Different types of greenhouses

So you want to pamper your plants and put them in a greenhouse.  But how do you choose the right one ? Which material will best look after your little darlings.  We will try to help you make the best choice.

You must first decide the type of greenhouse best suited to your needs :

  • The cold greenhouse whose temperature can go down to 4°C, suitable for plants with tough, non-porous skin.
  • The moderate greenhouse,  suitable for subtropical species which tolerate the cold.
  • The hot or tropical greenhouse, where the temperature is between 18°C and 26°C, which allows you to grow many tropical species and other rare plants.

Structure

Once you have decided on the type you want, now think of the choice of materials.  Four materials for the structure are available : wood, PVC, aluminium and steel.

  • This is the most aesthetic and offers the best insulation.  Choose rotproof wood without knots or cracks.  Good quality wood will last the longest – avoid soft wood, which will quickly deteriorate if not treated regularly.  Make sure to insulate  the floor of a wooden structure by using bricks – this will prevent the base of the structure from rotting.
  • PVC is the cheapest material used.  It offers good insulation, which limits condensation and saves energy.  It also doesn’t require much maintenance.  However, it degrades over time.  It doesn’t last as long as wood or aluminium and can’t support much weight.  It is therefore not suitable for large surfaces.
  • Aluminium is the most widely used material.  It is very resistant, especially to strong winds.  It doesn’t need much maintenance, it is light and doesn’t rust.  Good quality aluminium greenhouses can last up to a hundred years.  However, it doesn’t offer a good insulation.  To insulate it you should use a system of steel clip fasteners at each angle, along with PVC draft excluders or putty to insulate the joints.
  • For very big greenhouses, steel is ideally suited.  It is flexible and resistant, but is rarely used for private greenhouses and should be galvanized to avoid rusting.
  • Alveolar polycarbonate is lighter an gives more insulation.  It also resists hailstones better.  However, it isn’t very resistant to strong winds and it must be changed after ten years as it tends to become opaque.

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