How To Create A Temporary Window – Using Heavy Duty Plastic – Home-made Double Glazing

At this time of year in the UK it seems to be rain, rain and more rain. You may have some building work or have some repairs to do that mean you will need temporary windows or perhaps you want to make your house more insulated and eco-friendly with makeshift-double glazing. There are many options that you can use, but I am going to concentrate on the easiest and quite possibly the cheapest.

Covering an open window frame with clear polythene is a very simple way of keeping the weather out and heat in . Here are some simple steps and tips to help you –

  • When purchasing the plastic polythene make sure that it is heavy duty (at least 250mu), UV stabilised and also waterproof; here is an example.
  • You need to cut the polythene a couple of inches over the size of the frame you want to cover (on all sides).
  • Put the plastic either side of the window (preferably on the inside) and tape it into the place. As mentioned it should extend past the frame.
  • You can use a number of fixing methods but it is usually accepted that it is nailed into place (as in the diagram below)
  • Then tape over the nailed edges with specialist tape to seal the temporary window.

Plastic temporary window


When you have finished with the plastic you can peel off the tape and then extract the nails. The polythene should be fit for use again if it is not damaged

Ground warming Using Polythene / Plastic – Methods and Preparation for Your Vegetable Plot, Allotment & Garden

Plants on an allotment.

Allotment PreparationWinters in the UK can be bitterly cold and do a lot of damage to your allotment or garden. There are ways to protect your plants through the cold months that include frost fleece, greenhouses and mulching. However today we will be concentrating on the preparation of soil for planting a new crop of vegetables or plants. As the winter turns into spring you will want to plant as early as possible to make the most of your garden; one way to speed this up is to make sure the ground is at its best quality to receive seeds.

You will want to commence the warming process in the late weeks of winter/early weeks of spring. The idea is to heat the ground, which coincidentally is very good at retaining warmth, so you are able to get your crop off to an early start. Polythene sheeting is the most effective product for the job; gardeners often use clear or black. Clear poly placed over soil allows the sun’s rays to pass through and trap the heat that they cause, not dissimilar to a greenhouse. Black can be used because it absorbs the most light and therefore becomes hot. Both types of plastic are suitable and have been proven to be effective.

Polythene for ground warmingYou will need to cover the entire area of soil in polythene, making sure any heat cannot escape. When purchasing I recommend plastic that is at least .25mm thick (250mu/1000g) as it will hold in more heat and is strong enough to give a good resistance against ripping. Pegging the plastic down with groundsheet pegs or any other steel pegs and burying the edges, covering them in earth, will certainly do the trick; however gardeners do often use bricks or large stones as an economical alternative. Leave for a few weeks and it will help prevent the ground from freezing and increase the temperature ready for the spring.

Once you believe the ground is ready to plant in then you can remove the poly and hoe the earth. I recommend removing any signs of weeds or growth to give your crop the best chance. You can of course apply weed control or mulch at this stage before planting to reduce the amount of future maintenance. Do not use polythene as weed suppressant, I does not allow drainage and causes water to pool in your garden causing all sorts of trouble. Many gardeners are different and many ground treatments are used to nourish the soil; depending on your crop you may wish to look at options.

Polythene Or Weed Fabric Membrane? Which Is Better?

Membrane Sheets 100gsmThis has been a question for a long time, use polythene or geotextile to guard against weeds; the answer is fairly simple.

We supply and sell both materials and over a number of years have heard back from customers with their thoughts and stories. On blogs and websites polythene is deemed to be cheaper alternative, but when looking at the facts it is not suited for this job. Plastic sheeting has many uses, it is great for DIY around the home, for building projects and arts and crafts. Heavier duty versions can often be used in greenhouses and small plots as it is effective at warming the ground, however this is not recommended for large areas. People are usually steered towards buying inexpensive thin sheets to lay in and around the garden. This can cause more problems than it solves. Woven weed control fabric on the other hand has been created with your garden in mind; it is developed for a specific job and in the long term will serve you better. The best fabric to buy is the woven polyethylene version, it is stronger and will last a lot longer. The tight weave is very strong and also at the same time very easy to cut and shape; perfect for the irregularities of the garden. The plastic sheeting available will often get damaged very easily and can rip after installation, especially when laid under gravel and subjected to pedestrian traffic.

In the UK, as most know, we get quite a bit of water. Flooding is becoming more prevalent and we are susceptible to more storms and heavy rain. As the bad weather increases it can become dangerous to line your garden with polythene. Water will be unable to pass naturally through the soil and will pool, this can cause a lot of damage. What was once ‘a bargain’ could have drastic effects on your garden and land as surface water builds up. With the obvious common effects of flooding I have heard such stories as rotten decking, flooded paths, sodden land and more. Using weed fabric will combat this. The material is perforated and therefore rainwater will be able to drain through to the soil below, not only keeping it moist and healthy, but utilising the ground as drainage.

Protect Your Pet; How to Cover Outdoor Cages, Coops and Runs

Information for owners of Rabbits, Chickens, Guinea Pigs, Birds, Dogs and Cats

(all products needed can be found here @

 Keeping pets is one of life’s great pleasures. They are great companions, and depending on your animal of choice, potentially productive. The ability to just pop to the end of your garden for a freshly laid hens egg for your Sunday morning fry-up is a fantastic luxury to have. But just as you need a nice shady area to relax when the sun is high in the sky, chances are so do your pets. Likewise, when the great British weather makes an inevitable reappearance, your beloved companions are desperate for a warm and dry area too.

So what options do you have? There are literally hundreds of purpose built covers for your outdoor pets available on the market today, all with their advantages and disadvantages. But what if you need something more versatile? Constructing your own cage or coop for your animals is a fantastic way of saving some much needed cash, but when it comes to protecting your pets in inclement weather your ‘ready-made’ options may be limited by your choice of design. For any sort of domestic animal enclosure, regardless of shape and size, I would recommend either a good quality tarpaulin, or some heavy duty polythene sheeting.

Top Tip: It is important to allow a through-flow of air for obvious reasons. Try and get the balance right between covering the cage or coop and making sure that your animals have enough fresh air. Information on each animal can be found further down the page.


Eyelet for Chick Coop TarpA tarpaulin is a large sheet of flexible, waterproof or water-resistant material. This can vary from light duty polyethylene right up to heavy duty PVC or canvas. Most tarps have prefixed eyelets (Figure1) at regular intervals along each edge and in the corners which allow for easy attachment to a structure, in this case, an animal enclosure. For the purposes of this article I’m going to look at 2 types of tarpaulin in particular. A monotex (clear with reinforced rope running through it); and a glass clear (PVC) tarpaulin. These offer the most in terms of value for money, and in my opinion they are the best type of cover for the job.

A monotex tarpaulin is basically 2 polyethylene sheets with a fine filament mesh interior. The PE outer layers are light and waterproof, whilst the inner mesh construction reinforces the tarp, making a strong, durable cover. Most monotex tarpaulins are around the 175 grams per square metre (GSM) mark, which means they are considerably more durable than economy tarps (80gsm), but much more lightweight than a canvas tarp (approx. 500gsm). I would recommend choosing a reasonably lightweight tarp for this sort of application, as a heavy duty cover may put excessive pressure on some structures, especially those that are a few years old. An advantage this variety has over the glass clear tarpaulin I’m going to detail shortly is that it will create partial shade, which is invaluable in the hot summer months making this sort of cover great for all year round protection. However, it must me noted that coloured monotex polytarps aren’t see-through, so may perhaps be more suited to a roof rather than walls, although there are clear monotex tarps available that do offer limited visibility.

A glass clear tarpaulin is a more heavyweight sheet, normally made with polyvinylchloride (PVC). Commonly used on market stalls, they offer protection from the elements where excellent visibility is required, making them ideal as a cover for your pets enclosure. It’s completely transparent, so ideal for surrounding a pet enclosure you want to keep an eye on, and although slightly more heavy duty (310gsm), it’s light enough not to cause a problem. However if you choose to use this type, it should always be removed in strong sunlight. If you’ve ever stood in a greenhouse for a long period of time then you’ll know exactly why, and you’ll understand that this type of tarp will have the same effect. To secure either type to your structure, you can use a number of different available fixings. The most widely available are cable ties. Loop them through the eyelets, and around the wooden or metal supports of your enclosure. I’d avoid using the cage itself, as it’s unlikely it will be strong enough to support the weight of even the lightest of polytarps. Alternatively you could use a bungee type fixing for the same task, which offer a stronger, more weatherproof option. My tip would be ball bungees. They’re strong and easy to use, long lasting, and very handy for a multitude of other tasks. Make sure you spread the force evenly over the whole area of the tarp to avoid any damage to eyelets, and always keep an eyelet repair kit in your garden shed for any necessary running repairs.

 Polythene sheets

Polyethylene, commonly shortened to polythene or PE, is the world’s most widely produced plastic.

TPolythene for Rabbit Hutchhere are 2 industry standard units used to measure the thickness of polythene sheets, gauge and microns (Mu). To make life easy when comparing suppliers who may use different units, the gauge measurement is 4 times the microns. I’d recommend using 1000 gauge polythene for animal enclosures. This achieves the best balance between flexibility and strength, whist remaining puncture resistant and lightweight. Depending on the supplier and the quantity you order, it may arrive either as a folded sheet or on a roll (figure 2).

Covered HutchWhen constructing your cover, try and order sheets big enough to minimise the need for seams. They will always be the weakest part of the cover and may tear in high winds, or leak in torrential rain. Make sure you tape any joins securely to minimise draughts. Buy a good eyelet repair kit and create your own eyelets. This will make the job of securing your custom made sheet to the structure considerably easier, and allows the use of a much wider range of fixings. Then use your chosen fixing to secure your cover to the animal pens supporting poles. When fixing eyelets to the sheet double up the edges to create hems. Hems give the edges extra strength and help to keep the sheet secure.  Make sure the cover is pulled tight, and if you’re using polythene for the roof, you need to create a slight angle of at least 8°. This will allow rain to run off, and prevent standing water. You could also use this to channel water into a gutter, supplying your animals with drinking water every time the heavens open. But remember, as with the glass clear tarps you need to remove polythene in strong sunlight to prevent a ‘greenhouse’ effect possibly causing distress or ill health to your pets.

Keeping different pets warm in winter

Finally, let’s look at different sorts of outside pets that you may have, and what their individual needs are. As previously mentioned, chickens are fairly good at regulating their body temperature so in reasonably temperate climates they simply need a rain cover. Ensure they have adequate ventilation, as the build-up of ammonia from their waste can cause problems for both the animals and the poor soul that has to enter their coop to feed them.

Rabbits are a little more complicated. Although it’s a common myth that they hibernate throughout the cold winter months, their behaviour will change. They will become considerably less active, preferring to spend hours in a cosy corner than merrily hopping about. You may find that they start to eat more. This is their instinct causing them to associate cold weather with scarce food, and they will also be looking to build a nice insulating layer of fat. As with all outside animals, make sure their hutch is appropriately covered with plastic sheeting or a polytarp, and there is ventilation but no strong draughts. If possible elevate their hutch off the floor, and if possible keep them in pairs. Rabbits are very sociable animals, and will huddle together to keep warm. Resist the urge to bring them inside as they will shed their winter coat very quickly in the warmth of your house, and they will suffer when returned to their hutch.

Guinea pigs originate from much warmer climates, South America in particular, so their needs will be far greater in winter. As with rabbits, make sure their hutch is adequately covered, raised off the floor, and keep them in pairs if possible. A great tip is to buy some garden frost fleece as an extra layer of insulation. It’s cheap to buy, widely available, and will help create a temperate microclimate for them. Make sure the fleece goes under the exterior polytarp or plastic sheet, as it’s considerably better at insulating when it stays dry. You could also use fleece offcuts as additional bedding.

Finally, birds should always be kept in a shed or outhouse if possible. The majority of domestic birds originate from much warmer climates, and the rest would certainly fly south for the winter. Make sure the outhouse is adequately insulated, draught free, and waterproof. If prone to leaks, follow the steps I’ve recommended with polythene or tarpaulins to create a warm, dry and comfortable area for your pets to await the summer months.

How To Use Adhesive Tape : How to Fix Tarpaulins & Polythene

Tarpaulins and Polythene are often used to protect roofs, cover cars, and repair windows. They are often exposed to bad weather and testing conditions. As we all know too well things do not last forever; they can snap, rip, break and fall apart. Sheets often develop small holes and rips. Do not panic as there are items to fix it.

The first item that you should have in your toolkit is adhesive tape. Please make sure it is for use with PVC, polythene and polyethylene products. This will be used to secure any rips, cracks or small holes.
Make sure you dry any sheet before you repair; with water on the surface the tape will not stick correctly and your repair may be compromised. Apply the tape to both sides of the tear or cut, making sure that it is sealed correctly. Applying pressure will help it to stick properly. Leave to dry.

You can also stitch fabric tarpaulins together but that is not recommended at home. This is a job for a professional and should not be attempted by anyone with no prior experience.

Repairing tarpaulins at home can save you a lot of money. They can last a lot longer if you look after them and make repairs as soon as a problem appears.


Using Polythene in Asbestos Removal

Doing a job that requires the removal of an asbestos related is not only tricky but must be carried out carefully and accurately as you do not want to face any serious consequences.

In order for you to find specialised help and instruction please contact your local council. The office will be able to provide you with all the details regarding disposal and the tools you will need. This is VERY IMPORTANT.

Polythene will need to be purchased for getting rid of any items relating to asbestos. Usually guidelines state a range of polythene from 500-1000 gauge. QVS sell a range of polythene that, if used properly, will be suitable for the job. Yet again it is important to mention that you will need to check exact specifications with the local authority on asbestos.

Protective disposable clothing will need to be worn and the fewer people the present, the less risk there is of harm. Be incredibly careful when handling any infected pieces!

In-depth information can be found on the HSE website.

Please follow the link for more details