Types of Greenhouse Plastic Films
What types of green house plastic films are available on the market today, for you to cover your back yard or commercial greenhouse with? There are three main types of greenhouse coverings: glass, polycarbonate, and polyethylene.
Glass has been referred to as the gold standard of the greenhouse industry. Everyone wants a glass house. Designer glassed in greenhouse spaces provide a beautiful area that extends the living space of homes.
This protected, enclosed sanctuary can be very relaxing and allows you to experience the outdoors, indoors with the beauty of plants and sunlight and a fresh exchange of oxygen that invigorates your health. Most often this style greenhouse is not utilized to grow year round food for a family. However, trends maybe changing?
There are also stand-alone Glass greenhouses. However, if you do decide to go within a glass house, you will be required to safeguard your plants from the summer sun’s harsh rays with protective greenhouse covering materials, such as shade cloth. If your greenhouse is in a climate where the winter months are cold, then you will also require insulated window treatments if the greenhouse space is open to the rest of the house.
Unfortunately, out of all the greenhouse coverings, glass is the most expensive, least insulating, and most dangerous, as in many cases it can break easily. This type of greenhouse covering will also cause burning and shading, meaning that some plants under glass will get burned and some plants will not get enough light, depending on where they are located in the greenhouse. Glass roofing also does not offer any diffused light, which is required to foster the kind of grow that food bearing plants thrive on in order to produce a rich harvest. There are however tinted, specifically prepared and frosted glass coverings, yet they are not a preferred choice for the type of green house covering that will enhance rapid food bearing plant growth.
Polycarbonate is a greenhouse plastic that is structurally rigid. It is a material designed with walls or layers arranged in a corrugated fashion that will store air in between them. The collection of air provides an insulating factor. Polycarbonate lasts a long time, however as it ages, it yellows, gets brittle, cracks, and allows less light into your greenhouse. Plants require a lot of light so they can be as productive as possible.
Polyethylene is a greenhouse plastic film. It usually comes as large sheets of a thin plastic designed to easily connect to your greenhouse structure. Polyethylene allows for a lot of light transmission. Since the insulation factor is so low with 4 mil or 6 mil poly, some people add an additional layer or layers of poly and then blow air through the layers for added insulation. 4 or 6 mil poly can last anywhere from 1 month to 4 or 5 years. Unfortunately the damage or tear factor of the poly can be of a concern and must be taken into consideration, as your covering is one continuous sheet of plastic. In order to keep the air space inflated at the correct level between the plastic sheeting, you will require a blower system, which will incur an additional monthly cost for electricity.
What if… The air could be permanently trapped inside very thick layers of polyethylene plastic, in bubble type pockets?
What if …Your greenhouse covering could provide the benefit of the trapped dead air space of a multi layer polycarbonate without the yellowing effect?
What if …You could get this type of greenhouse polycarbonate covering with a keder bead attached that would make it easier to install and more sturdy?
What if… There was a plastic greenhouse covering that could provide 83% diffused light transmission without the short life span?
What if …you could purchase a geodesic greenhouse kit that is designed with the SolaWarp that could withstand 130 mph winds and 4000 lbs of heavy wet snow 11ft deep?
This was the thinking of three scientists in Germany over 30 years ago. They engineered a 17-mil polyethylene greenhouse plastic film with trapped air spaces. The 17-mil polyethylene is very strong and also very flexible. The trapped air bubbles are arranged in a honeycomb design to lend strength to one another as the film stretches, so the tighter it is stretched, the stronger it becomes. The transparent polyethylene allow for 83% light transmission, while the bubbles create 83% light diffusion. Diffused light is the most beneficial light for your plants.
These scientists created a test facility in Kuwait. Four years after the material was installed on the test greenhouse, those three scientists climbed up on the material to show its strength. Typically, the lifespan of industrial greenhouse polyethylene would have long been spent after four years in any climate, however this material also known as Polykeder ™ – SolaWrap™ held the weight of those three grown men, who were jumping (literally) with out inflicting any damage to the structure. This specially engineered greenhouse covering material lasted 25 years in the brutal sun and heat of Kuwait. Tragically, the structure was destroyed by war.
This polyethylene greenhouse plastic film, called SolaWrap™ is now available in the US. In Europe, no greenhouse covered in SolaWrap™or Polydress ®Poly Kreder has ever needed to be to be re-covered in 30 years. We don’t actually know how long it will last. We do know that it lasted 25 years in the desert of Kuwait and 30 years in all types of climate conditions across Europe.
Covering your structure with a plastic greenhouse film that enhances the growing process, year after year, without yellowing, cracking or disintegrating for 25 or 30 years is unheard of in the US, until now. SolaWrap™ may initially cost a few more dollars to install; however through increased crop production, longer growing seasons and exceptional endurance, the return on your investment will be realized early on. Not only will you save money you will save time and effort not having to deal with the reoccurring demand for replacement of your greenhouse covering for many years.
If we consider the fact that every time a covering is replaced, we are bringing a piece of plastic into the world, and discarding another. Since these greenhouse coverings are not biodegradable, they are likely to remain somewhere on the planet forever. These days, we must look for every opportunity to substitute a more sustainable alternative to plastic. SolaWrap™ Polyethylene greenhouse film is a practical alternative for covering a large, small, hobby, lean to, hoop and geodesic dome style greenhouses.
Contact us today 1-781-816-7811 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get the best quality greenhouse plastic for your growing needs, for commercial , hobby or backyard greenhouses.