The most crucial component of any greenhouse or polytunnel structure is that it provides an optimal plant-growing environment. The best greenhouse plastic depends on the specific setup and needs. So, let us dive into the different types of plastics you can offer with your polytunnel greenhouse kits. We will also see some essential tools that should be provided with the greenhouse plastic for installation.
Let us start with woven and regular plastic sheets. Regular greenhouse plastics are high-quality and great choices for most growing conditions. But if your customers are looking for extra durability or live in an area with frequent thunderstorms and hail, woven plastic can be a better option. The strength factor of woven greenhouse plastic is incredible. It is puncture-resistant and can withstand hail and flying debris.
Woven greenhouse plastic also has two sides- matt and shiny so that the users can get two different levels of diffusion, depending on which way you put it, the location, and what they will be growing. A separate lock channel may also be needed to install woven greenhouse plastic, especially with insect netting and roll-up sides. So make sure you add them to your polytunnel greenhouse kits.
Although woven plastic sheets are extremely durable, tear resistant, and provide great protection against hail and flying debris, and the double-sided ones allow you to choose the desired diffusion level, they can also be expensive, more difficult to put on, and heavier.
Features that Make a Good Greenhouse Plastic
- Thickness: the thickness of the plastic sheets plays a significant role in its durability, insulation properties, and light transmission. The ideal thickness is 6 mil as it balances longevity, strength, and light transmission. The minimum thickness is 3 mil, which can go up to 11 mil.
- Size: the length, breadth, width, and length of the hoops of the greenhouse should be measured to determine the appropriate size required.
- Transparency: polytunnel plastics come in various transparency levels, like opaque, white, and clear. Clear plastic sheets allow the most light, while opaque plastic filters light and are thus useful in warm climates to avoid overheating plants. White plastic sheets provide the least light transmission and have limited applications.
- Single and double layer: while a single layer is great, a double layer provides extra protection from wind hail and increases the R-factor. An inflated double layer can further increase the R-factor of the greenhouse. The woven plastic can be used as the bottom layer, but a double layer of woven plastic alone cannot be used as it will be too heavy to inflate.
- Additional Features: some greenhouse sheets also have features like anti-dust, anti-drip properties, double-layer insulation, infrared tinting, photoselective properties, and UV protection. This helps improve the growing environment and extend the lifespan of the structure.
Tools Needed for Installation
You need to provide customers with some necessary tools for properly installing greenhouse plastic, which is essential to its effectiveness and durability. These tools include diagonal cutters, lock channels, PVC-coated spring wire, greenhouse film, tools for trimming plastic, safety gear, and greenhouse repair tape.
Greenhouse plastic can be secured properly using a lock channel and spring wire, an affordable and economical way of installing greenhouse plastic and other coverings like shade cloth and poly plastic. PVC-coated spring wire, or wiggled wire, is used to secure the coverings into a lock channel. It is used in conjunction with the lock channel, forming a tight and secure attachment to the greenhouse covering. A metal saw or bolt cutters can be used to size the locations that need to be cut. Using spring wire and lock channel allows the grower to remove and reinstall the plastic without causing damage.
Installing Plastic with Roll-up Sides
For roll-up sides, you need to provide greenhouse snap clamps. You may also offer landscape fabric if the growers want to control weeds around the edges of the structure. For end wall plastic, teh spring wire will be inserted into some lock channels as the first or second layer. Wiggle wires should be provided with double-layer greenhouse plastics.
Some Best Types of Greenhouse Plastics
- 6 mil clear polythene: this affordable option is of great value. As the name suggests, the plastic is 6 mils thick while also being strong and long-lasting. You may also look for a UVA coating option to protect it against UV degradation. But, ensure that the protective layer does not come in direct contact with the PVC, which can cause premature degradation.
- High diffusion open UV plastic could be a premier choice in the fruit and floral industry. High diffusion means it is designed to give more light, thus better dispersion and more comfortable temperatures. Some also come with IR additives, anti-drip, anti-condensation, and high light diffusion, which help create ideal growing conditions and higher yields.
As a retailer, you may focus on providing greenhouse plastic with exceptional features like anti-dust protection, maximum light transmittance, better light diffusion, anti-condensation properties, etc.. Look for manufacturers that can offer you greenhouse plastic with these qualities so that your customers leave the store satisfied.