The three main types of coverings available are: plastic sheeting also known as polyethylene sheeting, polycarbonate panels, and glass.
First, let’s talk about glass. Glass is aesthetically the most pleasing. When we think of glass greenhouses we think of the National Botanical Garden, the Bronx Botanical Garden, or the gardens at the Royal Castle of Laeken in Brussels. These are incredibly beautiful structures where a glass covering is the only option. Glass is expensive, fragile, and susceptible to staining and pitting from the increased exposure to moisture. In climates such as New England where there is dense vegetation and a propensity for hurricanes and Nor’Easters glass is not typically the best option for these greenhouses.
Plastic sheeting or polyethylene sheeting is one of the more popular options in modern greenhouse construction. There are a variety of options in thicknesses and opacities. The thicker the material the more heat it will hold. This goes hand in hand with your ventilation strategy as well. The material is durable, but should an errant tree branch damage a section, repair/replacement is simple and cost effective. The only major downside to this type of product is it does not last as long as you may think. It is advisable to replace polyethylene coverings before they start to show wear for maximum effectiveness.
The last major player in this category is polycarbonate paneling. This is the glass surrogate that has become popular amongst commercial and the home grower alike. Polycarbonate is less expensive than glass, more durable (this is the stuff they use to make bullet proof glass), and offers a variety of transmission and moisture control options. Polycarbonate paneling is an extremely durable, but should a panel break it is very inexpensive and easy to replace as compared to glass. The product comes in a variety of opacities which controls how much light is filtered into the greenhouse and how much heat escapes. Additionally, Rimol offers a 10 year warranty on our polycarbonate panels, you won’t find that on glass.
Whatever your greenhouse project is large or small we have a covering solution that is right for your needs. Contact our product specialists at 877.746.6544 to discuss your specific project.