Updated at: 16-03-2023 - By: Sienna Lewis

Installing greenhouse plastic film may be an option if you’re concerned about the cost of fiberglass greenhouse walls. One of the best nontraditional materials for establishing and maintaining a suitable environment for plant growth is plastic.

To that end, this piece will discuss several methods for securing plastic within a greenhouse. Polyethylene, or “poly” for short, is by far the most ubiquitous plastic. Many people use this film, which is opaque, to cover their greenhouses.

Thus, the plants are shielded from the extreme temperature swings while still receiving adequate sunlight. The installation of your greenhouse plastic film, however, will necessitate some forethought. If not, the movie’s overall quality will suffer from the placement.

How Do You Attach a Greenhouse Plastic Film?

Put up a plastic film on your greenhouse in a simple installation process. Learn the procedure in this diagram.

Work in Sections

You must partition the greenhouse into sections before you can install the film. If your greenhouse is tall and you need to use a piece of scaffolding equipment to reach the plastic, dividing the area into manageable sections will make the job much easier.

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If you do that, you can leave your ladder in one place while you move around. Furthermore, make sure the film is properly fastened the very first time around. To avoid returning repeatedly to re-mount the film on the metal poles, do it in this way.

Make an effort to get it right the first time. Remove any excess film by cutting it away once you’re done.

Wiggle Wire and Lock Channel Method

Using the wiggle and wire lock channel is a quick and easy way to install the plastic film in your greenhouse. As a bonus, this method won’t break the bank and will keep your greenhouse plastic film in place for years. It’s more long-lasting than using staples or screws because it forms a continuous connection throughout the greenhouse’s framework.

The wiggle wire and lock channel method of installing your plastic film is a good investment if you live in an area where storms and strong winds are common.

Protecting the lock channels in the greenhouse’s metal framework is the first step. In order to facilitate the installation of the channels, it is recommended to either predrill the holes or use self-tapping screws.

After the lock channel has been set up, the plastic film can be hung over the greenhouse by wriggling the wire back and forth. Plastic, once properly installed, is extremely difficult to remove.

Staples and Screws

The least expensive way to secure your plastic film over your greenhouse is with staples and screws. Nonetheless, it lacks the security of a wiggle wire and lock channel. It’s necessary to punch holes in the plastic sheet and then secure it with staples and screws.

Also, you’ll have to put in a lot of time to keep the plastic stretched tight. You will need to repatch the holes if you need to adjust or stretch the plastic further.

Greenhouse plastic film installation requires perfectly smooth, freshly painted PVC pipes. Maintaining your polyethylene plastic film in good condition for as long as possible will be facilitated by this. Wrap the greenhouse in plastic by rolling it up.

If you want the most possible wiggle room, make sure the base is touching the floor. Just make sure you adjust the plastic so it seals well around the top and sides of your greenhouse.

Use staples and screws to fasten the plastic film to the underside. Place staples and screws at least 1-2 feet apart.

How Tight Should the Greenhouse Plastic Be?

Your greenhouse’s polyethylene film should be snug enough to prevent wrinkles without causing the plastic to stretch. The primary explanation is that plastic film can shrink during the winter.

The film will not have enough room to shrink when the temperature drops if it has been overstretched. Any plastic film you’re using will rip under those conditions.

Can I Use Regular Plastic for My Greenhouse?

Using any old plastic will not do for your greenhouse. Plastics of the typical variety tend to tear easily. Damage from even a small nick could quickly escalate. Even regular plastic can fray at the edges.

However, greenhouse plastic is built to last through the harshest of climates. A high-quality plastic film is recommended if you live in an area prone to storms. While polyethylene films are the most widely used, other plastics such as polycarbonate and polyvinyl carbonate can serve the same purpose.

Learn How to Install Greenhouse Plastic Film Easily

Although fiberglass panels provide the most advantages for your greenhouse, they can be expensive. This is why many people nowadays cover their greenhouses with plastic films. In addition to being more affordable than fiberglass, it also performs very well.

To reduce the frequency of plastic film replacements, it is important to select a film that can withstand severe weather and to have it installed correctly. With your newfound knowledge of greenhouse plastic film installation, you can ensure that your plants will always be able to thrive in a stress-free and consistent environment.

When Greenhouse Plastic Should be Installed

Installing poly on a windy day is bound to end poorly, even if you have a handful of people helping you get the plastic in the right position, so it is best to do this when the weather is calm if you are building a greenhouse or high tunnel.

In addition to ideally pulling the greenhouse plastic on a calm day, installing your greenhouse plastic on a warm day is also recommended.

Pulling greenhouse plastic on a sunny day when the temperature is around 70 degrees is ideal because the plastic expands and contracts with changes in temperature, and installing it on a warm day reduces the risk of loose plastic when the weather gets hot.

It’s fine to pull plastic over the top of your structure in cold weather, but be aware that you may need to make adjustments as the plastic expands as the temperature rises.

Check out our post on deciding on a plastic size if you aren’t sure yet.

Order of Operations for Installing Greenhouse Plastic

Any plastic installation follows a fairly standard sequence of steps. You line your tunnel with plastic, first attaching it at each end and then to the tunnel’s sides.

This is the basic procedure, but if you want to know the specifics of how two people can install greenhouse plastic on a tunnel of almost any size, keep reading.

Pulling Plastic Over Top your Greenhouse or High Tunnel

The steps outlined here are helpful whether you’re installing poly with two people or a dozen. The installation of the poly will go more smoothly if as many people as possible are on hand to assist. Instructions include placing the plastic, compressing it so wind doesn’t blow it away, and fastening it with channel and springwire.

1. Set the Roll of Plastic up on One End

2. Fold Ends and Tie a Knot Firmly Around Nub

3. Close-up Picture of Nub is Shown Below

The plastic has been rolled up tightly toward the center and secured with a rope that has been knotted several times. To create a more uniform “pull” across the top of the structure, the plastic’s tail is doubled back on itself and the rope is knotted once more on the plastic’s underside.

4. Run the Rope Across The Top of Your Structure to the Other End

5. Person on Plastic End of Structure can Begin Taking Pressure Off the Plastic

6. Person Pulling the Rope / Plastic Should Keep Plastic Centered on Top of High Tunnel

7. The Plastic Will Ultimately Unfold Perfectly to The Left and Right

8. Pull The Plastic All the Way Past Opposite End of Structure – Wire In Place at Peak

9. One Person Remains Near Peak to Hold While One Person Drops One Side

10. Install Spring Wire (Temporary) Beneath Hip Rail on Each End of Structure

Proceed in the same manner on the other side of the building. The plastic was tossed to the floor and held in place on both sides with spring wire.

11. Work From the Center Peak Down Toward Your Hip-Rail; Person on Opposite Side Should Mirror You

Perform this movement in both directions, beginning at your hairline and ending at your hip-rail.

12. Start In Middle of Sides and Work Out Toward Ends

13. End the Spring Wire at the End of Your Hip-Rail

How Tight Should Greenhouse Plastic Actually Be

Securing your plastic tightly is a different challenge than simply getting it in place on the roof of the building. The plastic should be installed securely so that it can move less in the wind.

Your top cover will be less likely to flap around in the wind and rain if you pull the plastic snug. Your high tunnel’s framework will be less stressed, and the plastic will last longer.

Having warm weather during installation of the plastic is one of the best ways to ensure your top cover won’t be loose, but you can also take into account the following suggestions.

How to Install Greenhouse Plastic | Order of Operations to Stretch Top Cover - Tunnel Vision Hoops LLC

Start at the Peak Ends of The Structure; Pull Ahead of The Wire to Take Slack Out

Start in the Middle of Each Side and Work Outward; Use These Tips for Creating a Tight Pull

Your Forearm is Your Friend for Applying Pressure

Use The Fold Lines to Keep Square

Do the same thing on the other side of the building, beginning in the middle and working your way to the ends. When you’ve finished setting up the Spring Wire, you can move on to installing the roll-up sides.

Check out our post, Greenhouse Roll-up Sides | Benefits, Hardware, Installation, to find out more about the advantages of roll-up sides and the hardware needed to assemble them.

Hardware to Attach your Top Cover

If after reading this post you feel like you have a good understanding of the sequence of events necessary to install greenhouse plastic, but you are still unclear as to how the plastic is attaching to the high tunnel, we have another post dedicated to explaining the hardware necessary for doing so.

The best way to secure greenhouse plastic to a high tunnel, in our experience, is with Spring Wire Channel and Spring Wire. We also think the best low-cost greenhouse plastic covering option is a good anti-drip greenhouse plastic.

How do you attach greenhouse plastic?

The seam between the PVC and the greenhouse plastic should be taped with polyethylene. Use white tape (duct tape has polyethylene on top), and secure the old greenhouse plastic around the PVC before installing the new plastic.

How do you attach polyethylene to a greenhouse?

Greenhouse plastic can be attached to metal frames in four main ways: With this one Poly Lock Channel and Spring Wire (related hardware), you can: Poly-Lock with a double channel and a spring wire (hardware link) Connecting Clamps That Snap Together Hardware connection via Rope and Force.

Can you use plastic wrap for a greenhouse?

By covering a garden with plastic, you can achieve some of the same results as a greenhouse. Wrap the poles in plastic wrap, and then use more plastic wrap to make a roof. No need for tape or staples when using plastic wrap because it will adhere to itself.

What can I use instead of plastic wrap for plants?

Options to Plastic Wrap Mason jars. Repurposed glass jars are ideal for holding smaller items. Insulated metal foil. Tin foil, in contrast to the fussy plastic wrap, can be used multiple times before needing to be replaced. Storage jars made of plastic or glass for perishables. Oilcloth. Cartridge paper, parchment, or waxed paper. Cloth Bowl Cozies. Bentos, or bento boxes. There are two dinner plates.

How do you seal a greenhouse?

Caulk any cracks or holes in the frame of your glass greenhouse to prevent water from leaking in. In curtain-style greenhouses, a heavy block of wood or piece of metal should be placed on each side to hold the bottom of the plastic down.

How do you anchor a greenhouse down?

For plants that are being grown in the ground, greenhouses like hoop houses and plastic structures can be anchored to the ground with stakes or rebar. Dig a shallow trench the length of the greenhouse’s perimeter for a more permanent base.

How do you keep greenhouse panels from blowing out?

Preventing Your Greenhouse From Being Blown Apart Wind resistance is improved by using glazing repair tape on both sides of overlapping panes. When the roof vent is shut, a better seal can be made with the aid of foam tape. Keep the wind out of your greenhouses by making temporary repairs until you can get new glazing installed.

Can I use 10 mil plastic for greenhouse?

You should consider purchasing our 10 mil greenhouse plastic when other greenhouse films are not robust enough for your setting. When it comes to greenhouse films, UV Clear Scrim is your best bet. Comparatively, other 10 mil films allow only 75% of light through, but our 10 mil clear plastic sheeting provides 85% light transmission while still being extremely durable.

Does greenhouse plastic have to be clear?

Glass or transparent plastic will allow the most light into your greenhouse. The amount of light entering your greenhouse may change depending on what color plastic you use.

How do you attach polyethylene to frame?

It needs to be taut, but not so tight that it could tear on a cool day. If you have a greenhouse, cover it with a polyethylene film by pulling it over the structure until the film is even on both sides. To pull the film over larger greenhouse structures, simply attach ropes to one end and toss the roped edge over the top.

How do you attach plastic to a wood frame greenhouse?

At 6-inch intervals along the length of the horizontal wood framing, secure the plastic with 3/8-inch staples to keep it in place while you stretch it taut. Use similar staples to attach it to the horizontal base board at the bottom of the frame, as well as the vertical wood posts at either end.

How do you fasten plastic?

The fasteners used to join wood and metal can also be used to join plastics. Use wide washers under the heads of bolts or screws and nuts to distribute the pressure beyond the fastener and avoid overtightening.

Why put a plastic bag over a plant?

Plants in a polyethylene plastic bag can survive without water for weeks. Since plastic allows air to pass through but not water, the bag serves its purpose. The water condenses in the plastic as it evaporates, runs down, and is reabsorbed by the plant.

Should I put plastic wrap over my seedlings?

Putting a plastic dome over the seed-starting tray or covering the pots with plastic wrap can help seeds germinate faster. This will help the seeds retain moisture until they begin to germinate. Pull back the wrapper as soon as you spot any hints of green.

Greenhouse Plastic Film

Why do plants grow better when covered with black plastic?

Black plastic mulch prevents soil moisture loss due to evaporation. Water is lost only through evaporation in the exposed soil in the holes where the vegetables are growing. In other words, the roots of your plants will have easier access to water, and you’ll need to water them less frequently.

Can I use wax paper instead of plastic wrap?

In just two years, environmentalists have reduced plastic waste by 100 million square feet by encouraging the use of wax paper instead of plastic. Wax paper can replace plastic wrap for most purposes, so this benefit comes at little cost.

What’s better than Saran Wrap?

Silicone covers and lids are a reusable, low-cost alternative to plastic wrap. Silicone used in the food industry can withstand extreme temperatures. It is possible to fit bowls and food items snugly inside silicone covers and silicone tops.

Can I use aluminum foil instead of plastic wrap?

Aluminum foil can be placed directly into a regular oven or a grill at any temperature without fear of burning. In order to prevent burns in the freezer, some people use foil in addition to plastic wrap. Plastic can be used to seal the food, and then foil can be used to keep oxygen out.