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Choosing the Right Greenhouse Covering: 6 Mil Poly vs. SolaWrap

Posted by Team SolaWrap and the Green Thumbs. on Wed, Jul 26, 2023 @ 02:41

Deciding on Your Ideal Greenhouse Cover: 6 Mil Plastic Sheeting or SolaWrap Greenhouse Plastic?

Are you in the process of selecting a greenhouse covering and torn between the traditional 6 mil plastic sheeting and the revolutionary SolaWrap greenhouse plastic? This article delves into the differences between the two options, providing valuable insights to help you make an informed decision for your greenhouse needs.

Factors to Consider for Your Greenhouse: When choosing a greenhouse covering, various factors come into play, including light penetration, appearance, maintenance, safety, and longevity. Ultimately, you want a solution that offers cost-effectiveness without compromising on performance.

6 Mil Plastic Sheeting: Let's begin with the widely-used polyethylene films, particularly the 6 mil thickness. While readily available, it is essential to be cautious when selecting 6 mil plastic from certain sources, particularly those manufactured in China. A single layer of 6 mil polyethylene typically has an R-value of approximately 0.85, while a double poly cover (two layers of poly) has an approximate R-value of 1.25. While it may seem like a quick and inexpensive fix, the labor cost of replacing it more frequently can add up. Greenhouse plastic films offer some UV protection, but not all are created equal, and some may have better tensile strength than others.

Challenges with 6 Mil Plastic: One common issue reported by growers is the tearing of the plastic where it touches the PVC framework. This can occur when the plastic lacks adequate UV protection and the PVC absorbs heat, leading to the breakdown of the plastic. The presence of chlorine in PVC can exacerbate this problem. Additionally, white opaque greenhouse films are popular for reducing heat, but they significantly reduce light transmission by almost half per layer.

Introducing SolaWrap Greenhouse Plastic: SolaWrap Greenhouse Plastic provides a revolutionary alternative with its impressive features and capabilities. Here's what SolaWrap offers:

  • Superior R-Value: With an R-value of 1.7, SolaWrap provides excellent insulation, helping maintain a stable and optimal environment for your plants.

  • High Transparency: SolaWrap boasts an impressive 83% transparency, ensuring ample natural light reaches your plants, stimulating healthy growth.

Does SolaWrap's High Transparency of 83% Really Matter? Which Plants Benefit?

Greenhouse-grown plants that benefit from a high transparency of 83% are typically light-loving and sun-hungry plants. They thrive in environments where they can receive ample natural sunlight without excessive shading. Some of the plants that do best with this level of transparency include:

  1. Cannabis: Cannabis plants require intense light throughout their life cycle to produce potent buds and achieve higher yields.

  2. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are sun-loving plants that thrive in bright and sunny conditions, which contribute to better fruit development and flavor.

  3. Peppers: Peppers, like tomatoes, enjoy full sun exposure, resulting in healthier plants and higher yields of flavorful peppers.

  4. Cucumbers: Cucumbers are vigorous growers that require plenty of sunlight to produce abundant, well-formed fruits.

  5. Strawberries: Strawberries require ample sunlight to develop sweet and juicy berries, making high transparency ideal for optimal fruiting.

  6. Roses: Roses thrive in sunny environments, and with 83% transparency, they can produce vibrant, colorful blooms.

  7. Herbs: Many herbs, such as basil, parsley, and mint, prefer bright and sunny conditions, promoting robust growth and potent flavors.

  8. Orchids: Orchids are light-loving plants that bloom beautifully under high transparency, showcasing their stunning flowers.

  9. Citrus Trees: Citrus trees, like lemon, lime, and orange, require abundant sunlight to bear delicious and juicy fruits.

  10. Lettuce and Leafy Greens: While some plants prefer shading, lettuce and leafy greens benefit from ample sunlight for lush growth and vibrant colors.

Overall, plants that are adapted to bright and sunny conditions, especially those with high light requirements, will thrive in a greenhouse with an 83% transparency level. The ability to receive abundant natural sunlight contributes to healthier, more productive, and visually appealing plants in such environments.

The Transparency of 6 mil plastic sheeting

The transparency of 6 mil plastic sheeting for a greenhouse cover can vary depending on the specific product and its manufacturing process. On average, 6 mil plastic sheeting typically allows around 70% to 90% of natural light to pass through, although some variations may offer higher or lower levels of light transmission.

While 6 mil plastic does allow sunlight to reach the plants, there is a risk of plant burn, especially if the greenhouse is not properly ventilated or if the plastic sheeting lacks adequate UV protection. Plant burn can occur when plants receive too much direct sunlight, leading to overheating and damage to the leaves and delicate tissues. It's crucial to carefully monitor the temperature and light levels inside the greenhouse to avoid such issues.


  • UV Warranty: SolaWrap comes with a remarkable 10-year warranty against UV degradation, surpassing even some polycarbonate warranties.

  • Diffused Light: Uniquely, SolaWrap offers up to 83% diffused light, combining high transparency and diffusion for optimal plant growth.

  • Exceptional Strength: With a snow load rating of 120 lbs per square foot (approx 15 feet of snow) and a wind rating of 100 mph (surviving 135 mph winds in Alaska), SolaWrap can withstand harsh weather conditions.

  • Longevity: SolaWrap has been proven to last up to 27 years on European greenhouses, showcasing its impressive durability.

  • Maintenance-Free: Unlike traditional plastics, SolaWrap does not yellow or become brittle, providing a maintenance-free solution.

The Verdict: While 6 mil plastic sheeting may seem like a cost-effective choice initially, it falls short in terms of longevity and durability. Storms, heavy snow, and hail can easily rip 6 mil plastic, leading to frequent replacements and added expenses. On the other hand, SolaWrap excels in enduring heavy snow loads, high winds, and rough weather, making it a more reliable long-term investment.

Conclusion: When it comes to your greenhouse, don't compromise on the quality of your covering. SolaWrap greenhouse plastic stands out as a high-performance solution, offering unparalleled longevity, strength, and light transmission. While it may require a higher initial investment, SolaWrap proves its worth in the long run, ensuring your greenhouse thrives for years to come without the need for frequent recoveries. Choose SolaWrap - a revolutionary greenhouse covering that outshines traditional 6 mil plastic sheeting in every aspect, guaranteeing a thriving and sustainable greenhouse environment.

Visit the 6 mil Greenhouse Covering page and SolaWrap here

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