If the cost of enclosing your polytunnel in fibreglass walls is an issue for you, you’re probably wondering how to install polytunnel plastic film. Plastic is one of the best alternative materials to help you create and maintain the proper growth environment for your plants.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the ways you can attach plastic to your polytunnel. The most commonly used plastic is Polyethylene or poly for short. It’s an opaque film that many people in the UK operate in covering their polytunnels.
An opaque film helps you protect the plants from the extreme changes in the temperature while ensuring that the plants still receive enough sunlight. However, it’s important to note that installing your polytunnel plastic film requires careful planning. Otherwise, you’ll end up compromising the integrity of the film due to improper placement.
How Do You Attach a Polytunnel Plastic Film?
The process of installing a plastic film on your polytunnel is straightforward. Here’s how one gets it done.
Work in Sections
Before installing the film, be sure to divide the polytunnel into sections first. Sectioning the area that you’ll be working on will make the plastic installation for your polytunnel easier, especially if your polytunnel is high and you’re using a piece of scaffolding equipment.
By doing that, you won’t have to move your ladder always when you’re moving from one place to another. Also, be sure to secure the film properly on the first try. This way, you won’t have to keep coming back to reattach the film on the metal poles again.
Do it right once, and you’ll save time in the process. When you finish the job, cut off any remaining film to create a smooth finish.
Wiggle Wire and Lock Channel Method
One of the quickest ways to install the plastic film in your polytunnel is by using the wiggle and wire lock channel. It’s an inexpensive method that will provide a long-lasting hold to your polytunnel plastic film. It creates a continuous connection throughout the polytunnel structure, making it more durable than staples or screws.
If you live in a UK region where storms and strong winds expected, then the wiggle wire and lock channel method of installing your plastic film is a good investment.
To start, you’ll have to secure the lock channels in the metal frame of your polytunnel. If you predrill the holes or use a self-tapping screw, installing the channels will be much easier.
Once you finished the job of installing the lock channel, you can drape the plastic over your polytunnel and wiggle the wire up and down to secure the plastic film. Once one install it successfully, the plastic will be nearly impossible to pull out.
Staples and Screws
The staples and screws method is the cheapest way to anchor your plastic film over your polytunnel. However, it’s less secure than the wiggle wire and lock channel. With staples and screws, you’ll create small holes over the plastic sheet.
You’ll also need to spend a lot of time stretching the plastic to ensure it stays tight. If you need to adjust or test the plastic more, you’ll need to patch the holes again.
When installing your plastic film over your polytunnel, you have to make sure that all your PVC pipes are smooth and painted. Checking the PVC pipes will help prevent abrasion and premature deterioration of your polyethene plastic film. Roll the plastic on the roof of the polytunnel.
The base should touch the ground to allow maximum adjustment if needed. Adjust the plastic so it will create a tight seal on the roof and sides of your polytunnel.
Secure the plastic film at the base using staples and screws. Allow at least 1 to 2 feet of space in between staples and screws.
How Tight Should the Polytunnel Plastic Be?
The polyethene film on your polytunnel should be tight enough to eliminate the wrinkles but not too tight to cause a strain in the plastic. The main reason is that the plastic film can contract during the cold season.
When it’s stretched out too much, it won’t leave enough room for the film to contract when the temperature drops. A stretching out too much will result in tears in your plastic film.
Can I Use Regular Plastic for My Polytunnel?
You can’t just use any plastic for your polytunnel. Regular plastics are prone to easy tearing. One cut could quickly turn into a huge hole. Besides, the ends of a standard plastic can also fray.
Polytunnel plastic, on the other hand, is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. If you live in a UK area where storms frequently hit, it’s better to invest in a high-quality plastic film. While Polyethylene is usually the most common plastic film of choice for many, there are also other types of plastics, like polycarbonate and polyvinyl carbonate, that would work just as well.
Learn How to Install Polytunnel Plastic Film Easily
Though fibreglass panels offer maximum benefits for your polytunnel, this option can be costly. For that reason, people opt for plastic films for their polytunnels instead. Aside from the fact that it’s cheaper than fibreglass, it’s also very effective.
No matter what type of plastic film you choose, be sure that it can withstand harsh weather conditions and that one has installed it properly to avoid having to replace your plastics frequently. Now that you know how to install a polytunnel plastic film, you can make sure that the environment inside your polytunnel will remain stable and stress-free for your plants.