Structural Materials

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The main alternatives for greenhouse farming are galvanized steel, aluminum and wood. Aluminum is most commonly used because it is light and strong, and doesn't warp. It transmits and thus loses heat, but only to a minor degree. Galvanized steel is very strong, but it sometimes flakes and rusts. Wood has been used for many years. Redwood and cypress are quite good, but construction-grade pine and fr should be checked carefully. Wood is strong, durable and good-looking, but it is bulky and prone to crack.

Covering materials

Today's greenhouses are usually covered with either glass, hard plastic or soft plastic.

Glass has been made the standard material for greenhouses for many years. It is durable and transmits light effectively. Glass is expensive, but when you install double glazing of shatterproof glass, you've got a well-insulated structure that will last a long time. Glass generally needs to be shaded in the summertime.

Hard (acrylic) plastic is another material that is now used extensively for greenhouses. Frequently, it is reinforced with strands of glass or nylon. Fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) is stronger, easier to cut and fit, and less subject to breakage than ordinary glass. FRP can also be made resistant to ultraviolet light. The big disadvantage of plastic is that it turns very brittle in cold weather.

Greenhouses are constructed with flat or corrugated hard plastic sheets. The flat sheets need strong support to prevent sagging. Corrugated sheets remain firm, but they are harder to seal than the flat sheets. Double panels can be used to provide extra insulation.

There are several types of soft plastic used in the construction of today's greenhouses, including

Filon fiberglass is a top-quality brand product made with acrylic-enriched resins, fiberglass, and mineral pigment plus ultraviolet-absorbing agents for maximum color-fastness and long life.

Filon Stripes: These multicolored panels are used for many building purposes.

Cool Rib Panels: These panels are manufactured in bright pastels. They block out much of the sun's rays.

Home Greenhouse Panels: These are special panels for the backyard gardener. They have a 95 percent light transmission.



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polyethylene, mylar, lortex and others. The soft plastics are inexpensive, have good light transmission and are easy to work with. In cold weather, however, they become rigid and inflexible. A good insulation can be achieved when two layers of polyethylene are used with spacers in between. Blowers can also be used to separate and to support layers. How long soft plastic lasts depends on the quality of the material, its thickness, and the climactic conditions. You can replace it easily with soft plastic or rigid plastic sheets.

Sometimes, soft and hard plastics are used in combination. Greenhouses can have rigid plastic roofs and soft plastic or glass sides. Soft plastic can also be used to add to the insulation of a glass or rigid-plastic greenhouse.

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Building Your Own Greenhouse

Building Your Own Greenhouse

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