Uncontrolled water vapor through concrete slabs has cost building owners, designers and contractors billions of dollars. This moisture infiltration into structures contributes to the proliferation of mold, mildew and fungus and leads to flooring system failures, including adhesive failures, warping, blistering and staining. In addition, water vapor migration carrying alkali can cause structural failure of the concrete when reinforcing steel is present.
Issues Directly Related to Flooring System Failures
- Many flooring systems used today form vapor barriers on top of concrete slabs and therefore trap water and alkali between the flooring system and the slab.
- 1999 federal mandate on VOC emissions created the need and use of water-based flooring adhesives.
- Excessive moisture content of slabs leads to adhesive failures, warping, blistering, and staining.
- Elevated PH levels due to water vapor driving alkali to the surface of concrete slabs cause failures of flooring adhesives and epoxy systems when the PH level exceeds the PH tolerance of the material.
Underslab Vapor Barriers
The use of underslab vapor barriers is the best method and most economical solution for controlling water vapor migration through concrete slabs. The issue of admixtures and topically applied materials does not address the issue that concrete cracks or the potential for elevated PH levels.
ASTM E 1993 and ASTM E 1745 are the two industry standards for vapor barriers and retarders under concrete slabs in contact with soil. Note that typical polyethylene film does not meet the requirements of these standards because it degrades in this environment due to the high recycled content of the material.
- Industrial plants
- Storage silos
- Sewage plants
- Civic centers
- Chemical processing facilities
- Sports arenas
- Food processing
Concrete Vapor Barriers / Vapor Retarders
PRECON is a composite sheet membrane comprised of a non-woven fabric, elastomeric membrane, and W. R. MEADOWS’ exclusive, patented plasmatic…
PREMOULDED MEMBRANE VAPOR SEAL WITH PLASMATIC CORE (PMPC) is a patented seven-ply, weather-coated, permanently bonded, semi-flexible vaporproofing/waterproofing membrane. It is…
PERMINATOR underslab vapor barrier is a new generation of polyolefin-based resin/chemical technology. PERMINATOR provides the vapor barrier industry with a…
PERMINATOR HP underslab vapor barrier is a new generation of polyolefin-based resin/chemical technology. PERMINATOR HP provides the vapor barrier industry…
PERMINATOR 15 mil vapor barrier now has a perm rating 16 times
lower than that required under the ASTM E1745 standard.
Learn More about this new technology.
Why settle for just a low perm rating when you can have one of the lowest perms on the market, plus nearly twice the competitive puncture resistance?
PERMINATOR 10 and 15 mil underslab vapor barrier now features one of the highest puncture resistance ratings in the market. This puncture resistance makes the product even more durable and tough against jobsite hazards, such as damage from walking workmen and rebar penetration. Damage created by puncturing the membrane is a leading factor in building envelope failures. PERMINATOR’s puncture resistance, plus its low perm rating, makes it the most complete underslab vapor barrier in the market.
For more information on PERMINATOR, click here.
PERMINATOR Vapor Barrier Video:
PMPC Vapor Barrier Video:
ASTM E 1993-98 –
Standard Specification for Bituminous Water Vapor Retarders Used in Concrete with Soil or Granular Fill Under Concrete Slabs.
These products are typically specified and used in applications where the best available protection from damaging moisture is warranted. The 1993 specification materials are also the toughest available
membranes, able to best resist the rigors of placing and finishing of the concrete slab. These materials are designed for the ultimate in water vapor permeance and strength. The perm rating requirement for this standard is 0.002 perms or less. In addition, these materials are designed to be extremely durable with tensile strengths over 140 lbs. lb./in.2 and puncture resistance of 90 lbs. force.
ASTM E 1745-09 –
Standard for Plastic Vapor Retarders in Contact with Soil Under Concrete Slabs.
One of the primary requirements of this standard is that the material be manufactured using virgin materials. While there are some polyethylene materials that meet this requirement, these products require fiber reinforcement to meet the tensile strength and puncture resistance requirements of the standard. The most economical material is polyolefin, which meets the requirements of the standard without the need for reinforcement. The perm rating requirement for products that meet this standard is 0.1 perms. In addition, this standard has three classes that deal with tensile strengths and puncture resistance.
A Guide for Proper Vapor Barrier Selection
The flow chart below was created to identify various factors that should be considered during the vapor barrier selection process. Simply answer each question as it relates to the specific application, then follow the arrows from one question to the next until you arrive at the proper solution from W. R. Meadows.
Vapor Barrier Resources
Featured Vapor Barrier Products
PREMOULDED MEMBRANE® VAPOR SEAL with PLASMATIC® CORE (PMPC)
is a seven-ply, weather-coated, permanently bonded, semi-flexible bituminous core board. It is composed of homogeneous, high-melt point bituminous material, in combination with an exclusive plasmatic core, suspended mid-point in the bituminous core. PMPC provides a positive, easy-to-install, economical, true vaporproofing and waterproofing system for horizontal applications. It offers a perm rating of less than 0.002 perms, the lowest in the industry.
underslab vapor barrier is manufactured using a blend of virgin polyolefins. Tougher then normal polyethylene, PERMINATOR provides the vapor barrier industry with a highly effective, economical choice for helping to reduce the penetration of moisture and water vapor through the slab into the structure, thereby helping to reduce fungus, mildew and mold growth. These vapor barriers also help reduce radon gas from entering the structure. PERMINATOR is available in 15 mil and 10 mil thicknesses.
W. R. MEADOWS is proud to introduce our newest underslab vapor barrier technology – PRECON – a dual function underslab vapor barrier and blindside waterproofing membrane. PRECON goes where conventional waterproofing products are impractical – such as positive-side waterproofing where access is prohibited due to the soil retention system. Superior to traditional clay-type products, PRECON features a greater seal to stop water in its tracks. PRECON does double-duty when used in horizontal applications for underslab waterproofing and vaporproofing. Not only does it block water, it also inhibits vapor intrusion, creating an environmentally friendly indoor environment.
PRECON Vapor Barrier Video
PRECON End Lap Application Video:
W. R. MEADOWS manufactures a wide array of related vapor barrier products for both PERMINATOR and PMPC. We can supply you with a complete system that will work together to create a solid, seamless structure.
Vapor Barrier Accessories
PERMINATOR TAPE is a self-adhesive tape, used in conjunction with the application of PERMINATOR underslab vapor barrier.
Accessory Vapor Barrier Products
MEL-DRAIN rolled matrix drainage system is designed to remove moisture from around footings and to relieve hydrostatic head pressures. Eight versions are available.
For vertical wall applications, MEL-ROL waterproofing membrane can be installed. In this application, PERMINATOR is used as a protective course over MEL-ROL. For more information on MEL-ROL, consult our waterproofing brochure.
Also for vertical wall applications, MEL-ROL LM can be installed. MEL-ROL LM is a liquid membrane version of our standard MEL-ROL. Again, in this application, PERMINATOR is used as a protective course over the waterproofing membrane, MEL-ROL LM. For more information on MEL-ROL LM, consult our waterproofing brochure. MEL-ROL LM can also be used for stakes, small pipe, and rebar penetrations.
PERMINATOR TAPE is a self-adhesive tape for use in sealing seams and attachment to footings, protrusions, etc. It is offered in 43 (10 cm) widths and roll lengths of 1802 (55 m)/roll. It is packaged twelve rolls per carton. Coverage: One box of tape will adhere approximately 10 rolls of PERMINATOR.
POINTING MASTIC may also be used for stakes, small pipe, and rebar penetrations. Cut PERMINATOR just big enough for the penetration. POINTING MASTIC can be applied by caulking gun or trowel.
TERMINATION BAR is provided in 102 (3 m) lengths to attach PERMINATOR to vertical
walls as a protection course for vertical wall waterproofing applications.
Accessory Vapor Barrier Products: PMPC
CATALYTIC BONDING ASPHALT
CATALYTIC BONDING ASPHALT is a cutback bonding asphalt. It is a non-setting bitumen with an extremely low oxidation rate. It imparts permanent expansion and contraction characteristics to PMPC without destroying its capability to function as a monolithic vapor barrier.
PMPC TAPE is a sturdy, self-adhering, reinforced tape of polymeric membrane that requires no additional adhesive. It provides a simple, easy, and economical method of effectively sealing horizontal and vertical butt joints. Each strip is nominally 63 (152.4 mm) wide and 502 (15.24 m) long. PMPC TAPE features a quick-strip release paper
for ease of handling and application. Packaging: 6 rolls per carton.
Used for sealing top horizontal terminations or slab protrusions.
Related Vapor Barrier Products
CATALYTIC BONDING ASPHALT
Cutback bonding asphalt specifically formulated for use with PMPC
450 Insulation Adhesive
Asphalt-based, cutback type, insulation adhesive of trowel consistency. It provides an excellent vapor barrier.
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