8 Tips for Choosing Polycarbonate for the Greenhouse


  1. №1.The main advantages of polycarbonate
  2. №2.Choose the thickness of the polycarbonate
  3. №3.The geometry of the honeycomb and the strength of polycarbonate
  4. №4.Color polycarbonate
  5. №5.Protection of polycarbonate from ultraviolet rays
  6. №6.What does the prefix "light" in the marking of polycarbonate mean?
  7. №7.The size of polycarbonate sheets and features work with material
  8. №8.Polycarbonate manufacturers: who can you trust?

The emergence of polycarbonate greatly simplified the life of summer residents and owners of large agricultural companies. This material in many ways exceeds its closest competitors, polyethylene film and glass, but the expansion of its range has led to difficulty in choosing and increasing the risk of buying low-quality products. Today, those who build a greenhouse with their own hands, and those who prefer to buy a finished structure, are equally concerned about how to choose polycarbonate for the greenhouse, so that the material will last more than one year and provide normal conditions inside the building. Looking ahead, we note that the

should take into account the many nuances of the , but a careful approach will be rewarded with the high durability of the greenhouse and minimal expenditure on repairs.

№1.The main advantages of polycarbonate

Why this relatively new material instantly subdued summer residents throughout the country and with great strides displaces film and glass from areas? The reasons for the popularity should be sought in the features of the structure of the material .Polycarbonate began to be produced on an industrial scale in the 60s of the last century, it was used in many areas of construction and industry, and material suitable for greenhouses appeared somewhat later with the filing of Israeli scientists.

For the arrangement of greenhouses, uses only cellular polycarbonate. is a monolithic analog heavier, does not have sufficient strength and thermal insulation properties. The material consists of two or three plates parallel to each other, connected by bridges. The latter play the role of stiffeners, and the space between them, filled with air, increases the insulating properties of the material. The sheet structure can be single-chamber, two-chamber, etc.

The main advantages of cellular polycarbonate for greenhouses:

  • excellent transparency and ability to diffuse the sun's rays .Up to 92% of the sun's rays pass through the colorless polycarbonate, which has a positive effect on the cultivated crops. Moreover, the material with a special protective film allows you to protect plants from harmful ultraviolet radiation for them;
  • light weight .This parameter depends on the sheet thickness, but even the thickest material will weigh several times less than the glass analog, which reduces the load on the greenhouse frame;
  • flexibility and ductility .Cellular polycarbonate during installation can be bent, creating arch-shaped greenhouses;
  • quite good mechanical strength .The impact of the material will not break, like a film, and will not break into pieces, like glass. The thicker the polycarbonate is chosen, the more difficult it will be to break its integrity;
  • excellent thermal insulation qualities , due to the honeycomb structure of the material. Heating costs can be minimized. The sound insulation qualities of the material are also high - on average, it can reduce noise by 22 dB;
  • resistance to temperature fluctuations , winds, mold, fire.

The durability of quality polycarbonate exceeds 10 years, and bona fide manufacturers give a guarantee of up to 15 years. Among the minuses of the material, the instability to the sun's rays, like any plastic, but thanks to a special film coating, we managed to get rid of this minus. There are no other significant drawbacks in cellular polycarbonate, especially in comparison with other covering materials for greenhouses - the main thing is to buy a quality material, and not a handicraft product.

Typically, cellular polycarbonate is produced in sheets of 2.1 * 6 m and 2.1 * 12 m, less often 2.1 * 2 m, but the thickness can vary over wider limits( 3.5-16 mm), and it ismost of the basic parameters of the material depend on it.

№2.Choose the thickness of the cellular polycarbonate

Thickness is the determining factor when choosing a polycarbonate for the greenhouse. In this matter, it is important to take into account the mass of factors and choose a material that is not too thin, but not too thick: in the first case, the strength decreases, in the second - the light transmission deteriorates.

The main factors that influence the choice of polycarbonate thickness are:

  • The climate of the region is , in particular, the depth of snow cover and its weight, which determines the maximum load on the material;
  • wind load in the region;
  • frame material .The metal frame has a better bearing capacity and is able to withstand a higher load than wood;
  • pitch with .The closer to each other are the elements of the frame of the greenhouse, the more durable the construction will be and the less thick polycarbonate may be needed;
  • seasonality of use .If the greenhouse will be operated only in the autumn-spring period, the polycarbonate can be chosen thinner. For year-round greenhouses, the material chosen is substantially thicker, because it must not only withstand snow and wind, but also retain heat;
  • construction type .If you plan to build a greenhouse arched, domed or drop-shaped form, you need to think in advance whether it will be possible to bend the polycarbonate in a certain way. The thinner the material, the higher the bend radius.

How to choose the optimal thickness, taking into account all these factors? To get the most accurate value, you can contact the professionals. The second option is to buy a finished greenhouse, polycarbonate of optimal thickness is already included in the package( the type of construction and climatic features are taken into account).An alternative solution is to try to choose the required polycarbonate by yourself: complex calculations will not be necessary, as you can be guided by the practice of using the material, the main parameters of polycarbonate sheets of different thickness( in the table below) and data on the climate of the region, which is also easy to get into the network.

Considering different options for the thickness of polycarbonate for its greenhouse, does not interfere with the following recommendations:

  • is considered the most popular polycarbonate with 4 mm thick , but nevertheless it should be attributed to the economy version. It makes sense to use it only in seasonal greenhouses, otherwise even a small step of the batten( 0.5 m) will not save from deformation under the weight of snow. Trying to save on polycarbonate, you have to spend money on strengthening the frame, but in this case the design only becomes more expensive. Do not forget that the frame does not transmit light, and the more frequent the crate, the greater the shadow on the plants. Let it be not so bad for small household greenhouses, but on a production scale this is already a serious minus, because reducing the amount of lighting by 1% reduces the yield by exactly the same amount;
  • for most regions of the country the optimum thickness of polycarbonate for the construction of spring and autumn greenhouses is 6 mm , and for winter greenhouses - single-chamber sheet 10 mm thick ;
  • arched and domed greenhouses do not delay snow cover so much, which means that a lower load is applied to polycarbonate. Nevertheless, it is unreasonable to choose too thin material for arched greenhouses - in moments of cold snap after a thaw, a layer of ice forms on the greenhouse surface, on which snow will hold well;
  • is too thick, it is also undesirable to use polycarbonate, because along with the increase in strength and insulating qualities, the ability to transmit light decreases, as well as the weight increases, so reinforcement of the structure will be necessary.25-50% of the sun's rays pass through polycarbonate with a thickness of more than 10 mm, and this is a loss of harvest and spending on artificial lighting, therefore, in private greenhouses does not recommend using material more than 10 mm thick.

If the greenhouse is built on its own, then it is better to determine the thickness of the polycarbonate at the design stage.

№3.The geometry of the honeycomb and the strength of polycarbonate

Partitions inside polycarbonate form honeycombs, the shape of which greatly affects the strength of the material and its carrying capacity. The most common options are:

  • rectangular honeycombs is the most common material. Bearing capacity is not very high, but the light transmission is maintained at a high level. Such polycarbonate is recommended to be used for those greenhouses where no artificial lighting is provided;
  • square cells make the material more durable and suitable for the construction of medium-loaded greenhouses;
  • hexagonal honeycombs can achieve the highest strength, but greatly reduce the level of light transmission, therefore, for the construction of greenhouses such polycarbonate is used infrequently, and if used, it requires a mandatory arrangement of artificial lighting.

№4.The color of polycarbonate

Having decided on the required thickness of the material and coming into the store, you can find that the polycarbonate is available in a whole range of colors. Which one is better? Of course, transparent, because it allows plants to provide as close as possible to natural lighting, and also, it allows a maximum of sunlight to pass through. Summer residents who want to get the maximum yield and do not spend money on additional lighting, choose transparent polycarbonate .

Painted polycarbonate is not able to provide plants with a sufficient level of light: the bronze, opal, yellow and green sheets allow only 40-60% of the light, therefore it is difficult to talk about normal yields. Some summer residents choose polycarbonate of a red and orange shade, motivating it with the fact that orange and red range of solar radiation are most useful for plant growth. It is difficult to argue with this statement if we recall a school course in biology and physics, but there is one “but”: fewer useful rays will pass, and their number will not be enough for normal growth of most cultures, therefore is the best choice - transparent polycarbonate .

№5.Protecting polycarbonate from ultraviolet rays

Reading about the positive properties of polycarbonate, you might think that this is an ideal material, not having flaws. Naturally it is not. The main disadvantage is the tendency of to be destroyed by the ultraviolet rays , which start the photoelectric destruction process on the surface, leading to the formation of small cracks. Gradually, they grow, causing fragility of the panels and their destruction. That is why the material needs additional protection. Hard ultraviolet( in the spectrum up to 280 nm) is harmful to plants, so a protective coating protects not only polycarbonate, but also grown crops.

Responsible manufacturers use special film to protect the material , which is applied by using the coextrusion method, therefore it does not flake off during operation. Such high-quality polycarbonate can easily serve for about 10 years. There is a material for sale on which a protective film is applied on both sides, but for greenhouses its use does not make sense. When installing sheets, it is important to pay attention to the labeling and install polycarbonate with a protective layer outwards.

Unscrupulous manufacturers( often Chinese) produce polycarbonate without any protective coating at all or make it symbolic. It is meant that instead of using a film, simple additives are introduced into the mass, which should protect the material from solar radiation. Such polycarbonate “lives” for a maximum of 2-3 years, then it will have to be changed, and this is again a waste. Buying initially cheap material, it is worth thinking about the consequences three times. Information on the presence of a protective coating must be indicated on the on the package and in the accompanying documentation, since it is not externally considered( thickness is 0.0035-0.006 mm).

№6.What does the prefix "light" in the marking of polycarbonate mean?

Sly manufacturers and sellers sometimes mislead buyers, using the designation "light" in marking. To choose such a polycarbonate for a greenhouse means to overpay and get a material with reduced strength. Often a thinner polycarbonate is sold under the lighter version, but the price remains standard. Instead of 4 mm can feed material with a thickness of 3.5 mm, instead of 6 mm - 5.5, 8 mm - 7.5 mm, etc. It seems to be a small difference, but with a decrease in thickness( and therefore, strength and durability), the price does not fall - not the best buy. In addition, it is not recommended to take polycarbonate for a greenhouse with a thickness of less than 4 mm.

№7.The size of polycarbonate sheets and the peculiarities of working with

material With a width of 2.1 m, polycarbonate sheets are sold mainly in lengths of 6 and 12 meters, a deviation of 3 mm in width and 10 mm in length is allowed. The accumulated experience of many gardeners allows us to form a number of tips on the most rational use of the material:

  • if the greenhouse has an arched shape, then the length of the arcs of power structures is recommended to do 6 and 12 m in order to avoid transverse joints;
  • it is better to make the distance between the supporting elements of the framework such that the joints of the sheets fall on the profile, which increases the strength of the structure;
  • in the construction of dual-pitched greenhouses is better to make the walls and roof such that the polycarbonate sheets are divided without residues.

Polycarbonate increases in size in the heat, and decreases in the cold. Increasing the temperature by each degree causes the material to expand by 0.065 mm / m. This should be taken into account during the attachment of polycarbonate to the frame, leaving small gaps between the sheet of material and the supporting structure.

Polycarbonate care is as simple as possible: it needs to be cleaned several times a year, you can use a weak soap solution, but not aggressive means. The main goal of this care is to maintain a high level of transparency.

№8.Polycarbonate manufacturers: who can you trust?

In order to choose the right polycarbonate and continue to count on its durability, it is important to pay attention to the manufacturer: the fame of his name and the duration of the warranty( the longer the better, ideally 10-15 years).When buying, it does not interfere with paying attention to certificates, and it is not recommended to go to the market to get polycarbonate - they are unlikely to adhere to the necessary storage conditions.

The best products of such companies have proven themselves:

  • Bayer Material Science is a large German concern operating in the field of health, agriculture and high-tech materials. Polycarbonate is produced under the brand name Makrolon, has the highest quality, because the main thing for the company is innovation and its own reputation;
  • Sabic Innovative Plastics , a company located in Saudi Arabia, produces polycarbonate of several series under the trademark Lexan. The company has always played a crucial role in the development and production of new types of polymers. Today, the company's representative offices and enterprises operate in 40 countries of the world, the product range is constantly growing;
  • Samyang is a Korean company that produces enough quality material under the Trirex trademark. In terms of price and quality, this is a good option, so products are in great demand among domestic buyers;
  • Teijin Limited is a Japanese corporation that also constantly conducts new developments and offers ever more advanced polymers. The company's polycarbonate is very high quality and durable, but not much is represented on the domestic market;
  • Dow Chemical is an American manufacturer that produces polycarbonate Caliber and Magnum ABC.The products are of the highest quality, excellent geometry, good durability, but it is expensive and is represented on the market a little;
  • Poligal is a Russian-Israeli company that produces polycarbonate under the same name brand. This is a relatively inexpensive material with a long service life;
  • Carboglass is a major domestic manufacturer that provides a 15 year product warranty, and this inspires confidence. At the same time, the cost of the material is lower than for foreign samples, which ensures the popularity of the products;
  • Safplast Innovative is another domestic company. It produces polycarbonate under the brand name Novattro, gives it a guarantee of 14 years, while the products are slightly cheaper than Carboglass;
  • Plastilux is a Chinese Sunnex polycarbonate manufacturer. It is worth looking in his direction only if the main selection criterion is a low price. Product warranty 8 years;
  • Vizor .Polycarbonate of this brand was previously produced in China, today there are factories in the Czech Republic. The quality is average, the price is low, the warranty is 5 years;
  • ITALON is a Chinese company whose products can be advised to those who want to save as much as possible, because its quality is low, and the price is more than budget, 5-year warranty.

It is not recommended to acquire material from a no-name company - the consequences of such an act are clear without explanation. Considering all the described nuances of the choice of polycarbonate, you can find exactly the material that will be the perfect solution in each case.

Tags: Greenhouse
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