Interior Window Plastic Insulation – 1

A few days ago we wrote an article in our continuing series on Home Energy Conservation on inexpensive ways home owners can use to reduce their home heating bills.

Today we wanted to demonstrate one of those suggestions; specifically, suggestion #30 on using plastic window insulation kits on the inside of your windows.

Now, if you recall we have these very large 5 foot high windows in our basement’s billiard area. 

basement bay windows Interior Window Plastic Insulation   1

These were not among the windows we replaced with ENERGY STAR windows last winter. These windows and sliding doors were 22 years old; i.e. they were installed when the house was built.

On a cold day you can feel the coldness of the outside by simply standing near these windows or sliding doors.

So, I went to our local renovation / building materials retail store and purchased one of those plastic window film insulation kits. The one we purchased provided plastic film which was 84 inches by 25 feet, more than enough for our 5 foot high windows.

window plastic insulation kit Interior Window Plastic Insulation   1

Now, remember that many of the kits which provide the plastic film in rolls have the insulating film doubled up. What I mean by that is to be sure to read the package labeling. In our case 84 inches is 7 feet yet the roll was only about 3 and 1/2 feet high. If I didn’t read the package details I would have though that the roll was only 3 and 1/2 feet wide.

window insulation kit contents Interior Window Plastic Insulation   1

The kit we purchased came with a lots of tape to be used to secure the insulating fims to the window frame, measuring tape as well as a device to cut the plastic film. It also came with simple instructions like being sure to cut plastic with 1 to 2 inches more than needed on all four sides of the window frame so you don’t run the risk of cutting too small (which almost happened to me icon wink Interior Window Plastic Insulation   1 ) a piece of plastic film, awe well as pictures.

Now, the first thing I needed to do was to figure out exactly where I wanted to place the two sided tape that would secure the insulating plastic film to the window frame.

I noticed that there was a nice wood filler that was along the bottom and sides of the windows. However, it was a little smaller than the width of the tape. And I also noticed that for some reason it was not along the top of the window page. Darn

window and plastic insulation tape Interior Window Plastic Insulation   1

So, I decided to place the two sided tape along the outer edge of the window frame. This meant that I would have one solid piece of insulating plastic film covering all of the individual window panes of glass within the window frame itself. This also meant that there would be much more space between the insulating plastic film and the window, giving I would think more insulation.

So, first I cleaned the window frame, just a light dusting. then I mesured and cut the two sided tape needed for each of the 4 sides of the window frame. This was followed by installing each tape on the outside of the frame.

window with tape Interior Window Plastic Insulation   1

You will notice that the tape looks white. It’s not. The white you see is the cover. The two sided tape is actually clear, just like the plastic insulating film itself so it won’t be noticed. As well, you want to be sure to have the tape overlap. In the above picture you see how the white tape cover on the top window frame appears to be coming up a little. That is needed to allow the tape on the left side to overlap, ensuring there are no gaps.

Tomorrow, we finish installing the plastic film on all the windows in our basement bay window area. To continue to the next article in this short series on installing plastic see-through insulation on our large windows, simply select this link to Part 2.

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  1. mariel hoss says:

    Can you tell me where you purchased the kit?


  2. Dan says:

    Hi Mariel,

    I purchased the kit at the Home Depot. However, you can purchase the same or similar kits from Lowes, Canadian Tire, Home Hardward, etc.


  3. BostonEddie says:

    For clear window film I bought transparent shower curtains from the local discount outlet. They’re cheap and much thicker than the homestore plastic films and durable, lasting several seasons. Since they’re heavier than the films, they’ll fall off the windows frames if you use duct tape (though maybe good quality duct tape would be better) so I used the paper tape, which works better. Use clear tape/shipping tape to connect several sheets together. While you don’t want to use them for the livingroom, they’ll be OK for bedrooms, etc.

  4. BostonEddie says:

    If you use the thin plastic film, you’ll find out it’s several sheets folded on each other and go nuts trying to separate them (annoying static cling in action). The easy way to separate them is to make rings of (single sided) tape around your two index fingers with the sticky side facing out and use the taped fingers to pull the sheets apart.

  5. BostonEddie says:

    (Last one, I promise…)
    I have a cheap bay window on my hundred year old house (well, where else would I put a bay window?)and long ago got tired of carefully installing plastic film over each window frame. So I built a simple frame of 1X3 lumber and taped a single sheet of plastic film on the frame and put it over the window. Much easier. I put loose pin hinges on the frame so you can get to whatever’s on the window ledge and take the frame off during the summer. Alternately, use it as a greenhouse.
    If you’re really adept, put a gasket on the frame to make it more airtight.

  6. Dan says:

    Hi BostonEddie,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I agree that some of the thin plastic film can stick together when trying to ‘unwrap’ it. The one we purchased and used did not. And, since the windows where we used it were not in a high traffic area of our home, I actually left it up since I installed the plastic film in Nov 2008, including on our siding door.


  7. Bakeapples says:

    Greeting Dan,

    Your buddy Bakeapples here again.

    I have used various kits and double sided tape but never had luck with any coming off cleanly. Also the longer you leave it up, the harder it is to remove it.

    The solution to this problem is exactly what BostonEddie is describing above. These are essentially an interior storm windows and by adding plastic film on BOTH sides of the frame and creating an additional air space, you can increase the R-value of your windows by 2 or 3 (a major improvement for any window). Also you can remove the panels at the end of the season and then reuse them year after year.

    I have been looking into making these and have a few links to share with you and your readers:

    Best overall how-to:

    I like this guy’s split backer rod weather stripping approach best – using close cell foam this way may prevent any moisture getting past to the colder glass & sill and could prevent condensation problems:

    Another decent link ( is a great site):

    I’ve looked around at some local stores and they have 8′ 1×2 primed clear pine and primed MDF in the $3-4 range so I will likely use that. I am also going to look for plexiglass to make storms for my 2 sliding patio doors.

  8. Dan says:

    Hi Bakeapplies,

    Thanks for these. All three seeem very good and useful to me.


  9. Bryce Phillippy says:

    You certainly have some agreeable opinions and views. Your blog provides a fresh look at the subject.

  10. ERIC says:

    If I used two side tape on the wall or aluminium window frame, it’s very hard to remove in summer time. How should I do? This method is pretty cheap and reliable.Do you have any idea to fix it?

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