It seems a bit ironic to be using plastic for a project for sustainability, but polycarbonate panels are durable and don’t have to be replaced for years. It offers two major benefits that make it a better alternative to glass: (1) it doesn’t shatter, and (2) it’s lightweight, making it easy for one person to install.
Though it’s relatively easier to install, there are things people do that mess it up and cut its lifespan short. So before you install a polycarbonate panel, read these do’s and don’ts first:
1. DO ask your manufacturer for the right sheet specs
There are many types of polycarbonate sheets, and you should know which ones are the best for your greenhouse. You’d have to look for sheets that block and filter the right amount of sunlight, durable, has at least a ten-year warranty, has the right degree pitch, and can withstand harsh weather.
Although standard panel sizes are 48 by 72 inches, you can talk topolycarbonate sheet suppliers in the UK for special orders up to 36 feet. Also, keep in mind that the ideal thickness for a greenhouse is 4mm.
It’s highly recommended that you consult with polycarbonate panel suppliers first so they can help you find the right polycarbonate panel for your greenhouse.
2. DO store your panels in direct sunlight
Polycarbonate sheets come with protective films. When stored under direct sunlight, the protective film will melt onto the sheets, making them impossible to remove.
3. DO pre-drill holes that are larger than the screws
Polycarbonate panels expand and contract due to temperature changes, and you need to make room for this. That’s why, when drilling holes, you should use a slightly larger drill bit to allow for expansion and contraction.
4. DON’T remove the protective films before you’re ready to install
The protective films serve to protect one side of the sheets from UV rays so that the sheet can last longer. When you remove the protective films before installation, you won’t be able to tell which side is UV protected. This will be a problem because you always need to make sure that the UV protected side is facing the sun.
Quick pro tip: When installing the U on the top and bottom of the sheets, pull the protective film back slightly at the edges, but DON’T remove it completely.
5. DON’T run polycarbonate sheets horizontally
This is one of the most common mistakes made when installing polycarbonate panels.
You need to install polycarbonate panels in a way that the ribs are running vertically so that water and any liquid can drain. When the ribs run horizontally, moisture gets trapped, leading to the growth of moulds. This will shorten the lifespan of your panel and lessen the amount of sunlight it absorbs.
Maintaining the roof of your greenhouse is key to absorbing optimum sunlight and keeping the in-house ecosystem healthy. While polycarbonate sheets are easy to use, observing proper installation techniques can keep them functional and help reach their maximum lifespan.