Winterizing- Part Two

I cannot believe that December is already here! I’ve been really bad at keeping up with posts, oops! Well, here’s the second part of the winterizing post I told you I would put up. The pictures are good for learning step-by-step, but they are so bland- I promise a brighter picture post in the very near future!

So here begins a brief “how-to” on winterizing old drafty windows using plastic sheeting, cardboard, and a staple gun.

Step One

Step One

Step One: Measure out the size of your windows and cut your plastic to the proper size. Do not cut it to the exact size, make sure each side is about six inches bigger than it needs to be because you will be rolling the excess plastic around the cardboard.

Step Two

Step Two

Step Two: Grab the cardboard that you are using and cut it to the size of your windows. To do this, cut the cardboard in the location that you are going to be stapling it in, and fold/rip to size. Make it only slightly smaller on the ends to allow room for the other pieces of cardboard that will be framing in your window.

Step Three

Step Three

Step Three: We decided to staple the plastic inside the window frame because of the awkward shape and molding of the windows, but you can just as easily staple around the outside of the window if you prefer. So take your first piece of cardboard (we started with the bottom) and roll it a few times in the plastic. Then take this and staple it into position. *Note: Staple size does matter! We made the mistake of using staples that are not long enough and have already seen the cardboard being ripped out with the wind and will need to replace them. Try a 1/2 to 3/4 inch staple with this.* You will have some excess plastic on the edges. You can trim these before rolling in the sides.

Step Four

Step Four

Step Four: Do the same again with the side opposite that you just did- for us it was the top. Make sure that you do not roll the plastic too tightly on the cardboard, or you will find that you might tug up too hard, ripping out the bottom. Allow a little room to breath in the plastic- a little loose will be fine. Again, trim the edges.

Step 5

Step Five

Step Five: Next, do your third side just like the other two. All this rolling will have you ready to make wraps or burritos for lunch!

Step Six

Step Six

Step Six: Roll your last side, staple it in and you’re done. One window done, many more to go I’m sure.

For such an inexpensive and easy project (although time consuming and tedious) it helps quite a lot when it comes to preventing the loss of heat in your home. The staples for the staple gun are a couple bucks for a pack, cardboard was free, and the big roll of plastic was under $20. All this did ten windows, and we still have some plastic left over for next year. The plastic we bought is a little more heavy duty than you might want, and does a good job of preventing us from seeing too much of what’s going on outside. But you can get your plastic at different thicknesses, depending on your situation. They go all the way from thin see-through kits that use double-sided tape and a hairdryer, to the heavy duty do it yourself stuff that we bought. Although we would like to be able to see outside a little better, we’d much rather have this heavier plastic for our situation.

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2 thoughts on “Winterizing- Part Two

  1. Found your blog via Down-to-Earth 🙂

    I’m just wondering how much help the plastic is wrt stopping heat loss, and I didn’t turn up any figures on Google. Window glass transfers heat pretty readily and I don’t imagine plastic sheeting is an improvement; you’d probaby get more R value from heavy curtains. I know that in some parts of Europe they put in a second set of windows for winter insulation, but as I live in a mild climate I don’t know much about them. Our problem is keeping heat out! Is plastic sheeting really all you can do in a climate like Vermont’s?

    • Good question Chookie. 🙂 Indeed window glass is good at transfering heat, so the sunny days are really good at warming the house. The sun is able to shine through the plastic, helping to warm in the day. I would love some extra heavy curtains, and better yet, new windows or even a second “storm” set, but living in an apartment, I have very limited options in choices of windows. I was lucky to get some more/new insulation in my attic this year! I do have plans for heavy curtains in the future, but funds are limited, and when I can do all the windows in the house for $20 verus buying curtains for 10 awkward shaped windows, especially for a place that I don’t know how long I’ll be at, it’s cheaper for me to go for the plastic. So I guess the real problem is in cost. I bet a nice heavy set of curtains would even improve the plastic covered windows. My goal with the plastic is to create more of a barrier between indoors and out. My windows are very old and let in a lot of drafts- there are no seals around the edges, and there’s nothing I can really do about that if I want to be able to open them (which itself is a task and a half) in the summer. So bad are the gaps and cracks, that when the wind blows, you can see the plastic moving in and out, and last year we had a problem with the plastic actually being blown out. So no, plastic sheeting is not all you can do, curtains would help, but plastic, it’s just something I always grew up around back in Maine, which is just as cold, if not colder than Vermont. I have to say, I’d much prefer fighting keeping the cold out, rather than the heat like you! You can always throw on a sweater when your cold, but when you’re hot, well, there really isn’t too much you can do without stripping down and offending the neighbors!! 😉 Thanks for the visit and I look forward to future comments and visiting your website.

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