4 Effective Tunnel Waterproofing Methods

Tunnel Waterproofing Methods

Applying a quality tunnel waterproofing membrane to a concrete project, whether a massive underground highway or just a shallow utility tunnel, will protect the tunnel’s integrity during its lifespan, limiting repairs and maintenance that can interrupt service and threaten users’ safety. Failed tunnel waterproofing methods will allow water, soils, and chemicals infiltration leading to corrosion of the steel reinforcement and long-term damage. Failed waterproofing can cause ice buildup, which is a severe safety hazard. 

The choice of tunnel waterproofing membrane depends on the tunnel’s construction method, timetable, and job site conditions. However, the tunnel waterproofing method must also consider durability, sustainability, exposure, and stress conditions, along with ease of application and total cost.  

The effectiveness of a tunnel’s waterproofing system depends on the proper installation and compatibility of all the components, from the substrate to the drainage system. 

Read on for tips on how to successfully waterproof tunnels with Polyguard products, ensuring the integrity of the tunnel for its lifetime. 

4 Tips for Waterproofing Tunnels

1. Proper Surface Preparation

The quality of the concrete surface significantly affects the waterproofing system’s performance. Only a smooth, clean concrete surface will allow the prime coat to form a mechanical bond to the surface, ensuring continuous support of the waterproofing material and good adhesion between the membrane and the substrate. 

Good adhesion between the waterproofing membrane and concrete surface substrate will stop water migration and leakage in the presence of cracks or imperfections in the membrane or concrete surface. Water pressure acting on unsupported material may cause it to deform, extrude, and eventually rupture.

To ensure good bonding between the primer and substrate, you must properly prepare and clean substrate surfaces.

  • Remove by mechanical or chemical processes, scales, dust, mold, oil, curing agents, or any material that can affect the bonding of the waterproofing membrane to the substrate.
  • Grind surfaces down to a smooth surface, which ensures a tighter seal. 
  • Fill in all voids, gaps, or transition joints with Polyguard Detail Sealant PW™, an environmentally friendly, non-isocyanate adhesive/sealant. Tack-free in less than an hour, Detail Sealant PW cures in 24 hours at 75° F (24º C) and 50-percent relative humidity.

2. Prime the Substrate for Better Membrane Adhesion

Priming the concrete substrate with Polyguard® 650 LT Liquid Adhesive before applying the waterproofing member will improve the bonding between the substrate and membrane. Failure to prime will appreciably diminish the performance of the waterproofing system.  

Priming structural concrete, masonry, or wood surfaces with 650 LT Liquid rubber-based adhesive will ensure superior adhesion with the Polyguard® waterproofing membranes. You can apply temperature-tolerant  Polyguard® 650 LT Liquid Adhesive down to 25° F (-4° C).

3. Apply a High-Quality Waterproofing Membrane

Polyguard’s superior waterproofing membranes can stop water, contaminants, and mold from entering the structure, which helps maintain its integrity and lower maintenance and repair costs. Polyguard offers several high-performing waterproofing membranes to fit your project best: 650 Sheet Membrane, Polyguard 650L36 Sheet Membrane, and Underseal® PRM™.

650 Sheet Membrane (48″ x 50′ rolls) and 650L36 SHEET MEMBRANE (36″ x 66.7′)

650 Sheet Membrane (48″ x 50′ rolls) and 650L36 SHEET MEMBRANE (36″ x 66.7′)

Polyguard designed the 60 mils thick 650 and 650L36 Sheet Membranes especially for use on tunnels, along with foundation walls, plaza decks, parking garages, insulated concrete forms (ICFs), and other similar applications. Applied post-concrete, poured (positive side), either vertically or horizontally, this self-adhesive waterproofing membrane/vapor retarder virtually eliminates vapor and water transmission through concrete slabs. You can utilize the 650 membranes for a Dual Core System, capitalizing on the benefits of a fluid-applied and sheet-applied membrane in a single system.

Underseal® PRM™

Polyguard’s strong, self-adhering, 65-mil Underseal® PRM™ is a post-concrete pour sheet waterproofing membrane/vapor retarder with significant strength, double-thick, cross-laminated polyethylene backing laminated to a thick layer of rubberized asphalt compound. 

Tunnel Waterproofing Membrane

Underseal PRM™ adheres permanently and tightly to concrete, forming a continuous barrier against water and moisture infiltration. You can apply Underseal® PRM™horizontally and vertically for a Dual Core System that capitalizes on the advantages of a fluid-applied and sheet-applied membrane in one system. It was also specially formulated for temperatures down to 25° F (-4° C).

Underseal® CRM™ 

Underseal® CRM™ 

For tunnel walls requiring chemical resistance, 85-mil Underseal® CRM™ provides an excellent solution, proven to resist elevated amounts of soil, water, and vapor contaminants. 

Fortified, pre-applied Underseal® CRM™ sheet membrane includes a multi-component, chemical resistant backing laminated to a  layer of waterproofing adhesive compound and an integrated strong, nonwoven geotextile fabric. Applied horizontally, Underseal® CRM™ creates a continuous seal underneath the concrete slab or behind vertical “blind-side” cast-in-place concrete tunnel walls. 

Ultra CRM™ 

Post-applied, 60-mil Ultra CRM™ is a high-strength sheet membrane with multi-component, chemical resistant backing laminated to a thick layer of waterproofing adhesive compound, capable of resisting high concentrations of soil, fluid, and vapor contaminants. We designed the Ultra CRM™ for tunnels, poured concrete foundation walls, parking garages, etc., needing chemical-resistant waterproofing.

4. The Need for a Drainage System

A drainage component to a tunnel’s waterproofing system will collect and dispose of water before it damages the structure. The Polyflow 10/10P/15/15P Sheet Molded Drainage design establishes predetermined pathways for below-grade water management, allowing water to pass into the drain core while restricting the movement of soil particles that can clog the core. In addition, Polyflow 10/10P/15/15P Sheet Molded Drainage provides a protective layer for Polyguard waterproofing membranes. However, you must limit their exposure to ultraviolet light. 

Why Choose Polyguard Products for Tunnel Waterproofing?

Building a durable, long-lasting tunnel requires proper waterproofing system application, including substrate preparation, priming, waterproofing membrane, and drainage system. Fortunately, Polyguard has superior products to fit all these vital requirements. 

In 2011, the Houston Country Club chose Polyguard waterproofing systems to protect the integrity of various tunnels they constructed to connect their new underground 400 vehicle parking garage (also waterproofed with Polyguard products) to their elevator room in the clubhouse. They choose our high-quality products to limit the tunnels and garages repairs and maintenance due to water inflation and protect their vehicles and members’ safety.  

Contact Polyguard professionals today for more tips on waterproofing tunnels.

3 Considerations for Waterproofing a Parking Garage

Parking Garage Waterproofing

Properly installed and maintained waterproofing membranes for a parking garage deck will minimize maintenance and repair costs and extend its service life.

Modern methods of parking garage waterproofing better understand deterioration mechanisms. Specifically, the long-term performance of a parking garage depends on the effectiveness of the waterproof barriers in preventing moisture and chemical contamination and managing the salt-laden water entering the structure.

Proper installation and maintenance of a parking garage waterproofing system will slow its rate of deterioration and ensure safe, uninterrupted, long-term use of the structure. Protecting a parking garage with high-quality waterproofing will also limit closures, reduce long-term capital expenditure costs, and maintain its initial value. Conversely, a lack of adequate waterproofing often results in costly structural repairs, loss of revenue to extensive closures, and damage to vehicles.

A properly installed and well-maintained high-quality waterproofing system, like those offered by Poly Wall® Building Solutions (a division of Polyguard) for a parking garage, provides the front line defense against damaging moisture, chemicals, and salt-infused water.

Three Considerations for Waterproofing a Parking Garage

Preventing water intrusion in a new parking garage demands detailed, professional design instructions, like from our waterproofing specialists at Polyguard. Our team can help you avoid critical waterproofing design mistakes, particularly when it comes to terminations, transitions, and penetrations during construction, which can lead to time delays, budget overages, and even court. We also suggest that general contractors assign responsibility to a single person for the critical systems that impact waterproofing, like the building envelope, HVAC, etc., instead of relying on each building specialist to ensure their tasks meet an adequate level of waterproofing.

1. A Robust Waterproofing Design

The waterproofing system for a parking garage must withstand an aggressive environment, with heavy wear and tear from cars, trucks, and other vehicles. A poorly designed waterproofing system for a parking garage will quickly deteriorate, allowing moisture and chloride to enter the structures.

An effective waterproofing system must bridge cracks that will open and close as the temperature changes, along with cyclical loading as the structure ages. If the system stops bridging cracks, it becomes an easy path for moisture and chlorides to evade a surface-applied waterproofing system.

2. Sealing Joints in Precast Parking Structures

To maximize a precast concrete parking garage’s lifespan and avoid significant maintenance and repair costs, you must adequately engineer and install joint sealants between the precast concrete members.

Ensuring the good design, installation, and leak-free, long-term performance of sealed joints in precast concrete parking structures requires collaboration and coordination between building specialists: architect, precast concrete contractor, welder, concrete finisher, and sealant specialist. Designing sealing joints should consider expected joint movement, sealant material, and joint configuration. For more information on joint design, you can reference ASTM C11931 and ASTM C12992.

Choosing a Quality Sealant for Joints

The sealant must adhere to clean concrete, accept the movement of the joint, and withstand environmental conditions. The market offers single and multiple-component products. 

The physical demands on a parking garage sealant require a primer as an extra layer of protection against unplanned conditions, like ponding water or long-term snow cover, chemical exposure, and some forms of surface contamination. In addition, the design of parking structure joints should accept sealants capable of ±25% movement. However, some sealants can take 100% extension and 50% compression. Designing to the lower movement standard will leave room for error. 

To combat mechanical forces on the sealants from cars, trucks, etc., you must recess the sealant from the surface of the concrete at the drive lanes and ramps. Finally, the sealant must withstand heavy heat and UV (ultraviolet) rays in warm climates like Texas and Florida. In Michigan and Maine’s extreme cold and snow, the sealant must withstand extreme cold and snow, plus the abrasion of sand and salt used on the deck. 

3. Provide Proper Drainage to the Parking Deck

Draining water away from the parking garage will protect the deck, waterproofing membrane, and concrete slab, all vital to the structure’s service life. Extensive damage will occur if water left pooled in the structure freezes and thaws in colder climates. Therefore, waterproofing for a parking garage must include a drainage system that will direct water away from the structure. In addition, the deck must slope at least 2 percent towards a drainage system. 

Polyguard Pavement Waterproofing Membranes for Parking Garages

Polyguard Pavement Waterproofing Membranes for Parking Garages

In most states, the Department of Transportation recognizes the use of Polyguard Pavement membranes to protect bridge decks or pavement bases from water and moisture. They contain a rubberized asphalt waterproofing adhesive laminated to polypropylene fabric backings. We applied a disposable silicone-treated release sheet to the laminated membrane to prevent the membrane from sticking onto itself while in the roll. Only use Polyguard Membranes at pavement and air temperatures of 40 ºF and higher.

Polyguard offers several waterproofing membranes and companion products for bridge decks and parking garages:

Durable and Tough 665 Waterproofing Membrane

Self-adhering, 665 Waterproofing Membrane consists of rubberized asphalt laminated to a woven solid polypropylene mesh backing to form a minimum 65 mil membrane. 

Durable and flexible 665 Waterproofing Membrane, with a perm of 0.05, provides long-term waterproofing protection by maintaining its integrity against traffic and environmental attacks. 665 Waterproofing Membrane provides:

  • Puncture resistant up to 200 lbs.
  • Strip Tensile Strength of 50 lbs./in. Width
  • Grab Tensile Strength 150 lbs.
  • 20% Elongation at break of fabric
  • Pliability at low temperatures

You can cold-apply with no special adhesives or heating equipment, the 4-foot wide, 50-feet long membrane, delivered on a silicon release for ease of application. Projects suitable for 665 Waterproofing Membranes do not exceed an overlay temperature of 325°F.

In addition, we recommend an application of 650 RC Liquid Adhesive before applying the membrane to concrete bridge decks or milled pavement surfaces. Between temperatures 40º F and 50º F, new asphalt pavement surfaces do not need adhesive. Therefore, only use liquid adhesive for old concrete or asphalt surfaces (except milled surfaces) for temperatures below 70º F.

650 RC Liquid Adhesive

Polyguard 650 RC Liquid Adhesive is an asphaltic solvent-based liquid adhesive primer below waterproofing membranes for parking garages that enhances the bond between the membrane and pavement. Easy to apply, 650 RC Liquid Adhesive meets the requirements of ASTM D-41.

Solid and Flexible 650 Sheet Membrane

Strong, flexible, 60-mil, post concrete pour 650 Sheet waterproofing/vapor retarder membrane virtually eliminates water and vapor transmission through a parking garage’s concrete slabs. Self-adhered and cold-applied 650 Membrane allows for application down to 25° F (-4° C).

Polyguard 650 Membrane comes in a wide membrane, allowing for quick and straightforward application to continuous flat surfaces, like a parking deck. However, it also comes in a narrow width for trimming corners, construction joints, and other applications. 

You can purchase 650 Sheet Membrane in sizes: 36″ x 66.7′ and 48″ x 50′ rolls.

Reduce Cracking and Corrosion with NW-75 Pavement Underseal Membrane

Reduce Cracking and Corrosion with NW-75 Pavement Underseal Membrane

Peel and stick Polyguard NW-75 provides the ideal waterproofing solutions for localized areas of failure in parking lots (less than 10 percent of pavement area) before paving with a new overlay. Weaknesses in the subgrade can cause the asphalt to crack, allowing water to enter the subgrade, accelerating the failure, and creating a bad spot in the pavement, which is a situation that often repeats itself even after digging out and repairing the area.  Pavement Waterproofing Underseal can help stop future pavement failure by reducing the extent and severity of reflective cracking. 

NW-75 performs two functions. It provides reinforcement against breakup and cracking. If a crack occurs, the waterproofing seal built into the NW-75 stops water infiltration.

Underseal Polyguard Undeslab - Parking Garage Waterproofing

Puncture-resistant, NW-75 Polyguard 65 mil underseal membranes provide a permanent seal underneath the pavement, reducing the severity of pavement cracking and preventing steel corrosion on decks. It is also an excellent solution for joint and cracks repair.

Polyflow® 18 Drainage Mat

The design of our high-capacity Polyflow® 18 Drainage Mat provides a solution to lightweight drainage compatible with our engineered sheet and liquid membrane products used for parking garages. 

Lightweight and easy to install, Polyflow® 18 drainage mat contains a compressive strength of 21,000 psf, capable of handling the most challenging horizontal applications like a parking deck, split slabs, and plazas. In addition, this product utilizes a woven filter fabric designed for concrete pours to allow flow under loaded conditions.

Home Stretch™ Liquid Waterproofing

Home Stretch™ Liquid Waterproofing

Home Stretch™ Liquid Waterproofing provides waterproofing for below-grade precast concrete, concrete, and other vertical foundation surfaces prone to hydrostatic pressure. Its solvent-based, elastomeric coating cures to form a durable waterproofing membrane capable of bridging cracks up to 1/16th of an inch. For complete garage wall waterproofing, Poly Wall advises using Home Stretch™ Liquid Waterproofing with Blue Barrier™ Joint Filler 2200, Arroyo™ Drain Board, Arroyo™ Outlet ChannelArroyo™ End Outlet Channel System, and Arroyo™ T Outlet.

Trusted Reliability of Polyguard Waterproofing Products

Trusted Reliability of Polyguard Waterproofing Products

The Alta Dadeland project in Miami, FL, includes 431 residential units, 2,000 square feet of retail space, and a six-story parking garage protected with Polyguard waterproofing products.

For nearly 50 years, Polyguard’s Highway Division waterproofing products have protected the integrity of parking garages, saving on expensive repairs and maintenance. Correctly installed and maintained, our durable, strong, and flexible products protect against water and moisture intrusion, particularly around the joints, and reduce the amount and severity of cracking. As a result, Polyguard waterproofing products minimize maintenance and repair costs and preserve the structure’s integrity for years to come. 

Polyguard waterproofing products

The 16-story Museum Towers II in Philadelphia includes an on-site parking garage featuring Polyguard waterproofing products.

For more information on waterproofing a parking garage, don’t hesitate to contact our professionals at Polyguard.

Below-Grade Waterproofing and Drainage Solutions: Everything You Need to Know

Why Use Below-Grade Waterproofing?

Why Use Below-Grade Waterproofing?

Below-grade foundation waterproofing systems provide several components vital to managing the integrity and health of your building and controlling repair and maintenance expenses due to moisture infiltration. 

You need below-grade waterproofing and foundation drainage board solutions for below-grade walls because porous concrete can crack from water pressure and the building settling, allowing groundwater or contaminated soil vapors to enter the structure. Placing a barrier between the concrete and surrounding earth will protect the integrity of your foundation and avoid costly repairs and maintenance.

Stopping water and harmful contaminants from entering the building requires a high-quality, below-grade waterproofing membrane and drain board waterproofing, like Polyguard below-grade waterproofing and drainage board for foundation walls

The Benefits Of A Below-Grade Waterproofing System

There are several significant benefits to applying below-grade waterproofing and an effective basement waterproofing drain board to a foundation wall. Specifically, below-grade foundation waterproofing and foundation waterproofing drainage boards keep the below-grade building envelope moisture-free, protecting the structure’s integrity, immensely lessening long-term maintenance and repair costs, and helping to avoid the following below-grade moisture-related problems: 

  • Cracks in walls
  • Crystalline deposit of salts (efflorescence) on a basement or crawlspace walls or floor
  • Humidity in the crawlspace or basement leads to unhealthy and structurally damaging mold
  • Strange and unpleasant smells in the basement or crawlspace
  • Inward or outward bowing walls

The Science Of Below-Grade Waterproofing

The ASTM mandates that a waterproofing membrane should resist chemicals that can harm the membrane and maintain its watertight integrity for the life of the building in a continuously or intermittently moist environment against continuous or intermittent hydrostatic pressure. You should also consider wicking to maximize the water-resistance of your below-grade wall. 

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure refers to the gravitational pull on standing-dense water, causing it to push against below-grade walls built entirely or partially below the water table or on a hillside. Hydrostatic pressure tends to force water into any crack or imperfection in the structure, making waterproofing more complicated and adding loads to the structural components of the building. Hydrostatic pressure can crack a foundation, flood a basement or crawlspace, and cause significant structural damage to the structure. 

Capillary Action

Unfortunately, the concrete of a well-constructed below-grade wall can dry out unevenly, forming microscopic air tubes that allow water to seep through and into the structure by capillary action. 

Capillary action (wicking) refers to water’s ability to flow into narrow channels between porous building materials (concrete, aggregates, and sand) that act like tubes due to adhesive and cohesive forces interacting between the liquid and the surface, not with the assistance of gravity. Wicking results in a ring of dampness at a building’s base, including the lateral walls. Capillary water often carries salts and minerals (sulfates, chlorides, ammonium compounds) from the subsoil that can react with the building materials of the foundation, which can weaken the structure’s integrity, 

Stopping Water Infiltrations To Below-Grade Walls

The most effective way to stop water infiltration to below-grade walls by hydrostatic pressure and capillary action involves an application of an impermeable membrane and drain board foundation waterproofing between the soil and structure. 

Types Of Below-Grade Waterproofing Membranes

The two main membrane systems for waterproofing below-grade walls include prefabricated sheet membrane systems and fluid-applied membrane systems.

Prefabricated Sheet Membrane Systems 

Typically come as bentonite, modified bitumen, elastomeric, or thermoplastic membranes. You can easily apply prefabricated membranes (modified bitumen, elastomeric or thermoplastic sheets) to surfaces.

Fluid-Applied Membrane Systems 

Include cold liquid-applied, hot liquid-applied, or single components. You can, cold or hot, apply liquid-applied waterproofing to prepared substrate surfaces.

Applying Below-Grade Waterproofing

There are three processes for applying waterproofing membranes: positive-side, blind-side, and negative-side waterproofing.

Positive-Side (post-applied) Waterproofing 

Occurs after building the wall and requires access to the outside face of the building.

Blind-Side 

Pre-applied on the outside face of the foundation before building the foundation wall.. 

Negative-Side waterproofing membranes 

Involve applying waterproofing materials to the interior (dry) side of a building. Typically only done when you can’t apply positive side or blind-side waterproofing.

Why Polyguard Is The Best Below-Grade Waterproofing

Why Polyguard Is The Best Below-Grade Waterproofing

Polyguard’s below-grade foundation waterproofing products include membranes for pre-applied and post-applied applications, including sheet and fluid applied products. The design of our products stands up to the harshest of conditions, protecting concrete slabs and foundation walls from the entry of water and contaminants due to cracks in the concrete. 

Polyguard Below-Grade Sheet Membranes

UNDERSEAL® UNDERSLAB MEMBRANE

Tough, 85-mil Underseal® Underslab Membrane waterproofing membrane/vapor barrier 

installs horizontally over prepared sub-bases such as compacted soil, mud slab, carton forms, or #57 Stone, eliminating water and vapor transmission through concrete slabs. During the concrete pour, the concrete intermingles with the fibers of the nonwoven geotextile, forming a strong mechanical bond with the membrane, protecting the floor finishes and indoor air quality by acting as a barrier to methane and radon gas. 

You can also install Underseal® Underslab Membrane vertically on removable formwork for waterproof protection for perimeter and grade beam installations, elevator pits, or against adjoining buildings to provide waterproofing protection. 

UNDERSEAL® BLINDSIDE™ MEMBRANE

UNDERSEAL® BLINDSIDE™ MEMBRANE

Typically, you apply puncture-resistant, flexible, 73 mil Underseal® Blindside™ Membrane waterproofing membrane in areas where soil retention does not allow access to the positive side. It installs vertically before pouring the concrete. As the concrete cures, it forms a mechanical bond with the membrane. In addition, the cold flow tendencies of the membrane create an outside adhesive layer, contributing to a tight seal and superior protection against moisture intrusion, along with methane and radon gas to the concrete.  

Also, you can install the Underseal Blindside™ Membrane horizontally over prepared sub-base such as mud slab, carton forms, fine crushed beds/pea gravel, or Polyguard approved drain board.

UNDERSEAL 650 MEMBRANE ® MEMBRANE

UNDERSEAL 650 MEMBRANE ® MEMBRANE

Strong, flexible, 60-mil 650 Sheet self-adhesive waterproofing membrane/vapor retarder stops water and vapor transmissions through poured concrete foundation walls, wood, CMU, and insulated concrete forms (ICF). For critical waterproofing projects, the design of 650 Membranes allows for use in horizontal/split slab applications and vertical/secure wall applications.

The Polyguard 650 Membrane comes in a wide membrane (up to 48- inches), allowing for quick and easy application to continuous flat surfaces. It also comes in a narrow width for trimming corners, construction joints, and other applications. 

UNDERSEAL ® PRM™ Puncture Resistant MEMBRANE

High-strength, self-healing, 65-mil Underseal® PRM™ is a post-concrete pour sheet waterproofing membrane/vapor retarder with a double-thick, cross-laminated polyethylene backing laminated to a thick layer of rubberized asphalt compound.  

Underseal® PRM™ adheres tightly and permanently to concrete. It’s backing also forms a continuous barrier to water and moisture vapor entry. 

You can apply Underseal® PRM™ vertically to the exterior sides of concrete foundation walls, tunnels, and related applications needing waterproofing, allowing for faster waterproofing applications by eliminating the step to install an additional protection course before backfilling operations.

You can also apply Underseal® PRM™  to horizontal slab applications such as parking garages, plaza decks, plywood decks, and similar applications. It allows for concrete topping slab installation without the need for a separate protection course in most situations.

Polyguard Chemical Resistant Membranes

UNDERSEAL® CRM™ 

For walls requiring additional chemical resistance, 85-mil Underseal® CRM™ provides a superior solution, proven to withstand elevated concentrations of water, soil, and vapor contaminants. 

Fortified, pre-applied Underseal® CRM™ sheet membrane contains a multi-component, chemical resistant backing laminated to a superior layer of waterproofing adhesive compound and an integrated high strength, nonwoven geotextile fabric. Applied horizontally, Underseal® CRM™ provides a continuous seal underneath the concrete slab or behind vertical “blind-side” cast-in-place concrete walls. 

ULTRA CRM™

Post-applied, 60-mil Ultra CRM™ offers a strong sheet membrane with multi-component, chemical resistant backing laminated to a thick layer of waterproofing adhesive compound, capable of withstanding elevated concentrations of fluid, soil, and vapor contaminants. We designed the Ultra CRM™ for poured concrete foundation walls, tunnels, parking garages, etc., requiring chemical-resistant waterproofing.

BELOW-GRADE FLUID-APPLIED WATERPROOFING

BELOW-GRADE FLUID-APPLIED WATERPROOFING

Polyguard’s Commercial Stretch is a fluid-applied single component developed with our patented thermoplastic technology. It provides a spray, cold-applied (as cold as -20° F) product which produces a seamless, durable, waterproofing membrane that can bridge substrate shrinkage cracks up to 1/16-inch, minimizing surface breaches and eliminating problems at the joints. We designed Commercial Stretch for simple application to below-grade exterior waterproofing of concrete, precast concrete, CMU foundations, and other structural surfaces on the hydro-positive side.

FLUID-APPLIED DAMPPROOFING PRO 1000 

The design of PRO 1000 allows for positive-side hydrostatic pressure application over below-grade poured concrete, precast concrete, and concrete masonry walls. You can also apply PRO 1000 as a negative-side, vapor impermeable coating on the inside of a below-grade wall in combination with water or damp proofing the outside of the wall with PRO 1000 or other Polyguard material. 

The patented, single-component, cold-applied PRO 1000 creates a non-elastomeric, non-breathable, thermoplastic membrane. The membrane dries to a UV-resistant, tough, recoatable, hard-coat, protective film that prevents water passage through a substrate, protecting against rain, melting snow, and in the areas between the exterior finish and the grade. 

Why Polyguard Has The Best Drainage Options

Why Polyguard Has The Best Drainage Options

The design of our lightweight, high-capacity Polyflow® Drainage products provide our customers a variety of solutions to lightweight drainage, compatible with our engineered sheet and liquid membrane products. In addition, our easy-to-install products decrease excavation needs, saving both money and time.

Polyflow® 10, 10P, 15, and 15P SHEET MOLDED DRAINAGE MATS

Polyflow® 10, 10P, 15, and 15P Sheet Molded Drainage Mats, applied vertically over Polyguard waterproofing membranes, direct moisture into the drain core while limiting the movement of soil particles which can clog the core. Our Polyflow® 10, 10P, 15, & 15P drainage mats can minimize hydrostatic pressure when connected to our high capacity collector and outlet drainage system, Totalflow™.

Polyflow® 18 DRAINAGE MAT

The design of our high-capacity Polyflow® 18 offers a lightweight drainage system compatible with our engineered liquid and sheet membrane products used for below-grade waterproofing. 

Lightweight and easy to install, Polyflow® 18 drainage mat provides a compressive strength of 21,000 psf, capable of handling the most complex horizontal applications. In addition, this product uses a woven filter fabric specifically for concrete pours to permit flow under loaded conditions.

The Houston Country Club Underground Garage Polyguard Case Study

In 2011, the Houston Country Club began designing (Houston architect Jackson & Ryan) for their new underground garage to accommodate about 400 vehicles (170,000 ft2 plus tunnel areas at the cost of $10.5 million. It would also allow tunnel access to the clubhouse and social venues of the club. The club selected Pepper Lawson Construction, L.P. of Houston as the general contractor and Western Waterproofing Company of America in Houston as the waterproof contractor for the new underground garage. Price Consulting, Inc of Houston, however, provided the specification and details for the waterproofing. In addition, they chose Polyguard Products to ensure a waterproof below-grade wall for the new underground garage. 

After the excavation, contractors installed and compacted the drainage stone, which they covered with Polyguard’s Underslab Membrane. Next, they waterproofed the column areas with pre-formed column boots (saving significant time), and the exterior wall areas with Polyguard 650 Membrane System and PolyFlow 15P drainage composite. 

Finally, they waterproofed the post-tensioned garage lid with Polyguard’s 650 Membrane System and 1/4” Asphaltic Hardboard. In addition, Western Waterproofing installed Poly Flow 18H drainage composite to the perimeter vertical walls.  

Why Choose Polyguard Below-Grade Waterproofing And Drainage Solutions? 

The quality of a foundation plays a significant role in a building’s performance and lifespan. Severe problems to a building’s integrity will occur if you inadequately design and install the foundation, particularly the below-grade waterproofing and drainage systems. To avoid costly repairs due to below-grade leaks, always select high-quality below-grade waterproofing and drainage solutions like Polyguard products. 

Don’t hesitate to contact a Polyguard professional for all your questions concerning below-grade waterproofing and drainage solutions.

How to Prevent Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI)

(CUI) Corrosion Under Insulation

Corrosion under insulation (CUI) can trigger catastrophic failures and massive maintenance costs. CUI corrosion affects many industries, and it challenges oil, gas, and petrochemicals tremendously, because they must use insulation to save energy, protect workers from high temperatures, and control process temperatures.

Annually, corrosion costs about $2.2 trillion, over 3 percent of the world’s GDP, with about $1 trillion attributed to the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries. Furthermore, CUI causes 40 to 60 percent of pipe maintenance costs, resulting in 10 percent of these industries’ annual maintenance costs going to repairing damage caused by CUI. 

Corrosion can dangerously impact many industries besides oil, gas, and petrochemicals: 

  • Buildings and bridges can collapse
  • Bathrooms can flood
  • Chemical plants leak
  • Corroded medical implants can lead to blood poisoning
  • Corroded electrical contacts can lead to fires
  • Radioactive waste containers may leak

What is Corrosion? 

Damaging and costly galvanic corrosion occurs when water (a common corrosive electrolyte) combines with oxygen on two metal surfaces, like a pipe, prompting an electrochemical process or electrical connection between the metals spots. 

  • At this point, the less noble metal surface forms an anode. The anode loses electrons (forming a cation), causing the area to corrode (oxidize), producing distinctive red iron oxide (rust). Exposure to warm temperatures, salts, and acids can accelerate the process of corrosion. 
  • The more noble metal surface, with greater oxidation resistance, forms a cathode. The cathode acquires electrons (forming an anion), slowing corrosion (oxidation). 

What is Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI)?

Corrosion under insulation can attack the jacketing, insulation hardware, or the underlying piping or equipment when moisture gets in or under the insulation system, regardless of the type of Insulation or its use (thermal or acoustic). 

The oil and gas sector’s extensive use of steel pipework makes these industries particularly susceptible to CUI. In addition, the locations of many of these industries, in hot, humid, high rainfall environments, along with operating systems that create large temperature swings, further make the oil and gas sector susceptible to CUIs. 

What Triggers CUI Corrosion?

What Triggers CUIs?

The steel type and coating, the number of corrosive contaminants (atmospheric chlorides or sulfides or leaching from the Insulation) in the water, and the temperature of the pipework quickly can precipitate CUIs.

However, several other factors can influence the development of CUI.

  • Ambient temperatures: 
    • Below 32º F, corrosion rates drop due to low energy levels and limited amounts of oxygen.
    • Above 300º F, most moisture will evaporate out of the insulation, preventing corrosion.
    • Corrosion can occur on carbon steel between 32º F and 300º F.
    • Corrosion under stainless steel insulation can occur between 140º F and 300º F.
    • The most aggressive corrosion on carbon steel and 300 series stainless steel occurs between 200º F and 240º F. 
  • Liquid or vapor water from rainwater, condensation, spillage, etc.
  • Insulation material and system design
  • Condition and choice of the protective jacketing and vapor barriers
  • Intermittent wet and dry environmental conditions
  • Moisture trapped in the insulation due to improper storage or application not only leads to corrosion, but reduces its thermal and acoustic performance. 

If left undetected, CUI can cause catastrophic explosions or leaks, equipment failure, lengthy downtime due to replacement or repair, and environmental and safety concerns. 

How To Prevent Corrosion Under Insulation

Effective ways to limit CUI on pipes and equipment typically involve controlling the three essential ingredients required for CUI: warm temperatures, water, and oxygen. 

However, even when you completely enclose a pipe with insulation, sealing all the joints, terminations, and other regulations along the length of a pipe, moisture can still penetrate the insulating layers, causing CUI. Therefore, as part of your scheduled coatings maintenance plan, you must regularly check the piping under insulation, sealing the insulation with a top-quality, high-temperature CUI coating.

How to Stop CUI with Polyguard RG-2400 (Blue Goo) and Barriers

How to Stop CUI with Polyguard RG-2400 (Blue Goo) and Barriers

Fortunately, the team at Polyguard made the problem of CUI a top priority to solve, developing a corrosion protection gel, RG-2400 or Blue Goo, for a variety of the most problematic corrosion problems worldwide. You can apply RG-2400 gel to pipes and other metal surfaces with a brush or glove, sealing the insulation and stopping CUI.

Polyguard has created a family of RG-2400 products to meet your specific needs: 

  • RG-2400 ET – withstands 350° F (177° C) operating temperatures, vital for steam lines with temperature cycles ranging from hot to ambient 
  • RG-2400 LT – for use on any system up to 250º F (121º C), great for preventing CUI, piping systems, fittings, valves, tanks, and vessels
  • RG-2400® NP – for new piping systems valves, tanks, and vessels without oils, dirt, or rust, on any system up to 230º F
  • RG-2400 AK – prevents stainless steel and copper stress crack CUI, great for tank chime installations, used on in-service HOT Line applications up to 250º F (121º C)
  • RG-CHW – a CUI solution formulated for use on chilled water systems with 40º F – 140º F temperature ranges and minimal surface preparation before application 
  • RG-2401 – designed for oil well casings and road casing corrosion remediation, displacing water in wells with service up to 250º F (121º C)

Along with RG-2400, we strongly recommend our vapor barriers, such as Insulrap™, Alumaguard® Lite, and Alumaguard® on insulated pipes and structures. The Polyguard barriers provide damage-resistant protection to the insulation’s outside, keeping it drier than traditional coatings. Specifications for food and beverage processing and chemical processing plants with insulated piping usually require the application of Polyguard barriers over the insulation.

Polyguard’s Companion Products for RG-2400 

PolyGuard has several companion products to support and protect RG-2400 corrosion gel. 

  • GeoWrap® – a non-woven nylon geotextile fabric designed to support RG2400 on large diameter hot piping systems (up to 425º F (218º C) with a melting point of 500º F (260º C)) which tend to vibrate. It is also used for vessels and storage tanks. 
  • AlumaWrap™ – a waterproofing membrane used on uninsulated piping systems and vessels with corrosion problems, installed over the GeoWrap, its joints taped with Alumaguard® Lite smooth acrylic tape.
  • VaporGuard™ Butyl Tape – provides excellent cold temperature flexibility at -20º F and is designed to seal vapor stops, expansion joints, and terminations on ammonia systems, preventing moisture from infiltrating the insulation system.
  • Alumaguard® Lite – used outdoors to weather-proof exterior insulated ductwork, piping, or other insulated tanks, vessels, and equipment or indoors on ductwork and pipe systems requiring an actual zero-perm vapor barrier durable outer jacket.
    • Alumaguard® Lite Cool Wrap™ – offers an energy-saving flexible cladding that creates a superior vapor and weather barrier for all our Alumaguard® family of products. Alumaguard® Lite Cool Wrap™ qualifies for LEED credits and meets solar reflectance and emissivity requirements of the Cool Roof Rating Council and California Title 24. 
    • Alumaguard® Lite White – designed for indoors, zero-perm applications in mechanical rooms, food production areas, pipe systems, and ductwork when desiring a glossy white appearance. You can also use it outdoors to weather-proof exterior insulated piping, ductwork, or other insulated tanks, vessels, and equipment.
  • AccuTrowel – a custom-designed toolset to gauge mil thickness when applying viscous coatings to pipe surfaces measuring from 2 – 12-inches in diameter.

Preventing CUI with Polyguard Products

Preventing CUI with Polyguard Products

Polyguard’s RG-2400 products offer a solution to stopping and controlling CUI on new and existing metal services of insulated piping, ductwork, vessels, oil-well, and road casings. Preventing CUI protects workers from high temperatures, controls process temperatures, and saves energy. Significantly, not preventing CUI can lead to catastrophic failures and massive maintenance costs. 

PolyGuard professionals are here to answer all your questions on how to prevent corrosion under insulation.

The Best Options for Waterproofing a Balcony or Terrace

The aesthetics and performance of a building depend tremendously on adequate balcony waterproofing. Heavy rain may pool due to inadequate balcony waterproofing systems potentially leaking to the lower floor, causing cracks, chips, and unsafe joints and sealants. Therefore, the best-suited terrace waterproofing system pays particular attention to the critical leakage points of the balcony or terrace. 

Read on for more on waterproofing solutions for a terrace, emphasizing how to waterproof a balcony floor.

Balcony Waterproofing

Before You Waterproof a Terrace Flooring

In new construction, the best balcony flooring waterproof system includes a drainage membrane on the underside of the substrate. However, when remodeling, the specific conditions of the terrace or balcony determine the best solution for waterproofing a patio, balcony, veranda, or lanai floor. 

How to Choose the Best Waterproofing Solution for Existing Balconies

The best way for you to waterproof an existing balcony floor depends on the condition of the floor and substrate as well as adequate sloping. 

Before choosing your balcony waterproofing solution, first, check the flooring for cracks or holes. If present, remove the finished floor layer (usually wood, plastic, stone, or composite tiles) and check the substrate (typically wood or concrete) for damage. Make sure the balcony has a slope of at least 2 percent  (1/4 inch per foot) for positive drainage.

Waterproofing Floors and Substrates in Excellent Condition

For balcony floors without cracks or tenting, you can quickly and easily apply flooring-specific liquid membrane waterproofing to the finished floor with rollers or brushes. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, the process should leave no gaps, creating a thickness of just a few millimeters. The liquid membrane waterproofing solution you select should resist temperature changes, bad weather, chemical substances, and stagnant water.  

Waterproofing Damaged Finished Flooring or Substrate

Cracks, rust stains, salt stains, or discoloration on the flooring indicate problems with your terrace or balcony floor. When this occurs, you will need to completely remove the finished flooring, exposing the layer beneath the substrate — the last line of defense between the vital structural parts of the balcony floor and moisture.  

For concrete substrates, look for any cracks or chips, filling the ones you find. For large damaged pieces of the concrete substrate, use a concrete patcher with a trowel to apply and smooth the new concrete. Before applying the adhesive membrane, ensure a clean, dust-free, smooth, and dry substrate. 

How to Seal a Balcony Floor 

After repairing and cleaning the substrate, you can apply the waterproof terrace coating, followed by a primer (use a new paint roller). 

Best Option for Waterproofing a Terrace or Balcony Floor

Manufacturers typically offer two solutions for the best balcony waterproofing membrane: wet/liquid and rolled/sheet membranes. However, the success of terrace waterproofing work depends on following manufacturers’ instructions. 

Wet Waterproofing Membrane

Wet or liquid membranes are a cost-effective method of concrete balcony waterproofing. However, many find the application of liquid membranes complex and less effective at creating an even surface than rolled waterproofing membranes, so it may not be the best waterproofing chemical for a terrace. 

Why Rolled Waterproofing Membranes Are the Best Option for Waterproofing a Balcony

Rolled Waterproofing Membranes

Rolled or sheet membranes come in long, adhesive sheets you lay across the subfloor. They guarantee an even surface, acting as a layer of reinforcement for the subfloor. Rolled or sheet membranes type installs easier and faster than liquid membranes. Polyguard is a superior option to a rolled waterproofing membrane, Balconyguard™ Membrane, along with our high-performing companion products.

Balconyguard™ Membrane — The Best Rolled Waterproofing Membrane

Polyguard’s Balconyguard™ Membrane is a 60-mil, self-adhesive waterproofing membrane that is explicitly used on wood deck balconies and terraces, covered with lightweight concrete – ideal for multi-family construction or any project with a large number of balconies or patios.   

Easy to install, Balconyguard™ Membranes provide several impressive features and benefits specially designed for waterproofing balconies and exposed multi-story walkways covered with lightweight concrete:

  • Treated removable release film
  • High strength PET film
  • Tensile strength meets ASTM D412  
  • Elongation meets ASTM D412 
  • For ease of installation and detailing, our Balconyguard™ System includes custom corner boots, saving builders time and money. 
  • 48-inch wide by 50-feet rolls (200 ft2 rolls), reducing seam occurrence by up to 25 percent, compared to 36-inch wide products — a time-saving feature that lessens the number of required seams.

Before installing Balconyguard™ Membrane, we recommend you contact either Polyguard Technical Services or an authorized company representative for assistance for job-specific details or shop drawings. 

Guaranteeing a Waterproof Balcony and Terrace with Polyguard Companion Products

Waterproof Balcony and Terrace

In addition, Polyguard offers several convenient companion products to help ensure a water-tight balcony or terrace. 

Polyguard 105 Flashing Membranes

Polyguard 105 Flashing Membranes deflect water along with the exterior flashing application, including the sills, spandrel beams, copings, window and door headers, and flange flashings. Our 105 flashing provides:

  • A 105 mil
  • Strong, flexible, self-adhesive sheet
  • A high-density polyethylene film bonded to a layer of rubberized asphalt waterproofing compound with a slit release sheet to conform to 90-degree angles 
  • Accommodates most job site conditions without cracking, unlike some metal systems
  • Stands up to abuse by other trades during and after installation
  • Securely clings to the surface, eliminating blow-off and tears before and after exterior wall installation
  • Helps to self-seal a punctured membrane

Before applying Polyguard 105 Flashing Membranes, eliminate sharp protrusions and clean all surfaces of dirt, dust, and foreign matters. Next, prime the dry surfaces with 650 LT Liquid Adhesive, at an average rate of 250-300 ft2./gallon by brush or roller. After adhesive becomes tacky to the touch (30 to 60 minutes), apply the 105 Flashing Membranes to all areas requiring flashing to channel water away from walls. For extra protection, extend the vertical termination on substrate 6-inches and seal on the day of installation with Detail Sealant PW™. Finally, overlap all the flashings at least 2-inches, running them parallel to the direction of water flow. Prime the overlaps if temperatures are below 40º F (4º C). 

Polyguard 650 LT Liquid Adhesive

Polyguard’s rubber-based 650 LT Liquid Adhesive (in a solvent solution) primes structural concrete, masonry, or wood surfaces before applying waterproofing membranes, creating superior adhesion for the Polyguard® waterproofing membranes

  • You can use 650 LT Liquid Adhesive on applications down to 25° F (-4° C).
  • You must take precautions when applying 650 LT Liquid Adhesive to horizontal surfaces since it may remain tacky.
  • Concrete block and brick walls require 650 LT Liquid Adhesive.

Polyguard 650 WB Liquid Adhesive

Rubber- and water-based 650 WB Liquid Low-Tack Adhesive provides excellent adhesion. The VOC content of 5 g/L. 650 WB Liquid Adhesive appears pink. When used to prime dry surfaces, the 650 WB Liquid Adhesive ensures the dust-free substrate required for applying Polyguard Waterproofing Membranes.

  • Use 650 WB Liquid Adhesive to prime vertical and horizontal surfaces of structural concrete, masonry, or wood surfaces before applying Polyguard Membranes.
  • You can use 650 WB Liquid Adhesive in ambient temperatures and surface temperatures of 40° F (5° C) and above.
  • Do not freeze 650 WB Liquid Adhesive during transit, storage, or use.
  • Use 650 WB Liquid Adhesive on all concrete blocks and brick walls.

Polyguard Balconyguard™ Outside Corner Boot

The Balconyguard™ Outside Corner Boot (a 60-mil combination of rubberized asphalt and polyethylene) simply applies to the outside face of the balcony at the wall-balcony interface. Only apply Balconyguard Membrane or Underseal® PRM™ and 650 Sheet Membrane over the clean, dry, contaminate-free film of a Balconyguard™ Outside C. The 6-inch x 6-inch x 6-inch easy-to-install boots come 25 to a carton. Easy to install, the Balconyguard™ Outside Corner Boot saves time and labor on the job site. 

Polyguard Detail Sealant PW™

High-performing, flexible, non-corrosive, and non-staining Polyguard Detail Sealant PW™ fills minor cast concrete cracks, concrete masonry cracks, penetrations, gypsum sheathing joints, and gaps at head joints, creating a continuous smooth surface. You can apply Polyguard Detail Sealant PW™ to many below-grade waterproofing applications at penetrations and terminations, along with trowel-on rough opening flashing/waterproofing above-grade applications.

  • VOC/HAPS free, non-isocyanate adhesive/sealant, solvent-free Polyguard Detail Sealant PW™ is an eco-friendly solution to toxic silicone, urethane, and polyurethane sealants. 
  • Polyguard Detail Sealant PW™ comes in easy-to-use three-gallon pails or 20 oz. sausages.
  • Even at low temperatures, Polyguard Detail Sealant PW™ cures rapidly and retains its properties to -75°F. 

Polyguard Detail Tape

Apply the Polyguard Detail Tape as detail strips on the outside and inside corners, expansion joints, penetrations control joints, and cold joints to patch damaged areas of the membrane.

Strong, flexible, self-adhesive sheet Polyguard Detail Tape consists of a cross-laminated, high-density polyethylene film bonded to a layer of rubberized asphalt waterproofing compound. Wind the tape on a disposable silicone treated release sheet to stop the membrane from sticking to itself while in the roll. 

Polyguard LM-85 SSL

Polyguard LM-85 SSL is a two-component, semi-self leveling, asphalt modified, urethane liquid membrane that comes in a pourable sealer, and is specifically made to use in conjunction with Polyguard waterproofing membrane in Dual Core and pitch pan applications.

  • 100% Polyguard LM-85 SSL contains no solvents
  • Polyguard LM-85 SSL remains UV stable up to three months

Polyguard Polyflow® BD 

Polyguard Polyflow® BD (balcony drain) protection and drainage system provides drainage for foot-traffic balcony decks with less than 3-inches of concrete. Polyflow® BD comes as a sheet-molded drain, establishing pathways for balcony water management. The fabric permits water flow to designated drainage exits. In addition, the punched core increases the release rate of water from within the system. 

For horizontal deck installation, unroll Polyflow® BD fabric side up and loosely lay directly over the balcony waterproofing membrane, with the edges of the flanged core at the higher side of the deck or plaza, away from any drains.

Polyguard Polyflow® 18 Drainage Mat 

Polyguard Polyflow® 18 Drainage Mat includes a two-part, molded-sheet drainage geocomposite with a formed impermeable polymeric core, covered on one side with high-strength woven filter fabric. Lightweight and easy to install, Polyguard Polyflow® 18 Drainage Mat contributes to waterproofing by allowing water to pass through the fabric into the drain core while restricting the movement of soil particles that might clog the core. From the core, the water flows to designated drainage exits. As a result, Polyguard Polyflow® 18 Drainage Mat is an ideal drainage mat for split slabs, plazas, and parking decks. 

  • Polyguard Polyflow® 18 Drainage Mat provides enhanced compressive strength (21,000 PSF) of the core. 
  • Use Polyguard Polyflow® 18 Drainage Mat for horizontal applications

Installing the Polyguard Polyflow® 18 Drainage Mat 

After cleaning the horizontal substrate surface of dust and debris, unroll the Polyflow® 18 fabric side up and loosely lay directly over the waterproofing membrane, with the edges of the flanged core at the higher side of the deck or plaza, away from any drains. Next, attach the horizontal Polyflow 18 to the substrate surface with an adhesive compatible with the waterproofing membrane substrate. 

At the overlaps, place adjoining panels, so the core flange overlaps and shingles in the direction of flow to the drain collection system, daylight, or scuppers. Push adjoining panels together and shingle one fabric over another. For an under-slab installation condition, place the Polyflow® 18 fabric side down towards the soil.

Why You Need to Waterproof Your Balconies with Balconyguard™ Membrane 

Sufficient waterproofing of your balconies will help preserve the durability and aesthetics of your building, significantly lessening maintenance and repair bills over time. A leaky terrace can lead to long-term structural damage and unhealthy living conditions. Fortunately, Polygaurd’s Balconyguard™ Membrane and companion products can help you with your balcony waterproofing needs, securing your building’s value and integrity for years to come.  

For more questions on the best options for waterproofing a balcony or a terrace, don’t hesitate to contact Polyguards professionals today.

Industrial Pipe Insulation 101: 4 Steps to Ensure Reliability

Industrial pipe insulation provides a barrier between the contents of a pipe and the outside environment, which is particularly vital in buildings where iron, copper, CPVC, PVC, and stainless-steel pipe temperatures can range from 0° F to 1,000° F (-18° C to 538° C). Industrial pipe insulation plays a crucial role in a building’s efficiency, safety, durability, and indoor environmental quality (IEQ). 

Industrial Pipe Insulation

Ensuring that the long-term integrity of the insulation and pipe requires several vital steps before and after applying the pipe insulation: 

Why We Need Pipe Insulation

  • Improves Energy-Efficiency: Thermal pipe insulation on the exterior of pipes prevents heat transfer and significantly improves a structure’s energy efficiency.
  • Enhances Worker Safety: Pipe insulation improves workers’ comfort and protects them from injury and burns. 
  • Prevents Freezing: Insulation on outside pipes in below-freezing environments reduces the chance of blockage and possible rupture, potentially damaging both the pipes and building. 
  • Stops Condensation: Insulation stops condensation on the pipes. Condensation can cause rust and lead to unhealthy and structurally damaging mold.
  • Soundproofing: Acoustic pipe insulation provides a layer of soundproofing for buildings requiring substantial noise control, like movie theaters and hospitals. The conductive nature of pipes makes them especially adept at carrying sound from one building area to another. Acoustic insulation can dampen sound. It also can serve as a buffer, preventing acoustic vibrations from moving from the pipe to another surface, like the floor or wall. 

Installing and Protecting Pipe Insulation with Polyguard Products

The 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC C403.12.3) requires insulation for piping associated with a heating or cooling system that carries fluid with an operating temperature of 105° F or more, or 60° F or less. Furthermore, you must protect the weather-exposed insulated piping from sunlight, moisture, and wind, which can damage and diminish the effectiveness of the insulation. 

Fortunately, Polyguard provides all the products you need to protect piping against corrosion, heat loss, moisture, and weather damage: Corrosion Control Gel RG-2400, PolyPhen® Phenolic Insulation, Insulrap 30 NG, Alumaguard® Lite, ZEROPERM® film, VaporGuard™ Butyl Tape, and InsulShield™ Outerwrap™.

Four Steps for Ensuring Reliable Industrial Pipe Insulation

Step 1

Apply a layer of ReactiveGel RG-2400 (Blue Goo) to stop corrosion under insulation (CUI). 

Using a brush, PVC chemical gloves, or roller, apply a thick layer of RG-2400 to a clean, rust and debris-free pipe until you no longer see the metal. For large pipes or vessels, you can directly apply the RG-2400. For large pipes, we also recommend installing our mesh fabric before applying the insulation and vapor barrier. 

Always wear eye protection and a respirator mask when using RG-2400 products. 

Polyguard has a series of products to stop CUI, that will meet the specific needs of your industry: 

  • RG-2400 ET – withstands 350° F (177° C) operating temperatures, vital for steam lines with temperature cycles ranging from ambient to hot 
  • RG-2400 LT – can be applied to any system up to 250º F (121º C)
  • RG-2400 NP – for new piping systems up to 230º F
  • RG-2400 AK – prevents stainless steel and copper stress crack CUI, used on in-service HOT Line applications up to 250º F (121º C)
  • RG-CHW – provides a solution for CUI on chilled water systems with 40º F to -140º F temperature ranges

Step 2

Install PolyPhen® Phenolic Insulation to prevent heat loss.

Pipe Insulation

PolyPhen® Phenolic insulation, installed over the RG-2400, will efficiently stop the flow of heat and vapor to and from the pipe. Computer cutting technology by specialist fabricators significantly improves the value of an insulation system by ensuring a consistent tight-fit for applications of PolyPhen® Phenolic Insulation.

Environmentally safe, flame-resistant, closed-cell Polyguard PolyPhen® offers a range of rigid foam, insulation densities designed for commercial and industrial applications like piping systems, vessels, tanks, and ductwork. With thermal conductivities ranging from 0.17 – 0.24 Btu in/(hr ft2), you can apply PolyPhen® closed-cell insulation to insulate surfaces operating within the temperature range of -290° F to +250° F (-180° C to +120° C). The insulation thickness varies depending on the pipe temperature.

Why Choose Phenolic Insulation?

Why Choose Phenolic Insulation?

Phenolic materials result from a reaction when solids, phenolic resin, and a surface-acting agent are mixed to create a network of bubbles cured into a closed-cell foam, enhancing its thermal and moisture resistance when compared to open-cell foam. 

  • The low thermal conductivity gives it twice the insulating capabilities of other insulating materials like cellular glass (partially closed cell), elastomeric (closed cell), and fibrous glass (open cell).
  • The high R-value and low thermal conductivity save money because it requires less insulation to maintain the same performance as other common insulation materials. 
  • It achieves an ASTM E84 25/50 Class A flame and smoke rating, and many phenolic foams do not burn at all when exposed to an E84 flame test, yielding a perfect 0/0 rating.
  • Phenolic insulation produces very low levels of toxic gas emissions. Waste insulation can also be reused and manufactured into a new product. 

Step 3

Apply a vapor layer: Insulrap 30 NG, Alumaguard, or ZEROPERM® films over the insulation to control moisture infiltration. For smaller jobs, use VaporGuard™ Butyl Tape.

In conjunction with our RG-2400 on insulated pipes, Polyguard recommends applying our zero-perms rated flexible cladding and vapor barrier products: Insulrap™, Alumaguard®, and ZEROPERM® films. Vapor barriers over insulated piping, especially cold systems or high humidity conditions like the Gulf Coast region, help retard the passage of moisture vapor from the atmosphere to the insulation, ensuring the integrity and function of the mechanical pipe system.

Insulrap™ 30 NG Vapor Barrier

Insulrap™ 30 NG Vapor Barrier 

Refrigeration, cryogenic and chemical processing applications typically use our original self-healing vapor barrier membrane, Insulrap™ 30 NG. Low-perm, Insulrap™ 30 NG consists of a tough polymer film coated with a layer of rubberized asphalt specially formulated specifically for this application.

To apply the “peel and stick” Insulrap™ 30 NG:

  1. Remove the disposable silicone-coated release liner and immediately cigarette wrap the pipe, providing a 2-inch overlap of the membrane on itself.
  2. At the joints, wrap with 4-inch butt strips.
  3. Apply pressure with a roller to ensure the barrier conforms to the insulation.

You can use Insulrap™ 30 NG in burial applications if covered with a mechanical jacket. However, refer to the datasheets for Insulrap™ 50 NG or Insulrap™ 125 No Torch for direct burial applications.

Insulrap™ 30 NG has several features that help save on labor and material costs compared to mastic/fab/mastic coatings:

  • Uniform factory-controlled thickness of 0.30 mils
  • Self-healing laps 
  • Elastomeric properties that accommodate expansion and contraction of the substrate 
  • White color for improved reflectivity in the field before jacketing 

Alumaguard® and Alumaguard® Cool Wrap™

Polyguard’s zero perm Alumaguard® weather-proofing, energy-saving, and flexible cladding stops moisture, air, and vapor intrusions into the insulation on exterior ductwork, refrigeration, and chilled water piping, tanks, vessels, and equipment. 

Alumaguard® self-heals small punctures, resists ultraviolet (UV) rays, expands and contracts with the underlying substrates, and provides superior emissivity and sound attenuation (STC 18) properties. Bright white Alumaguard® Cool Wrap™meets CA Title 24, CRRC, and ENERGY STAR requirements.

You can easily apply, peel and stick Alumaguard® to either rigid insulation on outdoor piping and ductwork systems or clean and dry bare metal ducts.

ZEROPERM® Reversible Vapor Barrier Membrane

ZeroPerm® vapor barrier provides all types of insulations with maximum moisture protection in below ambient, sub-freezing, and cryogenic applications on pipe, duct, or vessel systems. ZEROPERM’s 3-ply composite membrane consists of a white 0.5 mil polyester film, 1.0 mil aluminum foil, and one 0.5 mil transparent polyester film. The foil creates zero permeance, while the polyester layers protect the foil and provide the white finish, toughness, and tear resistance. A fabricator typically installs ZEROPERM in the factory; however, you can also install it in the field. 

VaporGuard™ Tape

VaporGuard™ Tape

For smaller jobs, VaporGuard™ Butyl Tape (a non-curing elastomer) stops moisture infiltration along the pipe and into sub-freezing insulation systems at termination and insulation joints. It provides superior cold temperature flexibility at -20º F. Furthermore, simple to useVaporGuard™ Tape has removable release paper backing to quicken handling. 

Step 4

To protect the vapor barrier, cover it with Polyguard’s InsulShield™ Outerwrap

Polyguard’s InsulShield™ Outerwrap

Polyguard’s InsulShield™ Outerwrap protects Insulrap™ vapor barriers in direct burial applications in severe rocky areas. Made from recycled fabric geotextile, InsulShield™ absorbs soil stress, provides an extra 400 psi of puncture protection, and moves moisture from the surface of the insulation to the outer side of the outerwrap. 

The design of InsulShield™ allows for placement over insulation and waterproofing membrane systems before backfilling operations, protecting the membrane from before and during construction. InsulShield™allows the engineer to substitute clean, rock-free backfill for the more costly sand backfill. 

Insulating Industrial Pipes with Polyguard Products

Polyguard products are a superior solution to creating a barrier between a pipe’s contents and the outside environment, stopping pipe corrosion, heat loss, condensation, and exterior damage — vital to protecting the pipe’s integrity, insulation’s performance, and a building’s energy efficiency, safety, durability, and IEQ. 

Don’t hesitate to contact Polyguard professionals for more on ensuring the reliability of industrial pipe insulation. 

How to Choose the Best Construction Tape for Vapor Barrier Seams

Sealing the seams of an efficient vapor barrier with high-performing tape helps create a continuous air barrier and reduces moisture intrusion and accumulation into the wall system. The proper sealing of a vapor barrier with easy and quick to apply vapor barrier seam tape provides several significant benefits to a home and building.  At Polywall, we offer an alternative that provides all the same benefits —  Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100.

Improved Energy Efficiency

Correctly applying vapor barrier sealing tape to air and vapor barriers will effectively seal out unwanted air and moisture, contributing to a sustainable building or home, and reducing energy use and costs. 

Longer Building Lifespans

The best tape for a moisture barrier will improve the durability and longevity of a structure by keeping out moisture or air particles that can lead to structurally damaging mold. Over time, some air barrier tapes will degrade or get damaged, weakening points in the seal, damaging the integrity of the structure. 

Improved Indoor Air Quality 

Properly applied construction sealing tape contributes to good indoor air quality  (IAQ) because it stops moisture intrusion and unhealthy mold growth. Mold produces allergens and irritants, and can cause breathing problems, allergies, and even inflammation in some individuals. 

Choosing the Best Construction Tape for Vapor Barrier Seams

Vapor Barrier Tape

Selecting a suitable tape for a vapor barrier makes a significant difference in a building or home’s energy efficiency, integrity, and IAQ, which is not an easy task with so many types of tape on the market today.   

When trying to decide what type of tape for a vapor barrier you should get, consider the following crucial factors:

Ease of application

Vapor seal tape with marked edges tears easier and applies quicker, saving workers frustration and time. A flexible tape also hastens the application because it permits workers to seal quickly around any penetrations or tight corners.

The Cost of Seaming Tape

The cost of the different brands and types of vapor barrier tape can vary tremendously. The best tape for vapor barriers must provide long-term adhesion, durability, and resistance to air, moisture, low permeability, and UV-rays to protect the building envelope.

Longevity of the Vapor Barrier Tape

  • The tape should maintain its adhesion value over time and against hot, cold, and wet environments.
  • It should have enough tensile strength and stay flat and maintain its form against the vapor barrier over the lifespan of the building project.
  • To maintain long-term durability, select tape with excellent air- and moisture resistance and low-permeability
  • Good construction tape provides UV-resistance, since UV-rays can degrade the physical properties of the tape.

Promote Good Indoor Air Quality 

  • For the health and well-being of those working or living in a building or home, you should select tapes that lack toxins. 

Comparing Asphalt, Rubber, and Acrylic Construction Seam Tapes

Construction seam tape manufacturers continually strive to offer new and improved products, often geared to improving a building’s energy performance and service life. Construction tapes have made advancements in durability and performance for various climate conditions and temperatures. 

Asphalt Construction Seam Tape

In the past, the low cost of asphalt tape made it one of the most widely used tapes in the building industry. Asphalt tape is produced  from modified bitumen, similar to the rubberized asphalt found in eaves flashing. Unfortunately, asphalt tape has several significant drawbacks:

  • Messy to install
  • Loses durability when exposed to UV-rays
  • May require priming to fully bond with substrate materials, like oriented strand board (OSB) and concrete
  • Starts to lose stickiness at around 50° F, and bonding characteristics below 40° F, making them a poor choice for cold weather applications 
  • In temperatures 185° F and 210° F, the asphalt not specially formulated for high temperatures will soften and begin to flow 
  • Emits harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

During remodeling and retrofitting old buildings, contractors discovered how much asphalt tape degrades over time, contributing to the degradation of the structures. Therefore, while the price of asphalt tape may appeal to contractors, its problems make it less than an ideal choice for construction tape.

Rubber (Butyl) Construction Seam Tape

Initially, rubber tape used natural rubber components. Today’s rubber tape (butyl tape) uses a synthetic (elastomer) rubber that creates an airtight tape. The design of the rubber (butyl) construction seam tape aimed to improve on asphalt tape, and has succeeded in several ways:

  • More flexible in cold weather and more stable in high temperatures than asphalt tape
  • Is a cleaner application, since you just peel off and adjust during installation 
  • Forms better bonds with difficult substrates than asphalt tapes

Problems with butyl tape can still challenge builders: 

  • Will degrade, dry out, discolor, and lose adhesive properties if exposed to UV-rays
  • Can be applied in -40° F to 120° F and serviced in -40° F to 200° F. However, you must avoid installing butyl tape below 40°F unless you can verify a moisture and contaminant-free surface. 
  • Emits VOCs

Butyl tapes perform better than asphaltic tapes, however, temperature constraints, weak UV-tolerance, and toxic VOCs make them less desirable than acrylic tapes.

Acrylic Construction Seam Tape

Acrylic seam tape costs more than asphalt or butyl tapes. It far outperforms both, contributing towards an energy-efficient structure with superior durability and indoor air quality, along with potential longer life spans  Acrylic tape:

  • Does not pollute with off-gasses
  • Adhesion properties become stronger over time
  • Can withstand extreme temperatures, from -30°F to 300°F. without losing adhesion
  • Won’t break down when exposed to UV-light, chemicals, or oxidation
  • Can be used inside and outside

Acrylic tape contributes to an airtight building envelope. Builders that use acrylic tape to seal the seams of a vapor barrier ensure a tight building envelope, to reduce energy use and moisture intrusion, and prevent the growth of structurally damaging and unhealthy mold. 

The Best Construction Tape for Vapor Barrier Seams — Poly Wall® Home Stretch™ Detail Tape

Poly Wall® Home Stretch™ Detail Tape will help you keep up with increasing energy codes and demands for durable construction and healthy indoor environments. 

Strong, flexible, Poly Wall® Home Stretch™ Detail Tape provides a modified-acrylic, self-adhesive sheet consisting of a cross-laminated, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) backing bonded to a rubberized asphalt compound.

You can use Poly Wall® Home Stretch™ Detail Tape to seal vapor barrier seams, fabricate inside and outside corners, seal penetrations, control joints, cold joints, and patch damaged areas of Home Stretch™ ICF Waterproofing Membrane.

Poly Wall® Home Stretch™ Detail Tape is easy and quick to apply. However, before applying, you must ensure a clean, dry, and contaminant-free substrate by priming it with Poly Wall® Home Stretch Water Based Liquid Adhesive or Polybond Clear Liquid Adhesive.

An Alternative to Construction Tape – Polyguard’s Liquid-Based Products

If you want to skip the hassles of joining the vapor barrier seams with tape, Polyguard has an alternative – Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100.

Polyguard’s fluid-applied flashings seal challenging spaces around doors, windows, air vents, pipes, and other penetrations in the wall system, further contributing towards a tight building envelope.  They can improve your home or building’s integrity and energy efficiency, and save money on maintenance, repairs, and energy. Poly Wall® Building Solutions has two liquid flashing products, roller-grade and trowel: 

Roller Grade Blue Barrier™ Flash ‘N Wrap 2400

Poly Wall® Blue Barrier Flash ‘N Wrap 2400 offers strong adhesion and superior shore hardness with outstanding durability, contributing significantly to indoor comfort and health.

Poly Wall®’s Blue Barrier Flash ‘N Wrap 2400 easily applies with a roller, and dries quickly to create a continuous and permeable membrane around doors and windows. Eco-friendly Blue Barrier Flash ‘N Wrap 2400 utilizes Silyl Terminated Polyether Technology (STPE), a hybrid product of silicone and polyurethane technologies, allowing wet surface applications with no mixing or priming. 

Trowel Grade Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100

Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100 creates a weather-resistant, fully adhered air barrier system around doors and windows. Poly Wall® developed Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100 which utilizes STPE technology to create an eco-friendly, permeable liquid flashing with superior shore hardness that prevents membrane wear and tear. In addition, its exceptional adhesion permits bonding to multiple substrates. Blue Barrier™ Liquid Flashing 2100 is an easy to use, trowel, wet surface application, and it does not require mixing or priming.

Blue Barrier™ Joint Filler 2200

Blue Barrier™ Joint Filler 2200

Vapor Barrier Tape

Before applying Poly Wall® Blue Barrier™ products for Window and Door Flashings and Air Barriers, fill all surface voids and seams with the structural adhesive Poly Wall® Blue Barrier™ Joint Filler 2200. STPE technology was used to develop Joint Filler 2200, which is available in 10 oz. caulking tubes or 20 oz. sausages. Application of Joint Filler 2200 on clean services can occur between 33º F – 100º F.  You must clean Poly Wall® Blue Barrier™ products with an approved solvent and bring it back to tacky before applying the Joint Filler.

Enhancing a Building Envelope with Poly Wall® Building Solutions 

Meeting today’s demands for high-performing, energy-efficient, healthy, and durable homes and buildings means architects and contractors must consider every detail in the building process, including choosing the best construction tape for vapor barrier seams. 

Fortunately, there is easy-to-apply Poly Wall® Home Stretch™ Detail Tape. We also offer an excellent alternative to construction tape – Polyguard fluid-applied flashing. These products will help you further achieve a tight building envelope, saving energy, and protecting the integrity of the structure and the health of its occupants without the bother of construction tape.  

Contact Poly Wall® Building Solutions professionals today for more on improving building envelopes with the best construction tapes or alternatives to construction tapes, like our  Polyguard’s fluid-applied flashings.

What Is Damp Proofing and When Is it Necessary?

Both waterproofing and damp proofing are methods of preventing moisture intrusion. Although they are often used interchangeably, the terms damp proofing and waterproofing carry distinct meanings in foundation construction. Damp proofing refers to keeping soil moisture (dampness) out of a structure, while waterproofing means protecting a structure from both moisture and liquid water. The level and location of the structure’s foundation, soil conditions, rainfall, drainage, and methods of construction can all determine the need for damp proofing versus waterproofing.

When Is Damp Proofing Necessary?

The International Residential Code (IRC) states that waterproofing is required “in areas where a high water table or other severe soil-water conditions are known to exist.” Section R406 of the IRC states that in areas where waterproofing is not required, below-grade foundation walls should be damp-proofed. The parging of masonry walls must also be damp-proofed. In areas without high soil hydrostatic pressure, damp proofing used in conjunction with proper drainage and lawn grading is generally sufficient and provides long-lasting protection.

When Is Damp Proofing Necessary?

How Does Damp Proofing Work?

Damp proofing is typically achieved through a coating that is either sprayed on or rolled onto the outside of the wall. A damp proof course is a barrier that prevents rising damp, which is when water from the soil seeps up into the foundation.  Damp proofing can also be integral when added to the concrete mix, the concrete itself water resistant. 

What Are the Best Damp Proofing Methods?

Liquid Wrap and Joint Filler

Poly Wall Blue Barrier Liquid Wrap 2300 is a silane-polymer resin that can be used in the process. It applies right over the substrate surface and penetrations (after they are prepped with joint filler). Sidings can be applied to Blue Barrier Air Barrier products the day after installation. 

What Are the Best Damp Proofing Methods?

To use a liquid membrane, it is first necessary to fill all holes, cracks, and seams. Poly Wall Blue Barrier Joint Filler 2200 is easy to apply with a sausage gun to create waterproof barriers around openings and shore up potential trouble spots before covering the surface with the liquid membrane.  

Poly Wall Aluma Flash and Aluma Flash Plus

Damp Proofing With Flashing Material

Damp proofing membranes can also be made from polyethylene foil. They are 100% impermeable — they repel water, completely preventing it from penetrating the membrane. Poly Wall Aluma Flash and Aluma Flash Plus come in a thickness of 40 mils, which is about 4 times as thick as a typical damp proofing membrane. Aluma Flash Plus is a self-adhering modified asphalt membrane. The foil on the exterior of the membrane provides a thermal barrier that gives extra UV protection to the concrete or other substrate for up to 24 months. Once the wall is primed, all that is needed to apply the sturdy barrier is a caulk or sausage gun, trowel, utility knife, and a roller. 

Damp Proofing Rods

Damp Proofing Rods

Rising damp happens when moisture wicks up through a masonry unit by capillary action. Damp proofing rods, sometimes called dry rods, are a relatively new technology for damp proofing existing walls. Damp proofing rods are typically made from a polymer silane/siloxane material. The rods can be inserted end-to-end or however it is needed depending on the wall thickness.

Damp proofing cream also exists.  It is a thick paste that is squeezed with a sausage gun into a series of horizontal drill holes along the mortar course. Damp proofing rods are made of the same materials as the cream, in a hardened form. The rods are impregnated with a water repellant and installed in a similar way — by drilling holes in a mortar course to insert the rods. Once in place, the rods release their water-repellent active ingredients to spread along the mortar course. 

Underseal® Underslab Membrane

Damp Proof Sheeting 

Damp proof sheeting is a type of membrane used to prevent rising damp. Polyguard Underseal® Underslab Membrane is a tough, 85-mil waterproofing membrane/vapor barrier designed to virtually eliminate water and vapor transmission through concrete slabs on grade. In addition to protecting floor finishes and indoor air quality, this product also acts as a barrier to methane and radon gas.

Damp Proofing Tips

Damp Proofing External Walls Below Ground Level

Historically, an inexpensive and common method was to spray tar on foundation walls and footing joints. This is no longer recommended because the tar contains harmful VOCs and the material can become brittle and flake away over time. 

The best damp proofing material is completely inert, does not emit any dangerous VOCs, does not require investment in expensive spray equipment, installs in any weather (tar cannot be applied in cold rain, snow, or sleet), installs quickly and efficiently, and lasts a long time. Poly Wall waterproofing systems check all these boxes.

Damp Proofing Block Walls

The EPA recommends that masonry block walls be parged prior to applying any damp proof coating. As mentioned above, the IRC also requires that parging be damp proofed.

Retaining Wall Damp Proofing

The purpose of a retaining wall is to hold back the soil when there is a change in ground level. A retaining wall with moisture ingress shows efflorescence, staining, deterioration, and water leaking through. The retaining wall should be damp proofed or water proofed, depending on whether it is soil-retaining and the location where it is placed. 

Proper Preparation 

In order to keep your damp proofing membrane highly effective, always be sure to seal all penetrations prior to using a liquid damp proofing membrane, and overlap the seams in your sheet membrane. Damp proofing and waterproofing both require the same care in preparing the surfaces — they must be clean and dry, and the material must be applied in the correct temperature range for that product.

Take the Next Step Toward Effective Moisture Protection 

Damp proofing is typically done during original construction to reduce moisture transfer from soil through a foundation wall. Whether you choose roll-on, spray-on, sheeting, flashing, rods, or a combination of products, the best damp proofing materials are safe and effective. They should be completely inert without emitting dangerous VOCs, not require investment in expensive equipment, install in any weather, go on quickly and efficiently, and maximize water resistance.

For help finding the best damp proof coating, or if you’re wondering which type of waterproofing products are best for a particular environment, get in touch with the experts at Polyguard. You can request samples or simply get advice on damp proofing your next project.

Critical Components of a Continuous Weather-Resistant Barrier

Weather barriers have one important job to do: keep outside weather out and conditioned interior air in. A weather-resistant barrier, or WRB construction, is part of the wall and roof assembly. A sturdy weather barrier prevents wind, rain, and moisture from intruding on the structure. The best way to ensure maximum structural weather resistance is to maximize unbroken protection by installing a continuous weather-resistant barrier. 

What Is a Weather Barrier?

The only thing worse than bulk water flooding or leaking into a building is the water that is carried in through the air. Weather-resistant barriers are sometimes called WRB barriers, but sometimes it gets misunderstood to mean “water” resistant barriers. Weather-resistant (or sometimes called resistive) barriers prevent air and water from infiltrating the building’s interior. An exterior weather barrier acts like a protective shell on the outside of a building. By keeping building materials dry, the life of the building is extended, indoor air is healthier, and there are fewer moisture-related problems like insects, mold, mildew and rot. Modern, high-quality weather-resistant barriers are robust enough to prevent both air and water from entering a structure.

As part of a healthy wall assembly, the weather-resistant barrier needs to be integrated with the other wall system components, including other barriers, if used, and flashing systems.

Vapor Barriers vs Air Barriers

Both air barriers and vapor barriers help reduce the flow of moisture and unwanted air into a building’s interior.

Vapor barriers slow the diffusion of moisture through wall assemblies. They are intended to prevent the vapor in moisture-laden air from going through a material and reaching building walls, ceilings, attics, crawlspaces, and roofs, where the moisture can condense on surfaces and cause problems like mold. The need for vapor barriers and their placement varies based on climate. 

Air barriers restrict the movement of air into and out of buildings. Interior air barriers keep interior conditioned air from escaping while exterior air barriers prevent outside air from entering the structure. Whether internal or external, air barriers should be impermeable and continuous.

A Weather Barrier Must Be Continuous

In order for a weather barrier to do its job properly, it must be continuous over the entire building. Any break in the barrier, such as a puncture, tear, or seam, will create an entry point for water and air to enter the building. To properly install a weather barrier, it must be:

  • integrated with flashings and openings 
  • overlapped with no seams 
  • properly sealed or taped 

Creating a continuous weather-resistant barrier requires a few interconnected products and installation methods. 

The main goal of any house wrap product is to prevent water, in bulk form or as vapor, from reaching the sheathing or framing. Wherever there is any break in the structure, such as windows, doors, attached decks, and band joists, that’s an area that needs special attention to detail, because any break provides an entry point for water. 

The barrier must be properly lapped and integrated with other flashing. All seams and edges should be sealed with an appropriate tape or sealant. If the system is installed vertically, materials higher on a wall should overlap materials lower on the wall by at least 4 inches. Material should also extend around corners by a minimum of 6 inches. 

When you reach window openings, corners, or you need to detail around anything like utility penetrations, use a joint sealer like Poly Wall Blue Barrier Joint Filler 2200. It is a structural adhesive and detail sealant that is used to fill voids and seams and to bond dissimilar materials. Use this product on footer joints and any penetrations into the wall before using Poly Wall Aluma Flash or other barrier products. 

Weather Resistant Barrier: WRB Construction Components

Aluma Flash External Weather Barrier

Poly Wall Aluma Flash Plus is an external weather barrier product that protects a house from almost everything. The hot and humid climate zones 1, 2 and 3A (the lower half of the US) receive the highest rainfall, and have also been experiencing more damaging wind and rain events than anywhere in the nation. Builders in these zones must choose products that prevent both bulk water and humid, moisture-laden air from entering structures. 

Aluma Flash is non-permeable, which means that bulk water or vapor cannot pass through it — not a single drop. This prevents water from reaching the wall cavity. The product is a 40 millimeter-thick rubberized asphalt sheet membrane that is laminated to two layers of high strength polyethylene film. The top protective layer is aluminum, which protects the walls from UV damage for up to two years. This peel-and-stick membrane releases easily and sticks to a primed substrate.

Weather Resistive Barrier

Poly Wall Weather Barrier System

Using the Poly Wall Blue Barrier 2400 and the Blue Barrier Joint Filler 2200 creates a vapor permeable weather-resistant barrier system that provides protection for the lifetime of the building. Roll it on or spray it on for a thickness that can range from 60 to 80 mils. Use the joint filler to fill in any gaps of 1/8-inch or more, and squeeze it over any openings or flashings. In the home highlighted in the video above, the Blue Barrier system was used after the framing was done. The builders on this high-end home in Texas wanted a unified plane for a stucco coat, so they bumped out the foundation to align with the 1/2-inch OSB that was used. Once that was done, they applied the joint filler to the footing joint, and then set all the sill plates into it. 

There’s no adhesive needed with the Blue Barrier 2400 Flash ‘N Wrap, which must be used with a sheet membrane, and because it is fluid-applied, it creates a 100% seal all over. It can be used in any climate. 

What Is a Weather Resistant Barrier?

If you are using a mechanically applied membrane in your WRB construction, it is best to go over nails or staples with Blue Barrier Joint Filler 2200. It seals around nails for a gasketing effect. Without sealing up nail holes, water leakage behind the plane of the nailing flange is possible. 

Sealing Window Flashing

Sealing Window Flashing

Poly Wall WindowSeal Window Flashing Tapes are used to strip in or flash straight window frames, door frames, and other construction seams. WindowSeal is a self-adhering, self-sealing rubberized asphalt coating laminated to polyethylene film. The 20 mil-thick product self-seals to provide a smooth, watertight surface around nails, staples, and fasteners.

Use WindowSeal after the window frame has been set. If the top is rounded or for other custom shaped designs, use Poly Wall ArcFlash Window Flashing. Roll all tape surfaces with a hand roller and that’s it. Tape is usually used to cover seams, but sealant like the Joint Filler is often used to bond dissimilar surfaces, such as when sealing to wood or concrete. 

Provide Your Building With Maximum Weather Resistance

Maximize weather resistance in your building with a weather resistive barrier. A weather barrier is a continuous membrane, either mechanically fastened or liquid applied, that prevents bulk water and air-carried moisture from entering a building. The weather-resistant barrier (sometimes called weather-resistive barrier) must be continuous in order to provide complete protection — any break in the surface of the barrier provides a means for water to enter. 

Have questions about weather proofing? Get in touch with Polyguard to request samples or advice on creating a continuous weather-resistant barrier for your next project.

11 Tips for Concrete Block Waterproofing

It’s common to build a foundation or outbuilding from either concrete blocks or from poured concrete. Both types of foundations and walls have advantages — concrete blocks are a uniform size, stacking concrete blocks is sometimes easier than pouring a concrete wall, and concrete blocks are sometimes easier to get if there’s not a ready mixed plant nearby. Another benefit is that when a wall is made from a block, it’s already hardened and doesn’t need cure time. 

However, concrete blocks have a disadvantage: They are more permeable to water and water vapor than poured concrete. It is imperative to use the best block wall waterproofing products on blocks. 

All concrete materials have to be protected from water intrusion, but concrete blocks and cinder blocks are especially vulnerable. (Many people use the terms concrete blocks and cinder blocks interchangeably, but concrete blocks are heavier than cinder blocks.) The larger pores of concrete blocks vs. poured concrete make concrete blocks semi-permeable. According to the ASHRAE Handbook, the permeability of concrete (1:2:4 mix) is 3.2 perms per inch of thickness, whereas an 8- to 10-inch-thick poured concrete wall is about 0.4 to 0.3 perms. Once moisture intrudes into a block, it makes the pores even larger, which reinforces the cycle of damage to the structure. 

Another reason you need cement block waterproofing is that the blocks have more joints and more areas to seal than a poured concrete foundation or wall. There are mortar joints on all sides of the blocks — they’re basically just oversized bricks, in a sense. The wall responds to any soil settlement and hydrostatic pressure, and over time, these joint areas develop hairline cracks. Plus, the mortar is less durable than the concrete, so it wears down over time and causes leaks.

For the best method for sealing concrete block walls and the best cinder block water barrier, read on.

Concrete Block Sealer & Waterproofing

1. Apply a Coating Directly On the Bare Wall

The first line of defense is a cinder block sealant. Polyguard’s Airlok Flex barrier systems provide an effective defense against air leakage and moisture intrusion. WG stands for Weather Guard, and WG LT stands for Weather Guard Low Temperatures. Both are water-based, permeable, above-grade air, weather and vapor coatings that are applied directly on the bare side of a block wall for an easy way to seal a concrete block foundation. Both coatings spray or roll on, and the WG LT is suitable for temperatures down to 20° F.

Concrete Block Waterproofing

2. Use a Breathable / Permeable Barrier

The point of using block wall waterproofing products is to form a hydrophobic barrier within the block and on the surface of the block that repels moisture and vapor. At the same time, any moisture that is in the block already needs to be able to find a way out. For that, you need a permeable / breathable barrier like Polyguard’s PolyWall Blue Barrier Liquid Wrap 2300. It goes on as a spray, or can be rolled on. It can be used as a replacement for house wrap products because it bonds directly to the substrate. 

Concrete Block Sealer

3. Use a Weather-Resistant Elastomeric Layer

If a concrete block is not treated to repel water, it can absorb water during rains or other general exposure. Then, when it heats up, the water vapor releases. This raises the pressure within the wall and is a condensation threat. Avoid this by using peel-and-stick PolyWall Aluma-Flash Plus. It is a 40-mil-thick product with an aluminum top layer that provides UV protection for up to two years. This is great for homes with a complicated build schedule that requires it to be exposed for a while. The aluminum facer provides a radiant barrier. 

To apply, prime the substrate first with a liquid adhesive like Polyguard 650 LT Liquid Waterproofing Adhesive. Then, apply the Aluma-Flash and overlap seams by 2 to 3 inches. It’s best practice to run a bead of detail sealant over the seams for an extra layer of protection. The Poly Wall Aluma Flash Plus will stick to the primed wall, and creates an impermeable barrier. If the building moves slightly, this elastomeric material will stretch and not tear.

Cinder Block Waterproofing

4. Use “The Pink Stuff”

When it comes to sealing a concrete block foundation, you can use many of the same products that you would use on either an ICF block wall or a poured concrete wall, such as “The Pink Stuff,” otherwise known as PolyWall Home Stretch Peel ‘N Stick Waterproofing Membrane. In the video above, it is being used on ICF, but it can be used for poured or block wall waterproofing as well. The peel-n-stick product is formulated for use on ICFs because it won’t eat into the EPS foam on the outside of ICF blocks. Poly Wall also makes a Home Stretch Liquid Waterproofing which is an elastomeric coating formulated for concrete block waterproofing, precast concrete, concrete masonry units (CMU) and other vertical surfaces where hydrostatic pressure may be present. The liquid membrane installs using a roller, power roller, or airless sprayer with no primer required on CMU walls. 

5. Repair Cracks and Fill Voids First

Before you start block wall waterproofing, all voids or cracks in the surfaces of blocks must be filled and smoothed with a hydraulic cement or masonry caulk. Allow cement to dry for 24 hours. Use PolyWall Blue Barrier Joint Filler 2200 to fill voids and seams as your surface prep prior to the application of flashings and air barriers. 

6. Install an Air and Moisture Barrier 

A CMU block wall often requires installing an air and moisture barrier to provide a continuous layer around the building and foundation that limits air movement — and thus water vapor — in and out of the structure. The best moisture barrier for sealing concrete block walls allows the moisture to move through rather than become stuck, where it can cause condensation within the structure. Air and moisture barriers come in many formulations: sheets, self-adhered membranes, liquid membranes, and insulating boards. In concrete block construction, there are usually a lot of wire ties sticking out from the wall, which makes a fluid-applied air barrier the best kind for sealing concrete block walls.

7. Don’t Apply Concrete Block Sealer Over Painted Walls or Efflorescence

It may be tempting to just paint over a problematic wall. However, that could seal your fate, literally. If the inside of your basement walls are painted, the paint will have to be removed before it can be sealed for waterproofing. It’s also necessary to remove efflorescence — white crystalline deposits that form on the surface of damp concrete — before applying sealants. The reasons for this are that sealants and masonry paints won’t adhere as well to areas that are not totally clean. Sealing over efflorescence doesn’t get rid of the problem, and in fact may accentuate it.  

8. Install Drain Channels

If the block wall you’re waterproofing is new, install an exterior drain board to keep water away from your below-grade walls. If the foundation wall is already in place, it’s expensive to retrofit with this solution because it involves excavating around your basement. If you have the chance to install one for new construction, it’s a great best practice preventative measure for little expense compared to what the consequences could be. If using an exterior drain channel, install a waterproof membrane on the outside of the basement wall, along with a dimple board, which will move water away from your basement wall. Interior drain channels are another option. You can install a drain tile similar to the exterior ones that go inside the basement walls and channel water away. 

9. If You’re Planning to Finish Blocks With Stucco, Don’t Seal First!

When stucco is applied to a CMU, it requires some moisture in order for the stucco to stick. If you seal first, you impair the ability for the substrate to develop this bond, so you could end up with stucco that won’t stick.

10. Choose Products That Have Been Tested Together

Waterproofing often involves methods called “systems.” That’s because products are formulated and tested to work together, seamlessly. Avoid using different manufacturers or different products; instead go with one brand that makes all of the products you need for a successful installation. The products will have been vetted for maximum performance when used together. 

11. Gather Your Tools and Prep

You want to be ready to work when you start, so gather everything you’ll need: a roller, sprayer, buckets, cleaning supplies, and any other tools recommended by the product manufacturer. Be sure to clean first. If you’re rolling on your concrete block foundation sealer, use a roller with stiff bristles or a 3/4-inch nap to be sure the product gets into all the pores. Remember that cinder block walls must be clean and dry before sealing. Work in the temperature conditions that the manufacturer recommends. Plug holes with joint filler or hydraulic cement and allow to dry for the recommended time. 

Sealing Concrete to Protect It

Using concrete blocks for foundation walls or above-grade walls on some structures has a lot of advantages. Because concrete blocks are much more permeable than poured concrete, however, and because they have more mortar joints than concrete, concrete blocks must be treated and sealed. The best waterproofing products for concrete blocks can be hand-rolled, sprayed on, or applied to primed walls with a liquid adhesive. Regardless of which method you choose, waterproofing concrete block walls is a vital step in the construction process.

Need help figuring out how to seal a concrete block foundation or concrete block wall? Contact Polyguard for project advice or to order product samples.