Radon Barriers

Radon Barriers: what are they all about?

All about Radon Barriers

I’m Andy Parkin, Managing Director of the Multi Award Winning Speed Screed. Today I’m here to give you a little more insight into radon barriers, why they are needed and more on radon gas itself. Let’s get started.

What is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that we all breathe in at some point in our lives; the key of course is not to take too much of it in! Radon actually disperses to harmless levels in air, but it can collect in pockets and crevasses. If you do take in too much radon you risk of developing lung cancer goes up, therefore radon barriers need to be effective; they are an essential part of your building.

What is a radon barrier and do you need one?

You are bound by The Building Regulations (Part C (2)) to take relevant measures in areas that have higher levels of radon. There are certain parts of the country where radon is more prevalent and you can check whether your site is in such an area at Public Health England’s website. Should you need it, a more comprehensive assessment will be carried out at the Desk Top Study Phase or in the Site Investigation Report.

Radon barriers

To be considered effective, your radon barrier must cover the entirety of your building’s footprint including the likes of storerooms if there is access to the property or habitable rooms above. A 1200 gauge or 300 micrometre polyethylene barrier is sufficient.

Common defects of a radon barrier

Attempting to connect the radon barrier and the damp proof course is a common way defects are generated and commonly the defect is where the corners or overlaps are not sealed properly or at all. This means that the barrier is not gas-tight.

Making sure your radon barrier is gas-tight

It’s really good idea to ensure that the radon barrier is sealed prior to the bricklayers arriving on site making sure any joints or laps are fully sealed within a wall, not just sealed either side of it.

Sealing the barrier can be achieved by using adhesive tapes or, ideally, with self-adhesive, double-sided rubber strip sealants. You will find that some manufacturers suggest using double-sided butyl tape and jointing tape; a lap of at least 150mm is recommended though, again, some manufacturers may recommended more than that.

The dispersion of radon

Dispersing radon is one of the best ways to deal with it. Airbricks are effective at dispersing radon from voids and should be installed wherever possible and on every aspect of the building. They need to give you an opening equivalent of 1500m2 for each metre run of wall.

More information on radon

If you need further information on radon or radon barriers the BRE have produced a very helpful guide (BRE 211 Radon: Guidance on protective measure for new buildings)

Hopefully you are now up to speed with radon barriers, contact us with any questions.  We love to help!

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