is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC
This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
Moisture vapor moving into and through a concrete slab from below received little attention for most of the history of concrete slabs. But dramatic moisture-related failures of flooring materials over the past 30 years made control of vapor essential to a healthy building. An innovator in this was (and is) Stego Industries, which makes the bright yellow Stego Wrap that has become a common sight on flatwork projects.
Stego’s innovations are not limited to control of below-slab moisture; the company is also creating both new barrier membranes and other concrete accessory products. Stego has engineered other sheet barriers to contain VOCs in brownfield developments, as a radon barrier in homes, to control methane, and as a physical termite barrier. Beast, their line of vapor barrier-safe concrete screeding and forming accessories, brings contractors efficient options for barrier installation practices and concrete placing and finishing activities. Their most recent innovation is the Beast Form Stake, which provides an innovative means of efficiently setting forms and other finishing operations.
Stego’s focus is on both innovation and quality. All Stego products pass through several in-line and post-production quality control gates. To assure the final step in that process, and to optimize the properties of their products, Stego has established a research center in Denver where Technical Director Dan Marks and his team oversee a variety of tests on Stego products. ASTM E1745, Standard Specification for Plastic Water Vapor Retarders Used in Contact with Soil or Granular Fill under Concrete Slabs, defines the minimum characteristics of these materials. In a recent tour of the labs, Marks demonstrated the various equipment he uses to conduct tests to assure that Stego’s vapor barriers are performing as expected in three different categories: puncture resistance, tensile strength, and water vapor permeance. These in-house tests are also precursors to independent, third-party tests that are performed on Stego’s products.
To measure puncture resistance and the general toughness of the sheeting, two tests are used, one specified by E1745 (ASTM D1709, Standard Test Methods for Impact Resistance of Plastic Film by the Free-Falling Dart Method) which indicates impact puncture resistance, and a separate test (ASTM D4833, Test Method for Index Puncture Resistance of Geomembranes) which indicates push-through puncture resistance. In the D1709 test, rounded darts are dropped from a specified height; in the D4833 test, a rod is slowly pushed through the barrier. These determine how the membrane will perform when placed over a gravel subbase which is then walked or driven on with workers and equipment.
The tensile strength of the material is detected in a pull test, which strains the material until failure. And the final, perhaps most important characteristic of the barrier, its water vapor permeance rating, is tested according to ASTM F1249, Standard Test Method for Water Vapor Transmission Rate Through Plastic Film and Sheeting Using a Modulated Infrared Sensor. The equipment necessary for this test provides extremely precise results, a necessary quality check for a company whose products protect all manner of moisture-sensitive floor coverings and stored goods, where small differences in permeance ratings can have a critical impact on an owner’s project and building operations.
Marks runs these tests on all of the different products Stego offers both when new and after conditioning. A conditioning chamber in the lab subjects the materials to simulated cold weather conditions, elevated temperatures (over a simulated subbase), various cycles of wetting and drying, and even to soil organisms and cast-in-place concrete to quantify any potential degradation. They also run tests of, and conduct mock-up installations on, various adhesives, tapes, and mastics that might be used to assure a vapor-tight barrier between the ground and the building.
All too often in the past, manufacturers of materials used in concrete construction have made claims that couldn’t be backed up by data generated from standardized tests of production material. By following ASTM test methods and through meticulous quality control protocols, Stego provides data on its materials that can be trusted. It is this level of rigor and pride in their products, along with a 22-year production track record without a single claim of failure, that allows Stego to offer, at no additional cost, an unmatched life of the building warranty.
For more infiormation on Stego and its products, click here. Note that Stego Industries, LLC is the exclusive representative of all products developed and owned by Stego Technology, LLC, a separate company – including Drago Wrap and Pango Wrap. For the purposes of this article only, Stego Industries and Stego Technology are referenced collectively as “Stego.”