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Haunted House Plastic- Spooky Yet Safe!

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 03:47

Remember 1984 when eight young people died at Six Flags in the Haunted Castle when a fire broke out in the haunt? It only took three and a half minutes after the fire began for the entire attraction to be engulfed by flames.  It was this incident that prompted several changes to the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code.

When you are planning your Haunted House- begin by consulting with your local fire authority. Their guidelines will provide fire safety standards and regulations for the construction and operation of temporary haunted attractions/events that are open to the public. Generally these guidelines will apply not only to temporary haunted houses, but ghost walks and similar entertainment venues where combustible decorative materials and distracting audio/visual effects are present.Your haunted house may have to conform to the International Building Code for temporary buildings or structures. 

In California for example, the requirements listed in the guideline were derived from the California Building Code (CBC), California Fire Code (CFC), and California Code of Regulations, Title 19.  Check with your municipality for a similar document.

Why is this imperative....aside from the obvious that lives must be protected, the fire marshal can shut you down on the spot if you don't meet the necessary criteria. In many states, a fire safety inspection is required prior to occupancy.

Below are images of the haunted Castle at Six Flags before and after the fire.

Haunted_House_Plastic_ProtectsFire_Retardant_plastic_protects

BLACK PLASTIC THAT IS FIRE RETARDANT:

Black plastic is a favorite for creating walls and covering ceilings. The key is to make sure it is certified, "fire retardant"  Here is what the California fire safety manual states:

"All decorative materials (decorations, drapes, backdrops, and props) shall be either inherently flame retardant and labeled as such, or treated with a flame retardant registered with the California State Fire Marshal. Any material not appropriately labeled or certified as fire retardant shall be flame tested and approved by OCFA."

If you are going to use black plastic sheeting, insure that it is fire retardant. Make sure the rolls come with the appropriate documents certify that the plastic is fire retardant and will not burn and add to a fire should one develop. 

Some states require the following: "Avoid use of combustible material in displays.  If used, combustibles must be treated with an approved commercial flame‐retardant treatment.  Samples of all such materials must be submitted to this office for flame tests prior to use."  

Be ready to provide a piece of the black plastic sheeting to the fire marshal should he/she want to test it to make sure it is fire retardant.  To see the difference between fire retardant plastic and non-fire retardant plastic sheeting when a flame is present, click here to watch this short demonstration video. 

With a little planning, your haunted house can be a smashing success!  

And now for a little trivia:

Below is a quick internet search for the figures.  They may not be entirely current- but never the less, they are entertaining!

How many haunted attractions exist in the United States?

The Haunted House Industry estimates there are between 1,200- 2,000  haunted attractions charging admission. In addition it is estimated that over 300 amusement facilities producing some sort of Halloween or Haunted House event. Additionally it is estimated there are over 1000 charity attractions.

What is the attendance figures for these Halloween events?

It is estimated that typical haunted attractions average around 8,000 paid guests. A major amusement park such as Knotts Scary Farms attracts over 300,000 paid guests in October alone. On a busy night the mega amusement parks like Universal might host over 35,000 guests!

 

Tags: FR Plastic, Halloween Black Fire Retardant Plastic

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier Encapsulation Tips

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Mon, May 11, 2015 @ 01:08

Do you have a crawl space vapor barrier in your crawl space?  Is your crawl space encapsulated? Does it look anything like the picture below?  Does it small like old moldy sox, dead rodents or worse?  Just because you have plastic sheeting/ crawl space vapor barrier on the floor doesn't mean your crawl space is correctly encapsulated.

 What is the definition of "encapsulation"?

It is, "to enclose or to be enclosed in or as if in a capsule".  The idea being you want the crawl space to become sealed in a sense so it can keep out moisture, mold and hazardous gases such as methane, radon, etc.

Tip #1: Use engineered plastic sheeting that is designed to hold up year after year- blocking out mold, radon, water vapor and the like. (Click here to see crawl space vapor barriers)  In the image directly below, a 6 mil "visqueen" was used.  Chances are good the home owner did this job himself.  He bought big box store plastic, and merely laid it on his crawl space.  This plastic is maybe 4 years old. It has torn, and started to decay.  Nowhere was this so called vapor barrier taped to the walls, and the seams were not taped  closed.

crawl space torn visqueen resized 600

Tip #2:  Tape the vapor barrier to the walls and colums. As you can see from the images below, the plastic sheeting is pulling away from the post. Somehow, laying it next to the column or post just doesn't do the job. You need to use a proper sealing tape designed for this job.

Tip #3:  See Tip # 1.  If you have a rocky floor you are sealing, you must select a vapor barrier that holds up to rocks.  It's even more important if you plan to store things in your crawl space, and people will be walking around down there.

Crawl space encapsulation nightmare! resized 600

Tip 4:  Properly tape the seams closed.  We recommend a minimum of  6" of overlap taped to the length of the seam.

Crawlspace encapsuation/ sealing done wrong

Tip #5:  Got Mold?  Crawl spaces are a breeding ground for mold.  Mold like dark, damp places to breed. It also likes the off-gases from visqueen. Don't waste your money on the wrong vapor barrier.  Make sure the liner you select won't decompose and let the mold take over your crawl space.

Tip #6: If you live in an area that has radon, please make sure you protect yourself and your family from the effects of radon Raven Industries  VaporBlock 20+ is a heavy duty liner that is tested to insure it is the highest quality vapor barrier you can get to block radon and methane gas.

Crawl Space encapsulation

Tip #7: If you are buying a home that is brand new construction, make sure you have the builder provide you with proof that the home is radon free.

 

Tags: crawlspace liner

Radon Gas..Can a Vapor Retarder Keep it Out of Your Home?

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Wed, May 06, 2015 @ 02:20

An amazing number of people are not aware of the dangers radon gas poses to our health. Odorless, colorless, leaking out of the earth across most of the USA, and causing Cancer!  Visit http://www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.htmlfor information in your area, for more information on this silent killer.  Within the past several years, my parents tried to purchase a number of homes in the Midwest.  My father, being both a cancer survivor and asthma sufferer had the Radon levels checked in each of the properties of interest.  5 homes were tested in this region. In each case, the homes were tested to have levels of Radon at least 5 times the maximum level the EPA considers safe.  Each of these homes were currently inhabited!  My dad's cancer specialist has warned him to be very careful not to ever live in a home with Radon levels above even the lowest levels.  I would venture a guess that most of the homes in the region would have tested at unsafe levels, unless they had been retrofitted with a suitable vapor retarder.        

Radon_gas

Where does radon come from?

According to the US EPA, radon comes from the decay of Uranium-238 as part of the decay chain. 

As the earth's crust was formed, Uranium was distributed within it. Thus radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is produced by the breakdown of uranium in rock, soil and water.  Given the age of the earth, uranium's slowly progressing decay chain now commonly produces radon-222 . The biggest health problems are that radon is radioactive, and it is a gas. As a gas it can seep through foundations into homes (particularly basements), and accumulate into fairly high concentrations. It is drawn into homes because the air pressure inside your home is usually lower than the pressure in the soil around your home's foundation.  Due to this pressure difference, your home acts like a vacuum, dragging radon in through any foundation cracks, or other openings. In the United States, radon gas in soils is the principal source of elevated radon levels in homes. Radon decay emits alpha particles, the radiation that presents the greatest hazard to lung tissue. Since radon had a very short half-life (3.8 days) that means that it emits alpha particles at a high rate.  Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of lung cancer deaths each year. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

Please check out http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/understand/chain.html for more detailed information.

What can be done about this?  First, people should know that Radon plastic sheeting retarders/barriers exist, which will very effectively keep the radon out of the home if installed correctly.  Until recent times, most of these products contained layers of foil, and were fairly costly materials.  We now have a polyethylene based material called VaporBlock 20Plus manufactured by Raven Industries which retards Radon, Methane, and is a very effective water vapor and VOC retarder.  This product utilizes new technology in plastic sheeting which has a much tighter cell structure.  This tighter cell structure will not allow the gas particles, with very small particle sizes to pass through the membrane.  These gasses readily pass through common vapor retarders used to build most homes today, and certainly the products used a decade or more ago in most parts of the country.  In fact, throughout most of the USA today, the least expensive plastic sheeting known to man, often called Visqueen, C&A film, or Construction and Agricultural grade polyethylene sheeting is all that is specified as an under-slab or under-basement vapor retarder.  In many areas, nothing has been used! We do not recommend this grade of polyethylene sheeting for use as a moisture/vapor retarder or barrier.  I personally firmly believe that engineered films should be used for this purpose, and highly recommend the VaporBlock 20 plus.  The cost difference is very small, and the performance difference is so significant.  It truly is our health at risk.  These gases we cannot see can and do cause us great harm. In many cases, homeowners can install these materials themselves to retrofit their homes and make them much safer.  In all cases, contractors can use these engineered products to ward off this problem for the home's future occupants.  I always urge homebuilders to at least offer this kind of a product to home buyers as an option.  The problem is that not nearly enough people know about the problem or the solution.

Reportedly,  one in four of us will have cancer in our lifetimes.  Have you ever wondered  how many cases could be avoided is such simple procedures as using or installing a good quality vapor retarder under our homes were used?  The technology is here, and the fix is quite easy.  Please tell your family and friends about this, have your home tested, install radon alarms, make a difference in your children's lives! 

Tags: Radon gas, radon vapor retarder

The California Drought-Evonik's Hydrogel to the Rescue?

Posted by Team SolaWrap and the Green Thumbs. on Wed, May 06, 2015 @ 08:43

The California Drought- What can growers do? 

It's no secret that California is facing a severe drought. What can the horticulture community do to save water to save their crops during this California drought or in any arid climate? One solution would be to add Evonik's hydrogel/super absorbent polymer called Stockosorb 660 to the soil and planting medium to save water!   

What is a hydrogel? 

Evonik_California_drought_relief_solution


hydrogel is a water-absorbing polymer, that is classified as a hydrogel when cross-linked, absorb aqueous solutions through hydrogen bonding with water molecules. These hydrogels are also referred to as Superabsorbent Polymers or  SAP's. A SAP's ability to absorb water is a factor of the ionic concentration of the aqueous solution. In deionized and distilled water a SAP may absorb 500 times its weight (from 30 to 60 times its own volume) and can become up to 99.9% liquid. 
Evonik Stockosorb 660 is an advanced hydrogel technology that allows the soil to increase its capacity to hold/ retain water. By using Stockosorb 660, you can increase the number of days between waterings while the soil retains the water for the plants to flourish.  The basis of Stockosorb 660 is a crosslinked polyacrylic acid homopolymer partially potassium neutralized. 

Evonik_Stockosorb_660_hydrogel_on_roots

Who is using Evonik Stockosorb 660? 
All sorts of entities have discovered Stockosorb 660 hydrogel technology for saving water, and extending the moisture in the soil or medium. 
Here is a list of places where you will find this amazing product:

  • Commercial horticulture
  • Nurseries and production plants
  • Landscaping and reforestation
  • Sod and seeding of grass
  • Plant transportation and storage
  • Inner-city ornamentals and barriers
  • Interior scapes
  • Soil

Isn't it time you consider a solution for your plants? Please fill out the form below if you would like more information. 


Jump on the Evonik Stockosorb 660 Hydorgel Technology Life Raft! 

 

 

Tags: Evonik STOCKOSORB 660 hydrogel

Skrim- What is Skrim?

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Wed, Apr 01, 2015 @ 12:31

Skrim...have you seen it used before? Or should it be, "Scrim"?  Or maybe it is spelled, "Skryrim"?  No- it's "Skrim" right?

SKRIM

According to some lisings on the internet, Skrim is a mountain of Buskerud, in sourthern Norway! Really? Did you know there was such a mountain named, Skrim?

Another place where you see the word, "Skrim" is used in conjunction with Raven Industries product called "Dura-Skrim".  This is a product that has a layer of string reinforcement between layers of polyethylene plastic sheeting.  Now you have implied meaning of a durable roll of plastic that is strong due to the string reinforcement- thus it's durable!

What about Skrim spelled, "Skyrim? Again when searching for "Skrim" you come up with Skyrim which is an action role-playing video game! Did we get that right?

Then we find that "skrim" is also spelled, "scrim"!  Scrim is another word for gauze- a very light textile made from cotton or sometimes flax. Scrim can be light weight and translucent which makes it very useful when making curtains. Scrim is also used in making book bindings and upholstery. Scrim is well-known for it's use in the theater. There is a variety that is used for special effects. This variety of scrim/skrim is called, "sharkstooth scrim".  In the theater world, if someone uses the word scrim, they can be referring to a thin screen made out of a wide variety of materials.  Scim can have a rectangular weave.

Where does that leave "scrim"?  There is another plastic sheeting product called, "Poly Scrim".  This is  polyethylene plastic with layers of string reinforcement placed between the layers of poly to make a strong plastic sheeting product that won't tear, and can stand up to wind and harsh conditions, In this case, scrim is referring to the string mesh that is placed within the plastic sheeting. When string reinforcement, often made of nylon, is added to plastic, it allows for hems, drains, elastic cord, webbing handles and more to be made from the plastic.  Poly Scrim can also be made in a fire retardant version. Now you have a skrim/scrim/string reinforced plastic sheeting product that has a multitude of uses.

There you have it- a look at the word, "skrim" and it's many adaptations.

Tags: Skrim

"Visqueen" Vapor Barrier- Will it do the job?

Posted by Nana Hinsley on Mon, Mar 09, 2015 @ 10:16

So often people inquire about, "Visqueen" vapor barrier.  What they are really asking for is some sort of plastic sheeting to use as a vapor barrier/retarder. (Click here to visit the vapor barrier page).

Vapor barrier for concrete

Why are vapor barriers used under concrete you ask...Moisture that is in the ground slowly rises to the surface. This is problematic if you are putting tile or carpeting on top of the concrete in the way of flooring.  Vapor barriers AKA vapor  retarders are a sheet of plastic that blocks the water from reaching the concrete slab. 

Can any type of plastic work for this purpose...not exactly.  You see while you may think a 6-mil layer of Visqueen is sufficient, it simply isn't. This liner is not water tight. Additionally, 6 mil plastic gets damaged during the placement of reinforcement and concrete which will create holes that will let the water right up.

Visqueen has become one of the generic names for plastic sheeting, just as Kleenex has become the generic name for tissue. When someone asks for Visqueen, they are referring to a lesser grade of plastic sheeting. The plastic sheeting known as Visqueen has become a generic name for Construction and Agricultural Grade Polyethylene sheeting (C&A film). C&A film contains up to 25% post consumer recycled content, and is made from the least expensive resins available at any given time. While it is excellent for use in many projects, it is not ideal for any use that requires sustained strength such as a tarp or for use as a vapor/moisture barrier or retarder. People will often do a search for "visqueen vapor retarder", or fire retardant visqueen" when they may be looking for an engineered plastic. An engineered plastic is one that is intentionally designed to meet certain measurable criteria to insure its suitability for the job it is intended for. 

When looking for a vapor retarder/barrier, we recommend  an engineered film like Raven Industries VaporBlock Plus for this purpose to block as much of the moisture, radon, methane and VOC's as possible. VaporBlock Plus engineered films are designed to last forever buried in the soil, where C&A film often completely breaks down within a couple of years. Have you ever dug up some old black plastic? Remember how torn and crusty it was? It's important that today's vapor/moisture barriers or retarders should pass the ASTM E 96 Class A, B and C (standard for under-slab vapor retarders in contact with soil or granular fill).  ASTM E 96 measures in part the "permeance" or how much water can pass through the vapor barrier.  You need a liner that is 0.3 perms or less. In terms of thickness, 10 mils and above will offer much better protection and resistance to moisture transmission.   If you need to over-lap the vapor retarder, 6 inches at the seams, taped and sealed around column and the like.

The bottom line is doing your due diligence regarding vapor barriers and selecting one that is not a "visqueen vapor barrier" and go with  liner that is engineered and tested to do the best job for the application.

Tags: Visqeen vapor barrier

6 Mil Clear Reinforced Films- Why Are They Popular?

Posted by Nana Hinsley on Thu, Mar 05, 2015 @ 01:21

6 Mil clear Reinforced Films  Why are resized 600

Click here to view 6 mil clear reinforced plastic sheeting. 


Are 6 mil clear reinforced polyethylene construction fins the same thing as 6 mil clear plastic sheeting/poly sheeting?  Perhaps comparing it to a 4 wheel drive SUV’s and 2 wheel drive SUV’s can help  with the analog.  The SUV's may look the same in terms of the shape and color of the vehicle, but the performance of the two vehicles vastly differ.  The same can be said when you are trying to compare 6 mil clear reinforced (nylon string poly to 6 mil clear plastic sheeting. Both films can be made from virgin resins, but the strings/scrim reinforced film is much stronger due to the string reinforcement.

 When people refer to "string reinforced"  they are talking about fiber that is placed between two sheets of polyethylene to strengthen the plastic sheeting.  This fiber can be made from a variety of materials such as fiberglass, polyester, polypropylene and others.  Each string type will offer a different set of benefits.  Essentially all those terms are referring to the fact that there is more than just polyethylene in the sheeting.  The string/ fiber is what keeps tears to a minimum.  If the string is laid equally in both directions it follows that the tear will be the same in both directions.

So how do you decide between the string reinforced and the non-reinforced plastic sheeting? The key is defining the results you want from the poly film for the application at hand. If you need a tougher film, then go for the scrim reinforced version. 

Will this film be used outside and thus need UV protection to protect for sun degradation?  Some of the addition that can be added to the 6 mil reinforced  film are grommets, tie‐downs, hems, zippers, drains, and 3‐D custom shapes are an option. Do you need the film to be fire retardant? That is an option as well.

Both films will do a good job when they are used in applications that suit their intended use. 

Tags: Poly Scrim, string reinforcement, scrim reinforcement, Raven IndustriesDura Skrim

The History of Polyethylene

Posted by Nana Hinsley on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 @ 10:19

On March 27, 1933, two organic chemists working for the Imperial Chemical Industries Research Laboratory were testing various chemicals. To  R.O Gibson and E.W. Fawcett's surprise the white, waxy substance they were testing would become a revolutionary substance that would change the world. Polyethylene was born!

 polethylene resin for plastic sheeting

The researchers set off a reaction between ethylene and benzaldehyde, in an autoclave. It seems their testing container sprang a leak and all of the pressure escaped. There was the white, waxy substance that greatly resembled plastic. Upon carefully repeating and analyzing the experiment, the scientists discovered that the loss of pressure was only partly due to a leak; the major reason was the polymerization process that had occurred leaving behind polyethylene. The first patents for polythene were registered in 1936 by Imperial Chemical Industries.  A year later the first practical use for the material, as a film, was discovered. In 1953 Karl Ziegler of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and Erhard Holzkamp invented HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). From there, two years later, in 1955, HDPE was produced as pipe.  Ziegler was awarded the 1963 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Did you know that polyethylene played a key supporting role during World War II? It was first  used as an underwater cable coating and then as a critical insulating material for  vital military applications as radar insulation. This is because it was so light and thin that it made placing radar onto airplanes possible thus vastly reducing the weigh. The substance was a highly guarded secret.

After the war, polyethylene became a tremendous hit with consumers It became the first plastic in the United States to sell more than a billion pounds a year. It is currently the largest volume plastic in the world.

 Today, Polyethylene has the advantages of excellent moisture-vapor, chemical, and electrical resistance. It is widely used for making containers, wire cable insulation, pipe, linings, coatings, and engineered films. It is used to power transmission, consumer goods, packaging, electronics household good and more. Its principal disadvantage is poor mechanical strength, unless it has a little help from scrim reinforcement! Developments in technology continues to improve its functionality making it the most efficient use of natural resources petroleum and natural gas. We applaud these scientists for creating polyethylene that is used in a variety of plastic sheeting products today.

Polyethylene is the largest volume polymer produced globally, with over 90 million metric tons per year!


Tags: plastic sheeting, polyethylene, film, history of polyethylene

Heavy Duty Plastic Sheeting- 4 Examples of what it is

Posted by Nana Hinsley on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 @ 09:18

What do we mean when we say, "Heavy Duty Plastic Sheeting"?  The dictionary defines "heavy duty" as, "made to withstand hard use or wear" and "made to withstand great strain or use".  So when Global Plastic Sheeting refers to "heavy duty plastic sheeting", we are referring to a plastic sheeting product that is made to withstand hard use or great strain based on the application the plastic sheeting was designed for.  Therein lies the difference.  A plastic liner is not heavy duty in every application it is presented with.  A liner/ film is heavy duty when the plastic was engineered specifically for an application and the film is capable of doing the job it was designed for. It will stay strong, and protect what it was employed to protect.

Let's take surface protection films. These are films that are engineered to cover a variety of surfaces in the most expeditious way possible.  Carpet plastic is made to stick to carpeting without transferring the adhesive onto the carpet; hold up under the PSI pressure that a ladder could place on the plastic, have a tight enough cell structure that any fluids that land on the plastic won't permeate onto the carpeting; and continue to do its job protecting the surface of the carpet for the time period it was engineered for- usually 30 to 45 days. Can any type of plastic do this job? Absolutely not. Plastic known as "visqueen" that you find in big box stores won't hold up to the riggers like a virgin polyethylene will.  Some products that have adhesive come from overseas where they don't have the quality control that we have over our plastic and our adhesives.  What can happen is this foreign film can discolor you carpet due to a petroleum based adhesive. All the films that Global Plastic Sheeting offers we consider to be "heavy duty plastics" because this are rough and tough when used where directed.  glass plastic

It's tricky for consumers to really understand what goes into making these films. On the surface they look like, well- plastic.  But just like cars for the most part all looks the same, there are a great degree of differences that explain why one may be better suited to be a race car versus a family car. What is under the hood came make a huge difference.  We offer hundreds of different types of plastic sheeting that perform different duties.

What about Fire Retardant Films? Again, plastic looks like plastic.  When you feel it you might notice one is thicker than the other. One is sticky on one side, or one is black and one is white.  How is that important?  Plastic is an amazing animal.  In the lab, additives can be added to the films to make the perform double duty.  Take fire retardant plastic (flame resistant plastic).  A fire retardant additive is mixed in with the plastic so what when a flame comes in contact with the film, the plastic will not add to the fuel source. This heavy duty fire retardant film will not burn. It may melt due to the extreme heat, but it will not burn. This constitutes being heavy duty because the flame resistant plastic is doing what it was designed to do- withstand hard use- extreme conditions.

Anti-Static Flame Resistant plastic

Another liner/ film that falls into the category of "heavy duty plastic" is a liner called, HDPE.  HDPE stands for high density polyethylene.  This plastic which is also called a "geomembrane" is engineered with a specially formulated polyethylene resin.  It contains approximately 97.5% polyethylene, 2.5% carbon black and trace amounts of antioxidants and heat stabilizers; no other additives, fillers or extenders are used.  What you get is a film that has excellent chemical resistance, very low permeability- high tensile strength and more.  This liner stands up to UV radiation and can survive outside in harsh conditions.  Now that is heavy duty!

Containment plastic must be heavy duty as well to do its job correctly. What is contaiment plastic?  It is plastic that is used to cover the object that needs covering.  Take scaffolding.  You have seen where it is covered in plastic- that is a specialty plastic called heat shrink wrap.  This engineered plastic is made to shrink when heat is applied to tightly cover the building, boat, or object it is protecting. Pictured below is the Mars Rover protected by our specialty heat shrink wrap called, GPS Anti-stiati Fire Retardant Heat Shrink Wrap.mars

Can greenhouse plastic be heavy duty? Absolutely.  Take SolaWrap greenhouse covering film.  This bubble wrap looking plastic will last 10 years in the hashest of environment.  It is made to withstand heavy snow loads, high winds, sun, heat, rain- you name it...and it won't yellow or degrade. Other greenhouse covers made from 6 mil polyethylene will only last a few year. And while they will get the job done for a time period, they are not as heavy duty as Solawrap. Here you see SolaWrap on a commercial greenhouse for Proven Winner.  SolaWrap goes the distance.

Greenhouse plastic SolaWrap

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of what we mean by, heavy duty plastic sheeting when we refer to our product line.  Products that do what they say they will do make life a little easier.

Tags: heavy duty plastic sheeting

Recovering your Greenhouse Plastic? 3 Things To Consider

Posted by Nana Hinsley on Thu, Feb 05, 2015 @ 03:00

Is it that time again to replace your  greenhouse covering? Are looking for the best greenhouse plastic you can find. This article will look at the greenhouse covers that have been on the market for years in the US and then present a proven product that has a track record of 30 years in Europe, but if fairly new in the United States.  It is like nothing else that currently exists on the market.  You will see that it outperforms all its competitors, and is more cost effective in the long run.

 What factors are you taking into consideration for your greenhouse?  You are probably considering the amount and type of light reaching your plants, the overall appearance of your greenhouse, its ease of maintenance, safety and longevity. Most of all, you want something that is cost effective.

What are your choices?  Let's start with polyethylene films.  It comes in a variety of thicknesses with 6 mil being very common. When selecting a 6 mil greenhouse plastic, you need to make sure it is not a product out of China.  The Chinese made films are not made with virgin polyethylene which degrades in the sun! Some people chose to use a double layer for better insulation. Typically a single layer of polyethylene film has an R value of approximately 0.85. A double poly cover consisting of two layers of poly has an approximate R value of 1.25.  This is a quick inexpensive fix- but is it really inexpensive when you add in the labor cost to replace it more often than other options. Greenhouse plastic will offer some UV protection, and some versions have better tensile strength than others.

Greenhouse plastic tears One thing to be aware of is the plastic ripping where the plastic touches the PVC. This seems to be reported from growers who don't use a film that offers UV protection  The PVC may absorb the heat and speed up the breakdown of the plastic.  As we all know, sun is an enemy to all sorts of plastic sheeting. Another reason for the breakdown and tearing of the plastic could be the chlorine that is in PVC.  This too is a problem for greenhouse plastic.  There is a polyethylene greenhouse film that won't give you these problems called SolaWrap!  Read on to learn more.

6 mil greenhouse plastic coverings also come in white. They are often referred to as, white opaque greenhouse films. White greenhouse films are popular when reducing heat in the greenhouse is the goal.   Being white will however reduce the light transmission by almost half per layer.

Another option is to look at the reinforced polyethylene greenhouse films.  This product comes in a 3 ply laminate where a cord grid is placed between two layers of plastic.  The goal is to offer a high strength film that is durable yet light weight.

Polycarbonate Panels:  Another route that has been popular in the past is polycarbonate panels.  This is a translucent rigid plastic.  Some compare it to glass as it is almost as transparent.  It can be installed as a corrugated single layer, or in a flat twin wall version.  By doing a twin wall you create air pockets between the two walls which act as insulators.  Due to its glass like quality, it offers good light transmission.  People like that it is a light weight material that can be cut to size and installed.

Glass:  Glass is one of the least efficient materials for retaining heat because it has very little insulating value, and it transmits heat and cold quickly. Consider thermometers are made from glass.  

Glass is much heavier than other coverings and needs substantial framing. It doesn't diffuse light so plants could get burned; glass breaking is a huge hazard.  Consider climates that have heavy snow loads and hail storms. If the foundation or the frame shifts for whatever reason, the glass can crack. Another consideration is heat loss due to gaps between the panes.  It's important to have an installer who is experienced. It's not something that most weekend gardeners can throw up.

SolaWrap Greenhouse Plastic Cover:  SolaWrap Greenhouse Plastic (Greenhouse covering) offers:

  • R-Value 1.7
  • 83% transparency
  • 10 year warranty against UV degradation (better warranty than polycarbonate)
  • up to 83% diffused light (only product on the market with both high transparency and high diffusion)
  • 120 lbs per square foot snow load rating (approx 15 feet of snow)
  • 100 mph wind rating (has survived 135 mph windstorms in Alaska)
  • Has been shown to last up to 27 years on greenhouses in Europe
  • Does not yellow or get brittle
Greenhouse Covering SolaWrap

Pictured above the greenhouse that Proven Winners built using SolaWrap. More and more commercial growers in the U.S. are becoming familiar with Solawrap, and are selecting it.  The bubble structure offers amazing benefits when compared to the other products on the market.

Greenhouse covering SolaWrap

SolaWrap has withstood many a hailstorm, snow load, and all out terrible winters. There is no need to worry about hail storms and the resulting broken glass!broken glass greenhouse

describe the imagegreenroof problems

To find out more about SolaWrap, please call us at 855 Sola USA  (855.765.2872). Happy Growing!

Tags: Solawrap, greenhouse plastic