What tape to tape plastic around my window on brick outside?
September 27, 2023 10:51 AM   Subscribe

I want to put that soft plastic wrap stuff around a window to prevent drafts from getting in, but I want to put it OUTSIDE, on the brick (old, dirty) around the window. Is there a tape that would work for this? (inside it's complicated, with window bars)
posted by DMelanogaster to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
You could look into Gorilla tape or GHB tape, but you also need double-sided tape. I have no idea if either of those come that way. Brick is generally very rough and not going to be a great surface for tape, and if it does stick, it's not going to be airtight. That film is also meant to be shrunk with a hairdrier/heat gun, and you won't be able to do that if it's not firmly affixed all the way around.
posted by jonathanhughes at 11:02 AM on September 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I wonder if I really do need double-sided tape. I mean, the aesthetics are already, um, out the window. And I don't need to do the hair dryer thing. It can be loose, see if I care.
posted by DMelanogaster at 11:15 AM on September 27, 2023

The aesthetics might be out the window, but if it gets windy any slack in the plastic might lead to it whipping itself free and or just tearing itself.

Not to derail your question, but can you caulk, or stuff some weatherstripping in any gaps? Hang big fat drapes inside? all of the above? If you own, you can take whatever measures you find appropriate, but even if you rent, there are options.
posted by adekllny at 11:28 AM on September 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

I don't think any kind of tape is going to give you a good seal on brick (especially with the joints being lower than the bricks themselves), especially when you need it to last in the cold and with rain, etc. You could probably do this with removable caulking, but even that might not seal well or might fall off over time (or even worse, might not be completely removable on brick).

Agree with others here that the most important thing is air sealing. You might want to consider just using removable caulking around the window itself.
posted by ssg at 11:30 AM on September 27, 2023 [3 favorites]

If the window is at all inset from the outside, you might be able to make a wooden frame with foam around the outside that you can wedge into place, with the plastic on the frame.
posted by Rhedyn at 11:31 AM on September 27, 2023 [3 favorites]

Is there a tape that would work for this?

I don't think this plan is going to work. You're probably better off trying to re-caulk and weatherstrip the window.
posted by mhoye at 11:40 AM on September 27, 2023 [5 favorites]

These probably aren't cheap, but maybe some Indow inserts might fit on the outside of your windows? This is the fancy, professional version of what Rhedyn is suggesting above.
posted by hydra77 at 12:36 PM on September 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

In a previous life I worked in industrial construction and we regularly used a product that was labeled "Foil Mastic Butyl Rubber Sealant." It would stick to old brick. Or your arm. For durability we would wash/brush alcohol onto the surface and then let that flash off before trying to tape it up. Or use a piece of sacrificial tape to pull old material off for a 'fresh' surface.

It works great on rough, uneven and cracked surfaces. Read the instructions - some need a certain temp range to set, some need pressure and most need a bit of time.

Amazon has a couple of examples but the brands I am familiar with is Nashua/Polyken and 3m (which I don't think is available at retail).
posted by zenon at 1:00 PM on September 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

Maybe check your local building regs re: DIY exterior plastic film/exterior window alteration? Also voting caulking, weather-stripping, and drapes (which can be layered over moving blankets) on a wrap-around-window curtain rod. Examples of single, double, and tension-style wrap-around rods.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:27 PM on September 27, 2023

I have a wood- framed house, have considered sheet plastic tacked to windows, esp. as I have some sheet vinyl that's quite clear. Bubble wrap is available used on craigslist or freecycle, and you might be able to fiddle some in to the window; I taped on some ties so I could attach it inside the curtain on a window I keep curtained all the time. Bubble wrap lets in light, so that's a help.
posted by theora55 at 3:37 PM on September 27, 2023

I think it’s worth noting that those plastic sheets work by doing more than just stopping draft- but also by creating a buffer of insulating air to help prevent heat loss through the glass panes themselves— think double paned windows, or double walled thermoses.
I don’t know enough about thermal dynamics to know whether or not it matters if the plastic layer is on the cold side or the warm side of the buffer though.
posted by Grandysaur at 1:08 AM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

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