Greenhouse - tips on material selection

Which materials are best for a greenhouse in your garden? We have summarized some materials and their properties for you.

A greenhouse can supply the hobby gardener with fresh vegetables all year round. Furthermore, sensitive tropical plants get a home here and it is easy for you to grow new plants because they find the optimal climate here. Greenhouses are offered in different materials. You should already know the advantages and disadvantages of the individual materials in advance in order to select a suitable model or to follow them when building a greenhouse yourself.

Greenhouses as a practical and functional solution

The range of greenhouses is wide. You can choose from constructions made of aluminum, steel, wood or plastic. This sometimes results in large price and quality differences. You should clarify in advance where you want to set up your greenhouse and how you want to use it.

Tip: If you want to heat your greenhouse in winter, high-quality greenhouses with good thermal insulation will save you long-term costs.

Why buy a greenhouse?

If you buy a greenhouse, you can relax and garden without having to make great advances in the weather forecast. Due to our climate, the cultivation of heat-loving plants in the bed is often problematic or simply impossible. Just play a trick on the weather and harvest your strawberries in spring. You also score with lush flowering plants, as they have already advanced the bulbs in the greenhouse. The plants are protected from wind, precipitation and cold spells.

This benefits from the greenhouse principle. Sunlight penetrates the greenhouse and hits the ground. The soil heats up quickly and the heat is also released into the environment. So it is always pleasantly warm in the greenhouse and there are ideal conditions for heat-loving plants, for exotic plants, for bonsai or for alpine plants.

Where to with the greenhouse?

Not only the material, but also the location should be considered before buying a greenhouse. The location should be freely accessible so that the sun can penetrate freely. Furthermore, greenhouses should be placed as close to the house as possible so that the path does not appear too far if you want to get fresh vegetables. Also pay attention to the distance to the property boundary, so that you do not break a dispute with the neighbor from the fence.

What material are greenhouses made of?

A greenhouse is not automatically made of glass. You can choose from different materials:

Glass greenhouse

The classic method does not automatically have to be the best solution for the greenhouse. Glass always carries a risk and the risk of breakage due to storm damage and falling branches is great.

Tip: Single glass does not protect against UV rays.

In a glass greenhouse, heat can quickly build up and the plants simply get too much light. The low price and the relatively easy cleaning speak in favor of the glass as the starting material.

Tip: Light-resistant insulating glass is of higher quality, but also costs more.

If you do not want to use your greenhouse all year round and only want to garden in it between spring and autumn, you are well advised to use an inexpensive glass greenhouse.

Plastic greenhouse

If your greenhouse is made of plastic, it can hardly shake anything. Plastic plates made of polycarbonate are often used. The material is high quality and resilient. The plates are available in different thicknesses. These are usually between 6 and 16 millimeters. UV light is not allowed through. The light transmission is about 75%. With these plastic sheets you achieve perfect thermal insulation.

Tip: Polycarbonate sheets don't break and rain and hail won't damage them.

Plexiglass greenhouse

Acrylic plexiglass panels are also very suitable for the greenhouse. Rely on a high quality material and don't be afraid to dig deeper into your pocket. High-quality double-wall sheets made of plexiglass are UV-resistant and have a thickness of up to 16 millimeters.

Plexiglas panels have the lowest UG value (heat transfer coefficient for glass) and thus ensure perfect thermal insulation.

Foil greenhouse

Film is the cheapest solution for a greenhouse. There are different strengths. Foil greenhouses usually last about five to ten years. If you use thicker film, it will tear less quickly and you can better mask any damage. Foil greenhouses are not suitable for the winter half-year. Even in the event of rain, storm and hail in summer, compromises must be made and it is advisable to additionally secure the greenhouse and to secure it in a particularly stable manner.

We have summarized the properties of the different materials for you:

  • stable
  • durable
  • visually appealing
  • very translucent
  • does not break
  • good insulation properties
  • easy to maintain
acrylic glass
  • does not break
  • very good insulation properties
  • good light transmission
  • inexpensive
  • easy to clean

Suitable material for the frame

When choosing the frame, you also have the choice of different materials. Metal has proven particularly useful. Wood is often used for self-made greenhouses for the garden. It is important to protect yourself against damage caused by the weather and to give the greenhouse a secure concrete foundation.

Tip: Greenhouses with aluminum frames are characterized by a long shelf life. Aluminum reacts with oxygen and the natural patina creates reliable corrosion protection.

Greenhouses with a wooden frame fit very well into the natural environment in the home garden. Because of the visual effect, many hobby gardeners choose wood. However, it should be borne in mind that you need to regularly maintain greenhouses with wooden frames. Wood reacts to moisture and has a high level of wear, whereas aluminum is particularly weather-resistant and requires little maintenance.

Tip: Opt for a durable and high quality wood. Hardwoods from the tropics are more expensive, but withstand the warm, humid climate in the greenhouse much better than domestic wood.

Are there building codes for setting up a greenhouse?

As a rule, no special regulations have to be followed when setting up greenhouses. If you want to be on the safe side, you should inquire at the responsible building authority and inquire whether the development plan contains corresponding requirements.

Tip: Certain building codes apply to conservatories and Anlehngewächshäuser.