Sealer for Preventing Radon Gas Infiltration

December 17, 2012

Radon is a radioactive gas that is known to increase the chance of cancer in humans. The gas is formed by the decay of other radioactive elements in the soil below and surrounding a building. Radon is a heavy gas that accumulates in the lowest level of a building. If it is a home built on a slab, then the first floor is at risk of accumulating radon.

The US EPA recommends an "action level" of 4 picocuries/Liter (piCi/L.) It is estimated that one in fifteen homes has a radon level higher than this. The US Surgeon General states that there is no safe level of radon gas in a building. Any level of radon can raise the risk of developing lung cancer.

How Radon Gets into a Home

Radon gas is formed in the soils surrounding a home. The gas accumulates below the slab of a basement and seeps through cracks in the concrete. It is possible for the gas to flow through water collection tiles and into a sump crock. And the gap where a concrete floor meets the wall is also an area where the gas can seep in.

It is also possible for the gas to seep directly through concrete and concrete blocks. These materials have microscopic cracks and gaps in them that allow the radon gas to flow through.

Radon Mitigating Solutions

The process of preventing radon from enter a building is called radon mitigation. There are several steps and procedures to mitigating the amount of radon that gets into a building. One simple process is to fill cracks and gaps with vapor impermeable sealants or caulks. Professional contractors can install suction systems that collect air in the basement or ground floor and exhaust the air to the outside. And a sealer can be applied to concrete and concrete block to prevent radon from seeping through it.

Vapor Impermeable Concrete Sealer

A radon gas blocking concrete sealer such as A-Tech Hydra-Block are a low cost way to prevent radon gas from transmitting through. The sealers penetrate up to 4" into the concrete where they react with the lime and alkalis present in the concrete. This reaction forms a crystalline structure that fills the microscopic cracks and gaps in the concrete. The crystals prevent soil gasses, such as radon and water vapor from getting through the concrete and masonry.

A complete radon mitigation system may utilize several or all of the above steps to lower the level of harmful gasses. If you believe your home or building has a high level of radon, consult a professional contractor to develop an action plan for your home.


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