Glass VS Plastic: Benefits of Using Greenhouse Clear Plastic Film
As a grower, you want to prioritize on the health of your crops, which is not easy especially if the growing conditions aren’t ideal. That’s the beauty of using a greenhouse. It shields the crops from pests, harsh weather conditions, and other hazards. Greenhouses have become increasingly popular among growers, but maintaining one is by no means an easy feat. Using a variety of tools should ease your gardening load.
When it comes to plant coverage, nothing beats the protection that greenhouse plastic sheets provide. So what is a greenhouse plastic sheet and what advantages can you expect from this product, especially when compared to conventional greenhouse sheets? Let’s take a look at the many benefits of using ECO Gardener greenhouse clear plastic film:
The Benefits of Using ECO Gardener Greenhouse Clear Plastic Film
Better Heat Insulation
Clear plastic sheeting is so handy when it comes to maintaining the ideal temperature of a greenhouse. This goes especially for greenhouse clear plastic films made with polycarbonate material. The product insulates plants much more efficiently! Compared to glass sheets, plastic sheets retain heat better. Less heat is also lost when using plastic films as opposed to glass sheets. In addition, plastic sheets could handle average temperature better than some sheeting materials so these products are less likely to fail or break. In the end, you will save more money on insulation using greenhouse clear plastic film.
Durability and Safety
Unlike some greenhouse sheeting materials, plastic films are not only cheaper, they are also more durable than traditional greenhouse sheeting. Plastic sheets are pliant by nature, never brittle. The material is shatterproof and safer to use in places that are prone to extreme weather conditions (excessive heat, hailstorms, etc.) This material is also the better choice if say, your greenhouse is situated near a football field.
The same thing cannot be said for glass sheets, which are bulky, heavy, expensive, and hard to replace. Glass sheets are more delicate than they look. The material is brittle so it cannot withstand impacts from hailstorms, falling rocks, etc. Glass sheets are not designed for harsh weather conditions because the material could crack under extreme heat or sudden weather changes.
Ease of Use and Maintenance
Plastic materials are much lighter than glass materials. This makes plastic films much easier to handle and fit. Since plastic sheets are flexible, they can take on more abuse, which means these products do not require frequent replacements. Replacing plastic films is also easy as long as you got the dimensions right. The material is able to adjust to any greenhouse setting without breaking.
Replacing glass sheets in a greenhouse will require professional installation. The component is just too delicate and it’s not the best sheeting material to get if you like doing the installation or repairs yourself.
Efficient Light Diffusion and UV Protection
The ideal amount of sunlight is critical to the survival of plants in a greenhouse. Plastic sheets are clear, durable, and resilient. The material provides efficient light diffusion and UV protection, more so than standard glass sheets. Glass sheets tend to be thinner than plastic sheets, which mean the material is delicate. Some growers agree that plastic sheets provide better protection from radiation than glass sheets because the material is UV treated. UV-treated greenhouse plastic film have the ability to manipulate the transmission of particular sun wavelengths to boost plant growth.
Affordability and Maintenance Costs
Greenhouse plastic films are not only cheaper than traditional glass sheets, these products could also reduce maintenance costs while lightening your garden loads. If say, you want to build an eco-friendly greenhouse, using greenhouse plastic films will come in handy. Plastic films eliminate the need for artificial lighting when growing the plants. This will save electric consumption tremendously!
On top of that, plastic sheets eliminate the need to move plants in different parts of the greenhouse. Moving plants higher up is a backbreaking chore especially for growers with mobility issues. Because the plastic sheets neutralize damaging ultraviolet rays, the plants will not burn from radiation. Hence, there is no need to move the plants to other places when the sun gets too intense.
Prolonged Growing Season
Want to maximize your yield every growing season? You’d be surprised how effective plastic films are in terms of extending the growing season! If say, you want to grow your own food or you are growing fruits and vegetables to sell, you can expect a steady supply of produce all year round using plastic greenhouse films.
Extending a growing season often require more artificial heating because the weather becomes less than ideal for growing certain vegetables. Plastic sheets minimize the need for artificial heating. The plastic films could increase your yield in any season, allowing you to harvest more fruits and vegetables frequently without spending a small fortune on energy.
Plastic Sheets Features
Say you finally made the decision to switch to greenhouse plastic films, what are the features that you should expect from this product? Continue reading below to find out:
• Customizable Shapes and Sizes
Plastic sheets come in an array of designs and shapes to choose from. You can also ask your local retailers for a customized size or design so the plastic sheet fits your greenhouse to a T. Even better, you can order a smaller or larger sheet to achieve the design that you want or to meet the specific needs of your greenhouse.
• Easy Installation
If you live for easy, DIY assembly, you simply cannot go wrong with greenhouse plastic film. Traditional glass sheets are too heavy and cumbersome to install on your own. This product will require professional installation, which might not be a good thing if you have a limited budget. If you are a hardcore DIY-er, plastic sheeting is perfect for you. These sheets are lighter, easier to install. The installation is simple, quick, and easy too.
• Easy Frame Maintenance
Since plastic sheets are much lighter than glass sheets, these products do not require steel frames. Steel frames are expensive to put together and even more expensive to maintain. You can use a wooden frame instead of a steel frame for your greenhouse. Wooden frames are lightweight, easy to install, and even easier to maintain. You can paint and treat the wood yourself or have this done professionally, it’s your call!
Types of Greenhouse Plastic Films
As the name implies, plastic films are made from plastic. However, these products are made from different types of plastic materials! That's why it pays to check the product features before shopping for greenhouse plastic films. Here are the four different types of greenhouse plastic films that you can find at your local vendor:
• Polyethylene Plastic
Greenhouse plastic made from polyethylene plastic is available in two types: commercial grade and utility grade plastic films. Commercial grade plastic films are designed for heavy-duty applications and large-scale farming. On the other hand, utility grade plastic films are designed for small-scale farming or personal use. Generally, greenhouse films made from polyethylene plastic will last for 2 years if taken care of properly. Every day wear and tear could be repaired using a poly repair kit, which is often bought separately from the greenhouse film.
• Copolymer Plastic
Copolymer plastic is more resilient than standard polyethylene plastic so this product will do well in heavy-duty applications. Since copolymer plastic is more durable than polyethylene plastic, it’s more expensive. Some copolymer plastic sheets are so hardy; they rival glass sheets in performance. However, this plastic sheet tends to become brittle after a few years of use. Exposure to harsh weather conditions will also cause the copolymer plastic to become brittle over time.
• Polyvinyl Plastic
Compared to polyethylene and copolymer plastic, polyvinyl is a more expensive material because it’s thicker and hardier than the other plastic films. Polyvinyl plastic films will last for years thanks to its strength and resilience. This product doesn't require replacement for up to 5 years. As long as you use polyvinyl plastic film with care and it gets regular cleaning and inspection, it will remain useful for years to come.
• Polycarbonate Plastic
Polycarbonate plastic film is the most durable out of all the gardening plastic films on this list. That’s because the material features two layers of polyethylene plastic. The twin wall of polyethylene plastic makes the material hardier and more resistant to heat exposure and humidity. It won’t crack or break as easily. When used correctly and maintained regularly, polycarbonate plastic film will last for at least a decade!
Where to Buy Greenhouse Plastic Film?
You can get greenhouse plastic film at Ecogardener.com or at your local gardening or hardware store.