Shrink Wrap vs. Stretch Wrap

I wish to rig up some home made inside storm windows for insulation against drafts and heat loss. My question is can stretch wrap be used as a substitute for shrink wrap which is commonly sold for this purpose or are they materially different enough that it won’t work the same? Thanks.

Definitely different materials and behavior. The key in either case is a fairly tight seal. How would you plan to attach/adhere the stretch wrap to the casement/window frame/whatever?


Thanks. I think if I use stretch wrap I could still use double sided tape on a frame for the smaller windows but tape it to the casement/walls for the larger windows. I think as long as the seal it good the insulation properties should be about the same but the shrink wrap would look better because it is clearer.

Not to mention that the typical shrink wrap is thicker than the typical stretch wrap so the thermal protection could also vary significantly …

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True, but I wonder if it is more the fact that there is a trapped air barrier between the window and the room which stops drafts as well rather than the actual heat transfer coefficient of the thin plastic making the biggest difference? I don’t know.

Currently, I insulate my large kitchen windows with bubble wrap pressed against the glass. During the hard freeze in '21 I sealed all my windows with heavy plastic sheeting which is what was on hand at the time but it kept the house from getting too cold without power but the windows became opaque.

Defintiely the trapped air. That’s wtah makes the shrink wrap optinle (but ptobably more expensive).

lol…I do this to. And have same issues re: opaqueness. I’ve left the bubble wrap on for a couple of years now, hoping to get same benefit in summer for heat reasons, and now the plastic is decaying and “shedding” and making a general mess all the time, so not a great idea in perpetuity.

I’ve no idea how much better the shrink-wrap approach is over gypsy-rigging the bubble wrap into place, or if there is even any meaningful difference? There’s probably a way to measure this, even if back-of-the-envelope, but I don’t know what it is.

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My sliding glass door on the patio is a 10’ x 7’ 2" heat path into my house. I bought some 5’ wide double sided aluminized foil bubble wrap used for insulating and covered the glass about 6-7 years ago.

It dropped the temp in kitchen/dining room in the summer about 10 degrees (they were North facing doors also) and lowered my overall electric bill. So I did the 4’ x 7’ south facing window in the living room in the summer. Those two items alone cut A/C cost about 20% and heating maybe 10%.

I’ve had some rooms replaced with double paned argon filled glass and non-metal frames - unreal the difference. When I lived in South Dakota used storm windows in winter and the shrink wrap on all windows … of course it got down once to -36F ambient!

Single pane glass windows with aluminum frames just let heat flow which ever side is lower.


I use the clear large bubble wrap wetting the flat side with just slightly soapy water to adhere to the glass.

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I ended up ordering some shrink wrap from Frost King. Some of it will be made into reusable storm windows for the smaller windows and some will be used once for large windows. The reusable ones will be double sided over a simple frame of wood or Aluminum and will have a foam border to fit snugly.

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Smart :bulb:

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Thanks. I’ve seen online businesses sell custom made shrink wrap based storm windows. You give them the sizes and they make them. I haven’t priced it but I assume it’s not cheap. I thought that I could probably make a reasonable facsimile myself at least for the smaller windows.

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Having grown up in the Midwest, I can tell you that there are 2 parts to this.

  1. Creating that insulative air pocket.
  2. Keeping the wind out. New caulk around the windows helps, but doesn’t stop all the air coming through cheap windows.

I spent many hours in the late fall with plastic sheeting and both fiberglass reinforced tape and duck tape putting that stuff over the windows and casements.

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