Source: LightField Studios/Shutterstock.com
Stretch wrap, also known as plastic wrap, is one of the most versatile tools a DIY mover can have in their packing arsenal. Learning about the size and gauge standards and understanding all the ways stretch wrap can help you with your DIY move can make packing, transportation and storage of your belongings easier and safer.
Before we cover how much stretch wrap you’ll need and how to use it properly, check out these tips:
- Stretch wrap can protect and secure your furniture.
- The size standards of stretch wrap are length, width and gauge (thickness).
- Stretch wrap is easier to use than shrink wrap because it does not require a heat gun.
How to Use Stretch Wrap
Research on The Effect of Stretch Wrap Prestretch on Unitized Load Containment suggests various industries use stretch wrap to protect palletized goods. Stretch wrap protects items from damage during transport, making it ideal for people moving home, office or business items.
The primary purpose of stretch wrap is to protect your furniture or office fixtures during transport. It can protect leather and fabric furniture—such as couches, recliners or dining room chairs—from stains, dirt and dust. It can also preserve wood or metal furniture from sustaining dents and scratches.
Stretch wrap can also secure moving parts or loose elements, such as file cabinet doors, drawers, wires or power cords. This prevents loose parts from opening, falling or sliding during transit, minimizing the risk of injury when removing items from your vehicle.
You can also use stretch wrap to secure foam padding to delicate furniture items or the corners of tables, sideboards, consoles and dressers. Foam or furniture padding helps avoid chips or dents and acts as a shock absorber if furniture collides during transport.
What to Look For When Buying Stretch Wrap
Source: LightField Studios/shutterstock.com
You can find stretch wrap rolls and other packaging and shipping materials at Air Sea Containers. In addition to stretch wrap, packing peanuts, air pillows and custom cardboard boxes can help to protect your furniture and household items during your move.
When moving furniture, use transparent hand-stretch film designed explicitly for manual application. Clear stretch wrap costs less than shrink wrap designed for wrapping machines.
Avoid colored film because it can leave stains on your furniture and fixtures, especially if exposed to direct UV rays for prolonged periods. This type of stretch film is intended for warehouse coding and inventory management to protect valuable goods from being tampered with.
How Much Stretch Wrap Do I Need?
When measuring the amount of stretch wrap you need for your move, you need to consider the length, width and gauge.
Standard stretch wrap rolls are 1,000’ or 1,500’ in length and sufficient to move most homes, while 2,000’ rolls are recommended if you are moving from a large property or relocating office space.
Width size standards range from 5 to 22 inches, and the most common size for hand stretch wrap is 18 inches. Avoid using rolls with less than 16 inches of width. Smaller stretch wrap widths do not offer the same protection level and can leave gaps where dust and dirt can enter.
Gauge is a measurement of the sheet’s thickness. The lower the number, the thinner the film.
Thin film is easier to stretch and apply, making it suitable for light loads, such as small furnishings and kitchen appliances. Thick film protects heavier objects, including sofas, bed frames, fridges and laundry appliances, without tearing, but it may be more challenging to apply. The most common standard for stretch wrap film is 80 gauge. This size offers the right balance between strength and easy application, making it ideal for DIY moving.
If you’re moving furniture for a small or medium-sized home, a single 80 gauge 18 inch by 1,500 foot stretch wrap roll or two 80 gauge 18 inch by 1,000 feet rolls should be sufficient. For larger homes or higher quantities of furniture, you may need to purchase an additional roll.
Differences Between Shrink Wrap vs. Stretch Wrap
It is essential to understand the difference between stretch wrap vs. shrink wrap. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they differ in application methods and price.
Each type can be applied by hand; however, stretch wrap secures objects together via the elastic force that allows the film to stretch. Shrink wrap does not bind to objects until it is heated, causing it to shrink and form a tight, form-fitting seal around the item.
Source: LightField Studios/Shutterstock.com
Stretch wrap is inexpensive, easy to apply by hand and readily available. The only challenge involved in stretch wrapping your furniture and fixtures is knowing how much you’ll need to protect all your household or office items. You can determine the amount of stretch wrap you need by considering the size and number of items you need to move.
For objects with nonstandard shapes or numerous corners, consider using foam padding and stretch wrap to protect them from damage.
Explore our range of products online. For questions about our packing and shipping supplies, call us at (866) 596-9448.