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. 

What Are the Best Pipeline Corrosion Protection Methods?

In a residential home, corroded pipes are a serious problem. In commercial and industrial applications, pipeline corrosion is a nightmare. Pipeline corrosion occurs when old metal pipes rust from exposure to water or moisture from the environment. Corroded pipelines can damage the quality of whatever they’re carrying, from water to oil. When pipelines are damaged by corrosion, they eventually break down and wear out, or can even burst.

Industrial coatings are one of the best methods of prevention of pipe corrosion. Coatings and linings can be used on pipes that are above ground, submerged, or buried underground. The longevity of a pipeline has to do with several factors, including the type of materials the pipe is made of, how and where it is installed, maintenance needs, and whether pipe corrosion protection measures were used. 

Pipelines that are damaged can lead to leaks or ruptures. While leaks and ruptures are often caused by natural forces (the earth shifting underneath them in earthquake-prone areas, for instance), improper materials, poor welding of seams, and environmental exposure can all be contributing factors. However, the damage can be mitigated by using pipeline corrosion protection. 

Causes of Pipeline Corrosion

Pipeline corrosion can be caused by a number of environmental factors — pH of the water or soil, temperature of the water or air, minerals in the water, exposure to sunlight. The material the pipeline is carrying (oil, gas, fertilizer, compressed air, water, waste, etc.) can also contribute to corrosion. An abundance of oxygen in the water will degrade metal through oxidation. Atmospheric corrosion caused by contact between metal and moist air can occur in above-ground conditions but is more prevalent in underground environments; the majority of pipelines in the U.S. are buried underground. 

Above-ground pipelines can be subject to damage from pitting, which can be caused by constant blasting by sand grains, among other things. Metal is strong, but it is not impervious, and many factors can slowly erode the metal’s structural integrity. Protection of a pipeline through coatings can mitigate all of these concerns. Once a source of corrosion has been dealt with, either through a coating or other chemical inhibitor, it is considered non-active corrosion — this means the corrosion process has been stopped. 

Pipeline Corrosion Protection Products

Steel is the primary material used for hazardous liquid pipelines. Gas distribution pipelines are typically constructed of steel or high strength plastic or composites. 

Prevention is key when it comes to properly maintaining pipes. Pipe corrosion protection starts with cathodic protection, corrosion inhibitors, and exterior industrial coatings. 

Cathodic protection uses an electrical current to allow another metal to provide protection instead of the steel pipeline. Corrosion inhibitors are substances that can be added as internal protection in the pipeline.

Pipe Corrosion Protection

Polyguard IRO & Polyguard IRO HD 

Polyguard makes two pipe corrosion protection products that are designed to protect field joint coatings and mainline coatings from abrasion damage which might occur due to backfilling, drilling, or other conditions. Polyguard IRO & IRO HD products create an outer, sacrificial layer that is allowed to abrade so that the pipeline material doesn’t erode. IRO stands for Impact Resistant Outerwrap and HD stands for Heavy Duty. The IRO consists of a strong fiberglass wrap that is impregnated with a water-activated resin that hardens in minutes. Polyguard IRO HD is a heavy-duty version of its original IRO pipeline corrosion protection product. 

For field-approved coatings that are used on pipeline joints and other coatings, IRO & IRO HD both provide real mechanical protection for the underlying material. This coating can be efficiently applied in any project environment and can be applied over Polyguard’s coatings such as RD-6, epoxy products, or RG-2400 gel corrosion inhibitors. Anchoring of the IRO or IRO-HD requires only a roughened surface. Polyguard IRO is proven to work in conjunction with a cathodic protection system, so it can be utilized in accordance with DOT and PHMSA codes.

Methods of Prevention of Pipe Corrosion

Polyguard ZEROPERM

Polyguard ZEROPERM is one of several vapor barriers the company makes. ZEROPERM is a 3-ply composite membrane consisting of a white 0.5 mil polyester film, 1.0 mil aluminum foil, and one 0.5 mil clear polyester film. It is reversible, with white on one side, and silver on the other. The foil provides zero permeance in the composite while the tough and tear-resistant polyester layers protect the foil.

The jacket protector option is used either between layers of insulation on sub-freezing projects like LNG pipelines, or as the outer vapor-barrier jacket on ammonia, brine or glycol pipelines. ZEROPERM can also be installed in the field. There are two types of ZEROPERM tape which adhere with a high-quality acrylic adhesive to complete the installation, both with excellent cold weather performance. ZEROPERM A Tape has a kraft release liner and is typically used for sealing longitudinal and circumferential laps. ZEROPERM Self-Wound Tape has no liner and is used on valves and fittings. 

What are the Best Pipeline Corrosion Protection Methods?

Polyguard RD-6 Coating System

Coatings are one of the primary means of protection for a pipeline. Polyguard’s RD-6 pipe corrosion protection is a coating system that is used on buried and submerged pipelines. Once a UV-protective coating such as RD-6 UV Overcoat is used in conjunction with RD-6, it can be used above ground. For pipelines that carry materials reaching 190° F (88° C), a heat-protective high-temperature coating system such as Polyguard’s RD-6 HT is suitable. 

The RD-6 Coating System consists of a liquid adhesive, a geotextile backed protective pipeline coating, and a tightly woven, polypropylene geotextile fabric outerwrap. The system provides pipeline corrosion protection through the polymer modified outer coating layer. RD-6 has been used on thousands of projects for over 30 years. It is impervious to external corrosion and stress corrosion cracking (SCC), which occurs when a corrosive environment and tensile stress combine to create a weak point. 

With the RD-6 coating system, the cathodic protection current can still reach the sacrificial layer. The geotextile backing used with RD-6 HT has extremely high breaking strength, low elongation, and high temperature resistance. RD-6 HT is fast, easy to apply, and can be backfilled immediately after coating. 

Protection Pipeline

Polyguard VaporGuard Butyl Tape

Provide freeze-thaw and other cold temperature protection for a pipeline with Polyguard VaporGuard Butyl Tape. Butyl tape is a non-curing elastomer developed for use as a vapor stop on sub-freezing insulation systems. It remains flexible down to -20º F, and can be used on terminations, in-line vapor stops, and expansion joints. The tape easily presses into place once the paper backing is removed. 

VaporGuard prevents moisture from entering along insulation systems, which protects the pipe from rust and corrosion, while also protecting it from freezing temperature damage, and freeze-thaw damage. VaporGuard is available in two convenient sizes:  1-1/4″ x 100′ or 12″ x 40′. 

Polyguard RG-2400

Polyguard RG-2400 

One of the other primary methods for prevention of pipeline corrosion is a corrosion inhibitor, such as Polyguard RG-2400 Corrosion Control Gel. Even when a pipe is wrapped with insulation, pipes can begin to show leaks. RG-2400 was developed to prevent CUI, or corrosion under insulation in food processing, beverage, and other industries which use ammonia refrigeration systems.

RG-2400 AK gel is a hand-applied formulation that can withstand application to pipes with a surface temperature up to 250° F (121° C). It will not harden or set up over time. Its color provides an easy method to tell when it is applied correctly — when you can no longer see the pipe through the purple gel, you should have sufficient coverage. 

Another way to take the guesswork out of your pipe corrosion protection system is by using the Polyguard AccuTrowel. It is a hand-held metering trowel tool set that accurately determines mil thicknesses when applying viscous coatings to pipe surfaces. AccuTrowel ranges from 2″ to 12″ and is manually operated to make sure your pipe coverage is precise. The trowel allows you to save material costs by removing any excess gel.

Protecting Your Pipeline

Pipe corrosion protection begins with coatings and ends with outer wraps that protect the pipes as well as the coatings themselves. Polyguard products meet both of these goals for pipeline corrosion protection from the inside out, in cold weather or hot, and in any environment, whatever the pipe is carrying.

Interested in discussing your options for pipeline protection? Contact Polyguard’s Pipeline Division today for expert insights.

MECHANICAL DIVISION: Additional Release Liner Option

July 2, 2021


To: Alumaguard® All-Weather Customers

Subject: Additional Release Liner Option

Polyguard continues to do everything we can during this time of raw material shortages and price escalation to assure reliable supply of material to our loyal customers.

To that end, you will see a slight change in our All-Weather product within the next 60-90 days. We will be manufacturing All-Weather with a release liner printed in a repeat pattern with the Polyguard logo, and the adhesive used will no longer be tinted pink. This only effects the release liner and in no way changes the performance of the product. We are doing this to give us maximum flexibility in sourcing raw materials and in improving manufacturing efficiency. See graphic below.

In the future, we may revert back to making All-Weather with tinted adhesive again depending on raw material and manufacturing requirements at that time. The basic construction of All-Weather will not change; same laminate film, rubberized asphalt compound and cold weather adhesive. Only the release liner and adhesive color may vary.

Best Regards,

Tony Garone

Director, Marketing and Technical Support 419.351.0296

ENNIS, TEXAS 75120-0755

PH: 214-515-5000

E-Mail: Web Site:

NIA Announces the 2020 Safety Excellence Award Winners

Herndon, Virginia—March 19, 2021—The National Insulation Association (NIA) announced the 2020 Safety Excellence Award winners in conjunction with its Virtual Spring Summit, which took place online March 16–18, 2021.

Polyguard Product, Inc. – Ennis, TX received the Associate (Manufacturer) category Silver award.

NIA’s Safety Excellence Award is the only national award for outstanding safety performance in the mechanical insulation industry. NIA created the award program more than a decade ago to recognize top companies that have established structured safety programs to ensure the well-being of their employees and create safe working environments.

NIA’s Safety Excellence Award program honors four levels of excellence: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze for Associates (Manufacturers), Contractors,

Distributors/Fabricators, and Metal Building Laminators.

NIA’s Executive Vice President/CEO Michele M. Jones said, “In a year like no other, we are extremely proud to have a new record of 32 Platinum winners and to welcome 1 new first-time applicant. Each year, we honor our member companies that prioritize safety and make continuous improvements to their programs, and this year, we do so knowing that a strong and well communicated safety program is more important than ever.”

Throughout the judging process, applicant companies remain anonymous and winners are evaluated on the basis of their overall safety program, means of communication, and safety policy. All applicant companies receive an individualized and detailed Safety Training Analysis Results (STAR) Report™. The STAR Report includes personalized recommendations based on each applicant’s answers to the application questions.

Congratulations to all the winners, and NIA looks forward to recognizing each company in person at NIA’s 63rd Annual Convention, taking place October 26–28, 2021, at the MGM National Harbor. An archive of the award announcement will be available at

Applications for the 2021 Safety Award are now available on NIA’s website
( and are due on September 1, 2021.

Mechanical Division Adds Personnel

Ennis, TX –
Polyguard Products Mechanical Division is pleased to announce the following staffing additions.
Chris Parmele has recently joined the team as Business Development Manager. Chris brings over 20 years of experience in the construction industry and most recently worked for DuPont Performance Building Solutions as their Senior Industry Manager for the Cold Storage and Pipe insulation businesses. He has had roles in sales, marketing, and national account management. He received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Central Michigan University. Chris is married to his high school sweetheart and they have three children, 11, 13 and 16.
He enjoys spending time with his family, working out or catching one of his kid’s frequent soccer or baseball games. Chris is based out of Roswell, GA.

Andrew Hiatt is joining the Mechanical team as the Midwest Regional Sales Manager. Andrew comes to Polyguard from Jeff-Co, where he gained experience in the Mechanical Insulation Industry as an independent representative. He has a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from Purdue University. His hobbies include golf, volleyball, swimming, scuba diving, and being the world’s greatest uncle. Andrew is based in Indianapolis, IN.

According to Nate Brink, Sales Director, Mechanical Division, “the addition of Chris and Andrew will allow us to increase our focus on growth in the short term and maintain continuity as senior members of our team approach retirement.”

Polyguard’s Mechanical Division offers weather and vapor barrier systems to keep pipe and duct insulation dry as
well as a unique Reactive Gel® coating to stop corrosion under insulation (CUI). Polyguard is a 100% employee-owned ESOP.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Tony Garone at 419.351.0296 or email at or Nate Brink at 312-218-3560 or email at



Polyguard is celebrating an impressive milestone – 5 years without a Lost Time Accident (LTA). During those 5 years we have had 1.4 million personnel work hours. An achievement like this only happens with the dedicated focus of our employee owners keeping one another safe.

“Safety is our #1 priority. Over the last 5 years we have made significant improvements in the way we emphasize and promote safety. It’s important that we continue to encourage participation across all levels of the company and promote our employee ownership culture” said Jesse DeLeon, Director of HR at Polyguard.

“Safety is our top priority because it’s important to us that we all get to go home to our families at the end of our shift. This accomplishment reinforces our belief that being 100% employee owned results in higher levels of employee engagement. I want to personally thank every one of our employee owners for a job well done” – Shawn Eastham, Polyguard’s President.

About Polyguard
Polyguard was founded in 1953 in Oklahoma and moved to Ennis, Texas in 1978. John (current CEO) and Kathy Muncaster purchased Polyguard in 1986. In 1987, John and Kathy decided to allow the employees to directly benefit from their hard work by offering all the employees an opportunity to be part of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). In December 2014, the company became 100% employee owned through the ESOP. Additional information can be found at
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Shawn Eastham at 214-515-5000 or email at

Polyguard Products Acquires Buckaroos


Polyguard Products (Polyguard), a Muncaster Capital Company and leading manufacturer of specialty coatings, announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Buckaroos, an innovator of insulated pipe support systems and pipe insulation protection shields. The deal is expected to close in January of 2020. Jeff Rebholz will remain under contract as President of Buckaroos for 2 years through a transition period.

“The acquisition of Buckaroos represents an important strategic opportunity to offer solutions that add value for facility owners, increase productivity, and contribute to a safer work environment in the industrial market,” said Polyguard and Muncaster Capital President Shawn Eastham. “We have been friends with Jeff for over 25 years and are excited to welcome the Buckaroos’ employees into our family.”

“Polyguard is a great fit for both my employees and customers. A big part of my decision to sell the company was knowing that Polyguard cares about the industry and has a long-term ownership vision, including being 100% employee owned,” said Jeff Rebholz, President of Buckaroos. “I’m excited to work with Polyguard to continue to strengthen the Buckaroos name and provide the industry with an unrivaled product offering.”

“This acquisition solidifies Polyguard’s position as the market leader in the Mechanical Insulation Industry,” said Nate Brink, Manager of Polyguard’s Mechanical Division. “We will continue to offer our customers a full range of solutions including XPS insulation, RG-2400 anti-corrosion coatings, vapor barriers, weatherproof jacketing along with Buckaroos line of saddles, tools, pre-insulated systems, and pipe supports.”

About Polyguard
Polyguard was founded in 1953 in Oklahoma and moved to Ennis, Texas in 1978. John (current CEO) and Kathy Muncaster purchased Polyguard in 1986. In 1987, John and Kathy decided to allow the employees to directly benefit from their hard work by offering all the employees an opportunity to be part of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). In December 2014, the company became 100% employee owned through the ESOP. Additional information can be found at

About Buckaroos
Buckaroos was founded in 1990 by Jeff Rebholz and Mack Deichman. Jeff soon after acquired Mack’s shares of the business. The company’s initial product offering was the original Buckaroo Support. It resembles a cowboy hat and provides support for insulated piping as it rides on a saddle, hence the company name, “Buckaroos.” Buckaroos is the leading innovator of insulated pipe support systems and pipe insulation protection shields. Additional information can be found at

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Shawn Eastham at 214-515-5000 or email at