Greenhouse frames –
Which type of greenhouse frames best suits your needs? Here’s some useful information when your deciding:
Traditionally, greenhouse frames have 4 types of greenhouse frame materials…·
- Plastic PVC tubing
Depending on the home location on where to build your greenhouse, aesthetics, and or appearance is generally a decision maker. Matching your homes surroundings and style is an option to consider.
Greenhouses with custom design features and frames made of wood beams and aluminum will no doubt, cost more!
If a greenhouse for vegetables and herbs, in a controlled environment is your primary goal, then appearance and design may not be a huge consideration.
However, no matter what the ultimate goal is for greenhouse gardening, most people want something that’s long lasting, structurally sound, highly functional and should have a fairly nice appearance.
Most frame types generally look fairly nice, however, the bottom line is usually cost. Quality greenhouse frames regardless of the material used, are strong, and will literally last a lifetime, when taken care of.
Aluminum greenhouse frames
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have painted finishes, and with an unlimited amount of design options. Such as, door opening styles, operable ridge vents, windows and shelving. As well as a number of glazing options. Such as, tempered glass, polycarbonate panels, and in some cases, plastic film. All built to perfection with every piece fitting just right. Most greenhouse structures will most certainly fit perfectly in any back yard setting.
Wood greenhouse frames
are very strong with a strong emphasis on frame design and appearance. These types of greenhouses are stunning when finished. Here too, the emphasis on design lends itself to many options and design appearance. The cost factor for wood greenhouse frames is considerably higher due to manufacturing and installation labor. The overall cost for components, amenities and preparation also comes with higher costs to achieve these stylish greenhouses….
Steel greenhouse frames
have come a long way and many manufactures are making steel greenhouses to fit most design preferences.
Steel greenhouse frames are the least expensive simply because steel is less expensive and the manner in which they manufacture them is very basic and rudimentary. Most steel greenhouse frames are fabricated with galvanized steel / round or square tubing. The designs and styles are not just limited to Quonset rounded roof designs. They are available in gable and lean to style configurations which look good and will last for many years.
Steel frames generally have exposed (fasteners) nuts, bolts and screws with exposed brackets and exposed interior steel cable bracing. Many aluminum greenhouse frames, built this same way and very streamlined. The more upscale aluminum frame structures will have concealed fasteners and a much cleaner looking appearance. If a more rudimentary style of construction isn’t a major consideration, then by all means make this your first choice.
Steel frames are available with many of the same features. Such as automatic operable ridge vents, and an array of exhaust fan options, heaters, operable windows, louvered side vents, swing and slider type doors, evaporative cooling pads. etc etc..
Steel frames generally get covered with 6mm (1/4”) or 8mm (5/16”) polycarbonate panels or poly film. Rarely do you see steel greenhouse frames with glass, this is mostly due to the design of the framing members. In addition, glass makes a steel frame way more expensive which defeats the purpose of providing an effective greenhouse environment for less of an investment.
If glass is a preference then aluminum or wood greenhouse frames would be the way to go..
When permits are necessary, look for companies that can provide engineering specifications and plans for local building codes. If permits are not necessary its best to have any frame manufactured with local code specifications.
All in all, there are many factors to consider, with cost being the primary denominator, do your best to research the options and styles that best fit your needs.