7 Reasons Polycarbonate Greenhouses are Proven to be the Best
Why choose a polycarbonate greenhouse?
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.
Polycarbonate Sheets can be bent onsite.
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
Today we will be doing a product review of one of the greenhouse kits that we offer for sale – The Evangeline Greenhouse. We have been selling this kit since 2002 and installed quite a few of them before we stopped offering installation. This is a quality built greenhouse that is available in either a freestanding or a lean to style. We are also able to do a gable end attached with this model.
The heavy duty aluminum extrusions are 6063-T5 or T6 and the sheets or plates are 209. Due to the extra strength of the aluminum you are able to hang a 50 pound hanging basket off each purlin. Our standard models are rated at 32 psf snow load and 85 mph wind loads. We are even able to supply stamped engineering with the stated loads. If you are in an area with a higher load requirement we can meet up to 100 psf snow load and 140 mph wind load. That’s a heavy duty frame! And it is backed up with our excellent warranty. If any part is found defective in manufacturing for the first year it will be replaced free of charge to you, we even pay the shipping. After the first year up to the lifetime of the greenhouse we will send you the part for free, but we will ask you to pay the shipping.
Our standard colors are white, brown and green. Most people find that one of these matches their house nicely. But, some chose to custom match the color of their greenhouse to the color of their home. I have even had some sports fans make their greenhouse their teams color. This can be done by simply providing us with a color number from a major paint manufacturer. We are able to custom match to their color. So, the sky is the limit. Yeah, blue is easy.
The glazing is available as 6mm twinwall polycarbonate or 5 wall 16mm polycarbonate. We are not able to offer the 16mm in the curved style, but the twinwall polycarbonate is available in either curved or straight eave. This quality polycarbonate has a ten year warranty that it will not lose more than 6% in light transmission. That’s just a fancy way of saying it won’t get brittle or yellow. The actual lifetime expectancy for the sheets is between 15 – 20 years. The sheets also have a 10 year warranty against hail damage. There is only one negative in my opinion regarding polycarbonate. Actually, it is not a negative for me, but I hear a lot of people with these concerns. You cannot see clear through the sheets like looking through a piece of glass or a window. There are ribs running between the exterior clear sheets and they will break up your view. You will be able to see colors, but not forms through the panels. If you feel like you need a clear view I would recommend our Acadian greenhouse line. Actually, it is a “sister” greenhouse to the Evangeline. It is made with the same framing materials.
This greenhouse is available in a curved eave or straight eave as previously mentioned. It is available as a freestanding greenhouse, or as a lean to greenhouse. We can do a standard lean to with a shed type roof, or we can build a gable end attached greenhouse with a gable style roof.
Evangeline Polycarbonate Greenhouse
Evangeline Polycarbonate Lean To Greenhouse
INCLUDED WITH THE GREENHOUSE
These greenhouses come with the pre cut frame, the pre cut polycarbonate panels, the appropriate number of roof vents and one door. The roof vents are oversized at 20″ x 48″ and they always come with a solar powered opener. These openers require no electricity. They have a wax cylinder that works on contraction and expansion. When the wax gets hot it expands pushing the vent open. When the was cools it contracts and pulls the vent shut.
There are so many customizations for this greenhouse it is hard to list them all. With lean to greenhouses many people have the issue of their roof being too low for the greenhouse to attach. We are able to accommodate this need in two different ways. We can do a lower roof pitch on the greenhouse, thus giving it a lower attaching height. Or, we can build it so that it attaches to your soffit of your home. This is a common problem for people with ranch style homes or people who want a large projection (the measurement going away from your home).
We can customize the width of the greenhouse, the length of the greenhouse, the sidewall height, the door size and what type of door. We have custom Victorian trim for the ridge. Optional ventilation items include side vents with solar powered openers and motorized exhaust systems. We are also able to add a second door. We can upgrade the standard combination storm door to a commercial storefront door.
We can do custom jogs to get around obstacles that would be in the way during installation. We can even do an inverted roof (this is a really expensive customization, but we can do it!).
Inverted roof lean to greenhouse
We are able to adjust the door in the greenhouse to accommodate your site built knee wall. This is even a free option. No charge, just let us know how many inches high you are going to build your wall. We will supply you with a foundation sketch once an order has been made. This will enable you to go ahead and get your site work done before the greenhouse arrives.
This greenhouse will come Common Carrier. Everything is securely shipped in wood containers. We suggest 2 people for unloading. Turnaround time is dependent on the current workload, but is usually 4 – 6 weeks depending on the time of year.
This exceptional quality greenhouse is a great investment for anyone, even if you don’t need all of the customizations. It is quality right down to the components used for manufacturing. This is truly a once in a lifetime greenhouse that will last for years and years to come. I personally give this greenhouse 2 thumbs up.
Product Review – America’s Best Polycarbonate, Best Buy Lean to Greenhouses
We make a commission through sales if you click on affiliate links in this post.
Today we are going to do a product review of one of the greenhouse kits that we offer. The America’s Best Polycarbonate Greenhouse and the Best Buy Lean to Greenhouse are basically the same structure, just one is freestanding and the other attaches to your home or a building. These both offer what we feel is the best “bang for your buck” in a greenhouse Made in the USA. They offer quality materials and excellent pricing.
The frames are made of 6063-T3 aluminum with a powder coated finish. This high grade aluminum gives the frame strength and durability. The standard colors are white, brown or green, but fear not, we can custom match the color of your home, your favorite sports team, just your favorite color. The stated wind and snow loading are 70 MPH winds and 23 pounds per square foot snow load. All framing is assembled using stainless steel T bolt and stainless steel lock nuts. This frame also has a 10 year warranty against damage due to faulty materials.
The greenhouse is glazed with 6mm clear twinwall polycarbonate. The polycarbonate sheets have a 10 year warranty that they will not vary more than 6% in light transmission in 10 years. This is a fancy way of saying that this material will not yellow, get brittle or break. Actually, I have personally seen this same material in use past 15 years. I have heard reports back from people in the industry who have seen this material in good usable condition up to a period of 20 years. There is also a 10 year warranty against hail damage. Some people do not like the twinwall polycarbonate because of the view through it. The twinwall is like looking down the end of a cardboard box. It will have a clear sheet on the inside, a clear sheet on the outside, and a rib that runs through the center of the 2 sheets. In a cardboard box the rib is wavy. In a polycarbonate sheet the ribs runs straight between the 2 outer sheets. This is what will distort your view. You will see color, but not form like looking through a glass window. But fear not, there is an upgrade available to both of these greenhouses. We call these options the See Through Polycarbonate Greenhouse and the See Through Lean To Polycarbonate Greenhouse. These both come with the twinwall in the roof, for protection against hail and/or falling objects. The sidewalls have a clear view polycarbonate sheet that is exactly like looking out through a window. The best of both worlds.
America’s Best Polycarbonate
Best Buy Lean To Greenhouse
See Thru Polycarbonate Greenhouse
See Thru Lean To Greenhouse
Another great feature is that the ventilation package is included in the pricing of this greenhouse. It includes the thermostat, exhaust fan and intake shutter(s) in the freestanding models. The lean to greenhouses do not have the intake shutters. Your combination storm door will supply added ventilation and supply the air intake for the lean to models. This “free” feature definitely adds to the value of the greenhouse. These systems cost in excess of $500 typically. Also included in the upgraded model is a circulating fan. This is an often overlooked, much needed, option. These will aid in the health of your plants by keeping the air in your greenhouse moving and reducing the humidity in the plant canopy. They help to maintain an even temperature in the winter when the greenhouse is heated, helping to avoid hot or cool spots in corners. We offer the homeowner the choice of the optional roof vents. I personally prefer to have these, as I feel you get a lot of use out of them in the spring and fall seasons. They typically stay closed in winter and open in the summer, so the added benefit there would be natural ventilation in the summer months. The reason I like them in the “between” seasons is that you run the possibility of a cold night and a hot sunny day. You would want your vents open during the day and closed at night under these circumstances. That is why I always use automatic roof vent openers with my greenhouses.
The integral base is built into the greenhouse, so no need to build an additional base for the greenhouse. We do however recommend setting the greenhouse on a foundation of 4″ x 6″ timbers set down into the ground. We tie the timbers to the ground using rebar stakes. This will help keep your greenhouse secure in higher winds. Do you prefer to build a knee wall to place your greenhouse on? This is not a problem. We also offer an optional door drop to accommodate this. We just need to know the height of your kneewall in inches and we will adjust the frame while building it so that the door will fit to the ground.
This greenhouse is shipped by Common Carrier (truck line). It will come in 3 – 4 boxes depending on accessories and size of the greenhouse. Two people should be present to unload this greenhouse. These typically take about 4 weeks from the time they are ordered until the time you receive them. Your greenhouse is built specifically for you. There is no need to accept a “boxed” greenhouse with no options.
In closing, with all of the quality features, excellent pricing and the fact that this greenhouse is Made in the USA, we give it 2 (green) thumbs up.
I get this question a lot. What is the difference between a glass greenhouse and a polycarbonate greenhouse. I am going to assume that the frames are basically the same, so the biggest difference will be in the glazing material.
Glass greenhouses will be more expensive than a polycarbonate greenhouse. Especially with a curved eave. The glass is all tempered (safety) glass, even the curve. The curved tempered glass is more expensive than doing a curved polycarbonate. The twinwall polycarbonate is flexible enough that it is bent right onsite as you are installing the kit. There are no special tools or processes needed to do this. You just simply bend it over into the curved frame and attach it.
Looks are another obvious difference. The glass greenhouse will have more of a timeless look to it. I suppose if you want to use the word “fancier” that could even be applied. Just in looks, not in function. A lot of people don’t like the polycarbonate glazed greenhouse as it will be translucent rather than transparent. It will not be like looking through a window like the glass greenhouse will. Twinwall polycarbonate is made up of 2 sheets, an interior and an exterior. These sheets are both clear and would look much like looking through a window if you peeled the walls apart. Multiwall polycarbonate is much like looking down the end of a cardboard box. You will have the exterior and the interior sheet with a rib in between them. The rib will run straight between the 2 sheets, not curvy like in a cardboard box. This rib is what distorts your view. You can see color in a polycarbonate greenhouse, just not a clear form.
The glass greenhouse will not be as well insulated as the polycarbonate greenhouse. A single glass greenhouse will have an R value of approximately 0.95. A 6mm twinwall polycarbonate greenhouse will have an R value of around 1.6. This means that if you have the same size single glass greenhouse and polycarbonate greenhouse in the same location, trying to heat it to the same temperature, the glass greenhouse will cost you more to heat. It seems from the difference in the R value that it would be about twice as much. That is not the case. There is a formula that uses the size of the greenhouse, the difference in the temperature inside and outside the greenhouse, and the glazing material. If this is a consideration in your instance, the best way to determine how many BTU’s you will need is to actually do the calculations.
Breakage is another issue. Tempered glass will break if it is hit in the right manner. There is just no way around it. But, it is tougher than regular float glass, and it will shatter into small pieces, so safety is not a concern. Polycarbonate has a 10 year warranty against hail damage. It is a very tough material. It will not break like the glass.
Lifetime of the glazing material is the last issue I will discuss. Glass will pretty much last forever unless it is broken. Polycarbonate generally has a warranty that the light transmission will not vary more than a specified number in 10 years. This is just a fancy way of saying that it will not turn yellow or get brittle. Some of the manufacturers have extended their warranties to 15 and even 20 years. I have personally seen sheets that were 15 years old and still in use. They looked just fine. I have had reports back of 20 year lifetime on the material.
Glass greenhouses vs polycarbonate greenhouses? What is the conclusion. They both have their benefits, it just depends on which fits best into your needs. The best decision is to make sure to get a greenhouse, no matter what type. It will give you hours of enjoyment, produce food for your family, protect your orchids, and be the envy of your friends and neighbors.
Advance Greenhouses participates in affiliate programs, which means we may receive commissions if you purchased an item via links on this page to retailer sites. This is at no additional cost to you. Our editorial content is not influenced by commissions. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about what we do.