What did we do wrong in "double-glazing" our door?
December 5, 2010 4:53 AM   Subscribe

The fake plastic double glazing we put over our kitchen door worked great for one day but then started to fall off. How can we do better when we replace it?

We used a kit from a hardware shop and followed the instructions: put tape around the frame, stick the plastic to it and pull evenly taut, shrink it with a hairdryer until all the wrinkles come out and it sounds like a drum when you flick it. The door is made of wood, painted but not with gloss paint, and we put the plastic over both the upper panel (thin patterned glass) and the lower one (thin wood).

It lasted for about 24 hours before one side of each sheet detached, on the opening side of the door. After another 24 hours, both sheets were sagging off. This door leaks heat around all the edges (we have insulating foam tape to put around it, though), through the panels *and* through the letterbox, but for the first night there was a big improvement from the plastic.

How can we do this better? I thought of putting a double width of tape on next time or not pulling the plastic quite so taut. Any suggestions or anecdotes welcome! This is a rented flat, so we can't do anything drastic.

posted by daisyk to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Two suggestions -

First, make sure the surfaces you're trying to stick the tape to are very clean. Kitchen surfaces can acquire a film of grease. Use a good grease-cutting cleaner like 409 or Fantastik. Make sure the surfaces are thoroughly dry before proceeding; the cold door will tend to stay damp for a long time, so use the hair dryer to dry the surfaces.

Then, after you apply the tape to the door but before you pull off the plastic layer covering the 2nd sticky side, heat the tape all the way around with the hair dryer. The adhesive doesn't work as well when applied to cold surfaces, so heat and press firmly.

With the tape thoroughly stuck to the door, proceed per the normal instructions.
posted by jon1270 at 5:40 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

I agree with jon1270. The kit I used said to clean the area where the tape goes with rubbing alcohol.
posted by futz at 6:33 AM on December 5, 2010

I'm assuming you are taping to the inside surface of the door, not the edge that closes against the jamb. Don't do the latter, since the opening and closing will destroy it in no time.

In addition to jon1270's suggestions, I would reinforce the whole thing after completing the installation. Tape over the top of the edge, all the way around, with some strong tape like duck tape - not on the paint, just over the top of the film where the doublesided tape is. Then, use thumb tacks (or something similar, ideally with a long point) every 3-6 inches into that tape, through the film, through the double-sided, into the door. (If this might become an issue with the landlord, it's easily touched up when you leave with some spackle and paint.) Better yet, go to a home-improvement store and get some 3/4 inch half-round moulding stock, and nail that over the ducktape with finishing nails.

And if you can spend just a little more money, instead of the shrinkwrap, go to a glass store and get a piece of plexiglass cut to size. Attach first with the double-sided tape, then apply masking tape, then drill holes every 12 inches or so, then remove the masking tape (it just helps you drill), and put in 3/4 inch roundhead wood screws into the holes. Again, it's patchable if the landlord doesn't like it when you move out. You can leave this on all year and it will look OK.

Do make sure you weatherstrip all the way around also; that leakage is probably a bigger problem.
posted by beagle at 7:23 AM on December 5, 2010

Same thing happened to me. The second time I left the film stuck on the windows for a few hours before tightening it with the hairdryer and it worked fine. Correlation may not be causation etc but worked for me.
posted by cmarie at 1:23 PM on December 16, 2010

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