what is shrink wrap and how do you use it on outdoor furniture

How to Shrink Wrap Outdoor Furniture

In Outdoor Furniture, Tips by Jamie

The summer season has passed and you are now wondering if you should just leave your outdoor furniture to wear the winter elements to come. There is an effective and easy solution to protect your outdoor furniture so you have peace of mind and your outdoor furniture lasts for years to come.

Shrink wrap can be applied to your outdoor furniture to protect it against elements, ensuring the longevity of the furniture. Shrink wrap is applied with a heat applicator which causes the wrap to contract and securely form to the furniture. When you are ready to use your outdoor furniture again, the shrink wrap can be easily peeled away.

This 8-step guide will walk you through how to apply shrink wrap to your outdoor furniture.

What is Shrink Wrap?

Shrink wrap works similarly to the cellophane wrap you use to cover the food in your kitchen but with a couple of extra steps and at a larger scale. Shrink wrap is a type of plastic used to cover large items, such as outdoor furniture, that you wish to store or protect from harsh winter elements or if you are moving.

Once the shrink wrap is appropriately measured to cover your items, it is secured using a heat applicator which causes the shrink wrap to contract and form to the item it is covering. When you are ready to uncover and use your outdoor furniture again, simply take a pair of scissors and gently cut or puncture the shrink wrap which can then be peeled away.

Why Shrink Wrap Outdoor Furniture?

You may want to shrink wrap your outdoor furniture if you live in a temperate climate where winters render the furniture useless and can have harmful effects on the durability and lifespan of the furniture. Shrink wrap serves as a layer of protection against the elements until you are ready to use your outdoor furniture again.

You may also wish to use shrink wrap on your outdoor furniture (and other furniture for that matter) when you are moving to protect it against scuffs and scrapes or if you are temporarily placing any of your items in storage. Shrink wrap will help keep it dust-free and maintain the condition of your items. 

8 Steps to Shrink Wrap Outdoor Furniture

1. Clear the Area Around the Furniture to be Shrink-Wrapped

Give yourself plenty of space to move around the outdoor furniture so it can be wrapped effectively and minimize the risk of injury to you in the process. You will also need space to place your shrink wrap rack to make it easy to drape the furniture in it.

2. Secure Furniture Together

If you have multiple pieces of outdoor furniture you will be wrapping, you may wish to wrap them together to save on wrapping and if you will be leaving it outside. If you choose to wrap multiple items together, make sure they are secured to one another, tying chairs together, securing them to tables, and placing padding between tables and anything stacked on top of them.

This not only protects the furniture but minimizes the risk of any accidents if you need to move the wrapped furniture which could otherwise fall or tear away from the shrink wrap if not secured.

3. Ensure You Have the Correct Shrink Wrap Roll Size

Shrink wrap is available in various widths and lengths. Determine what needs to be wrapped, the size of the items, and how many layers of wrap you will use. For example, rolls of shrink wrap can be large enough to wrap boats and fridges, whereas smaller and mid-sized rolls should be enough for outdoor furniture.

You can also estimate the roll size you will need by measuring the width and height of the items to be wrapped. Add together the height on both sides of the items being wrapped plus the width and you should be able to approximate the width of the shrink wrap roll you will need. Excess shrink wrap can be trimmed away if needed.

4. Cover Your Furniture with Shrink Wrap

Dr. Shrink 28' x 64' 7 Mil, White Shrink Wrap DS-287064W

Drape the shrink wrap over your furniture so that there are no areas exposed on the top and sides. Be careful not to let your shrink wrap touch the ground so as not to attract any dirt or debris to the shrink wrap.

5. Cut Away Any Excess Shrink Wrap Material

Similar to wrapping a perfect present, you will need to cut away any excess shrink wrap material. This can also include cutting the material away from the corners so that the shrink wrap can adhere with a snug fit to your furniture.

6. Place a Securing Band Around the Base Perimeter of Your Furniture

Once the shrink wrap is placed over the furniture, you should use a shrink wrap securing band (available where you purchase shrink wrap) around the perimeter of the base of the furniture to secure the shrink wrap in place.

Again this should not be touching the ground to avoid picking up any unwanted dirt and debris. You can leave a bit of shrink wrap overhang below the securing band so that the excess material can be secured back up and over the band with the heat welding tool.

7. Using a Heat Applicator, Secure the Shrink Wrap to Your Furniture

Bernzomatic TS8000 - High Intensity Trigger Start Torch , Black

Using the heat welding applicator, you will direct the heat upwards, starting at the base of the furniture to secure any overhanging shrink wrap over the securing band. Be sure to apply heat evenly, not holding the heating applicator in one spot for too long so that it does not melt a hole into the shrink wrap.

Once the base perimeter has been secured, you will use the heat applicator to secure the corner seams together. Once all the corners have been heated and welded together, you will continue to use the heat applicator on the sides of the wrapped furniture, finishing with the top.

Be sure to apply heat starting from the bottom and working your way up to the top in sections, applying heat evenly over the surface until the wrap is smoothly secured over your furniture.

8. Add a Vent to the Shrink Wrap

Once your shrink wrap has been successfully applied, you should add a vent to it. This prevents condensation from building up inside of the shrink wrap that could damage your furniture. Specific vents are available with covers to protect them from snow getting in while allowing the air and condensation out.

Because outdoor furniture tends not to be as large as a boat, your furniture should only require one vent per bundled item wrapped.


Shrink Wrapping Outdoor Furniture FAQs

Where to Buy Shrink Wrap for Outdoor Furniture?

Shrink wrap and the necessary tools to secure it including the heat welding applicator and the securing bands should be available at your local hardware store. You can also find Dr. Shrink, shrink wrap, on Amazon in various sizes.

Is Shrink Wrapping Dangerous?

When done properly, shrink wrapping can be done effectively and safely, however, there are some associated safety hazards. There is a fire risk associated with shrink wrap. During the heat application process, if the applicator is held in one spot for too long, it can cause the shrink wrap to melt or burn. Shrink wrap itself is also a plastic material that is flammable and should be kept away from open flames.

The heating of the shrink wrap can release toxic fumes into the air that can be inhaled. If you are working on a small project outdoors, there should not be much risk of breathing in these fumes. If you are shrink wrapping an object indoors or will be securing many items with shrink wrap, consider the ventilation of the area and wear an appropriate mask that should also be available at the hardware store.

How Well Does Shrink Wrap Protect Outdoor Furniture?

Shrink wrap effectively protects outdoor furniture against harsh elements such as winter cold, snow, rain, pests, and more. When applied properly, shrink wrapping your furniture is an effective way to ensure the quality and lifespan of your outdoor furniture.

How Much Does it Cost to Shrink Wrap Outdoor Furniture?

The cost of shrink-wrapping outdoor furniture varies based on the type and amount of shrink wrap used and whether or not it is installed professionally or by yourself. Dr. Shrink, shrink wrap, on Amazon ranges from $100-$400 with additional costs for the vents, securing bands, and heat guns.

Can You Hire Someone to Shrink Wrap Your Outdoor Furniture?

If you prefer not to shrink wrap your furniture yourself, you can have it professionally installed. Check for local businesses that provide this service (moving companies, hardware, and furniture stores may know of some if you do not). You can also put an inquiry out on Facebook for anyone who has experience with shrink-wrapping furniture.

Final Thoughts

Shrink-wrapping your outdoor furniture is a foolproof way to protect the quality and longevity of your belongings. When installed correctly, using this 8-step guide, you can rest assured that your furniture will be in good condition to use again in the coming seasons.