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Boat & Industrial Shrink Wrap - Frequently Asked Questions

Our favorite thing to do is help people find solutions.

Q - What is Boat and Industrial Shrink Wrap?

A - Boat and Industrial Shrink Wrap is a durable plastic sheeting material which shrinks when it is heated to a certain temperature.  Within the industry, it is called Linear Low Density Polyethylene, or LLDPE for short.  Our shrink wrap is made from a specially formulated, virgin resin blend that provides superior strength, conformability and longevity when compared to competitive films of greater thickness.  For Boat and Industrial Shrink Wrap to shrink properly, heat must be applied after its installation by using a propane heat gun.


Q - For which applications can Shrink Wrap be used?

A - Shrink Wrap is incredibly versatile and very durable.  Shrink wrap provides protection for all shapes of objects, palletized truckloads of equipment, commodities, wood products, temporary housing, greenhouses, freight road shipments – you name it.  If it needs protection from the elements, Shrink Wrap can be the solution!


Q - What is the difference between 6 mil and 7 mil film?

A - Mil is a unit of measurement used to determine thickness.  1 mil is equal to 1/1000 of an inch so a 6 mil film is .006 inches thick.  Our shrink wrap ranges from 6 mil to 12 mil.


Q - Which thickness (Mil) of Shrink Wrap do I need?

A - The thickness of Shrink Wrap needed will depend on what is being shrink wrapped and what the finished wrap will experience in terms of stress after the installation.  The thicker the shrink wrap, the more durable it will be.  If the wrapped object will need to be transported on the open road for long distances, a thicker shrink wrap like 10 Mil would be strongly recommended.


Q - Which color of Shrink Wrap should I use for my project?

A - We offer Shrink Wrap in three colors: White, Blue, and Clear.  All three colors will protect the wrapped object with a complete moisture barrier as expected.  However, there are some small differences due to the interaction of sunlight with the colors.

White provides the best reflection of sunlight.   It tends to keep the atmosphere underneath the shrink wrap at a more consistent temperature, which minimizes condensation and moisture accumulation.

Blue is sometimes used in colder areas because darker colors absorb a bit more heat from sunlight, which might loosen snow enough to naturally slide off the cover.  Blue shrink wrap is not ideal to use in warm climates where it might cause a larger range of temperature in the atmosphere under the wrap.

Clear is used whenever there is a need to see the object below the shrink wrap.  It is much easier for sunlight to penetrate the clear shrink wrap, which makes the accumulation of condensation or moisture more likely.  The greater variance in atmospheric temperature under the clear wrap creates the need for additional ventilation.


Q - How long will the shrink wrap last?

A – Environmental factors are the biggest consideration when estimating how long a shrink wrap cover will last.  The less exposure to weathering, the better.  Shrink wrap kept indoors will always have a longer life than shrink wrap kept in direct sunlight or shrink wrap used in open-air transportation applications.  When Mr. Shrinkwrap provides a seasonal boat wrapping service, we guarantee our wrap for 6 months.  However, we’ve seen the occasional customer keep our wrap on their boat for years with success – but it’s not typical.  In short, it all depends on the stress presented by the environment, but 6 months to a year is a reasonable expectation.


Q - If I get my boat shrink wrapped, can I use the cover for multiple years?

A – We’ve seen some crafty boat owners remove their shrink wrap cover VERY carefully and patch it up again for a few years in a row – this is a risk they take at their own discretion.  Shrink wrap that has been exposed to sunlight over a few seasons has reduced UV protection and tends to become more brittle and less resistant to environmental stress.  The bottom line is this:  For the protection of your valuable boat, we can’t recommend reusing your shrink wrap cover.


Q - What is the difference between Shrink Film Tape and Preservation Tape?

A - Shrink Film Tape is a 9 mil tape with a permanently tacky adhesive which bonds very well to most clean surfaces.  Shrink Film Tape is great for patching small holes and reinforcing seams in your shrink wrap.  It is also used for installing shrink wrap Zipper Access Doors.  Shrink Film Tape lacks resistance to UV rays and should be used for seasonal or other short-term or indoor storage applications.  Shrink Film Tape should only be applied to shrink wrap and after the shrink wrap has been shrunk.

UV Preservation Tape is a 10 mil tape that has a similar feel to Shrink Film Tape, but is designed not to leave a sticky adhesive residue behind.  This makes UV Preservation Tape a much better option when you need to apply tape directly to painted or otherwise finished surfaces.  Additionally, UV Preservation Tape has UV-resistant properties which extend the life of the tape and makes it a better long-term solution for outdoor storage applications that will be exposed to sunlight.

Note:  Shrink Film Tape and UV Preservation Tape are not meant to be shrunk.  These tapes can take a little heat, but only a short flash.  Only apply these tapes to your shrink wrap after the wrap has been shrunk to avoid melting the tape or otherwise compromising the strength of the tapes.


Q - What is the difference between the Shrinkfast 975 and the Shrinkfast 998 propane heat guns?

A - The Shrinkfast 975 heat gun has been around since about 1976.  This time-tested and rugged heat gun has an aluminum body which makes it both durable in heavy duty environments and lightweight enough to not strain your arm while you work on your project.
The Shrinkfast 998 is a newer model from 1998 that is designed with everyone in mind – not just the contractor!  The 998 is over one pound lighter than the 975.  The 998 is made with aluminum and other high quality materials that keep the heat gun both lightweight and durable while also giving it a better feeling of balance in your hand.
Both heat guns output enough BTUs to shrink your Boat and Industrial Shrink Wrap.  The 998 however, is the cutting edge.


Q - What is the difference between Shrink Wrap and Stretch Wrap?

A – Stretch Wrap is the plastic wrap you often see wrapped repeatedly around pallets and other stacks of boxes holding the load together during transportation.  Stretch Wrap relies on elastic recovery to contract and hold tight after it is applied.  Stretch Wrap is a thin plastic film that is pulled very tightly around an object or bundle of objects to keep the objects secure, protected, or to act as a tamper-evident packaging.  Stretch Wrap also comes in colored varieties to be used as a designator in warehousing or shipping applications. 

Boat and Industrial Shrink Wrap is a MUCH thicker material which shrinks when enough heat has been applied to it, and it continues to shrink slightly as it cools.  Where Stretch Wrap is applied in a very tightly-wrapped fashion, Shrink Wrap is applied somewhat loosely, secured, and is then shrunk to a tight fit using a propane heat gun.  Shrink Wrap offers much better protection from environmental contaminants and stressors than Stretch Wrap due to the thickness of Shrink Wrap, its UV protectant additives, and its ability to be applied in a single large sheet.  Shrink Wrap isn’t only for boats and industrial applications – shrink wrap is used for product packaging every day.  If you’re wrapping multiple pallets in stretch wrap every day, consider looking into Shrink Pallet Bags.


Q - Do I need to buy a whole shrink wrap kit to start shrink wrapping?

A - Our standard Shrink Wrap Kits come with just about everything you’ll need to wrap a boat - with the exceptions of a roll of shrink wrap and a tank of propane.  If you intend to wrap something a bit different than a boat, you may want to plan out your process and decide which materials you’ll need to get the job done.  We list the contents of our kits right in the description of the product for your consideration.  We also have experienced shrink wrap technicians ready to answer your questions by phone if you want to give us a call.  We love to help people find solutions to their needs!

 

 

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