7 Reasons Polycarbonate Greenhouses are Proven to be the Best
We make a commission through sales if you click on affiliate links in this post.
You have decided to finally build the greenhouse you have been dreaming about for years. You want polycarbonate. Your partner thinks a glass greenhouse is best. How to choose? Which truly is the best? What if you had all of the answers to your partners objections?
Polycarbonate greenhouses are my favorite. I freely and openly admit it. I would much prefer a polycarbonate greenhouse in my backyard to a glass greenhouse or polyfilm greenhouse. My hope is once you have read this you will feel the same way about building your greenhouse using polycarbonate greenhouse panels.
These sheets offer better insulation than glass or polyfilm.
A multiwall polycarbonate sheet has channels that run between two exterior sheets creating a higher R value. R value is the resistance to the passage of heat through the material.
I compare them to looking down the end of a cardboard box. You will have a sheet on the outside, a sheet on the inside and a rib that runs through between the sheets. The rib will be straight through in polycarbonate rather than wavy in corrugated cardboard.
This channel or “dead air space” will give a much higher R value (better insulation) than 6 mil polyfilm or tempered glass.
A 6 mil polyfilm will have about a 0.8 R value. Single glass has about a 0.95 R value and 8mm twinwall polycarbonate will have an R value of about 1.7.
The higher the R value the better the insulation. What this means to you is that you will use less energy and spend less money heating your greenhouse.
No Hot Spots
With glass roofs you may get hot spots in your greenhouse. Polycarbonate greenhouse panels, even the clear ones, will diffuse the light somewhat helping to eliminate this problem.
Easier to Install
Polycarbonate is easier to install than glass or polyfilm.
With polyfilm you have to be concerned with catching it on anything sharp on the frame and causing it to tear. Glass is heavier and some people just don’t like the thought of handling glass.
Polycarbonate sheets are lightweight and pretty forgiving as long as you leave room for contraction and expansion when installing. The standard rule of thumb is to leave 1/8” every 3′ for contraction and expansion.
Tough and Break Resistant
This glazing is virtually break proof. It has an impact resistance of roughly 200 times higher than glass. Most polycarbonate sheets used for greenhouses even have a ten year warranty against hail damage.
Glass, even if it is tempered glass, will break if hit right.
We had a customer we built a glass greenhouse for years ago. Every time he mowed his yard he called us back to replace a piece or two of glass. Eventually we recommended that he turn his mower in the opposite direction when mowing around his greenhouse. That was all it took! But still, it is expensive and sometimes difficult to replace tempered glass in a greenhouse.
If you have small children around you may want to take this into consideration when considering glass, polyfilm or polycarbonate. Accidents happen even when they are being careful. That football may not land exactly where it was planned to go. Glass and polyfilm greenhouses will not hold up to accidental errors.
UV protected greenhouse film will typically have a 4 year warranty on the UV protection, although there are different grades. But, you still have to be concerned with ripping, etc. Polycarbonate greenhouse sheets that are UV protected with have a ten to twenty year warranty, depending on the manufacturer.
More flexibility in design
When using polycarbonate sheets for your greenhouse you will have more flexibility in design that with glass or polyfilm.
You can bend these sheets on site with no tools if you follow the manufacturers minimum bending radius guidelines. It’s hard to do that with a piece of glass. You can bend glass, but it is expensive and companies that will do this are hard to find.
Less expensive than glass
The materials are less expensive than trying to locate tempered glass. And, they are readily available. Glass greenhouse kits will also be more expensive than polycarbonate greenhouse kits.
You also will have an excellent selection of greenhouse polycarbonate sheets of different thicknesses and different specialty coatings. These would include such properties as heat reduction for warmer climates, light deprivation panels for the marijuana industry and diffused light panels for just a general healthier plant.
Can be easier to move
Due to the panels being so lightweight it may be easier to move a polycarbonate greenhouse than a glass greenhouse. Of course this is going to depend on the size and framing materials used.
I have always been a more function over form type of person. I am not as worried about the aesthetics of a product as I am about its ability to perform its duty.
That being said, if you want a clear view out of your greenhouse like looking through a window polycarbonate will probably not be for you. The rib that runs between the panels will distort your view somewhat. You will see colors but not details through the polycarbonate sheets.
After reading this I hope you are in agreement with me that polycarbonate greenhouses are the best. What do you think? Let me know in the comments if you prefer polycarbonate, polyfilm or glass greenhouses. Happy Growing! Tammy