Greenhouse frames –
Which type of greenhouse frames best suits your needs? Here’s some useful information when your deciding:
Traditionally, greenhouse frames are built with 4 types of greenhouse frame materials…·
- Plastic PVC tubing
Depending on the home location on where to build your greenhouse, aesthetics, and or appearance to match your homes surroundings and style, might be 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 used to grow 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 do 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, if they are taken care of.
Aluminum greenhouse frames
click image for enhanced view
are available in painted finishes, and with 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.. they are built to perfection with every piece fitting just right…and most certainly fit perfectly in any back yard setting.
Wood greenhouse frames
are also built 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 always the least expensive simply because steel is less expensive and the manner in which they are put together is very basic and rudimentary. Most if not all steel greenhouse frames are made 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 when completed 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 are also built this same way but most are more 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 as offered, 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..
They are generally 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 way the framing members are designed, in addition glass would make a steel framed greenhouse way more expensive which in essence, 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, its best to research the options and styles that would best fit your needs.