5 Basic Features for New Construction
New construction homes can be built “radon resistant” with a permanently installed passive radon system. When properly installed, passive radon mitigation systems can keep radon levels down without the assistance of a radon fan.
While radon resistant construction techniques may vary for different house foundations and building site requirements, the five basic features that builders should include to prevent radon from entering a home include the following:
Gravel: Use a 4-inch layer of clean, coarse gravel below the “slab,” also called the foundation. This layer of gravel allows the soil gases, which includes radon, that occur naturally in the soil to move freely underneath the house. Builders call this the “air flow layer” or “gas permeable layer” because the loose gravel allows the gases to circulate. NOTE: In some regions of the country, gravel may be too expensive or unnecessary. Alternatives are allowed, such as a perforated pipe or a collection mat.
Plastic Sheeting or Vapor Retarder: Place heavy duty plastic sheeting (6 mil. polyethylene) or a vapor retarder on top of the gravel to prevent the soil gases from entering the house. The sheeting also keeps the concrete from clogging the gravel layer when the slab is poured.
A Vent Pipe: Run a 3-inch or 4-inch solid PVC Schedule 40 pipe, like the ones commonly used for plumbing, vertically from the gravel layer (stubbed up when the slab is poured) through the house’s conditioned space and roof to safely vent radon and other soil gases outside above the house. (Although serving a different purpose, this vent pipe is similar to the drain waste vent, DWV, installed by the plumber.) This pipe should be labeled “Radon System.”
Sealing and Caulking: Seal all openings, cracks, and crevices in the concrete foundation floor (including the slab perimeter crack) and walls with polyurethane caulk to prevent radon and other soil gases from entering the home.
Junction Box: Install an electrical junction box (outlet) in the attic for use with a vent fan, should, after testing for radon, a more robust system be needed.
Home Buyers and Builders Can Call Cook’s
New home buyers may ask the builder about these features, and request that they be included in the new home. Building a new home with radon resistant construction techniques can add value by protecting health and reducing radon mitigation costs. For more information, get all the advice you need from Cook’s for new construction radon mitigation.
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For more information about radon resistant home builders, see the following: