DIY Tips: Building a Greenhouse

If you are a task-master who loves to tackle projects in and around your home, you can definitely handle building a greenhouse. All it takes is the right set of materials, a great set of instructions, and a can do attitude. Use these tips when you take on the task of greenhouse design and greenhouse building.

Choosing a Greenhouse Design

For the purposes of this guide, let’s assume that you are going to choose a design to suit your needs and purchase a kit to build your own greenhouse. You need to choose a kit that will fit in the space you have allocated and that has a shape conducive to your planned crops. Take some time to research which shapes work best for your space and crops.

If you are growing for personal use, a smaller DIY greenhouse will suffice. If you want to make your own greenhouse for commercial use, you’re going to need something larger. Most commonly, greenhouses are used for growing fruits and vegetables. Framework kits are available for typical high-tunnel greenhouses in lengths from 18 feet to 30 feet. 

Consider Number and Type of Doors and Associated Hardware

Once you have a basic design selected you should think about the number of doors you need and where they will be located. Questions to consider include:

  • How large should the doors be?
  • Will tractors or other equipment need to enter and exit?
  • Do you need entry and exit on one end or both?
  • What weather elements will you be protecting against?
  • What style are you hoping to achieve?

When building a greenhouse, the size, location, shape, and functionality of doors will impact how you use the greenhouse as well as how long the doors will last. For example, if you live in a climate that will allow you to open up your greenhouse during warmer seasons, you may want a large rolling door on either end that can be fully opened to allow air to pass through. If you live in a climate with harsh winters, you may need to build your greenhouse with heavy duty hardware that can sustain through those conditions. When you are thinking about how to make a greenhouse, it’s important to contemplate the doors and hardware needed.

Covering Your Greenhouse

Pro-Tect Plastics offers a variety of greenhouse cover that can accomplish light filtration, complete light deprivation, or temperature and moisture control to suit your needs. Hen learning how to build a greenhouse, considering the cover is a big part of the process.

Condensation Control Greenhouse Plastic

If you want to know how to make a greenhouse with superior condensation control, look no further. Water will condense on any greenhouse cover. Where that water goes depends on the type of cover you put on your greenhouse.  With condensation control cover, condensed forms a continuous thin sheet rather than forming drops.

The advantages of using condensation control film are:

  • Superior strength handles years of snow and wind loads.
  • Water is able to drain more evenly and will flow to the lowest point of the film’s surface.
  • Light transmission is significantly improved.
  • Reduces nighttime heat losses, maintains leaf temperatures of the plants, and increases the overall effectiveness of the thermal greenhouse film.

Light Diffusion Greenhouse Plastic

Light diffusion greenhouse plastic can prolong your grow season and produce higher yields. This specialized greenhouse plastic is different from light deprivation. Rather than blocking, it evens out the lighting and energy plants receive from the sun. Diffusion reduces shadows and allows the plants to receive a more even distribution of light during the day. Light diffusion greenhouse plastic in a DIY greenhouse can:

  • Allow plants to utilize more PAR light through the course of a day.
  • Eliminate shadows and spread available energy more evenly on the leaf surface.
  • Reduce stress on the top canopy of the plant and more photosynthesis occurring in the lower canopy

Maximum Light Greenhouse Film

If your crops need to receive maximum light when you build your own greenhouse, clear greenhouse plastic will fit your needs perfectly. This greenhouse plastic sheeting provides superior strength, durability, and toughness with a high value compared to other greenhouse cover. Qualities of clear greenhouse cover include:

  • Outstanding light transmission, haze, and clarity ratings that optimize yields.
  • Best value in greenhouse film.
  • Unique manufacturing processes and advanced resin technology provide superior strength.
  • Reduced likelihood of punctures or tears at critical areas, such as folds.

Light Deprivation Greenhouse Cover

Black and white plastic sheeting is used for crop control management in a light deprivation greenhouse. The white side is highly reflective and used to direct light away. The black side is completely opaque and absorbs light, keeping heat and light away. It is also used for waterproofing and temperature control.

Light deprivation cover can be used in a variety of ways in greenhouse design.

  • Line the floors of your grow area, using the white side to reflect light from the floor up to crops and prevent weed and other unwanted growth with the black side.
  • Prevent ground moisture from disturbing controlled humidity levels.
  • Stop soil borne pathogens from rising up into the grow area.
  • Line roof and walls of indoor growing area for additional waterproofing, lighting, and temperature control.

Allow for Inflation When Building a Greenhouse

Greenhouse film will expand and contract as temperatures increase and decrease. Typically, dimensional changes of 1 to 12 inches in length and 1 to 4 inches in width can be expected under field conditions. The actual expansion and contraction will vary with differences in black and white poly film width, gauge, formulation, and manufacturing conditions. Allow for the normal expansion and contraction of the greenhouse blackout film during installation.  Single layer greenhouse film should be installed snugly, but should not be overly tight. Double poly film installations should provide enough slack in the top layer to allow 12” to 24” of inflation.

If you are ready to build your own greenhouse, let the experts at Pro-Tect Plastics help you get the supplies you need to do the job right. Get the best yields and extend the growing capabilities of your DIY greenhouse by following these tips.