10 mil Plastic Sheeting- What are the Applications? What are the differences?
We receive questions about which 10 mil poly film to use for a project. What are the big differences?
Plastic sheeting is manufactured in many different configurations. An analogy might be trying to compare a simple green salad to a robust salad with a wide variety of ingredients. Each ingredient will change the taste of the salad. What do you want the salad to do? Be a side or the main course and be more filling? The starting point for the salad is the head of lettuce. Is the lettuce organic, or mass produced, and shipped many miles to the store? The resin used to make the plastic is the starting point. If it is virgin resin, this is comparable to the head of lettuce grown without pesticides and of the finest quality. The alternative is to use recycled plastic; that does contain impurities and thus is not as reliable. When you want the most reliable plastic sheeting that won't break down when used as it was intended, you will want plastic sheeting that is constructed from virgin resins.
Next, comes the ingredients that can be added to the virgin plastic to allow the plastic to do the best job it can. Options include:
* Fire Retardant * U.V. Inhibitors * Anti-Static * Adhesive
Then the structure of the film is considered. Will the film be in a windy environment or one that requires the film not to tear and hold up? What is added to the structure is, string reinforcement. A layer of nylon string is sandwiched between the two outer layers and sealed to give the film strength.
Some of the buying considerations for selecting type of plastic is as follows:
- Where will the plastic be applied?
- How long does it need to hold up?
- Is this an inexpensive venture where a little plastic sheeting for an afternoon will be just fine?
- Does the plastic need an additive to protect the job?
- How heavy duty does the plastic need to be?
- How thick is 10 mil?
- Is 10 mil thick enough for the job?
Let's start with applications that require the flame retardant additive. There are three versions of this 10 mil film; string reinforced and non-string reinforced, and a third version called, "NASA Plastic." It is a film that adheres to a surface, yet it lacks any adhesive.
10 Mil String Reinforced Fire Retardant Film
This version of a 10 mil is used for instances when having a fire retardant film is necessary. Applications include:
* Outdoor Covers * Fumigation Covers * Enclosure Films * Under-slab Vapor Barriers * Ceiling and Wall Vapor Barriers * Divider Curtains
10 Mil String Reinforced Poly Film without any additives (U.V., Fire Retardant, Adhesive, Anti-static)
When additives are not necessary, but strength is required, the string reinforced version is desirable. Certain 10 mil films can be manufactured into tarps that can be sewn with or without grommets and zippers. Applications include:
* Oil Pit Liners * Remediation Covers * Pond Liners * Temporary Covers * Divider Curtains
The third version, NASA Plastic is fire retardant and is perfect for long-term protection with NO adhesive transfer. This 10 mil film can be applied, then removed, and re-applied. The fact that it does not leave adhesive behind is nothing short of miraculous! Often this plastic is used during manufacturing of windows, marble, glass- items that need protection from a slightly padded film.
A fourth version is 10 mil plastic that is called, "Construction Grade" plastic. This plastic is made from recycled plastic and does not have the strength or longevity as other virgin resins films. This plastic has a job to do when a thicker plastic is needed to cover an area, object or project. It is less expensive than it's cousins made from virgin resins.
How thick is 10 mil plastic? One can compare 10 mil plastic to the thickness of an average business card.