W-R-Meadows - Concrete Vapor Barriers
When water vapor is not controlled, and is allowed to seep through concrete slabs, it’s not just building owners, designers, and contractors who suffer with damage that translates into major costs and expenses. The health of the public and the workers who use that building is also threatened and impacted negatively. What’s more is that water vapor that contains alkali can also cause the structural failure of the concrete, especially when reinforced steel is present. Ultimately, in order to prevent unnecessary costs, building failure, and negative health risks from presenting themselves, protection is needed—and that comes in the form of a concrete vapor barrier provided by W. R. Meadows.
Flooring System Failures: How it Happens
At its simplest explanation, flooring system failure occurs when moisture is allowed to infiltrate a structure. From here, mold, mildew, and fungus are presented with the opportunity to form—and spread. It is this proliferation that ultimately leads to flooring system failures, which include:
- Adhesive failures
In some cases, elevated Ph levels can also be to blame—and can cause flooring adhesives and epoxy systems to breakdown when Ph levels exceed the actual tolerance of the material.
What’s more is that there really is no way to get around this issue because a 1999 federal mandate on VOC emissions actually created the need and thereby introduced the use of water-based flooring adhesives.
However, using a vapor barrier on top of a slab of concrete isn’t necessarily the answer. Why? Because many flooring systems utilized in this capacity are actually trapping water and alkali in between the slab and the flooring system itself. A better solution is needed—and this is where W. R. Meadows happens to excel.
How an Underslab Vapor Barrier Delivers the Best in Building Protection
Known as the best method as well as the most economical solution for controlling water vapor migration through concrete slabs, W. R. Meadows meets the two industry underslab vapor barrier standards in ASTM E 1993 and ASTM E 1745. The W. R. Meadows underslab vapor barriers are ideal for use under concrete slabs that come in contact with soil. They do not degrade when used in this environment, like typical polyethylene film comprised of high amounts of recycled material, and can be used in the construction of:
- Industrial plants
- Storage silos
- Sewage plants
- Civic centers
- Chemical processing facilities
- Sports arenas
- Food processing plants
How Does a Gas Barrier Also Offer Protection?
Gas barriers are a great solution when a building owner, designer, or contractor also has concerns about below-grade contaminants presenting major issues related to the health and safety of occupants. For instance, Radon, which is a naturally occurring gas, has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer. Methane is another gas that raises worry as it is produced from the decomposition of organic material from natural sources and human activities—and can cause asphyxiation. Another danger is that when Methane is present in higher concentrations, combustion can occur. These issues must be protected against during the construction process.
Still another challenge is the fact that construction continues in densely populated areas; therefore, development happens more frequently on brownfield sites. With this, contaminants in the form of hydrocarbons must be addressed on a construction site—and potential exposure in the completed building in the future must be mitigated properly.
The answer to both of these situations is a gas barrier. Through the proper specification and installation of such a tool, the integrity of a building can be ensured while occupant health is protected.