If you’re going to build a greenhouse, one of the first things you’ll need to think about is what you’re going to make it out of. Framing and siding are both important, and can be built out of several different types of material.
Here’s a look at some of the options.
Framing your greenhouse often ends up being forgotten in trying to decide on the right kind of siding, but the wrong frame could be unsteady, out of square, and hard to keep airtight. The most likely choices will be wood, aluminum, steel and PVC. Each of them has its own benefits and downsides, and is more suitable for use with certain types of siding.
- Wood is beautiful and old fashioned, but often impractical for many greenhouse builders. It’s very insulative and easy to put together, but a greenhouse is wet, which causes the wood to eventually warp and rot. Use wood only when it’s been treated or is naturally resistant to pests, rot and warping. Wood and glass greenhouses are the original type, and are very beautiful, but may be hard to build.
- Aluminum is a low maintenance material that won’t break down or rust, and is very lightweight. However, that light weight means that you have to use large or double supports for strength. Aluminum is rigid and fairly expensive, and is a good choice to support polycarbonate or glass siding. It can also be anodized or painted easily, making it more attractive than some other options.
- Galvanized steel is cheap and durable, and you need less of it to build a frame. That means more room for glass and fewer shadows in your greenhouse. Steel frames are most ocmmon with commercial growers, and are usually put together for use with polyethylene film, not polycarbonate or glass. The galvanized coating will also eventually wear away, exposing your steel to the weather and causing rust.
- PVC is portable, cheap, and easy to put together, but lacks rigidity unless used with metal. It’s popular for hobby greenhouse owners, but must be protect from UV to prevent it from deteriorating. Frames are large and bulky to compensate for low strength, so they often cast shadows.
You’ll want to choose your frame in conjunction with your paneling. Some are rigid, and others are flexible. Some require more maintenance than others. Here are a few of your options.
- Acrylic paneling offers plenty of visibility, is quite durable, and resists impact, but can actually over expose your plants to the sun.
- Glass is the original greenhouse paneling, and offers strength, durability, and maximum absorption for heat and light, plus high visibility. Of course, unless you double layer it, it’s not a great insulator, and it’s heavy and hard to install. Glass can be easily broken by impact and may over expose plants like acrylic.
- Polycarbonate is light, impact resistant and durable, very energy efficient, and reduces the chances of plant damage caused by glass and acrylic. It’s also easy to install. However, the initial cost is quite high and the visibility is poor.
- Polyethylene is flexible, easy to install, cheap and an effective light transmitter. However, it doesn’t hold up well in the long term, being prone to rips and tears, and you’ll need extra layers for energy efficiency.
- PVC is used in many small greenhouses, but isn’t very effective in larger ones. It’s light and portable, retains heat well, and offers plenty of visibility, though.
- Your Small Greenhouse -Tips On Building (thediamondringreview.com)
- Build Your Own Automated Greenhouse for Effortless Gardening (Video) (treehugger.com)
- Are you currently using a greenhouse in your gardening effort? (gardenersguide.wordpress.com)
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