Differences Between Vapor Barriers and Waterproofing Membranes

Differences Between Vapor Barriers and Waterproofing Membranes

Do you know how to keep water out of your basement?

When you are protecting your moisture sensitive flooring, whether it is gorgeous engineered wood or a charming laminate floor, you are undoubtedly sorting through many of your vapor barrier and waterproofing membrane options. While many stores make it sound like underlays come outfitted with vapor barriers that will do the trick, that isn’t always the case. Packaging labeled with vague words like “moisture protection” and “damp” can make your decision even harder, after all, moisture protection isn’t enough if it only protects against certain types of kinds of moisture! Here are some of the differences between vapor barriers and waterproofing membranes so that you can tell the difference and make an educated decision along with your contractor.

Waterproofing Membranes

Waterproofing membranes are typically made of a thick plastic sheeting material that acts as a barrier to moisture. They are commonly found underneath concrete slabs as part of a foundation. While they are effective under a low amount of pressure, if a waterproofing membrane is subject to a great amount of pounds per square inch (psi), it will lose its waterproof ability. These cases are few and far between, but it is important to note that accidents can happen during flooding or at a business where the floor is piled high with heavy and dense objects. Waterproofing membranes are, in general, a great option for homeowners or business owners seeking quality moisture protection for most situations.

Vapor Barriers

Vapor barriers are attached to an engineered wood or laminate floor to prevent moisture from entering. They are effective up to about 75% relative humidity. Vapor barriers are very different from waterproofing membranes, as they cannot guarantee the same waterproofing capabilities in most weather conditions. Many times, less skilled contractors or home improvement store workers will recommend them for stopping all moisture from entering the sub-flooring, but that is a huge misunderstanding. States like Maryland that are known for their humidity are not always the best places to utilize only vapor barriers.

Ready to Get Your Flooring Protected and Looking Great?

If you are ready to get a professional to take care of your residential or commercial water-sensitive flooring needs, contact All Aspects Waterproofing, a Better Business Bureau A+ rated company with over 30 years of experience in the Washington, DC./Maryland/Virginia area. Contact us online or by calling 1-866-999-3110 or 301-766-4420.  To see what we’re up to, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Houzz.

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