Choosing And Comparing Glass, Polycarbonate And Acrylic Greenhouse Panels
The type of material used for greenhouse panels can prove to be an extremely important aspect with regards to heat retention, and the amount of heat that can be transfered.
There a wide variety of paneling materials that you can opt for, including glass, polycarbonate, fibreglass and acrylic.
Each one has its own particular positive aspects and certain weak points. Undoubtedly there are panel types that will be better suited to the budget of the amateur gardener.
Choose wisely, and you will ensure that the cost of keeping and maintaining a greenhouse at the appropriate temperature during the colder months of the year will be kept to a minimum.
There are a number of points that you may wish to consider, when deciding on which panels you should choose for your hobby greenhouse
- How much of light can be transmitted
- Does it allow for easy installation
- Are panels easy to maintain.
- Is there any noticable decrease in light transfer as panels ages
- How much heat is retained
- What is the estimated life of panels before replacement is required
- Can they withstand extremes of weather i.e strong winds and heavy rain/
- Does it fall within your budget.
Amateur gardeners will find that glass, fiberglass and polycarbonates, are all good options for building a greenhouse in the backgarden.
Glass, is the typicall greenhouse paneling and has a very attractive visual appeal. Yet it is fast becoming outdated, being superceded by more technically advanced materials. It is easy to maintain and has a high level of permanency.
Glass allows for a lot of light to pass through, in actual fact amongst all the different types of paneling, it is glass that transmits light effectively. The downside is that it can break easily.
If you opt to use glass panels, just make sure that your greenhouse framing is well built and that the foundation is strong enough to take the weight.
An aluminum frame is a popular choice when using glass, although it can be costly to keep the greenhouse warm, as aluminum tends to absorb the cold during wintertime.
In recent years polycarbonate has become more popular, and although it is not considered to be as attractive as glass by many people, it is far more durable.
It doesn't let in as much light when compared to glass, however sunlight that does pass through is far less concentrated, so that plants do not receive the extreme sunlight and heat that a glass greenhouse does. In order to help reduce the cost of heating, double or even triple polycarbonate can be used.
Fiberglass has been proven to be strong and lightweight and essentially a good hail-proof paneling material. Having said that, you should utilize high quality fiberglass because poor grades are prone to discoloration and let in less light as they deteriorate over time.
Over time the resin coating that the glass fibers will wear off, making it possible for grime to become lodged in the fibers. The amount of light that passes through can be compared to glass initially , although as it ages the amount of light passing through drop off considerably particularly when poor quality fiberglass is used.
Polycarbonate And Acrylic Panels
Double-layered rigid plastic paneling sheets of polycarbonate or acrylic are available for heat-saving and long-life, covers.
These kinds of greenhouse panels have 2 coatings of rigid or bendable plastic that are separated by webs. This double-layer type of material retains more heat, and as a consequence can help to conserve energy as much as 30%.
Acrylic panels are longer lasting, and do not discolor. Polycarbonate depending on the quality turns yellow faster, yet ordinarily is shielded by a “UV-inhibitor” covering on the surface that is exposed to the weather. Both types of paneling carry warranties on light transmission characteristics for up to 10 years.
Both types are suitable for curved surfaces, but polycarbonate paneling is easily the most bendable paneling material.
It's easy to get carried away with your hobby greenhouse. Just take into account that the most beneficial panel greenhouse panel is the one that matches your requirements and style, and of course, your budget.
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