Which Greenhouse Structures will provide the best strength and last the longest?
Greenhouse structures are designed to provide a reliable shelter for your plants throughout the year. However, not all greenhouse structures are created equally. How will each type of structure hold up to wind, snow, hail and rain or perform in colder climates?
Wind is apt to blow over, spin, or tear panels or plastic sheeting off your greenhouse. The nightly winter or spring windstorm can dash your seed starting or year-round growing hopes to pieces. The greenhouses most susceptible to wind are square or rectangular structures.
The wind can hit your greenhouse broadside and pick it up and throw it, or spin it like a top, ruining anything inside, and damaging the integrity of the building. A proper foundation can save your greenhouse under most circumstances. However most types of greenhouses can collapse, bend or break at ground level, above the foundation.
A hemi-spherical shape gives the wind nothing to catch. Because dome greenhouses are more aerodynamic, the wind travels around them instead of into them. The round shape works with the forces of nature to create a strong structure that spreads weight over many joints instead of just four.
Think about where the victims of Katrina gathered – in a dome! Many earthquake and hurricane shelters are constructed in the shape of a dome because it is the strongest structure built by man. If any greenhouse structure will stand up to wind, it will be a dome.
Snow can sit heavy on your greenhouse. Your greenhouse covering will become a key factor if you are concerned with a potential heavy snow load. Consider the worst possible damage the structure can withstand, assuming that the structure is sound and made of heavy materials. Thin sheets of polyethylene do not hold up to snow well, they just don’t have the strength.
Polycarbonate panels are much better than thin polyethylene film. It has a much greater snow load capacity, but can still bend under extreme snowstorm loads.
SolaWrap™ greenhouse polyethylene has been proven to hold 98 lbs/sq ft of heavy, wet New England snow without loosening from the frame or breaking under the weight. SolaWrap is a 17 mil food grade polyethylene with enclosed air bubbles. SolaWrap’s bubbles expand as more weight is placed on them, strengthening the integrity of the plastic.
Hail can be a real problem when it comes to greenhouse growing. Hail is common in the midwestern states, especially Kansas. Hail can puncture, crack, or break polyethylene film or polycarbonates. A polycarbonate panel can be bent, rendering it useless. SolaWrap also can withstand hail very well. Reports from Europe have shown that SolaWrap can hold up to this force from Mother Nature without crop or greenhouse damage.
Rain doesn’t seem like it should be a problem for a greenhouse. After all, rain can’t do the damage that wind or hail can. All greenhouses leak, and rightly so, there is no need for a watertight greenhouse. However, if you have large leaks, your plants could suffer. And large leaks make for a lot of cleanup after every storm. The key to avoiding large leaks is to make sure that your covering fits your greenhouse without gaps. Be sure that your covering is secured on the outside of each truss, never on the inside of it. Seal the edges with compression, waterproof tape, or caulk. Do not create holes in your covering and never secure your film with just staples. The wind can rip the staple holes and allow large leaks.
Greenhouse structures are always competing with natural forces to protect your plants. Unless you build a SolaWrap greenhouse dome, you are continuously fighting the forces of nature, unnecessarily. Building a geodesic dome green house kit assures that you are working with the intelligence of nature, using natural principles (such as spreading weight over large areas and strengthening through the honeycomb design) to protect your precious seedlings.
When all the research is done, perhaps you will arrive at the same conclusions we did. We wanted a secure structure that was going to provide a return on our investment and not become a money pit. If you need help deciding which is the best and most practical option for your greenhouse structure contact us at 1-781-816-7811 or Info@greenhousedomekit.comand we will help you get started.