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Recovering your Greenhouse Plastic? Greenhouse Covering Considerations

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 greenhouse covering 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

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

Tags: Solawrap, greenhouse plastic