A Guide to Exterior HVAC Duct Insulation Wrap

Exterior ductwork carries heated and cooled air from the outdoor HVAC system to the interior of a building or home. Manufacturers design ductwork so the sections fit tightly together and are sealed with mastic materials to enhance the efficiency of the thin-metal ductwork. However, the ductwork’s design must also include exterior HVAC duct insulation wrap, which significantly contributes toward efficient air delivery, conserves energy, and improves indoor environmental quality. Poorly insulated ducts can lead to 30 percent duct leakage.

Exterior ductwork insulation systems also require waterproofing products to protect the insulation from damaging water, and preserve its efficiency and integrity and reduce energy costs. Additionally, waterproofing serves as a vapor retarder, to stop moisture migration to the duct’s service, which can lead to condensation, mold, and corrosion.

Fortunately, Polyguard’s Alumaguard® Family of Cladding Products offers self-adhering peel and stick flexible, zero-perm, weatherproof claddings to waterproof exterior ductwork insulation. Polyguard offers both self-healing rubberized bitumen and acrylic adhesion systems for all-weather installations. Additionally, our products meet ASTM flame and smoke requirements, allowing for interior applications.

Alumaguard products can be applied to faced insulation products. It should not be applied to unfaced fiberglass or any unfaced product.

The Benefits of Exterior HVAC Duct Insulation Wrap

For over 50 years, fiberglass exterior HVAC duct insulation has provided four significant benefits to home and building owners.

  1. Exterior duct insulation helps ensure that cooled and heated air will transmit from the HVAC to interior spaces at comfort levels meeting the occupants’ needs. Increased comfort enhances the occupants’ sense of well-being and productivity.
  2. Exterior duct insulation lessens HVAC system operating costs by controlling heat gain or loss through air duct walls, and helping systems run more efficiently.
  3. Exterior duct insulation absorbs the noise generated by the HVAC equipment and air movement through the ducts.
  4. Exterior duct insulation prevents condensation on or in the ducts if installed according to the R-value recommendation, lessening the change of moisture damage and structurally damaging and unhealthy mold.

Fiberglass Exterior HVAC Duct Insulation Wrap

Fiberglass duct wrap applies to the outside of the sheet metal duct, and provides blanket-type thermal insulation composed of glass fibers bonded together with a thermosetting resin. You can apply duct wrap to round and rectangular ducts. Typically it includes a foil scrim kraft (FSK) or vinyl vapor-retardant facing.

In addition, for ducts not requiring a vapor-retardant facing, you can purchase unfaced duct wrap insulation. Finally, for large metal ductwork, you can apply rigid board insulation with reinforced FSK or all-service jacket facings (ASJ). Some manufacturers offer more user-friendly fiberglass duct wrap, that causes less irritation to the installer.

Installation of Duct Insulation Wrap

  • Before installing duct insulation wrap, clean, dry, and seal the sheet metal ducts.
  • Cut the insulation wrap to “stretch out” dimensions, including the duct perimeter, plus extra to form an overlapping stapling and taping flap.
  • Wrap the insulation around the duct’s perimeter, with the facing out. Tightly butt the adjacent sections with the overlapping flap.
  • Staple the seams.
  • Apply a Polyguard Alumaguard® self-adhering peel and stick flexible, zero-perm, weatherproof claddings over the duct insulation wrap. Polyguard offers both self-healing rubberized bitumen and acrylic adhesion systems for all-weather installations. All of our proven Alumaguard® products, including Alumaguard® All-Weather, Alumaguard®, and Alumaguard® Lite, carry a 10-year warranty.

Alumaguard® All Weather

Covering exterior HVAC duct insulation wrap with Alumaguard® All-Weather will protect your ductwork from moisture, air, and vapor intrusion. Alumaguard® All-Weather combines rubberized asphalt self-healing features with easy application and the cold-weather performance of acrylic adhesive-based products.

Polyguard’s Alumaguard® All-Weather weather-proofing cladding provides the only flexible insulation cladding offered by today’s market.

Advantages and Features of Alumaguard® All-Weather Flexible Weather-Proofing Jacket

  • It uses the same outer layer and rubberized asphalt compound as the first Alumaguard membrane, a product successfully used for over 12 years
  • The self-healing quality of the rubberized bituminous membrane seals small pictures and cuts in the Alumaguard®
  • Provides excellent waterproofing with True Zero Perm Performance
  • Aluminum produces UV stability
  • Acrylic adhesive permits installation down to 10ºF
  • Requires no activator or pinning
  • Offers superior emissivity
  • Eco-friendly Alumaguard® All-Weather Cool Wrap offers a “green” energy-saving flexible cladding
  • Fast and easy to apply permits for year-round installation
  • Sustainable, Cool Wrap™ technologies include a matte white finish
  • Eligible for LEED credits
  • ENERGY STAR rating
  • Surpasses California Title 24 (reflectivity and emissivity)

Companion Products:

  • Alumaguard® Lite installed on the underside of the duct removes the need for pinning.
    Alumaguard® Air Release Valves, placed on the duct’s bottom, provide a one-way air pressure release related to stress under the bottom of ducts.
  • Alumaguard® – The Original Self-Healing Membrane

Applying foil-faced, flexible, zero perm, and self-healing Alumaguard® to exterior ductwork provides ideal weather, vapor, and UV protection, with excellent sound attenuation and emissivity properties.

Composite Alumaguard® offers a fast and easy peel-and-stick installation without special tools. However, the rooftop’s design must provide an adequate slope (watershed) to stop ponding water when installing Alumaguard® to rooftop ductwork.

Alumaguard® Cool Wrap™

Alumaguard® Cool Wrap™ offers an energy-saving, green, flexible cladding available in configurations for all Alumaguard® family products. Cool Wrap™ technologies include a matte white finish, meeting emissivity and solar reflectance requirements of Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) and California Title 24, and qualifying for LEED credits.

Alumaguard® Lite

You can use lightweight, durable, puncture-resistant UV-resistant, zero-perm Alumaguard® Lite weather barrier membrane for exterior insulated ductwork that is not susceptible to physical abuse but requires a zero-perm vapor barrier.

Alumaguard® Lite Cool Wrap™

Sustainable Alumaguard® Lite Cool Wrap™ has a matte white, high emissivity/reflectivity coated membrane. It qualifies for LEED credits and meets the solar reflectance and emissivity requirements of Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) and California Title 24. In addition, for exterior use, Alumaguard® Lite Cool Wrap™ acrylic adhesive provides an eco-friendly zero perm vapor and weather barrier.

Exterior HVAC Duct Insulation Wrap

Placing the HVAC on the outside of a building frees up valuable interior space and lowers building costs; however, the ductwork design must include exterior HVAC duct insulation wrap to ensure efficient air delivery, conserve energy, and enhance indoor environmental quality.

In addition, exterior ductwork insulation systems require waterproofing products, like Polyguard’s Alumaguard® Family of Cladding Products. Waterproofing the insulation will preserve its efficiency and integrity, lessen energy costs, and stop moisture migration to the duct’s service, which leads to condensation, mold, and corrosion.

For more on exterior HVAC duct insulation wrap systems, contact our experts at Polyguard today.

Understanding Fluid-Applied Flashing vs. Flash Tape

Flashings create weather-resistant seals around vulnerable areas of wall assemblies. Builders today typically choose between liquid applied flashing vs. flash tape products, assuming they comply with the ASTM D570, Standard Test Method for Water Absorption of Plastics, and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) 127, Hydrostatic Pressure Test. Both flashing products seal gaps around windows, doors, chimneys, vents, skylights, and other fixtures of the building’s exterior.

The primary consideration when choosing fluid applied flashing vs. flash tape comes down to the ease of application of each product based on the project’s design and specifications. For both fluid-applied flashing and flash tape, leaks primarily occur due to installation error, not a product failure. Therefore, when choosing the best flashing product for your project to ensure the best protection against keeping moisture out of your building or home, Polyguard recommends you consider the flashing’s ease of installation and durability.

Fortunately, Polyguard offers several simple to apply, durable, and high-quality fluid-applied flashing tape materials: Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100, Poly Wall®’s Blue Barrier Flash’ N Wrap 2400, and Arc Flash™ Tape.

Self-Adhered Flash Tape

The composition of flashing tape often includes a durable-flexible strip of thin aluminum (or similar substance) with a thick, highly-adhesive backing that sticks and conforms to the surrounding structure. When properly installed, robust, waterproof adhesive and self-adhered flashing tape can tightly seal gaps between the windows, doors, and around chimneys, vents, skylights, and other fixtures of the building’s exterior. Roofers also use flashing tape to seal cracks and secure shingles.

Benefits of Self-Adhered Flash Tape

  • Flashing tape comes in lightweight, convenient rolls that builders can easily store and apply, providing a quick, no-mess, durable puncture-resistant sealant.
  • Self-adhered flashings cover a hole or tear in the building with water-resistant tape, to stop water from entering the building.
  • Self-adhered, lightweight, and flexible flashings come in different shapes and sizes, making them relatively easy to measure, bend, stretch, and fold. In addition, the uniform thickness of the rolls aids in easy measuring and application.
  • When appropriately installed, the design of flash tape will accommodate the ground shifts and a building’s contractions and expansions with the temperatures and weather.
  • Flashing tape comes in many sizes and colors.

Installing Flashing Tape

Flashing manufacturers typically recommend priming the substrate before installing additional sealants around the edges to ensure moisture does not get behind the flash tapes, and ensure the long-term adhesion of self-adhered flashing tapes to a substrate.

Flashing tapes come in predetermined lengths and widths, which may not perfectly fit the details of the project. However, by shingle-lapping tape pieces on top of one another (gravity lap), you can overcome the limited shapes and sizes of the self-adhered flashing.

UV-resistant flashing should avoid sun exposure past 30 days, and you should not apply flash tape in rain or temperatures below 40℉. In addition, it does not adhere well to surfaces with polysulfide.

Of concern, builders may find it challenging to apply tape to geometrically complex buildings, where outside and inside corners, recessed windows, and pipes on the building’s side require splicing, stretching, folding, and counter flashing to keep out water. You must lay the tape flat to avoid bends and wrinkles, which can diminish the tape’s adherence to the substrate and allow moisture infiltration into the wall system.

Why Choose Polyguard Arc Flash™ Tape?

Polyguard’s self-adhering, 70-mil Polyguard Arc Flash™ flash tape offers a rubberized asphalt waterproofing coating that is laminated to a stretchable, crimped, and high-strength film backing. You can use flexible Arc Flash™ products to strip in or flash straight round-top corners or custom-shaped spaces. It comes in 75-foot rolls, 6-inch, 9-inch, and 12-inch wide.

Arc Flash™ self-seals around staples, nails, fasteners, and waterproofs underneath surfaces. It adheres instantly to clean dry surfaces. In addition, its elastomeric material will stretch and maintain its integrity if a building moves.

Fluid-Applied Flashings

Manufacturers offer fully-adhered fluid-applied flashing in many different chemical formulations to accommodate multiple types of construction and environments. Instead of predetermined shapes and sizes, fluid-applied flashings come in sausages, cartridges, or pails.

Benefits of Fluid-Applied Flashings

  • Liquid-applied flashings tie in with liquid-applied air and moisture barriers, becoming a component in a complete, monolithic system.
  • Builders can quickly spread flash-applied flashings at the proper thickness to dry surfaces. However, the surfaces may require priming and have temperature restrictions.
  • Fluid-applied flashing takes the shape of the substrate, regardless of the geometrical complexity, resulting in a chemical bond, creating a single monolithic membrane without wrinkles or fish mouths, ensuring long-term adhesion.
  • Highly flexible liquid-applied flashings allow normal building movement, and protect against moisture intrusion.
  • Fluid-applied flashing works well around window rough openings and penetration in the wall sheathing like vents and plumbing pipes.

Applying Fluid-Applied Flashing

  • Clean with a damp rag or brush the rough openings and 6-inches around the perimeter of the doors or windows.
  • Pre-treat cracks and holes around the windows or doors with a product like Blue Barrier™ 2200 Joint Filler, smoothing with a putty knife, and let dry.
  • Apply the liquid flashing along with the head and jamb framing members. Then spread with a trowel or putty knife.
  • Apply the liquid flashing around the outside of the rough opening, 4- to 6- inches wide, to a thickness that thoroughly covers the substrate (OSB).

Why Select Poly Wall® Liquid Flashing?

The design of Poly Wall® Building Solution’s two liquid flashing products (trowel and roller grade) provide the best liquid flashing, whether you need to seal around doors, windows, pipes, and penetrations or fill gaps.

Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100 (Trowel Grade)

Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100 creates a weather-resistant, fully adhered air barrier system around window and door installations. Poly Wall® developed Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100 utilizing Silyl Terminated Polyether Technology (STPE), a hybrid material of silicone and polyurethane technologies. Uniting these chemistries produces an environmental-friendly, permeable liquid flashing with excellent shore hardness and superior adhesion.

Blue Barrier™ Flash’ N Wrap 2400 (Roller Grade)

Poly Wall®’s Blue Barrier Flash’ N Wrap 2400 simply applies with a roller, and produces a permeable and continuous membrane around doors and windows. Additionally, eco-friendly Blue Barrier Flash’ N Wrap 2400 utilizes STPE technology that allows for wet surface applications, does not require priming or mixing, and dries quickly. Blue Barrier Flash’ N Wrap 2400 provides:

  • Durability to protect your home’s integrity
  • Strong adhesion and excellent shore hardness
  • High quality indoor comfort and health

Polyguard Fluid-Applied Flashing and Flash Tape

Easy to install Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100, Poly Wall®’s Blue Barrier Flash’ N Wrap 2400, and Arc Flash™ Tape are long-lasting flashing products. They will seal gaps around doors and windows, chimneys, vents, and other components on the building’s exterior, to ensure protection against moisture infiltration.

For more on fluid-applied flashing vs. flash tape, don’t wait to contact one of our Polyguard professionals today.

Understanding Pipeline Corrosion Prevention and the Best Products

Pipeline corrosion prevention aims to protect the world’s extensive network of buried pipelines. Without corrosion protection, pipes can lose their integrity, lowering mechanical strength through the development of exterior cracks and holes, which can lead to failures. A corrosion prevention coating system must resist degradation over time and conduct cathodic protection currents should the coating fail or disbond; both are features of long-lasting RD-6® COATING SYSTEMS.

What is Pipeline Corrosion?

Pipe corrosion occurs when water (a corrosive electrolyte) combines with oxygen on two metal pipe surfaces, which triggers an electrochemical process or electrical connection between the metal areas. Corrosion requires four elements, anode, cathode, metallic path, and electrolyte to occur. The first three elements are typically present and the addition of the electrolyte from the environment completes the corrosion cell. Higher temperatures, salts and acids are some common additions that will accelerate corrosion.

  • During the electrochemical process, the metal surface more prone to corrosion (less noble) forms an anode. The anode loses electrons (forming a cation), causing the spot to oxidize (corrode), and produce rust (red iron oxide).
  • The more corrosive or oxidation-resistant metal surface (nobler) forms a cathode. The cathode acquires electrons (forming an anion) that slows corrosion.

Corrosion can significantly affect the reliability and longevity of pipelines used to transport everything from natural gas, liquid petroleum, biofuels, water, sewage, etc. Corrosion costs an estimated $7 billion annually to monitor, replace, and maintain gas and liquid transmission pipelines – and the operation and maintenance represents 80 percent of the cost.

Types of Pipeline Corrosion

Pipeline corrosion can occur for many reasons, leading to various corrosion types, each requiring specific protection methods and considerations to ensure the pipeline’s integrity.

  • Uniform pipe corrosion causes a consistent loss of material along the pipe’s surface, leading to a continuous thinning of the solid structure. You can prevent uniform pipe corrosion by selecting a suitable piping material and combining corrosion protection methods like surface coatings and cathodic protection.
  • Selective leaching (graphitic corrosion) occurs when a noble metal and a more reactive element form an alloy, which results in the loss of the reactive component from the pipe’s surface, diminishing the pipe’s strength. Adding tin or aluminum can help protect against leaching.
  • Galvanic corrosion occurs when dissimilar metals of different corrosion resistance electrically connect, causing the metalworking as an anode to deteriorate. To stop galvanic corrosion, place insulation between the two metals and use a combination of metals close in the galvanic series. In addition, coat the cathodic surface.
  • Pitting corrosion produces severe, localized deterioration on a limited surface area, causing pits and punctures on a pipe’s surface. Surface and pipe material defects, mechanical damage to the protective coating, and penetration by aggressive chemical species, like chlorides, can lead to pitting corrosion. To prevent pitting corrosion, select the pipe material for the service environment, considering the chemical concentration of a reactant (pitting resistance) and temperature, and include cathodic and anodic protection with sufficient coating to withstand the environment..
  • Crevice corrosion occurs when oxygen-starved surfaces of a pipe’s joints or crevices become the anode in an electrochemical reaction. Replacing riveted joints with welded joints can help overcome such problems. Areas with step downs or reductions in wall thickness can present areas of concern for crevice corrosion and require attention when applying the anticorrosion coating.
  • The flow of stray currents both AC and DC through pipelines can cause stray current corrosion, which can lead to localized pitting and pinholes on metal surfaces at the exact points where stray currents exit the surface. Stray currents can come from electric railways, cathodic protection, electric welding machines, high overhead voltage, or buried lines. You can reduce stray current corrosion by controlling electricity leakages through bonds to other structures or bypassing stray current to an earthing station.
  • Intergranular deterioration: Grains make up the microstructure of metals and alloys, separated by grain boundaries. Intergranular corrosion happens along the grain boundaries or immediately adjacent to grain boundaries. Typically, impurities (chemicals) that precipitate on the grain boundaries reduce the area’s corrosion resistance. Selecting extra-low carbon stainless steel materials can help prevent intergranular deterioration.
  • Cavitation and Erosion Corrosion in a pipeline occurs when the fluid’s working pressure drops below its vapor pressure, which causes vapor pockets and vapor bubbles to form, collapsing the pipeline’s internal surface, and leading to erosion-corrosion. Areas of a pipeline particularly prone to erosion-corrosion include the discharge pipes, pump suctions, elbows, tees, expansions, or fitments at heat exchangers and valve seats.
  • Stress Corrosion Cracking results from pre-existing cracks’ growth, leading to the metal pipes’ failure that exceeds threshold stress levels under tensile stress, especially at higher temperatures. To prevent stress corrosion cracking, keep loads below the threshold stress levels.

Preventing Pipeline Corrosion

Corrosion prevention must consider both external and internal surface corrosion. External surface corrosion on a steel pipe occurs due to environmental conditions that lead to an electrochemical interaction between the pipeline’s exterior and the surrounding water, soil, and air. Internal pipeline corrosion happens when chemicals from the products transported in the pipes, including water, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide, attack a steel pipe’s interior surface.

Stopping External Pipeline Corrosion

The first line of defense in preventing external pipeline corrosion typically involves removing one of the four elements needed for corrosion – anode, cathodes, the metallic path, and electrolyte. A quality coating system can help protect the pipeline from the surrounding electrolyte (often water) by acting as a barrier thereby breaking the corrosion cycle. Some barrier coatings also use inhibitive or sacrificial pigments, causing passivation or a sacrificial anode to form defects in the coating.

In addition, applying cathodic protection will protect the pipeline if the coating becomes damaged, increasing corrosion at the defect. Cathodic protection currents mitigate corrosion by supplying electrical current (free electrons) from an alternate source that changes the anodic (active) sites on the metal surface to cathodic (passive) sites.

Pipeline Corrosion Prevention with the
POLYGUARD RD-6® COATING SYSTEM

The RD-6® COATING SYSTEM is a superior, non-shielding, external, anti-corrosion system for buried and submerged pipelines, used on new construction girth welds and long line rehabilitation and for integrity assessment inspections, for pipelines operating at temperatures not exceeding 145°F (63°C). RD-6® HT is available for pipelines operating up to 190°F (88°C).

Our RD-6® coating system can also be used above ground. In these applications, to protect from harmful UV rays Polyguard recommends using our RD-6® UV Overcoat for extra sun protection.

The Polyguard RD-6® coating system includes a strong, tightly woven, polypropylene geotextile fabric that bonds to the coating’s outside surface, to provide non-shielding properties plus high breaking strength and low elongation. In addition, the woven geotextile polypropylene backing allows for compression and tension during RD-6® application to ensure proper long-term performance.

We also strongly recommend applying POLYGUARD SP-6™ OUTERWRAP over the RD-6 COATING for pipe diameters greater than 4-inches. The outer wrap provides an inexpensive, non-shielding layer, further reducing damage from soil stress.

Benefits of Non-Shielding RD-6® COATING SYSTEM

RD-6® Allows for Corrosion Protection Currents

The non-shielding design of the RD-6® COATING SYSTEM allows for the passage of corrosion protection currents due to the geotextile backing’s open weave. If the coating is damaged or compromised the cathodic protection current will not be blocked from protecting the steel substrate. Evidence of adequate cathodic protection in these areas can be inferred if the pH of the electrolyte at the failure is at a level of 9 or higher.

Long-Lasting Durable RD-6®

Soil-stress-resistant RD-6® minimizes disbondment from the pipe, even with less than perfect surface preparation.

Easy to Apply POLYGUARD RD-6® COATING SYSTEM

Polyguard manufactures RD-6® coating in rolls for easy application using a Polyguard-approved machine such as the Wrapster or power-operated machine. The design of the Polyguard Wrapster includes two spindles: one provides tension during the application of the RD-6® coating to the pipe. The other spool releases the liner during the application. However, you can apply RD-6® manually without the Wrapster, as long as you adequately apply tension consistently during the application.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

In addition, quick to apply RD-6® does not require curing. It includes a silicone-coated release liner to stop the layers from adhering to one another and help in the application process.

Pipeline Corrosion Prevention with the
POLYGUARD RD-6® COATING SYSTEM

The reliable and proven POLYGUARD RD-6® COATING SYSTEM has protected thousands of pipelines from external corrosion and stress corrosion cracking for over thirty years. Non-shielding RD-6® COATING SYSTEM is an excellent, long-lasting pipeline corrosion prevention that allows for cathodic protection currents in the event of disbondment.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Polyguard professionals today for more on pipeline corrosion prevention.

What is the Best Deck Joist Tape?

Investing in a new deck for your house, which can cost between $5,500-10,000+, will provide a beautiful outdoor living space. In addition, a properly built and well-maintained deck will also increase your home’s resale value. You can expect to recoup a good percentage of the building costs of a new wood deck or composite deck when you sell your home.

Notably, choosing the best deck joist tape, like PolyWall’s (a division of Polyguard Products Inc.) Rot Shield Joist Tape will significantly improve your deck’s durability, to ensure that your deck will last the lifetime of your home. PolyWall’s Rot Shield Joist Tape includes a rubberized-asphalt ‘sticky’ compound with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic film face that protects the long-term integrity of your deck by stopping water damage and preventing corrosion. In addition, the brown-colored Rot Shield Joist Tape camouflages beneath deck boards.

Why You Need Joist Tape

Typically, builders cold apply self-adhering deck joist tape as a flashing on deck joists and ledger boards to create a water barrier between non-corrosive galvanized metal hangers and treated lumber, to prevent vulnerable joists from water damage.

Without the waterproof barrier created by deck joist tape, water and debris will accumulate in the spaces between the deck boards and joists, which can break down the wood joists (treated or untreated) and cause them to rot. In addition, deck joist tape placed between metal hangers and treated wood stops leaching copper (used as a preservative) from treated wood from corroding the joist hinges that hold together the deck.

A high-quality deck joist tape or joist flashing tape, like PolyWall’s Rot Shield Joist Tape, will protect the top of the deck joist, ledger board, and rim joist against rot and wood decay. In addition, the flashing tape stops water infiltration and helps seal around screw holes, metal fasteners, and hidden deck fasteners, to prevent cracks and corrosion of the metal surface.

What to Consider when Selecting the Best Deck Joist Tape

When shopping for the best deck joist tape, you should consider the material, thickness, durability, coverage, available widths, ease of installation, and costs.

Durability and Thickness

A thicker deck joist tape offers more strength and durability than a thinner tape. However, builders may find it difficult to install the thick tape.

Coverage

Typically, deck joist tape comes in rolls of 50-feet to 75-feet. To determine the number of rolls needed to cover your deck, calculate the total length of the joist in the framing.

Available Widths

The deck joist tape should accommodate the width of the joist, and allow for an overlap that creates a cap over the joist’s top. It is important to note that double joints require wider width tape to prevent water from infiltrating the seam between double joints, which can lead to rot.

Ease of Installation

Easy to apply, self-adhesive tapes should lie directly on the boards with little overlap, minimizing trimming.

Cost

Rubberized-asphalt-based deck joist tape performs equally as well by costing nearly 50 percent less than butyl-based tape.

The Best Deck Joist Tape

PolyWall Rot Shield Joist Tape

PolyWall’s Rot Shield Joist Tape protects the integrity and value of your new deck by providing a durable water and debris barrier between the ledger board, joists, and deck boards, which stops water damage and rot, mold, and fungus growth.

Furthermore, Rot Shield Joist Tape blocks contact between galvanized metal fasteners and treated wood to prevent corrosion. Easy-to-apply Rot Shield Joist Tape improves deck longevity, helping to maintain its value.

Simple to Apply

Rot Shield Joist Tape offers builders an easy, single-step method to protect deck joists from water damage.

Rot Shield Joist Tape comes in wide, 4-inch by 100-foot rolls with an easy-to-apply split release liner. The tape provides guidelines at 1.25-inches from the edge on each side to ensure a smooth, clean installation and a high-quality appearance with fewer adjustments and wrinkles.

Moreover, builders can apply the tape in cold weather and without priming.

Rot Shield Joist Tape Helps Maintain Your Deck’s Integrity

Properly installed Rot Shield Joist Tape will improve your deck’s durability and enhance its longevity by preventing water damage and stopping corrosion. Furthermore, UV stable (up to 120 days) joist tape will minimize your need for initial callbacks and repairs.

For more tips on making your deck last a lifetime and why PolyWall’s Rot Shield Joist Tape is the best deck joist tape, contact Polyguard professionals today.

How to Prevent Water and Vapor Transmission Through Concrete Slabs on Grade

 

Water and vapor can infiltrate concrete slabs on grade externally and internally, which can damage your flooring and building envelope, compromise the indoor air quality, and even raise your energy bills.

Externally, moisture can come from poor plumbing and drainage, rain, below or at the slab’s sides, air humidity, poor ventilation, etc. Internally, moisture comes from the water mixed with the cement to create the concrete. The amount of water used tremendously impacts how long a concrete slab needs to cure and dry. Excess water in concrete increases the space between the cement’s aggregates, and reduces the compressive strength and durability of the concrete.

Prevent Moisture Through Concrete Slab

Managing the moisture in a concrete slab on grade requires proper installation, with adequate curing and drying. In addition, you will need heavy-grade, low-permeance puncture-resistant moisture barriers for the concrete floor and slab, like the Polyguard TERM™ Floor Underlayment Barrier and Polyguard Underseal® Underslab Membrane. These will shield the flooring and slab from the structurally damaging, costly, and unhealthy problems associated with moisture and vapor transmission through the concrete slabs on grade.

Vapor and Moisture Issues with Concrete Slabs on Grade

Applying flooring product or coating before the concrete slab on grade adequately dries, or not using a high-quality moisture barrier on the concrete slab and floor can lead to several flooring failures and other structural and air quality problems:

Adhesives Failures

Increasing humidity levels in concrete raises the concrete’s pH. The higher pH levels can cause the adhesive bonds of the flooring to fail, which can lead to flooring problems like cupping, bulging, and swelling.

Curling

Curling occurs when high-humidity conditions below the slab drive toward the relatively low humidity above the slab via capillary action, which leads to the concrete’s slab edges or counter to warp (curling).

Efflorescence

As moisture evaporates from the concrete, it carries water-soluble minerals with it. When it reaches the slab’s surface and evaporates, it leaves behind a visible-whitish residue, which can lead to flaked or chipped tile grout or complete grout failure. Furthermore, these marks absorb moisture, and can cause damp and slippery conditions on the slab.

ASR

ASR occurs when the slab’s interior relative humidity reaches 80 percent or more, which causes the cement (alkali) solids to react with reactive, amorphous silica found in aggregates, to form a destructive gel that can crack slab and close joints.

Mold Problems

The temperature of the concrete goes up with increasing relative humidity, which can result in a less structured, more porous product to create a perfect breeding ground for structurally damaging and unhealthy mold.

Increased HVAC Use

The upward movement of water and vapors through the slab will make your HVAC system work harder, which costs more money for electricity.

Acceptable Moisture Levels in Concrete to Install Flooring

Durable, strong, and visually appealing concrete floors require proper installation and moisture management to prevent dangerous and unattractive flooring failures. During installation, to minimize the chance of moisture-related failures and to stay on schedule and budget, contractors should adequately test the concrete slab for dryness before installing the flooring.

Relative Humidity of Cured Concrete

The ASTM standard (ASTM F2170) mandates an acceptable relative humidity (R.H.) level of a concrete slab at or below 75 percent to accept flooring products or according to the flooring system manufacturer’s specification. However, it commonly takes 30 days to dry per inch of slab depth, depending on internal and external water sources, ambient temperature, and air circulation.

How Vapor Barriers Can Solve Concrete Moisture Issues

You can solve many problems associated with water and vapor transmission through concrete slabs on grade by applying high-quality concrete moisture barriers to the concrete slab and floor.

Proper installation of the right vapor barriers can prevent vapor and water transmission through the concrete slab and protect the building envelope, floors, and indoor air quality. Ultimately,it will save money on costly repairs and maintenance and safeguard the occupant’s health.

Under-Slab Moisture Barriers

Protecting a concrete slab on grade and flooring from damaging moisture infiltration involves applying a non-penetrable, heavy grade, low-permanence vapor barrier (or retarder) over a layer of prepared sub-bases such as compacted soil, mud slab, carton forms, or #57 Stone.

The Guide to Concrete Floor and Slab Construction recommends a vapor retarder thickness of at least ten mils thick to resist puncturing during and after construction. (one mil equals one-thousandth of an inch). In addition, the ASTM E1643 and ASTM E1745-17 provide the guidelines for using, installing, and inspecting under concrete slab vapor barriers.

Above-Slab Vapor Barriers

Applying a vapor barrier on top of the slab and under the flooring underlayment prevents moisture (and the alkaline salts that moisture can pull from the concrete) from diffusing through the concrete slab. It slows or prevents water in the concrete from damaging the floor. Moisture can break down the water-based adhesive used to secure costly floor coverings and discolor or deform the flooring products. To avoid moisture imbalance and flooring failure, choose a concrete floor vapor barrier with lower permeance than the flooring cover above the slab.

Fortunately, Polyguard makes several high-performing concrete moisture barrier products designed to protect concrete slabs and floors: Polyguard Underseal® Underslab Membrane and Polyguard TERM™ Floor Underlayment Barrier.

Polyguard Underseal Underslab Membrane

For new construction, correctly installing Polyguard Underseal® Underslab Membrane will prevent moisture from infiltrating the underside of the concrete slab. In addition, it offers low diffusion, substantial damage resistance, and longevity (more than either E.P.A. or ASTM standards), to make it more cost-effective over the lifespan of your home or building.

Polyguard Underseal Underslab Membrane

For horizontal, vertical, and shotcrete applications, tough 85-mill, pre concrete pour, roll-on Underseal® Underslab waterproofing membrane/vapor barrier effectively eliminates water and vapor transmission through concrete slabs on grade, in order to protect floor finishes. In addition, Underseal® Underslab 3-layer composite membrane improves indoor air quality by acting as a barrier to radon gas and methane.

Underseal® Underslab Membrane typically installs horizontally over a prepared sub base like #57 stone, compacted soil, or mud slab. While pouring the concrete, the concrete will intermingle with the fibers of the nonwoven geotextile, forming a solid mechanical bond, providing a continuous seal under the concrete slab. Installation of Underslab Membrane should only occur at temperatures above 24°F (-4°C).

For vertical applications, refer to guidelines in the Blindside Membrane datasheet. Examples of vertical installations include elevator pits, against adjoining structures, or on removable formwork for perimeter and grade beam installation.

How to Prevent Moisture Through Concrete Slab

For shotcrete applications of the Underseal® Underslab Membrane in the water-table, contact Polyguard Architectural Technical Services at archtech@polyguard.com.

Other Advantages of Underseal Underslab Membrane

  • Eliminates water and vapor migration
  • Creates a solid adhesive bond with the concrete surface to prevent water migration between the concrete and membrane
  • Offers full-adhering, watertight laps at all joints
  • Installs easily due to its flexibility to adapt to the job site
  • If a crack develops in the slab or base material, the barrier’s stress-absorbing and elongation properties will maintain a watertight seal
  • Offers superior puncture resistance of 220 lbs, 64 times greater than the requirements of a Class A Vapor Barrier, and will stand up to abuse during construction
  • May qualify for L.E.E.D. Certification via these credits:
    • ID Credit 1 -Innovation in design
    • A.Q. Credit 5 -Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control (below-grade 
    • toxin barrier).
    • S.S. Credit 3 – Brownfield redevelopment

TERM Floor Underlayment Barrier

TERM Floor Underlayment stops moisture vapor within the slab from reaching the floor, which can damage your flooring products and building envelope, compromise the indoor air quality, and even increase your energy bills. The sealant component’s self-healing properties enable it to create seals around nails driven through the barrier during installation.

TERM Floor Underlayment Barrier

Other Benefits of TERM Floor Underlayment Barrier

Non-structural, non-chemical TERM Floor Underlayment Barrier, when adequately constructed as part of a complete TERM Barrier system, creates a barrier to termites and other insects. In addition, TERM Floor Underlayment Barrier’s sound-absorbing and insulating qualities make the floor quieter and warmer in winter.

The composition of the TERM Floor UnderlaymentTermite Barrier includes a membrane of polyethylene backing and TERM Sealant Barrier, 40 mils in thickness with a ½-inch extended ensuring a complete overlap seal at the edge. It is as easy as removing an elastomeric, self-adhesive barrier, wound on cores with a disposable silicone-coated release sheet, and immediately applying the barrier.

Polyguard – The Best Prevention Against Water and Vapor Transmission Through Concrete Slabs on Grade

The long-term integrity of flooring products, like wood flooring, vinyl composition tile, and linoleum, depends on preventing water and vapor from transmitting through concrete slabs on grade with products like our
Polyguard Underseal Underslab Membrane and Polyguard TERM Floor Underlayment Barrier.

Our under-slab and above-slab barriers will stop water and vapor transmission through concrete slabs on grade, to protect your flooring and structure from damaging, unhealthy, and expensive moisture-related problems. Furthermore, the durability and strength of our puncture-resistant and heavy-grade barriers will maintain their integrity during and after construction.

For more on how to prevent water and vapor transmission through concrete slabs on grade, don’t hesitate to contact our Polyguard professionals today. We can answer all your questions.

The Best Products for Waterproofing Exterior Ductwork

HVAC ductwork on the exterior of a building frees up valuable interior space and saves on construction costs. However, it can challenge previous insulation and waterproofing methods like metal or PVC jackets, canvas and mastic, or tar paper and fibrated asphalt. None of these products are successful at waterproofing ductwork because they don’t protect against ponding water at the seams.

The best products for exterior ductwork insulation systems must combine thermal attributes with superior exterior ductwork weatherproofing. It must also provide simple installation, self-healing features, and puncture, UV rays, wind, and rain resistance.

Why Waterproofing Ductwork is Important

Waterproofing exterior ductwork will protect the insulation from damaging water, preserve the efficiency and integrity of the insulation and reduce energy costs. In addition, it serves as a vapor retarder, to stop moisture migration to the duct’s service, which can lead to condensation, corrosion, and mold.

Polyguard’s Alumaguard® Family of Cladding Products

Polyguard’s Mechanical Products Division specializes in self-adhering peel and stick flexible, zero-perm, weatherproof claddings for exterior ductwork waterproofing. Polyguard offers both self-healing rubberized bitumen and acrylic adhesion systems for all-weather installations. In addition, our products meet ASTM flame and smoke requirements for interior applications.

All of our proven Alumaguard® weatherproofing products, including  Alumaguard® All-Weather, Alumaguard®, and Alumaguard® Lite, have a 10-year warranty.

Alumaguard All Weather

The design of Alumaguard® All-Weather allows for outdoor use, to weatherproof exterior insulated ductwork, and resist moisture, air, and vapor intrusion. It combines rubberized asphalt self-healing characteristics with the ease of application and cold-weather performance of acrylic adhesive-based products.

Polyguard’s Alumaguard® All-Weather weather-proofing cladding is the only flexible insulation cladding available in today’s market.

The multi-ply Alumaguard composite includes embossed UV-resistant aluminum foil/polymer laminate. To manufacture Alumaguard® All-Weather, we first apply a layer of rubberized asphalt (specially formulated for insulated duct and piping applications). Next, we apply a metalized polyester film coated with a high-quality low-temperature acrylic adhesive to the rubberized asphalt that a heavy-duty kraft liner applies to, in order to a peel and stick membrane.

Most commonly, Alumaguard All-Weather applies over rigid insulation on outdoor piping and ductwork systems. However, you can also apply it to clean, dry, and bare metal ducts.

Alumaguard All-Weather Flexible Weatherproofing Jacket – Benefits and Features

  • Uses the same outer layer and rubberized asphalt compound as the original Alumaguard membrane, a product successfully used for over 12 years
  • Provides superior waterproofing with True Zero Perm Performance
  • Self-healing quality of the rubberized bituminous membrane seals small cuts and punctures in the Alumaguard®
  • Aluminum makes it UV stable
  • Acrylic adhesive allows installation down to 10ºF
  • Requires no pinning or activator
  • Offers excellent emissivity
  • Quick and easy to apply allows for year-round installation
  • Eco-friendly Alumaguard® All-Weather Cool Wrap provides “green” energy-saving flexible cladding
  • Sustainable, Cool Wrap™ technologies include a matte white finish
  • Qualifies for LEED credits
  • ENERGY STAR rating
  • Exceeds California Title 24 (emissivity and reflectivity)

Companion Products:

  • Installing Alumaguard® Lite on the underside of the duct eliminates the need for pinning.
  • Alumaguard® Air Release Valves, installed in the bottom of the duct, provides one-way air pressure release related to stress under the bottom of ducts.

Alumaguard – The Original Self-Healing Membrane

Applying foil-faced, flexible, zero perm, and self-healing Alumaguard® to exterior ductwork provides exceptional weather, vapor, and UV protection, with superior emissivity and sound attenuation properties.

Composite Alumaguard

The composition of Alumaguard® includes a multi-ply embossed UV-resistant aluminum foil/polymer surface applied to a layer of rubberized asphalt that has been specifically formulated for insulated piping and duct applications. The rubberized asphalt serves as the substrate adhesive, and provides the self-healing features necessary to seal around punctures. In addition, an easy-to-remove plastic release liner protects the rubberized asphalt that gives Alumaguard® its peel and stick functionality.

Straightforward Installation

Alumaguard® offers quick and simple peel and stick installation that requires no special tools. The design of a rooftop must provide an adequate slope (watershed) to prevent ponding water when applying Alumaguard® to rooftop ductwork.

Alumaguard Cool Wrap

Alumaguard® Cool Wrap™ is a green, energy-saving, flexible cladding that is available in configurations for all of the Alumaguard® family products. Cool Wrap™ technologies include a matte white finish, qualify for LEED credits, and meet the emissivity and solar reflectance requirements of the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) and California Title 24.

Alumaguard Lite

Ductwork that is not prone to physical abuse can use lightweight, durable, puncture-resistant UV-resistant, and zero-perm Alumaguard® Lite weather barrier membrane for indoor or outdoor applications.

The multi-ply, high-strength Alumaguard® Lite composition includes multiple layers of UV-resistant foil and tough puncture-resistant polymer. Polyguard coats the multi-ply lamination with a proven cold weather acrylic adhesive that the heavy-duty kraft liner applies to, which produces a peel and stick membrane. It is available in an embossed or smooth silver surface finish.

Apply Peel ‘N Stick Alumaguard® Lite to an adequately prepared substrate and the underside of the duct. It does not require pinning.

Alumaguard Lite Cool Wrap

Sustainable Alumaguard® Lite Cool Wrap™ with a matte white, high emissivity/reflectivity coated membrane qualifies for LEED credits. It also meets the solar reflectance and emissivity requirements of Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) and California Title 24. In addition, for exterior use, Alumaguard® Lite Cool Wrap™ acrylic adhesive is an eco-friendly zero perm vapor and weather barrier.

Polyguard – The Best Products for Waterproofing Ductwork

Exterior ductwork needs waterproofing exterior ductwork to preserve the integrity of the ducts and insulation. Fortunately, Polyguard offers several peel and stick, flexible waterproofing products that will provide superior weatherproofing, self-healing, and durability, to protect the integrity of your ductwork system. In addition, we also offer ductwork waterproofing products for sustainable construction and thermal protection.

For more on how to choose the best products for waterproofing exterior ductwork, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts at Polyguard today.

High Heat Roofing Underlayment for Steep Slope Roofs

 

Architects often design a steep-slope roof (slopes greater than 4:12) with architectural metal, tile, or slate shingles, giving the house a prominent, dignified appearance. Of concern, roof water leakage from ice dams can plague steep-slope roofs due much to material and design limitations. In addition, changing temperatures will cause architectural tiles to expand and contract, destroying the integrity of standard roofing underlayment.

Steep Slope Roof Underlayment

Therefore, a well-designed and correctly installed steep-slope roof system with architectural shingles must include a full-roof application of a quality high-heat steep slope roof underlayment, like Deckguard® HT.

What is an Ice Dam?

Ice dams form when melting snow (from heat flows from the interior to exterior and the sun’s energy) or accumulated rain on roof freezes to ice, typically at eaves. Of concern, ice dams cause ensuing snowmelt and rainwater to collect behind the ice, increasing the size of the ice dam when it freezes (laterally along the eave and eventually upslope).

Roof water leakage, due to hydrostatic pressure, occurs when a pathway opens up in the roofing assembly. Therefore, roof design and construction must stop water leakage due to ice dams.

What are High-Heat Roofing Underlayments?

High-heat producing metal, tile, and slate roofs will expand and contract with shifting temperatures. Therefore they require a high temp roof underlayment instead of a standard underlayment. However, traditional shingles that need superior long-term weather protection can also use high-temperature roof underlayment.

High-temperature roof underlayment mainly serves as a waterproofing layer for architectural metal, tile, or slate roof systems, helping to protect a roof against ice dams and leaks. The underlayment’s design allows it to adhere directly to roof decks or certain insulation panels before applying finished roof coverings, including architectural shingles, metal, or tile.

Building Codes for Roofing Underlayment

Building codes require self-adhering membranes for steep roof underlayment to meet the requirements of ASTM D1970, along with labeling indication compliance with the code. Notably, the ASTM D1970, provides the minimum standards for self-adhering bituminous sheet underlayments for compliance in the 2021 International Residential Code, 2021 International Building Code, and NFPA 5000 Building Construction and Safety Code.

Importantly, always refer to local building codes to confirm eaves protection requirements. For example, regions of high winds or hurricanes, or lower-sloped (2:12 to 4:12) roofs may also require (by local codes) an application of underlayment membrane over the entire roof, not just near the eaves, improving roof protections if water gets under the shingles.

Condensation Issues with High-Heat Roofing Underlayment

Condensation Issues with High-Heat Roofing Underlayment

An adequately installed self-adhering membrane restricts the flow of air and vapor through the roof system. However, air infiltrating from the heated living space to the attic can condense on the underside of the membrane and cause several significant problems:

  • Condensation can cause the decking to swell, which can result in buckling, wavy shingles, and decking.
  • The moisture can rot the roof deck and destroy its nail-holding capability and its ability to carry loads.
  • Severe condensation can infiltrate the insulation, lessen its effectiveness and possibly seep through to the below ceiling. Damp insulation causes mold, wood rot, and mildew, which can lead to poor indoor air quality and structural damage.

A best practice for steep-slope roofing systems suggests following these four recommendations for reducing condensation on the underside of a self-adhering underlayment membrane:

  1. Install adequate, balanced, and evenly distributed attic ventilation.
  2. Install a quality vapor retarder on the warm side of the attic floor to lessen the infiltration of warm, moist air into the attic.
  3. Sufficiently install insulation over the entire attic.
  4. Comply with local energy codes for air barrier and appropriate ceiling insulation R-values.

However, homes in warm, humid climates may require a different approach, which requires the advice of a waterproofing professional, like our experts at Polyguard.

Why Select DECKGUARD® HT Underlayment Membrane for Your Steep Roof?

Deckguard HT resists water infiltration from water backup due to wind-driven rain or ice dams. It also waterproofs leak areas like skylights, protrusions, valleys, and other flashing areas. In addition, Deckguard HT applied according to recommendations and specifications will keep the roof deck and supporting structure dry, to preserve its performance and integrity.

Why Select DECKGUARD® HT Underlayment Membrane for Your Steep Roof?

The high-heat Deckguard HT 40-mil membrane composition includes a high strength slip-resistant spider web backing laminated to a high-performance, high heat asphalt compound with a film release for ease of application. It offers several significant beneficial features:

  • You can expose the high heat membrane to heat up to 260°F.
  • The quick film release adds to its ease of application. Once you remove the liner, it leaves a strong asphalt compound to bond to the roof deck.
  • Easy to apply Deckguard HT contains a film release that activates a strong asphalt component that provides superior adhesion to the roof deck.
  • Self-sealing Deckguard HT will seal around nails to resist leakage created by water backing up due to wind-driven rains and ice dams.
  • Deckguard HT waterproofs high-risk leak areas such as skylights, protrusions, valleys, and other flashing areas.

Builders can use Deckguard® HT waterproofing underlayment membrane on sloped residential and commercial roof decks and under traditional shingles and architectural tile, slate, and metal roofing. However, for Copper, Cor-Ten®, or zinc metal roofing in high altitudes, contact the professionals Polyguard for recommendations.

Why You Need a High-Heat Roofing Underlayment for Steep Roofs

Steep-slope roofs need underlayment to protect against ice dams and wind-driven rain allowing water to infiltrate the roof system. In addition, steep roofs shingles with heat-producing metal, slate, or tile, need a high-heat roofing underlayment, like Deckguard® HT.

Self-sealing, simple to install, Deckguard® HT waterproofing and roofing underlayment, and Polyguard adhesives and sealants, will protect the integrity of your roof from wind-driven rains and ice dams, to limit condensation and structurally damaging and unhealthy mold. Steep-slope homes should include features that reduce condensation on the underside of a self-adhering underlayment membrane, like ventilation, vapor retarder, code-compliant air barrier, and ceiling insulation.

Contact the experts at Polyguard today to find out the best information and products for high-heat roofing underlayment with steep slope roofs.

The Best Anti-Fracture Membrane for Tile

A home’s high traffic areas, like a kitchen, bathroom, and foyer, often utilize durable, elegant ceramic tile flooring. Homeowners like water and stain-resistant tile because its solid surface does not attract or trap dust, dirt, pollen, or other allergens.

Anti Fracture Membrane for Tile

Tile also comes in endless design and price options. However, some find hard, cold tile uncomfortable. Furthermore, the tile’s weight may make it inappropriate for upper-story installations or floors with inadequate floor structures. In addition, DIYers may find tile installation difficult and time-consuming.

You must correctly install tile with a high-quality anti-fracture membrane in order to ensure its long-term integrity. The best anti-fracture membrane for tile prevents reflection cracking and contributes to a warmer, quieter, and drier environment – all features offered by our Polyguard’s Tileguard™ Anti-Fracture Underlayment.

The Cost of Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tile can cost as little as $5 per ft2 for budget tile and DIY installation. However, professionally installed, high-end tile can cost the same as quality hardwood flooring. Typically, professionally installed ceramic tile costs range from $15 ft2 to $60 per hour, depending on the tile and the installation complicity.

Maintenance and Repair of Tile

A tile floor can last for hundreds of years if correctly installed and maintained.

Low-maintenance, glazed tile flooring has a hard protective top layer that makes it impervious to moisture and stains, which makes it an ideal flooring solution for wet areas like laundry and mudrooms. Routine maintenance consists of only vacuuming or sweeping with a soft brush to remove loose debris and dirt. You must seal unglazed tile and all grout to protect against moisture and keep it stylish.

Hard, impact-resistant tile can crack due to improper installation or problems with the tile underlayment. Specifically, reflective cracking can occur when a cracked concrete substrate causes the bonded tile layer to crack.

Applying either sheet or liquid-applied anti-fracture membranes will stop cracks moving from the substrate into the tile. Some prefer the term “crack isolation membrane” instead of “anti-fracture membrane” because no membrane installed behind tile can completely protect against cracking from outside forces.

Why Tile on Concrete Slab Needs an Anti-Fracture Membrane

Reflective cracking poses a significant threat when installing tile over concrete, which can delay project completion time, cost money, and hurt reputations. At some point, almost all concrete will crack due to settling, shrinkage, the placing of a saw cut, or in areas of cold joints – mandating the use of a protective anti-fracture membrane.

Applying an anti-fracture membrane keeps cracks that originate in the substrate from spreading up through the grout and tile. It is important to know that an anti-fracture membrane only covers horizontal movement, never vertical.

The Design of Anti-Fracture Membranes

The design of an anti-fracture (crack isolation) membrane allows for expansions and contraction (ranging from 1/16- to 3/8-inch) in the concrete, so its cracks will not directly transfer to the tile and grout which can ruin your work. The stretchy nature of the anti-fracture membrane dissipates the force from the crack into the membrane, and prevents it from moving up into the tile. For crack-prone concrete slabs, an anti-fracture membrane can sufficiently protect tiles.

Thin layered, anti-fracture membranes typically come in liquid-applied and sheet membranes. These membranes provide both partial and complete coverage.

Liquid-Applied Anti-Fracture Membrane

Liquid-applied anti-fracture membranes provide a thin section of load-bearing, monolithic membrane, to inhibit the transfer of new or existing cracks from the substrate to the tile installation. You can apply it as a single component with a flat trowel, roller, or brush. It will conform to all forms or irregular shapes.

Liquid membranes allow energy absorption into the membrane, to prevent the crack from transferring through to the tile installation. Liquid membranes do not raise the tile height and allow seamless transitions.

Peel and Stick Sheet Membrane Anti-Fracture Membrane

Sheet membranes, made of chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) with a polyester fabric laminated on both sides, come in rolls of varying widths. Sheet membranes typically bond to the substrate with a thin-set mortar. They depend on a crack’s movement to slip underneath the sheet, not allowing the crack to transfer through to the tile. As with liquid applied membranes, sheet membranes do not raise the tile height.

How to Choose the Best Anti-Fracture Membrane for Tile

Selecting the best membrane for a specific application requires professional consideration of its service ratings, the overall project needs and specification, and other installation materials. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) lists performance standards for Anti–fracture membranes (A118.12), Waterproof membranes (A118.10), and Sound control (A118.13).

Polyguard strongly recommends that you contact one of our anti-fracture membrane experts to get advice on choosing the best anti-fracture membrane for tile, such as our Tileguard™ Anti-Fracture Underlayment.

Tileguard Anti-Fracture Underlayment

Tileguard™ 40 mil thick composite membrane contains fabric and rubberized asphalt, to provide superior protection against the risk of ceramic tiles cracking in a flooring application. You can install Tileguard™ over various subflooring surfaces, including underneath brick or ceramic flooring with thick or thin-tile setting materials.

Tileguard Anti-Fracture Underlayment

The elastomeric, self-adhesive membrane is wound on cores with a disposable silicone release liner that prevents sticking when rolled. When installed correctly, the membrane absorbs stresses caused by concrete cracking in order to avoid the transfer of cracks in the subfloor to the above tile surface. It also creates a warmer, quieter, and drier environment.

Polyguard companion products for the Tileguard™ Anti-Fracture Underlayment include;

650 LT Liquid Adhesive

650 LT Liquid Adhesive (a rubber-based adhesive in solvent solution) primes all structural concrete, wood, or masonry surfaces before membrane installation. It allows for applications down to 25°F (-4°C).

650 WB Liquid Adhesive

650 WB Liquid Adhesive (a water-based, rubber-based, low-tack adhesive) primes all structural concrete, wood, or masonry surfaces before membrane installation. It allows for applications in ambient temperatures and surface temperatures of 40°F (5°C) and rising.

Detail Sealant PW™

Detail Sealant PW™ is a non-corrosive and non-staining non-isocyanate adhesive/sealant that replaces silicone and urethane sealants.

Detail Sealant PW™

LM-85 SSL Liquid Membrane

You can use two-component LM-85 SSL semi-self leveling, asphalt modified, urethane liquid membrane in conjunction with Polyguard waterproofing membrane in Dual Core and pitch pan applications, in ambient and surface temperatures of 40°F (5°C) and rising.

Choosing the Best Anti-Fracture Membrane for Tile

A high-quality anti-fracture membrane for tile, like Polyguard’s Tileguard™, can stop or significantly limit reflection cracking due to a cracked concrete substrate. The membrane will also contribute to a warmer, quieter, and drier environment.

Don’t hesitate to contact Polyguard’s anti-fracture membrane experts today to get advice on choosing the best anti-fracture membrane for tile, like our Tileguard™ Anti-Fracture Underlayment.

How to Protect ICF Homes Against Termites

Protecting below-grade insulated concrete form (ICF) walls (crawl space, slab, or basement) from termites requires an application of superior ICF waterproofing, like TERM Water|Termite Barrier.

Termites can’t compromise the strength of a below-grade ICF wall, but they can burrow through, undetected by coverings of siding, wood, paint, stucco, etc. Eventually, the termites will make it up the structure’s walls, roof, and floors, reaching and damaging the untreated wood.

How to Protect ICF Homes Against Termites

For the long-term integrity of all the building components in an ICF structure, its foundation needs protection against termites. Building codes often ban below-grade rigid foam without an approved protection method in heavily infested areas, like the southeast United States, California, and Hawaii.

Where Termites Live

Where Termites Live

Termites live almost everywhere, with subterranean termites causing about 95 percent of the damage. Subterranean termites live in soil to avoid extreme temperatures while maintaining access to vital moisture. They attack any source of cellulose within a foraging distance of their colony. They feed on or near the ground on wood, cardboard, paper, and fiberboard. The destructive and aggressive East Asian Formosan subterranean termite, which entered the U.S in the 1940s, can multiply and destroy wood structures faster than other native subterranean species.

Protecting an ICF Home from Termites

Protecting an ICF Home from Termites

Protecting an ICF home from termites involves implementing both preventive maintenance and physical methods, like applying a termite-resistant waterproofing membrane.

Preventive Maintenance to Prevent Termites

Homeowners can take several preventive steps to prevent termites from infesting their property:

  1. Replace weather-stripping and loose mortar near and around windows and basement foundation.
  2. Minimize moisture in and around the house. Termites need water to thrive.
  3. Repair leaking water pipes, exterior AC units, and faucets.
  4. Drain the water away from the home with functional gutters, splash blocks, and downspouts.
  5. Inspect the foundation for mud tubes, uneven or bubbling paint, and hollow-sounding wood – all signs of termites.
  6. Monitor all exterior wood for any indication of change, including door frames and windows.
  7. Maintain an 18-inch gap between all wood portions of your house and the soil.
  8. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home.
  9. Schedule annual professional termite inspections.

Physical Methods of Termite Protection

Common physical methods of termite control include partial protection with termite shields and collars and full-foundation physical barriers that create a termite-proof barrier under the building, like Polyguard TERM waterproofing with non-chemical termite barriers. 

Polyguard TERM Water and Termite Barrier

Polyguard TERM waterproofing with non-chemical termite barriers provides an outstanding water and termite protection solution for ICF homes.

The Polyguard TERM Barrier Systems Division specializes in sustainable pest barriers without pesticides to protect against termites, moisture, energy, and radon in a single building envelope solution. It effectively blocks termites and water when properly constructed as part of the building envelope, and allows for fast and straightforward application with just a few materials and tools.

The TERM termite barrier application for the foundation includes seven components:

  1. Peel and stick TERM® Foundation Barrier protects commercial and residential ICF and concrete foundations against water and termites. Globally used since 1970, TERM Foundation Barrier, Polyguard foundation waterproofing membranes; NAHB’s Home Innovation Research Labs certified it as point-worthy for the National Green Building Standard™.
  2. Preformed corner boots for inside and outside corners
  3. Polyguard 650 WB liquid adhesive to enhance adhesion
  4. TERM® Flashing Moisture|Termite Barrier provides waterproofing, energy sealing, and insect resistance.
  5. Asphalt/rubber-based Polyguard 650 Mastic Polyguard provides excellent adhesion to the Polyguard 650 Waterproofing Membrane, structural concrete, masonry, and wood surfaces.
  6. Term Water|Termite Sealant prevents infiltration at slab penetrations.
  7. Polyflow 15 P applies over the waterproofing membrane to direct moisture into the drain core. It can minimize hydrostatic pressure when connected to our high-capacity collector and outlet drainage system, Totalflow™.

Installing the Polyguard Term non-chemical termite barrier requires only a few tools: measuring tape, utility knife, hard wall roller, (2) lambs wool rollers, and a caulking gun.

Installing TERM Foundation Barrier

1. Prep the ICF wall

  • Check ICF foundation wall conditions and concrete footer
  • Needs above freezing temperatures
  • Remove debris
  • Clean wall and concrete footer
  • Seal any crack over ⅛-inch

2. Detailing

  • Apply Polyguard 650 WB Liquid Adhesive to surfaces you plan to put the Term Flashing Barrier or corner bootsInstall corner boots
  • Install corner boots
  • Install Term Flashing Barrier
  • Flash projections with an extra ply of barrier

3. Prime the surface

  • Apply Polyguard 650 WB Liquid Adhesive on all concrete and ICF wall surfaces, and allow to cure until tacky (20-30 minutes)

4. Install the barrier

  • Pull the release liner at the top, and adhere to the ICF wall
  • Overlap the side seams by 2-inches and then use the roller to seal the seams
  • Install barrier over the footer
  • When installing a Term Underslab Barrier, make sure it ties 100 percent to the Term Foundation Barrier on the footer

5. Seal penetrations

  • Apply 650 Mastic to all seams

6. Install drainboard

  • Install Polyguard drain mat Polyflow 15P over the installed Term Foundation Barrier
  • During installation, adhere to the drain mat with adhesive, like Polyguard LT

Why ICF Walls Need Polyguard TERM Waterproofing/Termite Barrier

TERM waterproofing with non-chemical termite barriers is an excellent solution to blocking termites in below-grade walls. Since 1999, entomology scientists and Polyguard have collaborated to create a non-pesticide, waterproofing/termite physical barrier. Our products prevent termites from entering a house through a foundation, along with bath traps, slab penetrations, joints, or cracks or joints in the floor, spaces where concrete slab intersects with exterior sheathing, across the horizontal floor surface, and cold joints.

Don’t hesitate to contact Polyguard® today for more on how to protect ICF homes against termites.

The Best Peel and Stick Vapor Barrier

Correctly installed vapor barriers (retarders) prevent water vapor from infiltrating a building envelope, provide damp proofing and improve the energy efficiency, comfort, and long-term integrity of the building. Vapor barriers can stop or minimize condensation within the walls, foundation, roof, and floor that can lead to structurally damaging and unhealthy mold and threaten the effectiveness of insulation.

Peel and Stick Vapor Barrier
The ease of applying peel and stick vapor barriers make it the preferred water vapor barrier for residential and commercial buildings. The best peel and stick vapor barrier should provide durability, quick adherence, puncture-, chemical-, and sunlight-resistance, and lack VOCs – all features offered by Polyguard PEEL-N-STICK™ products, like Home Stretch™ ‘Peel’ N Stick/ICF Waterproofing, Aluma Flash Plus weather-resistant barriers, and PEEL-N-STICK™ Aluminum Roll Roofing.

What is Water Vapor?

Water exists in three states: solid, liquid, and invisible gas (vapor). A vapor barrier prevents water vapor diffusion through building products. The second law of thermodynamics regulates water vapor diffusion and allows it to flow from a space of higher concentration towards an area of lower moisture concentration, or a warmer to a cooler space within the building envelope.

For example, everyday activities like cooking and laundry release water vapor into a building’s interior, which increases the humidity (water vapor). The humidity will seek cooler spaces of lower concentration in the walls, ceiling, etc., of moisture through diffusion.

The Need for a Vapor Barrier

Local building codes and the climate determine the need and type of a vapor barrier for a building’s envelope – a decision best left to building experts, like our vapor barrier professionals at Polyguard. We manufacture top-of-the-line waterproofing and air barrier membranes designed to enhance your structure’s integrity, comfort, and safety, making us highly qualified to help you make the best peel and stick vapor barrier choice for your building project.

A significant amount of moisture infiltrates a building envelope through airflow compared to vapor diffusion, 50 to 100 times greater. Therefore, you must also ensure proper sealing of penetrations with a quality air barrier.

Code Requirements for Vapor Barriers

Chapter 14 of the 2021 International Building Code (IBC) and Chapter 7 of the 2021 International Residential Code (IRC) mandate vapor barriers and vapor retarders for exterior wall coverings according to your climate zone.

Vapor barriers installed in or around walls, floors, and ceilings can stop moisture from spreading, which can lead to water damage. An actual vapor barrier completely prevents moisture from passing through it, measured by its moisture vapor transmission rate (permeability).

A vapor diffusion retarder refers to permeable barriers that provide moisture protection. The IRC describes three classes of vapor retarders according to their measure of permeability. The use and need of a vapor retarder depend on the climate and the construction of your building or home.

  • Class I vapor retarders (0.1 perms or less): sheet metal, glass, polyethylene sheet, and rubber membranes.
  • Class II vapor retarders (greater than 0.1 perms and less than or equal to 1.0 perms): extruded polystyrene or unfaced expanded, 30-pound asphalt coated paper, plywood, and bitumen coated kraft paper.
  • Class III vapor retarders (greater than 1.0 perms and less than or equal to 10 perms): concrete block, gypsum board, fiberglass insulation (unfaced), cellulose insulation, board lumber, brick, 15-pound asphalt coated paper, and house wrap.

Commercial Roofs Vapor Barriers

Using vapor retarders for flat roof construction can prevent moist air from infiltrating the building and condensing onto the roof assembly, which can lead to corrosion and damage to the roof’s structure and insulation. Roof vapor barriers can also improve the structure’s energy efficiency and comfort.

For cold buildings that stay at 32 ℉ or less, you must install the vapor barrier on the outside to stop warm exterior air from infiltrating and damaging the roof’s insulation. Standard materials of flat roof vapor barriers include bituminous and non-bituminous vapor retarders (laminate, plastic, or aluminum-coated).

The Best Peel and Stick Vapor Barriers

Many builders prefer peel and stick vapor barriers for residential and commercial construction because they do not require fastening and taping, and they offer easy application. In addition, peel and stick barriers provide a uniform surface due to factory-set thickness dimensions.

The best peel and stick vapor barriers will provide long-term adhesion, durability, and performance through proper application.

Polyguard offers several easy-to-install and durable peel and stick vapor barriers and companion products for your foundation, roofs, and walls. Our products will guarantee a long-lasting, high-performing vapor barrier for your building when properly installed.

A strong adhesion requires a clean and primed substrate. A firm bond also requires installs to roll the membrane and remove any bumps.

Poly Wall® Home Stretch™ Foundation Waterproofing Membrane

Poly Wall® designed and engineered Home Stretch™ ‘Peel’ N Stick/ICF Waterproofing Membrane specifically for insulated concrete form (ICF) buildings and home foundation walls.

Strong and pliable, self-adhering Home Stretch™ ICF, 40 mils thick sheet waterproofing membranes consist of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) facing bonded to a rubberized asphalt waterproofing compound. Home Stretch™ ICF comes in 36-inch wide by 66.7-foot long rolls for easy handling and installing, with a disposable treat release liner.

The Benefits of Poly Wall® Home Stretch

Employee-owned and USA-made, Poly Wall® offers over 60 years of successful waterproofing experience to ensure superior protection for your below-grade ICF, poured concrete, and concrete masonry unit (CMU) walls, along with areas in critical need of waterproofing or the presence of positive-side hydrostatic pressure.

Specific advantages of Poly Wall® Home Stretch include:

  • Side lap design delivers greater water tightness
  • Extended selvage edge for asphalt-to-asphalt adhesion at the seam
  • Offers excellent tensile strength, durability, and puncture resistance.
  • Factory-controlled manufacturing provides 40-mil uniform and consistent thickness
  • Release film does not easily tear, and protects the adhesive layer
  • Used with Polybond Clear Liquid Adhesive, you can apply Poly Wall® Home Stretch in frigid weather (25℉ and greater)
  • Does not produce odors or contain VOCs
  • Begins waterproofing immediately after installation

Poly Wall® Home Stretch Companion Products

Home Stretch™ ICF, used with our other waterproofing products (Poly Wall® Home Stretch™ Detail Tape, Home Stretch™ Water Based Liquid Adhesive, Poly Wall® Blue Barrier™ Joint Filler 2200, and Poly Wall® Arroyo™ Drain Board), produces a complete and an effective waterproofing system for your ICF and CMU walls and poured concrete below-grade walls.

Polyguard PEEL’N STICK Aluminum Roll Roofing Barrier

Builders can use PEEL-N-STICK™ Aluminum Roll Roofing as a surface on low slope roofs and for repairs. PEEL-N-STICK™ Aluminum Roll Roofing consists of a rubberized asphalt waterproofing coating, laminated to two layers of high-strength polyethylene film, with a top protective layer of aluminum. The rolls of coating come with an easy-to-remove film release sheet for efficient application.

When applying PEEL-N-STICK™ Aluminum Roll Roofing, it is important to ensure a clean, dust-free, smooth, and dry surface. In addition, an asphalt-based primer will improve adhesion.

Benefits of Waterproof PEEL’N STICK:

  • Resists most chemicals and sunlight
  • Instantly adheres to most surfaces
  • Its elastic properties will stretch and not tear if the structure moves slightly
  • Easiest and most mess-free product available
  • Aluminum surface reflects heat to reduce energy costs

Aluma Flash™ Plus Wall Peel and Stick Vapor Barriers

PolyWall has successfully waterproofed commercial building and home walls for over ten years with their non-permeable and self-adhering Aluma Flash Plus weather-resistant barriers.

Fast and straightforward to apply, sunlight- and chemical-resistant Aluma Flash™ Plus successfully adheres when used according to the manufacturer’s installation and performance requirements. Aluma Flash™ Plus furnishes a 40-mil rubberized asphalt waterproofing membrane, laminated to two layers of high-strength polyethylene film, with a top protective layer of aluminum — to ensure a robust waterproofing product. In addition, the aluminum surface of durable Aluma Flash™ Plus works well with higher exposure buildings because it reflects heat, lessening energy costs.

Picking the Best Peel and Stick Vapor Barrier

Protecting your home or building from the damaging effects of moisture instruction involves the installation of a high-quality vapor barrier like the products we provide at Polyguard Building Solutions. We offer simple to apply peel and stick air and vapor barriers for all your building envelope needs: foundation, walls, and roof. Don’t hesitate to contact of our vapor barrier experts today to learn more on how to pick the best peel and stick vapor barrier.