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What Is ASTM E1643? Summarizing Standards for Vapor Barrier Installation

ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. Today, some 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.

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What Is ASTM E1745: Understanding the Standard and Its Classifications

ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) E1745 is the Standard Specification for Plastic Water Vapor Retarders Used in Contact with Soil or Granular Fill under Concrete Slabs. This standard requires products undergo conditioning testing designed to simulate in-service (under-slab and installation) conditions, and it classifies vapor retarders based on their tensile strength, puncture...

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6 Things To Look For When Buying Seaming Tape for Crawl Space Vapor Barriers

My job is to talk to contractors about the materials and products they use on a work site. I ask lots of questions about their processes so I can understand how to design materials that make their labor more efficient. I often hear that timeliness and a long lasting, quality outcome are two things these contractors strive for. Believe it or not, a lot of these things can be boiled down to the...

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Why Does My Crawl Space Smell? Troubleshooting the Source of Odors in Your Basement and Crawl Space

I get a fair amount of calls from homeowners with various descriptions of crawl space odors. One homeowner was complaining about an odor coming from his crawlspace. I referred them to a local contractor that I’d had experience with in the past. The contractor headed over to the home and reported finding an old rusty drum of oil stowed away in the crawl space. The home was old and no one knew...

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What You Should Know About Fiberglass Insulation Before Installing It in a Crawl Space

I go to a lot of industry conferences, and, regardless of the hired speakers, I enjoy speaking to the contractors the most. Their real-world stories are the true test lab for determining what really works in the field and what doesn’t. And one story I’ve heard many times is about finding improperly-installed fiberglass insulation in customers’ damp and moldy crawl spaces.

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The Ultimate Guide to Common Crawl Space and Waterproofing Terms

If you’re considering renovations in your crawl space or basement, it’s important to know some commonly used terms. That way, whether you’re doing the work yourself and need to pick up some supplies at the hardware store or you want to be able to discuss the installation process with your contractor, you’ll be on solid ground (pun intended).  

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Rescuing a Crawl Space from Improperly Installed Spray Foam

If you’re like many contractors, chances are good that a substantial amount of your time is spent fixing someone else’s work. This is especially true when dealing with crawl spaces, where the finished product is hidden from the light of day. And because it’s so hidden, many homeowners will only pick up the phone when things have gotten so bad that its effects have started to impact other parts...

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Efflorescence or Mold? Identifying the Type of Water Damage in Your Basement or Crawl Space

I heard an unfortunate story recently about a pair of new homeowners who hadn’t properly inspected their basement before they moved in. While the home was mostly in good shape, with a sound roof, a recently remodeled kitchen, and new floors throughout, it only took three months of living there to realize they may have overlooked some troubling signs in their walk-in basement and in the crawl...

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How an Effective Vapor Barrier Can Mitigate Radon Poisoning in Residential Construction

A colleague told me a story recently about a family of five who, in the midst of selling their house after living in it for seven years, found out their home had high levels of radon. The parents — who had both been smokers for years —  didn’t have radon poisoning on their radar at all, but a radon test during a routine buyer inspection came back at 8.6 pCi/L, more than double the federal...

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