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Home Content // Plastic vs Glass Greenhouses – Which Should You Choose?

Greenhouses aren’t as popular as they used to be, are they? But they really are the perfect piece for serious growers as they allow them to make the most of the seasons. As well as experimenting with growing exotic plants and vegetables such as cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes that require moderate temperatures.

For greenhouses, there are a range of different glazing options and they all have advantages and disadvantages when compared. The right glazing for your greenhouse will be determined by your requirements, personal preferences, climate and budget.

Together with The Plastic People, retailers of polycarbonate sheets, I’ve put together a post of the pros and cons of plastic and glass when it comes to creating your perfect greenhouse.

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Fitting a Greenhouse
These days a lot of families are keen to grow there own produce to live a more organic life and provide what they consider to be the best for their children. This is why even though they’ve gone out of style greenhouses remain in high demand.

In the beginning, customers face two choices when they decide that they would like a greenhouse – to build or to buy. Although buying a ready-built greenhouse can save time and energy, purchasing the parts from a supplier and assembling it yourself could save you hundreds of pounds. Experts at Gardeners World also estimate that building your own greenhouse would only take up one weekend and there are plenty of tutorials online to guide you through it. However these are the five main steps:

  • Ensuring you have a level foundation
  • Assemble each section and attach loosely with clips and bolts
  • Fitting the door runners, the door and any automatic window openers or vents
  • Lining the glazing bars with foam glazing tape or rubber strips to act as a seal. Fit the roof first with glass or polycarbonate sheets and then the wall panes
  • Tighten all the bolts, starting from the top of the fixture

But if this sort of DIY is not up your street, you can buy one from most garden retailers.

Pros and Cons of a Glass Greenhouse
A lot of gardeners go for the traditional look which of course is, glass. Research by gardeners at The Telegraph found that, compared to twin-wall polycarbonate sheets, glass had a 2-3% higher light transmission. However, this is because the light scatters as it passes through the twin-wall and manages to reach areas that light penetrating through glass cannot which could be advantageous.

On the other side of the coin, the negative is the glass durability and safety. Glass is very fragile as a material and can become damaged off a small bump. Parents would often go against the traditional glass because they feel it’s not safe to have around children. A stray football or gust of wind could end things and not only are panes expensive to replace but it could be a hazard to a family member.

Pros and Cons of a Plastic Greenhouse
I’m not talking about the plastic you use in the home, I’m talking about polycarbonate sheets, like the ones sold by The Plastic People. These have been found to be 200x stronger than glass yet half of its weight. This makes the material easier to use and more durable especially if you’re building it yourself. Due to its hardwearing properties, polycarbonate does not need replacing as much as glass and has been found to be much longer lasting. Upon testing with a hammer no less, the plastic sheets were found to be shatter-resistant which is perfect for any mishaps that may occur in assembly or in the garden. Polycarbonate sheets also filter out nearly all the harmful UV rays that you may become exposed to when gardening in the greenhouse. This is great as a lot of people worry about sun stroke being intesified while being in a traditional greenhouse. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be any glaring cons with a plastic greenhouse aside from the risk of moisture getting in if it’s not assembled properly.

So, it appears that polycarbonate sheets could be the new glass when it comes to greenhouse panes. Boasting durability, shatter resistance and light diffusion. Perfect for a family garden.

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