The material of your greenhouse is a very significant factor in terms of heat transfer and the heat it can retain, durability, and the cost in keeping maintaining a warm greenhouse temperature all throughout the winter months.
There are many paneling materials available in the market that you can choose from, such as glass, polythene plastic, fiberglass, and polycarbonate are a few of the common and most popular materials today.
Each material type works well as each also has its individual strong and weak points. Certainly, some panels suit better the budget of the hobbyist’s.
When deciding on a panel for your hobby greenhouse you have to consider the following:
• The amount of light that can be transmitted.
• The toughness of climate in your area (some can be very windy).
• Easy installation.
• Easy to maintain.
• Decrease light transfer as the panel ages.
• How much heat it can hold.
• Durability and estimated life of the panel until the need of replacement.
• Endurance to heavy rain and strong wind; tearing or breakage.
Fiberglass, glass and polycarbonates, are excellent choices for one who is into a greenhouse hobby. Plastic panels are commonly used in commercial large greenhouses although they are not very durable and entail frequent replacing.
Glass, the traditional greenhouse paneling has a very pleasing appearance, can be easily and reasonably maintained and has high level of permanency. When one is really concerned about the look of the greenhouse, then glass can be a good choice for paneling.
Glass permits large amounts of light to pass through, in fact amongst all paneling, it is glass that can transmit light effectively, and however, it can break easily.
If you choose to use glass, just make certain that your greenhouse framing and foundation should really be strong, as glass can be heavy. An aluminum framing is best when using glass, although it can be expensive to keep the greenhouse warm as aluminum absorbs the cold during winter.
The drawback of using glass for paneling is that glass is a breakable material, initially very expensive to construct, needs a very strong framing and foundation to support its rigidity and heaviness.
Polycarbonate, although not as attractive as glass, yet it is much more durable. It likewise can not let in as compared to glass; however sunlight that passes through this material is less slightly concentrated so that plants will not catch the intense sunlight and heat that a glass greenhouses permits. To reduce the cost of heating, double or even triple polycarbonate paneling sheets can work excellently for retaining in the heat.
Fiberglass is a strong, lightweight and essentially hail-proof paneling material. However, you should use good quality fiberglass since poor grades can discolor as well reduce penetration of light overtime. Likewise, you need to use clear and transparent types only. Tedlar-coated quality fiberglass can lasts up to 20 years.
The resin coating that the glass fibers have eventually will wear off, permitting dirt to be deposited in the fibers. Therefore, after about 15 years, there is a need to put on a new resin coating. The penetration of light can be initially compared to glass, although as it ages, it will considerably drop off especially when you use poor quality fiberglass.
Double-layered rigid plastic paneling sheets of polycarbonate or acrylic are available for heat-saving and long-life, covers.
These types of paneling have two coatings of rigid or bendable plastic whish are divided by webs. This double-layer type of material maintains more heat, therefore on can save energy of up to 30 percent.
The acrylic paneling is a long lasting, does not discolor; the polycarbonate generally turns yellow faster, yet typically is shielded by a “UV-inhibitor” covering on the surface that is exposed to sun and rain. Both paneling do carry warranties on light transmission characteristics for up to10 years. And both are ideal for curved surfaces, but polycarbonate paneling is the most bendable paneling material.
Just keep in mind that the best panel material for your greenhouse is the one that suits your needs and style and of course, your budget. Just purchase the best one you can afford.