Home > Functional > Choosing the Right Greenhouse

Choosing the Right Greenhouse

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 17 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Aluminium-framed Wooden-framed

There is a huge variety of greenhouses on the market and the right choice depends a great deal on budget and size.

But when it comes to the materials, with a few exceptions the choice tends to come down to wood or aluminium for the frame and glass or plastic for the windows. So what are the pros and cons of each and which one's the right choice for you?

Aluminium Frames

Let's take aluminium first. It's light, durable, impervious to damp and usually cheaper than wood. But it's not as sturdy and the individual sections of frames can be bent very easily. This flexibility is great when you are putting an aluminium framed greenhouse together, and the whole building takes on more rigidity when assembled.

But an aluminium frame will not be as strong as a wooden frame and the assembly as a whole is lighter. This makes them less able to withstand very high winds. The other disadvantage is that if the spars are bent or broken by high winds, they aren't easy to repair, they can only be replaced. And that's if the manufacturer will sell spare parts.

Wood Frames

Wood, on the other hand, can be repaired by replacing sections of frames or by rubbing down, filling and re-coating. Having said that, wood will show the ravages of time and weather more easily and requires rubbing down and retreating anyway, even if there's nothing wrong with it.

This can be done annually although in most parts of the UK you can get away with leaving it for up to five years between sessions, as long as the wood is properly treated before the greenhouse is assembled. Finally, although wooden-framed greenhouses are more expensive than their aluminium-framed counterparts, most people agree that wood looks a lot better.

Glazing Choice

When it comes to glazing, glass and plastic are available for both wooden-framed and aluminium-framed greenhouses. The pros and cons are a lot simpler here, plastic is lighter and cheaper but relatively short lived, glass is superior in almost every way but more expensive.

Of course, plastic panes won't crack and snap like glass does, so plastic could definitely be a consideration if you have children running around the garden. It's safer for them too.

Best Glazing for Plants

When it comes to properties to help nurture growing plants, it's not such a clear-cut case. Glass is colder to the touch than plastic and that gives a clue to the fact that it will let heat out more readily than plastic. But glass is also more efficient than most plastics at transferring light through to the growing areas.

And even the plastics that are more efficient than glass will not remain so for very long because plastic scratches easily and goes opaque with age. Glass is harder to scratch and can be cleaned without affecting light transmission properties as long as the right cleaning materials are used.

Round-Up

To be honest, we wouldn’t be surprised if you have arrived at the end of this article and are still confused about the best choice. It's a complicated subject and there are a lot of contradictory pros and cons for both frames and glazing for greenhouses.

But work through it step by step, then take a wander round a garden centre or DIY store to look at a few options, and you'll soon know what's right for you.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopfully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Trine
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    We have been renovating our house for last 7 years turning the 80's nightmare to a nice modern space. We've got bored and now want to sell…
    29 January 2017
  • AGardenBuilding
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    Ernie - Your Question:I have a four bed house but all rooms are extremely small. The house was built as part of an estate in the 1980s.…
    17 November 2016
  • Ernie
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    I have a four bed house but all rooms are extremely small. The house was built as part of an estate in the 1980s. The rooms are so small…
    16 November 2016
  • HouseBuyer
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    My fiancĂ© and I viewed a property and really wanted to purchase it. Fortunately prior to involving Solicitors etc. it came to light that…
    11 April 2016
  • jont
    Re: Building Regulations for Garden Structures
    Hi i live in a housing trust flat (bottom) my neighbour also! he has a12ft by 12ft outside my windows…
    19 March 2016
  • AGardenBuilding
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    john the paint - Your Question:I have planning to build an annex on the side of my existing house, question, if sold in the future can I…
    15 February 2016
  • john the paint
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    I have planning to build an annex on the side of my existing house, question, if sold in the future can i sell it has a separate sale to…
    12 February 2016
  • AGardenBuilding
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    jono - Your Question:I am wanting to build a 30 ft by 15 ft self contained flat to rear of detached garage. The house is detached sitting…
    2 September 2015
  • jono
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    I am wanting to build a 30 ft by 15 ft self contained flat to rear of detached garage. The house is detached sitting on over 296 square…
    1 September 2015
  • AGardenBuilding
    Re: Patio Awnings and Canopies
    wooz - Your Question:Hi do I need planning permission for sun awning canopiesOur Response:It dep
    1 September 2015
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the AGardenBuilding website. Please read our Disclaimer.