What's the "BEST" Greenhouse Covering Material for a Greenhouse Covering?

Greenhouse Covering...What's the best? Well, greenhouse plastic comes in many forms:

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  • 6 mil plastic sheets- some people use 6 mil poly for their greenhouse covering. Its greatest asset is its economical. It will get you by. But if you have a bad storm and it gets damaged in any way, you must recover you structure and get back to work in the poor weather. 
  • Twin wall polycarbonate- Proponents of this greenhouse cover say it's impact resistant, attractive, and will not yellow. The down side is the cost, how easily it scratches, and is difficult to cut.
  • Fiberglass- fiberglass is not used as much as it once was...
  • Glass- its gorgeous, offers longevity and is traditional but it lacks thermal efficiency and may burn some plants.
  • Reinforced plastic- stands up to wind but only lasts 4 years in most cases and manufactures (as of this writing) are not offering a guarantee.
  • SolaWrap™ Films....please see this page for all the attributes that have growers coming on board. (Yes the film with the bubbles!)The downside to Solawrap is the cost- but, factor in your labor, and the fact that you may never have to recover your house again- and then ask your self if the cost of the film is really a factor.

SolaWrap Home Page Here                           CLICK to CALL GPS!

***SALE on 5' and 6'  short rolls of SolaWrap. Please call for sizes and availability while supplies last!***

How do you define"Best Greenhouse Film"?

  • Price? If a low cost film is what your are looking for, then 6 mil plastic films will be the "best" greenhouse film due to its relatively low initial cost. What you save in the initial film investment you will lose in labor cost. 6 mil greenhouse film will not last very long, and may not come with much is any of a guarantee. You will be replacing that film due to aging from the sun, or a storm ripping a hole in the film.
  • Energy Considerations: The price of heating and cooling your greenhouse is the second biggest expense beside the labor of building and covering your greenhouse. Which covering offers the best heating and cooling  R-value?
  • UV Lifespan: For the plastic films, how much do you value having a UV guarantee. Solawrap offers a 10 year full warranty. Do other plastic films offer this warranty? The big secret is...SolaWrap has been going strong in Europe on the same houses for over 30 years!
  • Brute strength: What is the best greenhouse covering when it comes to wind, hail and snow load? If this is important to you compare Solawrap to the others. We think you will find it to be the best across many of these categories.
  • Labor for replacing the coverings:  Should your greenhouse covering be damaged by a bad storm or damage to the covering- which greenhouse covering is the best in offering you a cost saving to do a repair? Most greenhouse films will require you to recover the entire structure. SolaWrap is built in strips, so in the unlikely event there is damage to the cover, you will only be replacing a 4', 5', or 6" section- not the whole structure.

Bottom line is that there are the above considerations and more when deciding on selecting a greenhouse covering for your structure. 

We have our greenhouse plastic for sale in our on-line store, or you can talk to us directly at 769.597.9298.

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What is your opinion of ETFE as a greenhouse film? What is difference between ETFE and SolaWrap?

- In our opinion, ETFE is a great material, but we don't like it much for greenhouses. There is no film like the bubble film made of ETFE, so if you decide to go with ETFE, you will have a clear film, but loose all the other benefits of the bubble film (unique and easy installation, insulation without electricity/fans that keep the inflation, light diffusion, strength of the system etc.. ETFE is also expensive, but how do you build your structure and cover it? Can you exchange strips when damaged or do you have to recover the whole house then? With SolaWrap, single strips can be switched out easily and more or less under any condition even without being on the roof (in most cases). with our film you can build insulated side walls that can be rolled up. same goes for front and back end.
Another point is reuse/recycling. ETFE can’t be recycled. SolaWrap greenhouse plastic can (because its purely polyethylene). 
Strength: Its difficult to compare a single layer material (ETFE or any other film) with our SolaWrap. because testing both under standard tests in a lab doesn’t make much sense because of our multi layer bubble structure. Also no other film I know in the market uses our unique locking mechanism. That adds a lot to the overall strength, longevity and durability of the system. We did testings close to real application/setups on a testing box.
The film strips were attached on top and were we could evacuate the space beneath with a high powered fan. By measuring pressure drop and elongation we could compare the film strength and integrity of a typical structural element on a greenhouse roof.
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The testing results were really interesting: For new, mint condition film we determined a load limit >200kg/sqm (>40lbs/sqft)
for a 25 year old film, taken off of a greenhouse in Germany (at roughly 110kly/year) we still achieved that same result! We could not really break that film.
So even after that long time span, the material was going strong.
By: Dr. Jan Eubeler

Where's the best place to buy plastic sheeting?

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Best Greenhouse Plastic Sheeting Questions? Hello Global Plastics...

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