If you’re planning on greenhouse construction and looking for a premanufactured greenhouse kit or greenhouse supplies, there are several aspects that you need to decide on. For instance, you need to decide on the kind of transparent material that would be best suited for the walls and roofs. Depending on your application, need and budget, you can browse through greenhouse materials such as greenhouse plastic, polycarbonate or greenhouse glass. Each of those material carries it pros and cons. You n will find them varying in strength, durability, aesthetic considerations, maintenance along with the price. Keep in mind that not all materials would be suitable or practical for all climates or for making a particular style of greenhouse construction.
Overview of Greenhouse Materials
Get information on the most common materials used for the walls of greenhouses and its roof. It is essential to decide on which type of materials is best suited for which types of greenhouse.
Polycarbonate is a cheaper expensive option among the greenhouse materials, especially when compared to glass. Still, it carries some options that are much suitable for greenhouse installations. For example, it is great for do-it-yourselfers as it is lightweight and easy to work with. When treated with UV stabilizers, you can get anywhere from 10 to 20 years of life out of the Polycarbonate panel that are available in a wide range twin and triple-wall panels. There are many applications where polycarbonate can be used to offer
insulation. The downside of using polycarbonate is that it will eventually degrade because of UV exposure.
The glass is the top-quality material for greenhouses but is an expensive option. It can be most difficult to install as it is breakable and the heaviest material. Thus, it needs to be installed carefully and protected from shattering. Still, the galls material can outlast any other plastic option regarding usability and life.
The Poly film is the lowest-price option but is a good choice for those with small budgets for the greenhouse. These films are easy to work with and are the least permanent option among greenhouse materials.
Greenhouse Glass Panels as greenhouse materials
Glass panels may be the most expensive, but the most durable, option for construction of the greenhouse. Thus, if your budget allows, make an appropriate material choice and evaluate different glass panels for your needs. Here are some aspects to keep in mind when looking for glass for making a greenhouse.
Safety features of glass
Annealed glass can be risky for the greenhouse, and this is because, when it breaks, the gals can shatter into long, sharp shards and cause severe injuries. The tempered glass is several times more shatter-resistant as compared to annealed glass, and when it breaks it breaks into small square pieces, thus unlikely to cause injury. Thus, if using glass, Tempered glass is a much better option as compared to annealed glass for greenhouses. You will come across different varieties of tempered glass such as double tempered, single tempered or more with different tensile strengths.
Single-pane or double-pane glass
You need to decide on whether single- or double-pane greenhouse glass for your greenhouse materials, based on your needs and overall project budget. The single-pane option is suitable for low-budget greenhouse projects where costs of heating and cooling are not major concerns. However, for those projects where the costs are not a concern, the double-pane tempered glass is a better option, especially if the greenhouse is in a cold climate. Go for Low-E tempered glass panels for maximizing the heat-reflecting properties of glass in hot climates.
How to maintain these greenhouse glass panels
Whether you are opting for double- or triple-paned glass panels, make sure the panels are sealed correctly to prevent condensation inside the panel. When deciding on
Greenhouse materials, you should know that there are a variety of glass coatings to maintain glass panels over time. The self-cleaning glass coated with a material makes use of sunlight to break down dirt on the panels and prevents from any accumulation of dirt. The coatings may raise the price of the glass but save you on the cleaning and washing of glass over the years.
Polycarbonate Panels as greenhouse materials
Polycarbonate panels are made from plastic that conveys light almost as well as glass.
These panels are available as flat twin wall panels and are made of two flat polycarbonate panes separated by an air space that improves the insulative properties of the panels. Polycarbonate panel is expensive than poly films but cheaper than greenhouse glass. The advantage of using polycarbonate is that with just one-twelfth the weight, it can reach the durability of glass. Thus, it is much easier to handle and install as compared to the thick glass panels. However, the drawback of Polycarbonate panels is that they begin to yellow over time and may cause aesthetic concerns for the greenhouse owners.
Twinwall polycarbonate panels carry a rating in mm that shows the size of the separation space size of the separation. The larger the thickness of space, the better is the heat insulation.
Greenhouse Poly Film
The Greenhouse Poly Film is referred to as agricultural plastic or greenhouse plastic. The firm and translucent sheet of polyethylene is available in different thicknesses and often range from 2 to 11 mil for greenhouse applications. The thicker mil film well lasts longer than thinner film. The Poly film blocks ultraviolet (UV) light while transmitting visible light. The translucency of the film causes creates sufficient light diffusion, and this encourages plant growth. Poly films as greenhouse materials are used under a broad range of climates, such as scorching temperatures or freezing temperatures. The primary benefit of poly film is that it is the cheapest material option for the greenhouses. It is easy to work with and available in a broad range of thicknesses and opacities. On the downside, it has a shorter life as compared to
greenhouse glass or polycarbonate panels. Weigh the pros and cons as well as the cost of replacing poly film over time.
If planning to use Poly Film for greenhouse materials and construction, you should have certain questions and their answers before you buy.
The useful life of the film
Poly film is often valued in terms of the number of suitable growing seasons Make sure that it makes sense to replace the film every year or every couple of years. Perhaps it would be more economical to use greenhouse glass or polycarbonate panels. The life of a poly film relies on some factors, such as the film thickness, climate where the film will be used as well as if the film has been treated with a UV stabilizer. In case, the film has been treated with a UV stabilizer, check if the stabilizer was applied to the film on both sides. Make sure that the film was treated on the side toward the sun when installing it.Minimize the chance of flapping, tearing or vibration in the poly film by keeping the greenhouse rafters close together. The rafters should be sanded smooth especially where they touch the film. As the poly film expands when it’s warm, thus, if installing it on a warm day, it will make for a tighter fit in both cold and warm weather. Keep those aspects in mind when working with greenhouse materials.
Woven poly film?
Woven poly film carries a stronger tensile strength as compared to the non-woven poly film of the same thickness. It resists tearing, sagging, shredding, and punctures in a much superior way than non-woven poly film. Thus, go for a Woven films if you stay in a region where hail, snow, or the wind are common.
The film opacity?
The amount of light you need in your greenhouse will rely on the location and the climate and the plants you plan to grow. Thus, it is very essential to check the opacity rating of the poly film you intend to use. The Films carry a range of opacities from 30% to 70%.
Black or white silage film?
You can use Black and white silage films to create the right condition for flowering, especially for certain types of orchids and tropical plants.
Certain poly films are treated to diminish condensation that often forms on the underside of the film in humid greenhouses. Get a condensation control film if you need to lower the chance of dripping onto plant leaves and maintain even light diffusion through the film.
To conclude on the subject of greenhouse materials, there are plenty of options available as different types of greenhouse glass, Polycarbonate Panels, and poly films. Study their pros and cons as well as your needs and budget before making the final choices. Keep different aspects such as aesthetic considerations, durability, and maintenance for the greenhouse construction. Whatever material you choose, make sure to create optimum results for your greenhouse.