Scaffold Wrapping Materials
For those planning to buy scaffold shrink material for the first time, we share basic information about the materials and equipment required. While specialists like ourselves offer a dual supply and fix service, some contractors and scaffolders prefer to buy their own materials and install it themselves.
The Startup kit
The start-up kit for shrink wrap scaffolding comprises of:
As a norm, it is a 7m x15 m roll. The area to be covered has to be measured in square metres and divided by 85 to calculate the estimate number of rolls required. It can come in different thicknesses but 300 micron is most commonly used in the UK, 320 micron being used for projects involving a heavy amount of Abrasive Blasting or requiring that little extra durability, this comes at an additional price per roll though.
Hot Air Gun:
The Shrink gun kit includes a case, hose and regulator and starts from £395 onwards. These are special guns that incorporates a piezo crystal ignition which means that if the installer lets go of the trigger, the flame is cut off immediately. We also offer a more ‘roofing’ style torch kits which are more powerful and easier to use starting at £100/kit.
Reusable clips (100 per box) @ around £100 per box.
Our standard oatch tape comes at 75mm width x 33m long roll in white @ £9.95 a roll. If you use our top quality shrink wrap it may reduce the amount of tape required, although for jobs requiring lots of sealing or snagging our standard tape is perfect. As a norm, a single roll tape roll per sheet of shrink wrap is ideal.
Generally comes in a 7m wide x 15m long roll and weighs around 35Kg. While it comes in white colour as standard, it is also available in clear colour, black, gray and other colours upon request, howeever some abnormal colours can be difficult to source due to a minimum order quanity required from our manufacturer. While 7 metres width is common, there also are up to 12-width metre rolls available, and up to 50m in length. While these larger rolls may be useful in some situations the extra weight makes it difficult to handle. It also may not shrink as effectively as a standard sized sheet.
Getting the right shrink wrap is crucial as most brands look practically the same when rolled up. The difference is only noticeable when the job is completed and shrink wrap used on site. All companies only post the best pictures of buildings encapsulated in shrink wrap on their websites. While even poor quality shrink wrap might look okay when done on a calm day, the true quality is only evident after a month or two of the job. To select the best shrink wrap you need to look around, read company reviews, speak to contractors and then make a decision.
Ordering shrink wrap rolls
If you buy shrink wrap in a large quantity per pallet there is a discount. A 7×15 m roll is about 35 kgs in weight and each pallet contains 30 rolls which are shipped on a wooden pallet. While there is around 105 sq on every roll, you will end up with around 85 sqm after making offcuts and overlaps for welds.. The smaller the quantity you order the more expensive will it be. In case you need only 10 or 2 rolls check with the company if they can send it by courier as it is more cost-effective.
The shrink wrap is held temporarily by metal clips before it is welded. These are re-usable and fit all standard size scaffolding poles. Most suppliers sell the same standard quality of clips. While they generally come in a box of 100, when starting out you could ask for 50 with the start-up kit. but if you are just getting started, ask your supplier to break a box for your startup kit and just get 50.
Shrink Wrap Repair Tape
These generally come in a 100mm wide x 33m long roll. It is also called patch tape and comes in white to make any repairs carried out as invisible as possible. In case you use clear shrink wrap opt for clear shrink repair tape. While the use of top quality shrink wrap minimises the need for patch tape, a certain amount is needed to seal the shrink wrap or patch up small holes. Patch tape must have high tack adhesive so ensure it sticks in all kinds of weather. To make it easier to tear a pinked edge may be added.
Shrink Wrapping Hot Air Gun
One of the most necessary pieces of equipment for shrink wrapping is a heat gun run by propane gas. It is connected to a propane cylinder via an 8 to 10 m hose. The regulator ensures the right supply of gas and to switch off the gas when needed. It is easy to find and primarily used to shrink wrap scaffolding and has other uses as well.
When planning to purchase a start-up kit for shrink wrapping scaffolding some of the features to look out for are:
Opt for a gun that is lighter so it is easier to hold for long periods of time when there is need to shrink wrap.
As a norm, most shrink wrap guns have adequate power to shrink wrap a scaffold. While having a more powerful gun might seem a good idea, it should only be used if you have highly experienced team members. This is for two reasons they might not be able to use the gun to its fullest extent and also it will consume a larger quantity of gas than a less powerful gun.
Preferably opt for a gun that comes with a 10-metre long hose.
Even though these guns are well designed and need less care, they need maintenance on a regular basis. Ensure that the supplier has spare parts for the gun and also offer maintenance and repairs.
An electric heat gun:
A common question is that can electric heat guns be used effectively. The issue is most of the electric guns are low powered and not effective for projects that need large-scale shrink wrapping. The sole gun in the market at the moment the Leister Forte S3 is very expensive, slow to use and needs a 3 phase power supply.
While installation of regular sheeting is known by most, the use of shrink wrap is a specialised trade using a hot air gun. Therefore having trained team members is recommended. The training module must include the basics of welding/joining sheets and shrinking film. To make it more effective having part of the training done on a real live project is advisable. While shrink wrap is extremely versatile it can be a challenge to train members for all kinds of scenarios.
Points to ponder:
Do not fall for certain shrink wrap companies claiming to be the manufacturers as the machinery needed is gigantic and very expensive. That makes it evident that are a limited number of manufacturers of shrink wrap in the markets. Most of the suppliers are mere distributors who should have the necessary expertise regarding the product application and offer support to contractors and installation teams. At EnCaPS we operate a transparent policy about the shrink wrap manufacturers and maintain a strong link with them.