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Advances in material science have led polyethylene to become a cheap and functional greenhouse covering option alongside its more conventional counterparts: glass and polycarbonate. However, polyethylene greenhouses may not be suitable for every greenhouse implementation. Continue reading to learn about the pros and cons of using a polyethylene-based greenhouse solution.



To start, we’ll cover the redeeming qualities of polyethylene film over its alternatives.


Lower Initial Investment

As the cheapest of all greenhouse covering options, polyethylene keeps your initial costs low, which is excellent for operations of all sizes.


Easier Setup and Maintenance

Even for someone with limited expertise, polyethylene greenhouses are relatively easy to build, cutting setup costs and labor. Antistatic film additives reduce dust and moisture buildup on the film, which means less time spent maintaining the greenhouse.


Better Functional Properties

Compared to other greenhouse options, polyethylene is proven to be the most effective heat insulator with cost savings of up to 40% versus alternative options. With ultraviolet additives, polyethylene is also the most efficient light transmitter of all the alternatives. Since the film is a breathable material with a high oxygen transmission rate, it will allow for better airflow within the greenhouse than the other impermeable options.



Unfortunately, no solution is perfect for every situation. These are some of the instances where polyethylene does not excel.


Prone to Wind Damage

Although polyethylene holds strong against most wear-and-tear, it is particularly susceptible to wind damage, making it unsuitable for applications in windy locations. However, you can lessen these effects by installing a two-layer covering with an air pocket between the two layers.


Increased Replacement

Over time, the film begins to yellow, tear and becomes less effective. The only option at this point is a total replacement. A polyethylene greenhouse’s typical lifespan is about four years, as opposed to the longer-term solutions, which can last from 15-25 years or be permanent. The replacement and labor costs may not be suitable for someone looking for a permanent solution.


In conclusion, a polyethylene greenhouse covering is a cheap and efficient alternative to conventional greenhouse construction in most situations, saving both time and money. However, they may not be suitable for permanent implementations. If you are looking to implement a polyethylene greenhouse, we have several custom options available. Contact us to learn more.

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