Crawl Space Encapsulation Products
So by now I’m sure you have heard of Cleanspace™, SilverBack™, Crawl Shield and the many other crawl space vapor barriers that pop up on the market weekly. So, what’s the difference? Well, as near as we can tell there are a few things that set the “Brands” apart from the copies. Here is what we found-
The most valuable liners are the ones that offer a product warranty on the crawl space vapor barrier itself. So, of course this probably does not cover poking a hole in the crawl space liner with the screwdriver in your back pocket, but at least for one it does include delamination. Most of the warranties offered are pretty much hollow. They say things like “We warrant that the XXX barrier will be free from manufactures defects on the day it was installed for 25 years”. That warranty means nothing. Most seem to have a version or variation of this type of wording. The one that stands out is the warranty on the SilverBack™ vapor barrier. The company offers a warranty to their retail customers against delamination for 10 years provided they supply photo’s by email of the crawl space vapor barrier installed and it was installed in their home (they can’t be a contractor I think). For their contractor dealers they seem to have various different levels of warranties they offer the customer if installed by that dealer.
When we looked into this we knew there was thickness of the barrier that varied 6 Mil-20 Mil, but turns out there is also a thickness difference for the same size thickness. What we found was there is a difference of thickness from one company to the next on say, a 20 Mil. Most of these crawl space vapor barriers are string reinforced and with that most of these companies measure on top of this string which is a bit thicker. This allows them to market and sell a 14 or 16 mil barrier as a 20 Mil. Almost all of them do it, so I guess it is like a 2 x 4 stud not really measuring 2″ x 4″. There is actually only one company that makes a real 20 Mil, the SilverBack™.
Quality of Polyethylene
This is the hardest factor to know the difference. You will pretty much have to take a piece of the crawl space vapor barrier to a lab to have it tested to know if it is made of virgin polyethylene. Just some things to be aware of: buy from a reputable company (check them out on the BBB or some other way you trust), look at product reviews (if available), make sure it is make of 100% virgin polyethylene (ask, or get it in writing), ask to see samples (if they seem to be hiding something they probably are) and stay away from the plastics that are littered with extra chemicals to make them easier to sell (these chemicals can react with bug treatments and other chemicals in the ground and cause an odor problem).
SilverBack™ – The Best Crawl Space Barrier on the Market
So we are going to make a recommendation on what we think is the best crawl space vapor barrier on the market. We selected this particular brand because of a few things:
It’s is easily available to everyone
Barrier is the actual thickness it's suppose to be
They put it in writing that it is made in America
They put it in writing that it is 100% virgin polyethylene
It comes with a real warranty
I don’t think you will be surprised that we selected the SilverBack™ brand especially since it is the only crawl space vapor barrier made for crawl space encapsulation that has all of these features.