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How To Make Your Greenhouse Unbreakable

Written by The Plastic People
19/02/2018 13:20:52

How to make your greenhouse unbreakable – use polycarbonate glazing

Make replacing broken greenhouse glass a thing of the past. It’s easy to do by changing your greenhouse glazing from glass to virtually indestructible polycarbonate.  Most gardeners love their greenhouse because they can turn their back on almost all weather changes and plant what they want when they want. But what to do when treasured greenhouse, or cold frame, glass breaks ?

While you sort out a replacement pane a quick temporary fix for cracks is with duct tape; if the whole pane is broken then a piece of cardboard can be used in place of the broken pane.

Rather than replace with glass and have the same breakage problem again we’d recommend using polycarbonate panes. Because polycarbonate is 290 x stronger then glass you can be confident it won’t break again easily. And because it is half the weight of glass working with it is much easier as well as safer.  Using polycarbonate in your greenhouse instead of glass will make it virtually unbreakable. That’s because polycarbonate is a plastic material which is incredibly strong and offers outstanding levels of light transmission.

We think polycarbonate beats glass hands down for greenhouses and cold frames. Here are the main reasons why polycarbonate is perfect for greenhouse glazing and is an ideal alternative to greenhouse glass:  

It won’t break
Polycarbonate is much, much stronger than greenhouse glass: around 250 x stronger.  Think of the police riot shields (they are made from polycarbonate) and that is how strong it is.  Because it is 250 x times stronger than glass footballs can crash into it, heavy fruits can fall onto it and birds can zoom into it - and they tend to bounce straight back off.  Consequently, it’s much safer and more cost effective because you don’t need to keep replacing it.

It’s safer
Polycarbonate is much safer than glass: it is half the weight of glass so much easier to pick up, move around and install easily. If it is dropped, it will not break into hundreds of sharp pieces like glass.

It filters out harmful UV rays 
Polycarbonate can be bought with UV protection, so it filters out nearly all harmful rays. During manufacturing, a layer of UV absorber is co-extruded onto the surface sides of the sheet, forming a barrier against UV radiation.  This unique protection ensures long term optimal quality under intensive UV exposure.

Insulation properties are good 
Horticultural glass is usually 3mm thick and a single layer has a thermal insulation value of 0.93 while clear, single-layer polycarbonate retains only slightly less heat with a value of 0.83
Bubble wrap or fleece can be used to tender plants in colder weather or, choose 4mm twin-wall polycarbonate and the thermal insulation value rises considerably to 1.42
Twinwall polycarbonate lets light through to areas that glass does not which can be quite an advantage. 3mm polycarbonate has around 96% light transmission compared to 3mm glass which offers 98%; 4mm polycarbonate has around 84%. However, because the light is scattered as it passes through the twin wall, it becomes more diffuse, meaning it penetrates areas that light coming through glass does not, so this can be quite an advantage.

It’s guaranteed
Polycarbonate should have a guarantee against yellowing, hailstones and ageing.

It can be supplied to the size and / or shape  for all greenhouses
Polycarbonate plastic can be cut fairly easily. If you need the pane to be a custom shape or a particular size, then look for a supplier you can deliver panes cut to the size or shape you need. Here’s a shameless plug – The Plastic People can do all this for you and get it to you the next day in most cases (the exception is shapes which may take a few days longer).

It's not just us that rates polycarbonate for greenhouse glazing either: check out what the gardening editor at The Telegraph has to say. Polycarbonate glazing is good for any greenhouse, aluminium or wooden framed.  It is also ideal for making cold frames virtually unbreakable too.

Here’s 5 steps to replacing your greenhouse pane

For aluminum-framed greenhouses:

1.    Remove the clips that hold the glass in place.
2.    Now remove the broken glass. If the above pane overlaps the broken pane, then remove the above pane first.
3.    Clean the seal strip found around the aluminum frame – check it is undamaged. Replace if it is.
4.    Install the new polycarbonate pane.
5.    Replace the clips – there should be a clip every 12 inches.

For wooden greenhouses:

1.    Use small pliers to remove the glazing pins to access the broken glass.
2.    Remove the broken glass. If the above pane overlaps the broken pane, then remove the above pane first.
3.    Remove the old putty from the edges of the pane. If the putty sticks to the wooden frame use a chisel to get it off – though careful not to cut into your wooden frame.
4.    apply a new layer of putty around the sides and bottom of the frame – leave the top edge putty free. Set the new polycarbonate pane into the new putty.
5.    Insert the glazing pins, using a small pin hammer.

It’s fairly easy to switch from glass to polycarbonate yourself – the polycarbonate can be ordered online and delivered cut ready to put in your existing greenhouse frame.

Here’s what you will need to do:
1.    measure your existing greenhouse glazing panes – use these measurements to order your polycarbonate panes. You’ll need the same size replacement panes
2.    remove your existing greenhouse panes – take care for any breaks in the glass
3.    insert your new polycarbonate panes – you’ll find this much easier than glass as the polycarbonate is considerably lighter and you won’t have to watch out for breaks.  It is much safer to work with:)

You’ll find your new polycarbonate greenhouse so strong it can withstand all sorts of high impact bumps and bashes. No need to be concerned with rogue flying birds, stray footballs, falling fruit any longer!

If you are converting your greenhouse or cold frame to polycarbonate The Plastic People can deliver superstrong greenhouse glazing panels made from polycarbonate ready cut to the sizes you need. Find out more about their service here or email their friendly team for advice

Unbreakable Greenhouse 
use polycarbonate glazing for an unbreakable greenhouse

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