What is Shockwave Drainage Insulation Board?

The most important part of any building is its foundation. and the greatest enemy of any foundation is water.

Thus, waterproofing, and finding the right materials to quickly and effectively waterproof the foundation of a building, is an integral part of every building project.

At Mar-Flex we believe ShockWave drainage insulation board is the fastest, and most cost-effective way to permanently waterproof the foundation of your next building project.

What is drainage insulation board?

When we were children, our parents helped us pull on rubber boots over our shoes so we could play in puddles. This allowed us to keep our feet dry while interacting with and even standing in puddles we would otherwise avoid.

In an ideal world, we could drop the foundation of a building into a pair of galoshes and be done with it. We could move forward knowing the project was permanently waterproofed. However, buildings are different from legs and feet, for all the obvious reasons.

Much of the concrete base of a foundation directly touches the ground. And a big portion of the walls of the foundation are underground. This means direct contact with dirt and water can’t be avoided.

Drainage insulation board is something like a pair of galoshes. This insulation board is attached to the exterior walls of your foundation project. When installed correctly, it covers the entire underground sidewall.

The material in the board must include important improvements to make it better for your foundation. Because it is the material standing between your foundation and the ground outside, it must withstand pressure from earth and water.

What does ShockWave drainage insulation board do that is different?

Made from reclaimed automotive polyethylene foam, ShockWave drainage insulation board is constructed to do more than merely keep water away from your foundation.

Ordinary rubber galoshes would allow water to pool and remain against the foundation of your building. This actually creates unnatural and structurally unsound pooling that could eventually cause your foundation to shift or your landscape to slide and collapse.

ShockWave, on the other hand, allows water to drain through the material down to tile drains. This natural, guided flow of water maintains the solid substrate around your foundation, keeping your building secure for generations.

Best yet, ShockWave is easy to install in combination with a waterproof membrane using adhesive or concrete nails.

You can find ShockWave drainage insulation board at Mar-Flex

What is Polyethylene Foam?

In researching the best waterproofing materials for your building purposes, you likely have come across the term “polyethylene foam” and wondered what exactly it is.

Polyethylene foam, or PE, is a common material in a wide variety of waterproofing and other building applications. Because of its unique structure and ease of production, it can be shaped, molded, or layered for tasks in nearly every construction structure imaginable.

Qualities of polyethylene foam

PE foam’s qualities make it ideal for many applications.

First, it absorbs sound. This makes it effective as an insulator where sound suppression is important. While there are other substances that help prevent noise bleed in cars and construction, few are this inexpensive to manufacture.

Second, it is lightweight. This feature is why you will see PE used in many places in cars. As manufacturers seek to shave ounces off the weight of cars to hit CAFE (fuel efficiency) standards, designers turn to PE for insulation and vibration dampening. The weight does not matter as much in construction, where decision-making seldom balances on this measure, but it matters for transporting materials to the site.

Additionally, PE Is easy to make and shape. Manufacturers can shape it to an almost unlimited amount of widths and thicknesses, and even shape it to fit very specific contours. This  includes shapes with odd angles or rounded sides. This level of flexibility makes it an easy choice for designers.

Finally, PE resists tearing. This reduces the amount of accidental breaches and flaws that might compromise a construction project.

Why PE is great for building and waterproofing

Polyethylene foam has additional properties that make an excellent for building.

When you work with PE, even if you have to cut and shape it, it is does not create dust. This means you don’t have  to use the same level of safety equipment that you might with other forms of insulation or soundproofing.

Furthermore, PE resists all sorts of hazards often related to water. Mold, mildew,  and other bacterial nuisances won’t form on polyethylene foam. The ability to prevent mold and mildew is a major safety consideration for building indications.

Finally, though this is more rarely a concern at construction sites, PE resists chemicals and grease. Many forms of plastic are actually eaten or weakened by many common chemicals.  by being resistant to this sort of degradation, polyethylene foam proves to be a durable and reliable construction material.

What is “Made in the USA” and Why Does it Matter?

Once upon a time, consumers expected that everything they purchased was made close to them or certainly in the same country.

Today, however, this has changed.

International trade, inexpensive foreign labor, and varying levels of technical knowledge means that any product we buy might have been made almost anywhere in the world. Quite frequently when we buy a large item such as a car, it is an amalgam of American and foreign parts and processes.

 However it still remains important to buy products made in the USA.

What does this label mean?

When a product says it was made in the USA, the company has proven to the Federal Trade Commission that “all or most all” of the product was, in fact, made in the United States.

Because the Federal Trade Commission cannot go around verifying every claim oh, they depend on a standard called “reasonable basis.” That is, the manufacturer must be able to make a “reasonable” claim and provide an explanation that seems to fit with being made entirely in the United States of American.

There is not technically a percentage of the content in an item that must be manufactured in the United States. Instead, the companies that make that claim should be able to show reasonable evidence that the majority of that item was made in the United States.

Why does it matter?

Being made in the United States matters a great deal. It is a guarantee then that your money is returning to the American economy and supporting American workers, some of whom live in your community.

Many patriots take pride in making sure that their dollars continue to support the American economy and their community, and that the taxes each sale generates also supports their local police, fire, and other services.

It is meaningful to many people that not just American executives get paid, but that our dollars go to support strong union labor, high paying jobs, and quality workmanship. And to know that this same money will be, in turn, invested in our own American companies and jobs.

It is part of a virtuous circle of the American economy.

Experts are Torn on Future of Construction

The United States is experiencing a boom in construction during COVID-19. There is widespread agreement, support not just by data, but by the sight of cranes in our city skylines and dump trucks on our streets.

The potent mix of record-low interest rates along with a housing boom driven by people moving from cities to a home where they can more easily move about their community even with covid-19 restrictions has generated skyrocketing home sales. Lumber prices are up, as the framing materials for houses become more and more scarce.

Investment and construction are sure to follow in order to meet the demand.

But is panic-moving, as reported in the Atlantic, a herald of a new age, or a temporary remedy until the emergency passes?

The present is not the future

While some speculate that this boom means high times for construction companies, it is worth noting that the present is not the future.

Right now housing demands are increasing. As more and more homes are built, at some point the demand will be met.

Also, when a vaccination regimen is developed for the coronavirus, life will begin to return to normal. Current city restrictions keep many residents from leading a normal life. Normal routines like walking the dog and visiting favorite restaurants are more challenging, or impossible. It makes sense that suburban home sales are booming. But the arrival of a vaccine will potentially mean an influx back into the city.

After all, city life has lots of attractions, including entertainment, employment, and shopping options that are not available to the suburbanite or rural resident.

Besides, many municipalities already face a housing shortage. In the Cincinnati region, for instance, a recent study showed that there are as many as 40,000 fewer units than what it takes to meet the current demand.

The future of work

Cities face a different concern with the business space stock. Many companies and employees have learned how to exist almost entirely online.

This suggests that some companies that have farmed out all of their work to employees on broadband internet hookups at home might never return to their city offices after all. Companies can save money in parking fees, transportation costs, and all the other overhead that is related to having office space for dozens or hundreds of employees.

Sure, some businesses have found that there is unique value in having everyone together in the same space. This is especially true for creative and collaborative businesses, where sharing ideas in real time can lead to meaningful and industry-shattering innovations.

But many companies don’t operate that way. They currently house floors of employees who are now doing the work at home just fine, thank you. Or maybe even doing it better from home.

It is not possible to predict what the future holds. Who predicted a pandemic that would change how we all interact for more than half a year – so far?

You can be sure that building companies are going to ride this wave while it’s strong.

What are Geo-Mat Drainage Boards

If you are looking for ways to reduce moisture in your upcoming building project, you likely have spent a great deal of time reading about different products that promise to help your foundation stay dry. In that research, you may have come across Geo-Mat Drainage Boards as the optimal tool for helping protect your foundation.

Perhaps as you read that description, you saw a lot of terms that made the Geo-Mats sound impressive without really telling you what it does to protect your foundation.

You may have heard the claims that it was eco-friendly or LEED compliant without understanding how or why a membrane can supplement the foundation and keep it dry for a generation.

This is the article for you.

The basics

First, the easy stuff. Geo-Mat boards are made of recycled, non-toxic, environmentally safe materials.

Among other things, that means Geo-Mat helps improve your LEED score if environmental sustainability – or a customer with high expectations – are your goal.

Geo-Mats fasten easily in place and stay where you put them.

And if there are places where the water load might be too much, sealing strips help keep the Geo-MAt in place and keep the water out.

Moderate Geo-Mat

The Geo-Mat keeps your foundation safe from hydrostatic pressure by directing water to your drainage system.

Hydrostatic pressure is a term well known to builders, and it is a concept known well to swimmers. When you dive in a pool and swim at the surface, water gets in your ears. Of course it does, because your ears are essentially cups for catching sound … and they’re great at catching water too.

But as you dive deeper underwater, say to the bottom of a ten foot pool, you feel a pressure on your ears. For many people this is very uncomfortable. That pain is caused by the weight of all the water above you. This is hydrostatic pressure.

This same pressure forces water through concrete foundations over time.

Geo-Mat resists that by allowing water to drain, unimpeded, to your external draining system. The pressure doesn’t have a chance to build up, and water doesn’t have a chance to force its way into your foundation.

Advanced Geo-Mat

Geo-Mat meets IRC and IBC requirements for withstanding up to 16ft – 5515psf.

In short, this means for most major building applications, in the United States and around the world, Geo-Mat is going to handle the pressure that the earth around your project wants to apply to your foundation as you fill and pack earth back in around it.

How a Company Protects Its Employees During COVID-19

Coronavirus has dramatically changed nearly every aspect of life around the globe.

In the workplace, employers have made dozens of changes big and small in order to safeguard their most valuable resource: their employees.

Companies have also come to realize that opening safely, and protecting customers, is good business.

Here are the steps many companies are taking to keep employees and customers safe in the time of an unchecked, community-spread virus that is deadly for a significant portion of the populace.

Masking: The most obvious change is mandatory masks. Required when working inside and often even required when working outside, masks remain the best way to reduce the spread of the virus. Employers need to keep workers on the job and healthy, and in many states masks are mandated by governors, so they are here to stay for now.

Spacing: Where once we had desks crowded together, and tight lines of people gathering to purchase products, social distancing is the new name of the game. Floors have stickers on them indicating the proper distance to stand from one another while in line, and desks are separated from each other so employees are less likely to transmit the virus.

Shielding: Especially in places where employees deal with the general public, shielding is the name of the game. Though generally this is plexiglass, periodically this means clear showercurtains. The goal is to allow the interaction without allowing droplets of sweat or saliva to cross the border.

Sanitizing: The demand for hand sanitizers spiked at the start of the coronavirus era. Distillers even found it profitable or simply good public relations to turn their stills into hand sanitizer factories as the nation’s shelves emptied. Once upon a time, you could only sanitize at the desk of your company’s strictest clean freak, and now there is a dispenser on nearly every surface.

Altering workflow: Maybe you recently found your bank office closed and were forced through the drive-thru. Maybe your business has one entrance, and you must exit from a different door. You have noticed the calculus that many employers and the CDC are making: Preventing people from passing close to each other by using space creatively to reduce interaction is another great way to reduce transmission.

Checking temperatures: As many schools and offices re-opened after the initial quarantine, the world became obsessed with one of the first visible signs that someone had contracted COVID-19: a fever. Now people are checking theirs at home daily, or getting it checked for them as they enter their office. Children are being checked each day at school, and the results are being monitored. Noticing a fever prompts a close look for other symptoms – from the safety of your own home.

Testing: In places where the work must continue in person, such as in politics and professional sports, safety experts are mandating instant  testing for everyone who comes in contact with certain people. This is most visible in the White House where, despite assuring us that there is nothing to fear, they nonetheless test everyone and send them away if there is a concern for the President’s safety.

Bubbling: In extreme cases where the work is crucial to income or survival and the families are willing to make the sacrifice, some groups have chosen to create a protective bubble. The most visible example of this is the NBA, whose bubble was so strict that one player got a 14 day unpaid quarantine when he broke ranks to get his favorite wings.

These and other steps are being used to help keep employees and customers safe, and to keep the wheels of commerce and progress rolling.

What is LEED Certification?

It is likely that you have heard of LEED certification. You probably have heard it in association with the construction of a new building, or a redesign of an old one.

You know that it means that the building meets some requirements for sustainability or “green” construction.

But what exactly is LEED?

LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.” It is the name of a series of rating systems from the US Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promote sustainability in building. They promote responsible use of resources.

There are five categories and a total of ten specific specialties offered for LEED certification.

The “Green Building Design” category descriptions of sustainable achievement in the areas of New Construction, Core & Shell, Schools, Healthcare, and Retail: New Construction and Major Renovations.

In “Green Interior Design & Construction” there are specifications for Commercial Interiors and Retail: Commercial Interiors.

The remaining three categories each have only one specialty. These are Green Building Operations & Maintenance, Green Neighborhood Development, and Green Home Design and Construction.

Within each specialty, four levels of achievement are possible: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These are earned by meeting the meticulously described specifications that award points to each sustainable portion of every project.

Why is LEED certification important?

Setting aside the whole “save the planet” mindset, and whether or not it matters that an individual building’s construction can help accomplish that goal, there are still lots of great reasons to seek LEED certification and to hire companies that are experienced in earning it.

LEED certified companies take care to use recycled materials that nonetheless meet demanding specifications. They generally work sustainably, wasting less that other companies. With more thought to their footprint and use of resources, they often make up in efficiency what they seem to lose in upfront cost. This is especially true in their resource use over time. It is true that there is additional cost just for seeking the certification, because the evaluation process is not free.

One of the longterm benefits of earning LEED certification comes from savings in the use of resources. Sustainable design takes advantage of natural light and elemental truths to create healthier and often less expensive solutions to common problems.

Using reclaimed or recycled material for waterproofing is one common-sense step toward LEED certification. This doesn’t mean simply placing old materials into a new construction site. Instead, using upcycled plastics shifts waste that would end up in landfills to instead create a permanent water barrier in a building for a generations to come.

In this way the impermeable permanence of certain plastics becomes a benefit to exploit to protect your building, rather than a permanent problem in a landfill, a stream, or the ocean.

Having the opportunity to win on both sides of the spreadsheet – longer lasting solutions with less waste – is a great reason for every builder and customer to seek out LEED certification and LEED certified suppliers.

What Does it Cost to Waterproof a Basement?

More than half of American homes with basements have some amount of moisture in their basements. Understandably, these homeowners are looking for economic solutions to a problem that can cause property damage, the loss of belongings, and health concerns.

And selling a home with a wet basement, even in a hot market, can be a challenge.

There are three approaches to waterproofing your basement, with their own cost range, depending on your individual situation.

Do-it-yourself ($3-$5 per square foot)

When to choose this option: The avid do-it-yourselfer might be inclined to choose to do the waterproofing themselves. Is there a single small leak, or one that only under the most adverse outdoor conditions delivers a little moisture inside the basement? Or perhaps it is a question of a windowframe rather than a breach in the foundation? Then this is the option.

For the situations described above, the local hardware store will provide all of the tools you need. Sealant, caulk gun, grout, trowel, small bucket, and a putty knife or stronger tool to chip or clear the area. These are the primary costs, since doing it yourself obviously means not paying someone else to do it.

Hiring someone to patch ($6-$8 per square foot)

For moderate jobs, you’re going to want an expert who has done this sort of work before, or a company that will stand behind their work.

When to choose this option: When the work is slightly more than you can handle on your own, or too important to trust to your own devices. Also choose this option when the work focuses on one wall or specific location, and the preponderance of the issue is really close to ground level. Choose this when heavy rains cause problems with leaks more than once or twice a year.

This expert might look at solutions inside the home and outside. They will use more than one intervention, or apply a new solution (like a large patch) to an area that’s far larger than the specific leak or problem by itself.

Hire a company to do a major permanent solution ($10+ per square foot)

When to choose this option: You can tell the job is too large if water is coming in from multiple locations, or from an undetermined source. Also select this option when the amount of water coming in is more than merely a wet spot and instead includes puddling or a trickle into a nearby drain.

A company that will fully address the problem will request access to the inside and outside of the foundation. Their solution will likely involve adding waterproof sheeting or coating, addressing the flow of water against the foundation with additional drainage that ties you’re your home drainage system, and might even include altering your home’s current drainage plan or sloping.

This most comprehensive approach should come with an extended guarantee that will add value to you home now, in resale, and for years to come.  

Weather Resistant Sheeting

A study of claims on home insurance show that nearly 2% of homes has a property damage claim caused by water damage, flooding, or freezing every year. These claims average nearly $9,000 each, and add up to almost $9 billion in damage annually.

This is why waterproofing is such an important part not just of the final structure, but of the complete building process.

Often builders will place an additional water resistant barrier between the cladding and the frame of the building. Of course, because this needs to be a nearly permanent solution, builders depend on the highest-quality barriers.

Over time, this has led to the use of ventilated rainscreens.

These perform a special function that is more sophisticated than just blocking water. Instead, they take water that has gotten past the first seal and direct that remaining moisture to safely drain. Counter-intuitively, they also promote the circulation of air. While this might seem inefficient, any small heating or cooling loss is more than made up by creating a moisture-free environment.

Installation requirements vary

This step in the building process has become so commonplace that many exterior cladding manufacturers not only require it, but they have specific requirements for how these sheets should be used during the building process.

Their use has been mandated or at least strongly recommended within the International Residential Code. Specifically, the code reads: “The exterior wall envelope shall be designed and constructed in such a manner as to prevent the accumulation of water within the assembly by providing a water-resistive barrier behind the exterior veneer, as described in section 14040.2, and a means of draining water that enters the assembly to the exterior.”

Many United States and Canadian municipalities have added this requirement to their own building codes.

These requirements are not prescriptive. Instead, they describe a general approach or concept that your waterproofing company should be able to address.

Waterproof barrier options

When considering the waterproofing company to entrust with your significant investment, it is important to ask how they solve this problem.

They should be able to describe a barrier that works improve drainage and promote evaporation. There is not an accepted best construction, best design, or best product to do this, but an expert waterproofing company should be able to explain why they have selected the option they have, and how it meets the requirements for local building ordinances.

More importantly, they should be able to explain how it promotes the safest, most dry internal environment for your structure.

Also, the use of such a product should be included in your plans and blueprints. Mentioning it here might cost a bit more upfront, but this is better than finding out later that it was indeed a requirement and having to add it at greater expense. Also, since it is widely regarded as a best practice, you will want to include it to add a level of certainty to your building plans for today and for the future.

A Quality Whole-Home Ventilation System Does These Things

Inside and out, if you could observe everything that was floating in the air, you would like be less eager to breathe.

Fortunately our noses and lungs are adept at filtering out pollutants.

If only our homes had similar systems.

Unfortunately, many homes have only the most rudimentary systems for processing air. This means that often in the environment we consider most secure, we are being exposed to more pollutants than we would like.

Here are the elements of a quality whole home ventilation system.

  1. Ventilation and moving air in all parts of the house.

You might not think of it this way, but you want your house to breathe. Contrary to our vision of the house as an airtight bubble sealed off against the rest of the world, it should instead work as a filter improving the air that we breathe while inside.

Part of the important work of keeping air quality high is keeping the air moving. This includes all of the following:

  1. passive or active venting in the attic,
  2. a heating and air-conditioning system that moves air through all of the inhabited rooms,
  3. passive or active venting in the furnace and/or water heater rooms, especially if either of those systems use natural gas,
  4. active venting in rooms or spaces that are below ground or father other high-humidity conditions.
  • Filtration

Filtration happens in several ways.

First in a most basic way, screen doors and windows serve as a sort of filter against certain kinds of pollutants. We mostly think about the mosquitoes and pass it keeps out, but large pollens and other potential breathing hazards are likewise capped out by screens.

Second your HVAC system likely has one or more filters that air passes through before being recirculated through the ductwork. These filters come in different degrees of filtration ability. The most basic ones are made of coarse fiberglass. Finer fiberglass and fiberglass with a sticky coating are more protective. Some higher quality filters are HEPA rated based on their ability to filter out specific allergens, and recommended for those with breathing conditions and severe allergies.

  • Humidity Control

The relative humidity of the air dramatically impacts how hot or cold it feels. This is because dry air allows our skin to efficiently evaporate, causing us to feel cooler. This is why your friends in Arizona tell you it doesn’t feel like 110° because “it is a dry heat.” However, in the winter, dry air contributes to itchy skin and static electricity.

An Active and fully functioning HVAC system will work to keep relative humidity in a comfortable range.

That means that in the summer a lot of the work your air conditioner is doing is not cooling the air but instead removing moisture from the air.

In the winter, your HVAC system should be adding moisture to the air not to the point of putting water on the walls, but just enough to help keep you comfortable and warm.