Glass is the standard material for greenhouses, but with improvements in technology, several kinds of expensive plastic greenhouse coverings are available for commercial greenhouse operators and hobbyists. Some plastic materials are apparent, allowing full sunlight to enter the greenhouse, while other plastics are translucent to diffuse the lighting within the greenhouse.
Polyethylene, or PE, film is the lightest solution for greenhouse plastics. It is available in large rolls which you simply cut to match your greenhouse’s frame. Manufacturer’s of polyethylene movie make different grades, based on the amount of years you can expect it to last. One-year movie is the least expensive, thinnest variety, and four-year movie is the thickest. Ultraviolet light fast degrades polyethylene movie, so select a movie with UV protection embedded in the plastic. Some polyethylene films have also chemical properties fabricated into them to reduce the amount of condensation on the glass. Others have the ability to reflect radiated heat back into the greenhouse, much like glass does. This makes the plastic movies more energy-efficient.
Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, film has several of the same qualities as polyethylene film. PVC film is more expensive than PE movie, but you can expect it to last up to five years. PVC film is available in 4- to 6-foot widths. Materials utilized in the manufacture of PVC film have a tendency to work as a magnet to dust particles from the air. You’ll need to occasionally rinse the movie if you live in an area which doesn’t have regular rain showers. PVC plastic is available with UV protection and also you’ll be able to find PVC that reduces condensation.
Double Walled Plastic
It is possible to set up either PE or PVC plastic film in a dual layer over a greenhouse frame to make the exterior stronger. Should you use a dual wall of plastic film, you will need to use a fan to blow air between the two layers to prevent them in adhering to one another. Light transmission to your greenhouse through a single layer of PE or PVC is 85 percent. The addition of a second layer of plastic film reduces that to 77 percent.
Polycarbonate plastic film comes at a rigid format which makes it simple install on the greenhouse’s frame. Some polycarbonate is corrugated, while other products have 2 smooth outer layers which encase an inner corrugated structure, much like that of a cardboard box. Polycarbonate material allows around 91 percent of the lighting to the greenhouse. Polycarbonate is impact-resistant and durable, lasting around 15 years. A disadvantage of polycarbonate is its surface scratches easily.