Comparing Greenhouse Frames
A greenhouse frame is an important part of any greenhouse because it serves to provide both strength and insulation. Greenhouse frames are made of many different materials, which each have their own benefits. Whether you are looking into buying a particular greenhouse kit or would like to build your own greenhouse, be sure that the frame you choose will be durable and functional.
Solexx Composite Frames
Solexx greenhouse frames are unique because they feature a combination composite tubing (the same material used to make bridges) , steel and PVC. This works very well because the composite tubing and steel provide incredible strength, while the PVC insulates and minimizes condensation on the frame. These greenhouse frames can stand up to harsh wind and weather with no problem and are easy to clean. See how they hold up in the snow (video link).
Aluminum Greenhouse Frame
Aluminum is a popular greenhouse framing material because it is relatively inexpensive, does not rust, and is generally easy-to-assemble. One disadvantage to this material is that it does not insulate, so heat from your greenhouse will be lost through the frame, the aluminum greenhouse frame will have condensation. Also, depending on the quality of the frame, the aluminum may not be strong enough to endure harsh winds or snow.
Resin (Plastic) Greenhouse Frame
This is a strong greenhouse material that does provide good insulation. Most people have great results using this as a frame material, although it is possible that some warping may occur. If choosing a resin frame, it is best to choose one that is light-colored in order to limit the amount of contraction and expansion from the sun's heat.
Wood Greenhouse Frame
Wood is an incredibly popular greenhouse framing material for a do-it-yourself greenhouse. It is easy to work with to build many different sizes and designs. Wood frames that are reinforced provides a good amount of strength, while also providing insulation. The biggest concern with a wood greenhouse frame is that it has the potential to harbor disease and mildew due to the fact that it is fairly porous. Be sure to keep a wooden greenhouse tidy in order to avoid a disease outbreak. If you are building a frame from scratch, be sure to choose a high-quality wood, such as redwood, that has not been treated with any potentially hazardous chemicals because often times these can be damaging to your plants.
PVC Greenhouse Frame
This is another popular greenhouse framing material for those building large greenhouses, especially hoop houses. It is easy to work with because of its flexibility and is often used in building hoop-style greenhouses. The disadvantages of PVC are that it does not offer the strength that many other materials provide. It does offer insulation and, provided that it is UV-treated, can be long-lasting as well (PVC at a hardware store is unlikely to be UV treated).