Glass greenhouses invoke images of quaint country gardens and elegant exotic growers in many people. For others, say the words “glass greenhouses” and they see a Victorian dream come true. Many greenhouse gardeners prefer the look or idea of a glass greenhouse over one constructed of other materials like corrugated polycarbonate or polyfilm. If you are debating on purchasing a glass greenhouse, consider the advantages and disadvantages of glass before you decide.
The Advantages of Glass Greenhouses
The main advantage to owning a glass greenhouse is visual appeal. Glass greenhouses have a distinctly Victorian feel. The combination of sun reflecting off glass and green sprouts inside makes any greenhouse gardener smile. For gardeners that take pride in the appearance of their homes, glass is the desired material for a greenhouse.
Glass greenhouses also add to the value of a property. Because they are more expensive and considered to be a permanent structure, the cost of constructing a glass greenhouse is justified by the increased resale value of the gardener’s home. Some gardeners even take advantage of the beauty of glass to add etchings or leaded glass accents to further accentuate their greenhouses. This adds a unique aspect of personalization for the gardener with an artistic flare.
Mold, mildew, algae, and bacteria are a constant concern for greenhouse gardeners. Many prefer glass to synthetic materials because they are easy to disinfect. A simple bleach and water solution is often all that is necessary for sanitary cleaning.
Traditional glass is easy to break, but most greenhouse manufacturer’s offer tempered glass as an upgrade. A tempered glass greenhouse withstands the rigors of life with Mother Nature. These types of panels can take a few blows from tree limbs during a storm, and can even hold up to a baseball or two if you’re lucky.
You can choose form single layer, double or triple paned glass to improve insulation and ventilation control. Better temperature control can help you produce more crops with less energy consumptions. Glass does not diffuse light. This makes it ideal for areas with heavy cloud cover throughout the day.
Disadvantages of Glass Greenhouses
Along with the advantages listed above, there are disadvantages to consider as well.
Because glass is often considered more of a showpiece, it takes much more maintenance than a translucent greenhouse. The glass shows dust and dirt and will need to be cleaned often. You can’t just rinse it off with a hose and mop; it has to be carefully dried to prevent streaks.
Glass if one of the worst offenders for plant sunburn. Because there is no light diffusion, plants get direct, intense light and can easily burn, read more about light diffusion. You will also not be able to utilize all the greenhouse space in a glass greenhouse due to shadows.
Glass greenhouses pose two other disadvantages for your plants. In the winter you will spend much more money trying to heat a glass greenhouse than a twin-walled plastic counterpart. Compare insulation values here. On the other end of the spectrum, glass greenhouse get very hot on sunny days, imagine sitting in your car on a sunny day. Because there is no diffusion, the heat is very intense. Glass greenhouses need to have very good ventilation.
Glass greenhouses are popular despite the added cost for many reasons. In conclusion, glass greenhouses add beauty and property value to your home. They tend to be more ‘fancy over function’. If you are looking for the appeal of glass, this will be a good choice for you. If you want a greenhouse that has the best qualities for growing your plants, look into the other covering options.
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