Greenhouse Roof Type: Structure and Appropriate Design
A greenhouse roof is not one size fits all, and effective greenhouse roofing can be attained through a number of different materials. The most common materials used as greenhouse roofs include glass, polyethylene film, double-layered panels of polycarbonate or acrylic, and fiberglass panels or sheeting. Each of these materials has benefits and drawbacks, and one may be more suited to a particular type of greenhouse than another. Each greenhouse roof type material has one very important characteristic in common: it is a clear or semi-clear, light-permeable material that allows the plants inside to receive the light and heat they need to grow.
When choosing which material is best for a greenhouse roof type, the builder must consider his budget and the type of greenhouse he would like to build. Different materials may be better depending on whether the greenhouse will be small or large, or if it is a permanent or semi-permanent structure. The type of framing materials can also make a difference in the best materials for a greenhouse roof. Having a well-constructed plan is a good first step in determining which roof is best suited to the greenhouse.
The most traditional and permanent solution for a greenhouse roof type is glass. It’s the clearest, most light-permeable material available, and can last long when installed correctly. Glass is often the best choice for permanent greenhouses, solariums, or sunrooms. Tempered glass, which can be up to five times as thick as regular glass, poses the least risk of cracking or shattering. A greenhouse roof made of tempered glass may be the only roofing material that can hold very heavy, wet snow for long periods without collapsing.
Glass roofing does have its drawbacks, though. It generally requires the highest upfront cost, not only due to the cost of the glass but also because it requires strong, sturdy framing materials to support it. Care must be taken to carefully construct and seal glass greenhouse roofs, as those not sealed properly have a high probability of leaking. Glass also carries a higher risk of breakability than some other materials, and it’s not the best insulator.
Open roof greenhouses provide a natural environment for plant growth and an artificial environment when it is too hot or cold. Opening the roof over the plants increases light intensity which helps control growth, flowering, and crop timing. It also reduces electricity costs as an expensive cooling fan isn’t needed.
The quality of a greenhouse largely depends on its roofing, as a good greenhouse roof can provide a number of benefits in the form of minimized heat loss, reduced heating cost, effective heat retention at night, and enhanced yield of your plants. In fact, when you build a greenhouse, the roofing and framing have to be given the top priority. Since it serves as the base for insulation purposes, a greenhouse roof’s frame should be both functional and durable. Read on to learn some important tips that will help you to effectively frame your greenhouse roof.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Tape measure
- Slate Cutter
- Seaming pliers
- Hip runner
Selecting Materials to Frame Your Greenhouse Roof Type
There are several materials available in the market for greenhouse framing purposes. However, the selection of appropriate materials to frame your greenhouse structure depends on a variety of factors, such as its intended purpose, the size of the greenhouse, its location, and the climate. For instance, opting for materials such as galvanized steel is an excellent choice if you want to construct a durable greenhouse. If it is for commercial gardening purposes, materials like aluminum will be a perfect alternative. Aluminum is also a great choice if you want to build low-cost and long-lasting greenhouse frames. Another common material that is used for greenhouse roof framing is wood, which is not only easy to construct but also provides an attractive appearance. The most popular wood used for roof framing are Black Locust, Red Cedar, and Red Wood. Other materials that are used for greenhouse roof framing purposes are PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), plastic, resin, and Solexx composite, which is a blend of PVC, composite tubing, and steel.
Determining the Appropriate Design for Framing the Greenhouse Roof
Selecting the right design is equally important for framing the greenhouse roof. Greenhouse roofs are usually framed using gable, gambrel, mansard, and Dutch light. Each material has their own special qualities. For example, gable and gambrel designs are perfect for the construction of greenhouses in snowy regions. Likewise, to grow plants that require plenty of winter light, mansard will be a great choice. In addition, Dutch light will be useful for breeding low-growing plants like lettuces.
Framing the Greenhouse Roof Type
This step should be carefully carried out, as it determines the quality and success of your entire greenhouse. For instance, if you use lumber for framing purposes, it will be a good option to paint it with a top quality white latex paint for best results. For framing a greenhouse roof type, it usually requires 2×4 rafters. However, if it’s to be used for roofing greenhouses in snowy regions, large 2×6 rafters may be required. These rafters ought to be nailed atop the plates in addition to the ridge board the crest of the roof. However, prior to framing the roof, make sure that each rafter has been cut in such a way to suit the plan as well as dimensions.
Retractable Flat Roof
The flat roof is the next best option to growing crops. Designed to provide maximum exposure to the outdoors while providing essential cover, the Flat Roof by Rough Brothers is paramount in crop protection. As close as you can get to growing outdoors, the retractable greenhouse roof by Rough Brothers encourages the benefits of natural ventilation and light while providing a refuge for the wind, the sun, and less than desirable temperatures.
6 Advantages to an Open Roof Structure
Improved Air Flow
A vertical roof opening is one of the biggest perks of an open roof structure. It allows the grower to create an environment similar to the outdoors, which can harden off plants so that they perform better during shipping, while they’re on display at retail and after they replanted in the landscape.
Options to Adjust the Opening
In the event of rainy or snowy weather, the structures open roof panels that can be adjusted to protect against unwanted moisture, yet still allow for air flow. The peak gutter in the very top of the structure catches precipitation, while the roof can remain open for about 4 inches to provide convection.
Sidewall Additions for Amplified Circulation
Open roof structures have sidewall options that maximize air movement while other growers use fans to increase air movement.
Ideal for Annual Crops
Annual crops grow well in an open roof structure, especially if the greenhouse has a heated concrete floor.
Superior Light Levels
Opening up the roof means more sunshine can be let into the greenhouse, even if the roof is partially closed during the morning or later afternoon. It also helps if growers opt for the diffused poly coverings.
Practical Retail Applications
With natural ventilation and air flow, the need for fans and pads is significantly reduced. White noise is lessened as a result and creates energy savings. Lastly, the overall environment is more pleasing for garden patrons.
Read more: How to Determine Steel Roof Damage