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STEGO IQ | Below-Slab Vapor Barriers: What Does a Perm Rating Mean?

 

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Is a Class 1 Vapor Retarder Good Enough for Crawl Space Encapsulation?

For starters, is it Class I or Class 1?  Fun fact:  it’s actually Class I.  I get asked by both homeowners and contractors alike what a Class I vapor retarder is.  If you’ve been researching a DIY crawl space encapsulation project, it is possible you’ve stumbled across this reference as well.  In this blog post I’ll answer what a Class I vapor retarder is, but I’m also going to use this space to explain why a Class I vapor retarder, although referenced in code as a threshold, may not be satisfactory for your project.  To get you started on the right foot, we’ve made it easy for you to look-up the current version of code governing your jurisdiction.    

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What Makes a Vapor Barrier Different than a Vapor Retarder?

“Vapor retarder” is the term used to describe materials of varying types and classifications which impede the infiltration of water vapor into a structure. Often the term “vapor barrier” will be used interchangeably with the term “vapor retarder,” with no repercussions. But for under-slab applications, it is important to understand the distinctions between the two terms to avoid negative impacts on your project.

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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 resistance, and water vapor permeance ratings.

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