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Polycarbonate Greenhouse Panels?

I am constantly having friends suggest that I should change my existing glass greenhouse panels for polycarbonate as they hold heat better and are far more durable but is this true? Can anyone give me some information regarding this material, because I don't want to make any real changes unless it will improve the habitat of my plants over the winter months.

Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:31 am
Location: Latrobe Pa.

I always thought that glass is the better and double glass the best! Glass last forever and lets near 100% of light through! I Have 10-- 6 foot 8 inches by 4 foot wide double glass doors that I plan to use in the future for my best greenhouse! They are very heavy over a 100 pounds each!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

Greener Thumb
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Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:29 pm
Location: Central PA

some of the question depends on the type of polycarbonate panels -

single pane - essentially "just like single pane glass"
double wall - comes in different "thickness"

single pane glass or polycarbonate are very similar in heat and light transmission - glass is slightly better for light, polycarbonate slightly better for heat retention - but the differences are on the order of less than 5%

btw, there's also acrylic panels -

double wall polycarbonate transmits roughly 15% less light, but loses about half the heat.

Newly Registered
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:48 am
Location: Bristol

I too have heard good things about polycarbonate greenhouse panels. I think people prefer them because they're lighter than glass and shatterproof, might get some myself just trying to price some up at the moment.

Full Member
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:21 am
Location: Europe

I have a few square feet of polycarbonate lying around. Haven't had the time to use it for a greenhouse yet (simply because I still have none).

But what I can see as advantage:

1. Lighter
2. Easier to work with, to cut etc
3. Cheaper (maybe?)

I don't think it would hold heat better. For sure it lets less light in, and for sure it loses some of its transparency over time (seen few several years old panels).

So my take is, if your glass is still staying solid, don't change it. But I would try polycarbonate for a new greenhouse.

P.S. I just arrived to the forum, looks like a great place!

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