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One of the biggest questions asked is, "What size shrink wrap should I use?"

Shrink Wrap is an incredibly versatile material, but it's likely you'll be using it for a cover application for storage or transport - if so, read on.  This one's for you!


Shrink Wrap Sizing for Storage and Transportation Projects (Not Boats):

To begin, we always prefer to obtain a drawing or photo of the object to get a good visualization of what the cover is most specifically to do.  Will the shrink wrap completely cover the object or only some portion of it?  Sizing up most projects will be begin with completing a few basic formulas to figure out the optimal width and/or length of shrink wrap to us.  More complex projects will combine a few different shapes that are all connected together, and the most challenging projects are the ones that have the most variation across surface of the object with various parts of the object protruding outward.  The wrapping method is going to influence the size of the wrap required.  Encapsulation typically requires either a wider width of shrink wrap or seaming two sheets together - a "top sheet" and a "bottom sheet".  This method can also help you better control the height at which much of the work will need to be done.  Limiting ladder work and stooping or kneeling can make a big difference in the overall level of project difficulty and timeliness. 


General formulas for rectangular scenarios:

  • Full Encapsulation:
    • Film Length – L + W + 6”  OR  L + H + 6” , whichever is less
    • Film Width – 2W + 2H + 12”
  • 5-Sided Wrap:
    • Film Length – L + W + 6”  OR  L + 2H + 12” , whichever is less
    • Film Width – W + 2H + 12”

Each formula allows for 12” of overlap for fusing at all seams. Assume L is always greater than W to reduce fuse lengths.


Shrink Wrap Sizing for Boats - 

To keep things simple, there are two basic measurements along with tucking and fusing that you will need to consider in order to determine the appropriately sized width of shrink wrap to best cover your boat - they are: 


  • Above the Rail Measurement - On most traditional boats, there is a rub rail around the outer edge of the boat.  The "above the rail measurement" is the distance between the rubrail and the highest point on the boat where the shrinkwrap is expected to cover.
  • Below the Rail Measurement - This measurement is based on your preference of how far below the rubrail your shrink wrap should cover.  Our preference is to cover every part of the boat above the waterline.  This "below the rail" measurement is best taken at the tallest point of the rub rail.
  • Tucking & Fusing - Plan ahead to leave enough extra material to tuck the edge under the strap so that two layers of shrink wrap can be heat welded together to a secure installation.  The heat welding can be done with as little as 6 inches of overlap.  Keep in mind that the smaller the overlap, the more careful you must be that the shrink wrap isn't moving as you pull to secure it.  With taller or wider boats, you might find yourself a bit short of materia at the widest point of your boat - but don't worry!  It is easy enough to patch a small part of the wrap if the material falls short somewhere.  There should be enough excess material from the cutout made for the bow to use for the quick patch.  Remember to use the rule of overlapping 6 inches or more for all edges of your patch as well!


Formula – Required Shrinkwrap Width = (Above the Rail Measurement + Below the Rail Measurement + Tuck & Fusing) * 2

***Please notice the multiplcation by 2 at the end of the formula!  The formula above will only provide enough shrinkwrap to securely cover half of your boat without the multiplication by 2 at the end of the formula.***


Boats under 25’ in length may consider measuring from stern to bow with a path above the highest point on the boat, then adding a minimum of 6 inches of tucking and fusing at both ends. This method allows you to pull the shrinkwrap sideways over the boat so that the width covers the length of the boat.


See all of our shrink wrap sizes!

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