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More Architects Are Specifying Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 To Protect Buildings Against Damage from Expansive Soil

Industry Usage Increases for Advanced Under Slab Vapor Barrier


For immediate release

For more information contact: Brenda Wilson—


Livingston, NJ, April 10, 2013—Fowler Low, National Sales Manager for Barrier-Bac ®, a manufacturer of under slab vapor barriers for the construction and building industries, reports that an increasing number of architects are specifying the company’s Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350, a product developed specifically for structures built in areas with expansive soils.


“Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 is resistant to stress caused by shifts in soil. It creates a lasting, peel-adhesion mechanical bond to concrete slab-on-grade that smooth vapor barriers can’t match,” says Low, an engineer and structural concrete specialist with 25 years experience.


In recent years, Low has provided in-depth presentations about the installation of concrete foundations in expansive soil environments at numerous American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) chapters across the United States. Barrier-Bac ® and its distributors are now seeing the results of those efforts.


“Gaining acceptance for this specific product has taken diligence because it is costlier than a standard vapor barrier,” he says. “However, in reality it is a cost effective insurance policy against future repairs, especially when high-end flooring is specified in expansive soil environments.”


When the architect for Centura Health System’s new hospital in Castle Rock, Colorado chose Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 for long-term protection of the building’s on-grade flooring system, it opened more doors for the product, says Low.


“That structure was built on a shifting mountain soil environment—an ideal customer for Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350,” he says. “It was a high profile project and it generated increased interest in our product’s attributes.”


Currently, Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 is being used for the New Orleans Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center, slated to open in 2014 (to replace the city’s old VA hospital, closed since Hurricane Katrina), and the Bahamas Baha Mar Project—a mega resort being built on New Providence Island, Bahamas, to rival the island’s Atlantis Resort. In addition, Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 was recently used for the new Oregon State Hospital in Eugene Oregon; a new facility at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, in Oshkosh, WI; and numerous other projects, large and small.


Expansive soils are problematic for builders because they contain minerals and clay that absorb water and cause soil to increase as much as 10 percent or more in volume, exerting force that can damage foundations, floors and basement walls. Expansive soils also shrink when they dry out, delivering an ongoing cycle of repetitive stress on structures that can go unnoticed until major issues surface.


Expansive soils are found in all 50 states, but they are most prolific in Colorado, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee, and in certain sections of California, Oregon, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.


When standard smooth vapor barriers are used under concrete slab-on-grade in expansive soil environments, the vapor barrier can separate from the slab when soil shifts, leading to pocketing between the vapor barrier and the concrete slab. Water condensation pools in the pockets and can migrate up through the slab, potentially damaging costly flooring systems.


Those shifting problems don’t occur when Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 is used because it has a technologically advanced surface that integrally bonds to the bottom of the concrete slab.


Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 is a 31 Mil composite vapor barrier consisting of a polyethylene ASTM E 1745 Class A vapor barrier membrane that is laminated to a polypropylene nonwoven geo-textile fabric. Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 is installed with the geo-textile fabric side facing the concrete pour. As the concrete cures, fibers in the nonwoven material are mechanically bonded to the slab.


“When you are building a multi-million dollar structure with costly floors such as terrazzo, epoxy coatings, or wood plank, the last thing you want is structural damage that surfaces a few years down the road, or to endure the process of deciding who is at fault,” says Low. “Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 not only protects buildings, it protects architects, builders and owners of department stores, hospitals, hotels, gymnasiums and other projects.”


Barrier-Bac ® Vapor Retarders are high performance under slab vapor retarders developed for the construction industry to retard moisture migration through concrete slabs. They may also be used to control radon, methane, sulphates and many other soil contaminants. Barrier-Bac® vapor barriers are made with IntePlus®, an incredibly strong, three layer, co-extruded, cross-laminated film manufactured with a proprietary process developed by Inteplast Group.


Barrier-Bac ® Vapor Retarders are manufactured by World-Pak, an Inteplast Group Division. Inteplast, headquartered in Livingston, NJ, is the largest integrated plastics manufacturer in the United States. World-Pak manufactures a wide range of high quality building products including IntePro ® corrugated plastic sheets, InteFoam ® and InteCel ® PVC sheets, TUF board ® synthetic wood and decking, and IntePlus ® and Barrier-Bac ® heavy-duty film. For more detailed information, please visit or



Installation of Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350, a high performance under slab vapor retarder developed specifically for structures built in areas with expansive soils. Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 retards moisture migration through concrete slabs and is resistant to stress caused by shifts in soil.



Barrier-Bac ® VBC 350 is a 31 Mil composite vapor barrier consisting of a polyethylene ASTM E 1745 Class A vapor barrier membrane that is laminated to a polypropylene nonwoven geo-textile fabric.