensive than others? Is there really a big difference between them? Why is one 6 mil roll cheaper than another? As a consumer should you care or just buy the best priced roll?
Tarps, Drop Cloths and Plastic Sheeting
Have you noticed that rolls of plastic that are boxed and sold at big box stores such as Home Depot or Lowe's are better priced than rolls that state "virgin polyethylene"? It's all about the quality of the plastic that is used to make the roll. Inexpensive rolls of plastic may be made from reground scraps. It's referred to in the industry as "regrind". This plastic may have debris churned in which weakens the plastic. This inexpensive plastic does a great job protecting/ covering things where the long term is not important. Tarps, drop cloths and short term covers will do just fine with this film as long as there isn't too much stress put on the plastic.
If however this same 6 mil plastic is being used as a vapor barrier in your basement- now that is a problem. Once the plastic is laid and cement goes over it, what happens to the plastic cannot be seen. It is covered up. What is happening to that plastic is its decomposition over time. That sense of security that you had just may be a false sense of security. This is why reputable crawl space companies consider the following things:
- How rocky is the soil which will be covered with plastic?
- Will there be concrete on top of the plastic, or will it just be bare plastic in the crawl space?
- Will people be storing items in the crawl space and walking on the plastic?
- Is there radon in the area?
All of these factors will determine how thick a crawl space liner should be used plus selecting a vapor barrier that is made from virgin resins and passes tests that prove the plastic will hold up over time. These tests performed on the plastic by a testing lab document the strength of the plastic liner. Suddenly that 6 mil liner from the big box store is not such a good deal when your family's home is involved. Just like a family 4 wheel drive may be suitable for little off road jaunts, that same vehicle may not be suitable for tough terrain that a Hummer is designed for.
If the application is important, select a liner/ plastic sheeting roll that is designed for the job it will perform. Global Plastic Sheeting has very intentional films to do specific jobs accordingly.