Modern Greenhouse Options: Glass vs. Polycarbonate

man taking care of plants

Glass isn’t the only option when building or choosing a greenhouse. Using clear polycarbonate is a viable alternative to traditional glass, and its use in modern greenhouses has become quite popular. Polycarbonate sheets are somewhat superior to glass in several aspects which are essential for your conservatory.

1. Insulation and Heat Retention

Polycarbonate sheets insulate your greenhouse better than glass. Polycarbonate greenhouses have a higher rate of heat retention as well as a higher temperature environment. This extends your growing season, allows you to continue growing and planting crops over the winter, or even grow crops that require higher temperatures. Glass greenhouses don’t retain the same levels of heat, but this becomes a plus in tropical climates. Polycarbonate greenhouses might require cooling measures during the height of summer, such as venting or specially purposed greenhouse window shades.

2. Light Distribution

Glass greenhouses let sunlight directly pass through — including ultraviolet (UV) radiation. While some proponents argue that UV radiation increases plant growth; studies have shown that UV has damaging effects on plants. Polycarbonate sheets diffuse sunlight and filters out harmful UV rays. Diffusing the sunlight also makes it available to every corner of your greenhouse, so you don’t have to worry about optimal plant placement to avoid shadows. Your crops will have more consistent growth and uniformity — something that every grower strives to achieve.

3. Safety

shattered window glass

Glass greenhouses can be vulnerable to damage, and shattered glass can be dangerous. An errant rock can turn your conservatory into a hazard, especially if there are children in the house. Polycarbonate greenhouses are sturdier and errant rocks or even directed force will do very little damage. There are no risks of shattering or sharp shards lying around, and the softer surface ensures that even a running child won’t hurt himself/herself on collision.

4. Installation and Maintenance

Polycarbonate sheets are easier to install and maintain. Glass is fragile and requires the expertise of professionals to install. Damaged glass needs to be replaced, and you can’t do that on your own without the proper equipment. On the other hand, polycarbonate sheets are a lot easier to install. There’s no risk of shattering even if you drop them so you can fumble your way without consequence. While it takes a lot to damage a polycarbonate sheet — repairs are generally straightforward. You can easily cut a measured panel with just a simple box cutter, and you can probably do the installation on your own.

5. Cost

Glass is more expensive, but certain greenhouse owners prefer its look over polycarbonate sheets. Polycarbonate sheets don’t provide the same clear transparency as glass, but they cost a lot less. The sturdiness of polycarbonate sheets also ensures less breakage, and even repairs will cost a lot less.

Gone are the days of traditional glass greenhouses. Though some owners prefer their more aesthetic look, serious greenhouse owners are turning to polycarbonates to build their greenhouses. Polycarbonates are less expensive, easier to use, safer for your kids, and better for your plants and crops.

Scroll to Top