Setting up a greenhouse involves balancing your gardening goals with your budget. You will want your greenhouse to meet both your gardening needs and your pockets. This guide is here to help you find that perfect match.
Choosing the Perfect Greenhouse Size for Your Needs
Are you wondering what size your greenhouse should be? It's essential to think about a few things first. Start with the space you have and the budget you're working with. Then, think about what you want from your greenhouse. Will you use it all year, just for certain seasons, or mainly to catch some sun?
A big tip for you: if you're a plant lover with loads of houseplants, getting a greenhouse bigger than what you think you need right now is a good idea. A lot of greenhouse enthusiasts end up wishing they had more space! It's usually cheaper to start big than to expand later.
Oh, and don't forget about height! It's about more than having room to stand up straight. A tall greenhouse means better air circulation, making it easier to control temperature and airflow. So, when looking at sizes, check both the highest point and the height of the side walls. A taller greenhouse can be your plant's best friend!
In short, consider all these factors to pick the greenhouse that's just right for you. It's an investment that'll make your gardening dreams come true.
Picking the Best Material for Your Greenhouse
Have you ever wondered about the best material for a greenhouse? It can feel overwhelming with so many options, like aluminum, galvanized steel, wood, PVC, glass, fiberglass, polycarbonate, and polyethylene. But here's the thing: there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Each material has its benefits for building greenhouses.
Your decision should be based on what you need and how much you're willing to spend. It's all about finding what works best for you and your plants!
Greenhouse cover options:
The cover you choose for your greenhouse is a big deal. Why? Because it controls so many things: the kind and amount of light your plants get, how your greenhouse looks, and even how safe and easy to maintain it is. Plus, a good cover can make your greenhouse last longer. So, when picking out a greenhouse cover, remember it's not just about looks—it's about creating the best home for your plants!
Glass is the classic choice for greenhouses, and it's loved for its timeless look. But before diving in, let's understand some of its features:
Aesthetics: Glass greenhouses are known for their lasting aesthetics. They've been around for a long time and have a traditional charm.
Heat and Insulation: Glass could be better at keeping heat in. It's quick to let heat and cold pass through because it doesn't insulate well. Think of how glass is used in things like pots and thermometers. If you opt for glass, it's a good idea to go for double- or triple-strength types. This not only improves the warmth but also reduces the chances of breakage.
Weight: Glass is heavy! This means the frame holding the glass needs to be strong. Strong materials like aluminum, steel, or laminated wood frames support most glass greenhouses.
Safety and Durability: There are some challenges with glass. It doesn't spread light out, so plants can get burned. And, unlike plastic, glass can break. Think of things like hailstorms, baseballs, or even nearby trees. Also, the glass can crack if your frame isn't lined up right or the ground shifts a bit. Setting up a glass greenhouse? Watch out for windy days! The wind can be a problem because glass greenhouses use many overlapping segments. And since there are so many pieces, more heat can escape.
Installation: Setting up a glass greenhouse needs precision. Everything has to be perfectly straight and stable. If DIY isn't your strong suit, you might want to skip glass or hire an expert to help you set it up.
To sum it up, glass greenhouses are beautiful, but they come with their challenges. It's vital to consider the pros and cons before deciding. If glass is a must for you, consider getting a professional on board for the setup.
Thinking about plastics for your greenhouse? Here's what you need to know:
Types of Plastics: When we talk about plastic coverings, we're looking at options like polycarbonate, fiberglass, acrylic sheets, and thin polyethylene film.
Tough Against Weather: Hailstones are no match for plastics. They can handle the hits and won't shatter, making them a step up from the glass in this department.
Flexibility: Rigid plastics might sound tough, but they have a flexible side. They can bend and adjust to fit over curves, perfect for greenhouses with unique shapes.
Fewer Leaks: One of the cool things about plastic sheets is how big they are. This means fewer pieces to fit together, which cuts down on gaps where air might sneak out.
In short, plastics are versatile and tough, making them a solid choice for those who want a sturdy greenhouse without worrying about breakage.
Here are some of the types of plastics you can choose from.
Fiberglass: An Interesting Alternative to Glass
Have you ever wondered about other materials that can replace traditional glass? Meet fiberglass. It's a unique material that often comes in sheets or rolls, and while it isn't crystal clear like glass, it allows just as much light to pass through.
One cool thing about fiberglass? It scatters the light, giving a greenhouse an almost shadow-free environment. Plus, it's great for temperature control. It keeps greenhouses warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than regular glass. However, while it's better than glass, it's not as efficient as some other options like multiwall polycarbonate or inflated polyethylene film.
The design of fiberglass sheets can be both a pro and a con. Their wave-like shape seals well at overlapping sections but can be tricky to join at the ends. Over time, these waves or "corrugations" can collect dirt, and they might not be everyone's cup of tea when it comes to looks.
Lastly, a word of caution: the UV protection on greenhouse fiberglass isn't forever. A special protective layer keeps it safe from the sun, but it can wear off after around six years. This causes the fiberglass to turn yellow, and dirt can get trapped, making it look less appealing. So, while fiberglass has its advantages, it's essential to be aware of its limitations, too.
Polycarbonate: The New Kid on the Block
Have you ever heard of polycarbonate? It's one of the latest materials to hit the scene for covering spaces. Not only does it look almost as clear as glass, but it's also tougher and can take a hit better than many other materials. Plus, it doesn't catch fire as easily as other plastics, which is always a good thing.
Polycarbonate sheets come in different thicknesses. You can find them as single, double, or even triple-walled sheets. Think of these walls as layers with little walls in between. The more layers it has, the stronger and better it is at keeping heat in and diffusing light.
While the single-walled version might be lighter on the wallet and look pretty sleek, it doesn't pack the same punch in terms of strength or light diffusion as the double or triple-walled versions. These multi-walled versions are great because they come with built-in air spaces, which make them super insulating and provide an even, soft light that's perfect for plants.
Did I mention polycarbonate lasts long? You're looking at a solid 15 years or more in many places. Some popular greenhouses use the double-walled kind. If you're in a chilly place and need to heat your space often, invest in a triple or 5-wall. Sure, they might cost more upfront, but they'll save you in heating bills.
Polyethylene Film: A Handy Choice for Growers
If you're looking into options for greenhouse coverings, polyethylene film might just be your go-to. It's a top pick for many commercial growers, and for good reasons, too! It's fairly easy to maintain and doesn't cost a fortune. It serves well in simple cold frames and greenhouses, especially for budding seeds and other seasonal necessities.
You might be wondering about its lifespan. Well, depending on its thickness and how it's treated against UV rays, it can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years. When it's time for a change, just roll out a fresh layer. If you double up the layers and inflate the space in between with a fan, you create a snug air space that's even better at holding heat than a glass house. Imagine saving about 40% on your heating bill!
However, it's not without its downsides. It tends to have a shorter life than other materials, and it can get rips and tears more easily. Appearance-wise, it has a translucent look, pretty similar to fiberglass.
Now, a pro tip: not all polyethylene films are created equal. While it might be tempting to go for the cheaper, thinner films available at many stores, they're not the best for greenhouses. They're actually made to be vapor barriers in homes. The better choice? Films specially made for greenhouses come with a UV protective coating, giving them a longer life. The price difference is a little, but the performance upgrade is substantial. This way, you can ensure your greenhouse stands the test of time while meeting all your growing needs.
Selecting the Right Material for Your Greenhouse Frame
When building a greenhouse, the frame is like its skeleton, giving it structure and support. But did you know that there are several materials you can choose from? Yep, the top contenders are galvanized steel, aluminum, wood, and PVC.
Galvanized Steel: The Durable and Reliable Option
Are you considering setting up a greenhouse? Well, galvanized steel might just be the material you're looking for in a frame. Many commercial greenhouses go for this option, and here's why.
First off, galvanized steel is known for its impressive strength. This natural toughness means you can have thinner frames, allowing more light. As a result, you'll have fewer shadows in your greenhouse — a huge plus for helping your plants thrive. And less framework doesn't just mean more sunlight; it also translates to cost savings, making it a wallet-friendly option.
Pairing it with a covering like polyethylene film is common practice, mainly because mounting rigid panels on steel frames often calls for extra hardware. Look out for for greenhouses built with heavy-duty galvanized or stainless tubing when shopping around. These are specially crafted for outdoor setups and can brave the humid, corrosive environments typical in greenhouses. Hence, it shields against damage from elements like fertilizer salts.
However, while galvanized steel stands strong, it isn't invincible. Over time, the protective coating it wears can give in to the high humidity levels inside the greenhouse, leading to rust. Also, steel has a heftier weight than materials like aluminum, meaning it generally requires more hardware for rigid coverings.
So, while galvanized steel has fantastic benefits, it has its share of downsides.
Aluminum: The Durable Choice
Aluminum is popular for architectural sunspaces and greenhouses, especially when paired with materials like glass or rigid plastics. What makes it stand out? Well, this metal offers a range of color options when anodized, and the best part is that its maintenance needs are minimal.
While it might be a tad more expensive initially, the long-term benefits are clear. Aluminum trumps other framing materials in terms of durability. It doesn't succumb to rust, decay from UV rays, or rot.
However, there's a catch. Aluminum isn't as strong as steel. This means you'll either see larger frame pieces or more of them. But don't be alarmed. Many aluminum structures are intelligently engineered to enhance their strength. It ensures you get maximum sunlight with minimum frame shadowing, all while keeping your greenhouse sturdy and intact.
Wooden Frames: A Cozy Touch for Your Greenhouse
If you're thinking about setting up a sunroom or a DIY greenhouse, wooden frames might be your best bet. They're a favorite among many because they add a charming, natural feel to the space. It's not just about the looks; wooden frames are also practical. You can easily attach accessories, and they're pretty good at keeping the heat in, especially when compared to metal frames of the same size. Most choose to cover these wooden structures with glass or tough plastic.
However, before you get excited, remember that wood has quirks. For instance, in the moist environment of a greenhouse, wood can start to wear down after some time. But if you go for quality wood types like redwood (like the kind used in Sunshine greenhouse frames) or cedar, you're on the safer side. These types of wood naturally fend off bugs and withstand rough weather. And if you give your wooden frame a coat of sealant or stain now and then, it'll last even longer.
One more thing: wooden frames are a bit chunkier and heavier than metal ones. This means they might cast more shadows inside your greenhouse. Plus, once you've built a wooden hobby house, it's kind of set in stone. Expanding it later might be a challenge. So, if you're going for a wooden frame, plan ahead and get the size you want from the start!
Plastic: The New Kid in Block
In recent years, plastic hobby greenhouses have enjoyed a surge in popularity. They've won over many enthusiasts thanks to their affordability, not to mention how easy they are to move and set up. This has made them a go-to choice for people looking to start small with their greenhouse adventures.
One reason behind this rise in popularity is their ability to retain heat remarkably well—even better than their metal counterparts — as plastic isn't a great heat conductor, much like wood. Although plastic might not be as sturdy as wood or metal, today's versions come reinforced with metal wire supports to bolster their strength, allowing for a solid structure despite the material's natural flexibility.
That said, plastic frames have a few cons to consider. For starters, they are generally bulkier than metal frames, which can cast more shadows in your greenhouse, potentially affecting your plants' access to sunlight. Moreover, despite being UV protected, they aren't immune to the sun's ultraviolet rays, which can lead them to deteriorate over time. But not to worry too much — quality UV-protected PVC materials can still give you a good run of around 20 years or even more before showing signs of wear and tear.
So, as you see, while they have a couple of downsides, plastic frames still offer a cost-effective and convenient choice, particularly for budding gardeners venturing into the greenhouse world for the first time.REQUEST A QUOTE