Covering my Garage Walls with Plastic and Bubble Wrap Insulation

Sep 15 2019
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With lights up, power run and the walls insulated my friend Rachie asked if she could come help me. The last job for “completing” my walls was first to cover them in thick plastic and then to cover them with the big rolls of bubble wrap insulation I found to use instead of foam board and steel. Its a long story: I couldn’t get 4×8 foot sheets of anything in my mom’s SUV and the steel I wanted to use for wainscoting was a loss. SO, after fully despairing and walking around Menards for two hours, this stuff was the alternative I found.

I had not planned on bothering with my access door at this point so I had this four foot wide spot of wall that I had not insulated yet. But when I found out she was coming the next day to help I thought: Why am I waiting to do that?

I hated the idea of finishing my walls AROUND this spot like, that’s just silly! When I do things I like to do them all the way and be DONE!

I messaged my friend Rachie.

Me: Would your hubby mind picking me up an exterior door at the Thrift Depot?
Her: Sure, what kind do you want?
Me: 36×80 otherwise he can surprise me!
Her: lol Ok! He says it won’t be prehung that ok?
Me: Yep, I expected that.

So, Thursday after work, I ran home and framed it in and cut the hole out so I could insulate around it. I had an old screen door I wasn’t using on my deck anymore so it made sense to use it here.

Covering my garage walls with plastic and then bubble wrap insulation with help from two friends on a hot day before moving on to hanging a door

I had been messaging with Rach all evening and was literally just putting the second screw in the screen door when they surprised me and pulled into my driveway! And they brought me an AWESOME door! I guess they picked it up years ago and ended up not using it or needing it so, for real, I ended up with a brand new really nice steel door for my garage!

*Feeling loved*

I took Friday afternoon off from work and she and another friend came over to help.

I was so VERY glad to have them both! Especially after what I went through alone to get this place insulated. (To be fair though I would not have wished that awful experience on any of my family or friends no matter how much they wanted to help!)

(Oh, for those of you who know better: You’re right if you’re about to tell me that covering interior walls in thick plastic is a bad idea. The reason I can get away with it here is that the ONLY thing on the outside of my garage is house wrap and vinyl siding so, when it comes to BREATHING, my garage is A-OK and won’t have a problem with condensation in the walls to rot and grow mold and get all nasty.)

Some jobs having a second set of hands can be a God send while other jobs it means one of us is standing there the majority of the time doing nothing. (When that happens I always tell my helper that its very important to have someone on every job site standing around looking pretty.)

THIS job, without a helper though… Well, it would have been a total nightmare alone. Having three people was just awesome and, honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with just two of us.

Once we got the roll of plastic out of the box and started working with it an old memory popped up of a moment years ago that I had all but forgotten.

My entire garage was laying in a big pile in my yard waiting to be assembled and my brother dropped off an ENORMOUS tarp to cover it all. (I’m serious guys, this thing was HUGE, it covered HALF my yard!)

Me: OMG that thing must’ve cost a fortune, I’ll let you know as soon as I don’t need it anymore.
Him: No, its fine, you can have it.
Me: But-
Him: Its all yours, don’t worry about it!

It was when I had to move said tarp when I realized why he was happy to leave it. At some point I managed (by myself) to get it into the back of the barn… It took a long time… And its going to remain in the back of my barn for the rest of its life.

Thank the Universe I had help with that damn plastic!

It was in a HEAVY 12×100 foot roll and I know it would have kicked my butt and I would have probably been found sometime, days after this, in a big tangled heap in the middle of it, totally beaten.

I spent the time moving a ladder and tacking it up at the top while one gal stretched as high as she could to push it up to me while the other gal kept control of the roll. There were numerous short gal jokes as we are all little and all short but, regardless, we got it done!

I hadn’t realized the plastic I bought was black (I expected clear but didn’t care) so once we had it up it was a bit like standing inside a giant trash can.

(I only initially had the plastic tacked on across the top and was given proof of how important my plastic layer was. The amount of wind blowing right through the walls of my garage had that plastic flopping around. I had no idea how bad it really was until that moment – in the winter that’s a very big deal! The plastic took care of it and created a real wind break.)

After that was finally done the rolls of bubble wrap insulation were easy. Right away it was agreed on that I just had to do the shiny chrome side out, the other side was white.

With two layers complete we stood back and admired our work. I was totally thrilled with it! I hadn’t expected to like it so much! The reflection of light is really awesome and I’m thinking I’m going to need to get some disco lights out here.

Covering my garage walls with plastic and then bubble wrap insulation with help from two friends on a hot day before moving on to hanging a doorCovering my garage walls with plastic and then bubble wrap insulation with help from two friends on a hot day before moving on to hanging a doorCovering my garage walls with plastic and then bubble wrap insulation with help from two friends on a hot day before moving on to hanging a door

I lost my helpers at that point and was totally whooped!

It was another 90+ degree day but it was only 4 o’clock on a Friday so I kept at it a little longer. The bubble wrap was in 4×100 foot rolls. My garage has 9 foot ceilings and 80 feet of walls to cover. So, I had bubble wrap left over and a foot wide gap at the top that needed to be covered.

I cut it with a utility knife and simply tacked a strip around the top over lapping the piece beneath it. Its not perfect by any means but worked out just fine. I also had the small amount of wall space to cover on either side (and between) my garage doors.

At that point I just couldn’t go on anymore. According to my body I had gone up and down my ladder and step stool a minimum of 392,728 times. I had only about forty staples left of the 5,000 I purchased for this job and I just couldn’t bare the idea of even lifting my new hammer tacker even one more time.

(I know I’m the weirdest chick ever but I really did buy myself a brand new Dewalt hammer tacker of my choosing and it made me feel SO spoiled! I LOVE IT!)

I went in, took a shower, had supper and was in bed by 10

The next day though I was ready to go. I had my jigsaw puzzle of everything I owned in my garage in a big pile in the middle and so much happy dance I could barely stand myself!

I COULD PUT MY GARAGE BACK TOGETHER!

I had the garage doors open and was hacking away at it when my mom pulled up. She got out and yelled, “OMG I thought you put a window across the back wall!”

I ran down the drive to look at my garage from her angle and there was so much reflection off the new chrome walls that it really did look like the back wall of my garage wasn’t even there!

I thought all this time that I’d be apologizing (and maybe even a tad embarrassed) about my insulation “bubble wrap” covered walls but that’s not the case at all – I LOVE THEM. They reflect the light so much I’ve been joking that I made myself a giant photo studio!

Another plus this bubble wrap insulation boasts an R value of 3. Which means combined with the fiberglass insulation my garage walls have an R value of 18 which is better than I had hoped to be able to afford!

And, of course, I can cover it with steel or sheet rock or anything I want later but this is totally great for now!

Just a few more things to do!

Covering my garage walls with plastic and then bubble wrap insulation with help from two friends on a hot day before moving on to hanging a doorCovering my garage walls with plastic and then bubble wrap insulation with help from two friends on a hot day before moving on to hanging a doorCovering my garage walls with plastic and then bubble wrap insulation with help from two friends on a hot day before moving on to hanging a doorCovering my garage walls with plastic and then bubble wrap insulation with help from two friends on a hot day before moving on to hanging a door

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6 Comments

  1. September 15, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    It turned out fabulous! You are a crazy woman – I can’t believe all of the work that you did. You are amazing! I can’t believe that you just run home and cut out a door space in your garage. I really love that you bought yourself a new Hammer Tacker. You inspire me so much. I tell you, if I were a little younger I would so be doing some of these things that you are doing! Keep it up!!!

    • September 17, 2019 at 8:54 am

      Thank you so much Amy! I do feel like a crazy woman half the time lol but then I just get to it and I’m always careful and so glad I got it done in the end!

  2. September 17, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Looks great!!! And just in time for winter soon. How is your veggie garden coming along?

    • September 17, 2019 at 9:12 am

      My veggie garden really produced well this year, hoping to have some more decent weather so I can actually get some tomatoes out of it too!

  3. September 19, 2019 at 3:08 am

    Disco lights in the garage? of course you will! (or maybe just a big glitter ball!!). Another brilliant job – and now can you stop and look after your self for a few weeks.? Go on, you know you want to!! Great job Missus. xx

    • September 19, 2019 at 8:15 am

      Thank you Susan and, you’re right, its time for me to put my feet up for a little bit!

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