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The Knowledge Center >> About Polycarbonate Greenhouse Panels

About Polycarbonate Greenhouse Panels

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There are a variety of materials used to construct the greenhouse paneling on the market today, one of the most popular being polycarbonates. Polycarbonate is a type of thermoplastic polymer. It is a very durable material with many functional qualities including resistance to heat and impact, and flame retardant properties. Typical manufactured polycarbonate goods include eye glasses, dishware, and glass blends for various uses. Because they are not very scratch-tolerant, some polycarbonate products (like greenhouse panels) are coated with a scratch-resistant glaze.

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Polycarbonates are used for greenhouse panels because of their incredible strength, their tolerance of a wide variety of temperatures, and because their ability to transmit light is superior to that of glass. This high transparency of visible light is altered by various greenhouse paneling manufacturers by adding colorants to make the panels opaque or even dark, depending on the intended greenhouse type and weather conditions where it will be installed. Polycarbonate greenhouse panels also come in a variety of thicknesses, dual layers called “twin-wall”, and corrugated textures.

When determining the right type of greenhouse paneling for your project, consider sun exposure and extreme seasonal temperatures. For example, people living in areas with cooler winters could benefit from having thicker, translucent greenhouse walls, affording them more cold protection and higher heat retention in winter and maximal light transmission for year-round growing. For those in hot summer climates, an opaque, white or darker (smoke) color paneling may be more appropriate for reducing heat and light transmission. Opaque greenhouse paneling is also ideal for crop privacy. The hobby gardener living in a climate with average seasons could benefit from medium-thickness, clear greenhouse paneling, and modify for summer heat with shade cloth.

Manufacturers of polycarbonate greenhouses include Poly-Tex, STC and Sunshine Gardenhouse. Both STC greenhouse and Poly-Tex greenhouse panels are made of 4mm twin-wall translucent polycarbonate intended to create an environment of high heat retention and even, diffused light. Each company offers easy assembly of their greenhouse kits, with strong polycarbonate panels specially designed to snap right into place. Sunshine offers twin-wall polycarbonate greenhouse panels that are treated with special coatings, making them resistant to discoloration and condensation. Some STC greenhouses have one type of polycarbonate paneling on top, like 4 mil twin-wall bronze, and another on the sides, like their clear snap-glass. This type of dual-paneling allows for extra sun protection from above, while letting in more light from the sides for better sun access for lower plant limbs.

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