Traditional Glass Vs. Modern Plastics for Your Greenhouse

Woman in greenhouse

Traditional glass greenhouses have been the standard for many centuries — but polycarbonate greenhouses are dominating the modern era. If you plan to buy one, you can now choose between glass and plastic — each with its own strengths and advantages.

Heat Retention

Polycarbonate greenhouses have better insulation and heat retention compared to glass greenhouses. This gives polycarbonate greenhouses higher temperature environments, which is especially sought after during the cold months.

Plants require plenty of heat and polycarbonate greenhouses allows you to work during colder times and extend your productivity. However, in places with plenty of sun and heat — glass greenhouses might be better choices. You might need to take additional cooling measures with a polycarbonate greenhouse to periodically release heat and induce air circulation.


Glass greenhouses may require additional planning to make sure crops and plants get adequate sunlight. You will need to consider the sun’s angles and the shadows created inside your greenhouse. Polycarbonate greenhouses diffuse sunlight — making it available to all of your plants inside.

Plants and crops receive constant and equal amounts of sunlight — regardless of their location — ensuring more consistent growth and more uniform crops. This allows you to allocate more plants and use more space within the greenhouse.


Glass is more expensive than polycarbonate sheets. Whether it’s purchasing, installing, repairing, or maintaining — glass will always cost more. Polycarbonate greenhouses are sturdier and less fragile.

A wayward stone will not easily damage or break a polycarbonate sheet. Glass is fragile and extremely vulnerable to impacts and accidents. Glass greenhouses will require more repairs and replacements.

Ease of Installation

The fragility of glass requires extreme precision in cutting and installation. One slight mishap can ruin a whole panel of your greenhouse. On the other hand, polycarbonate sheets require very little skill to cut or shape.

A simple box cutter and a ruler is all you need cut polycarbonate sheets — none of the special tools needed to cut glass. Polycarbonate sheets are quite sturdy and durable, making installation a lot easier. A sudden drop or a wayward nail will do little to damage a polycarbonate sheet, requiring less skill and coordination. Repairs are also easier with a polycarbonate greenhouse.

A damaged panel can easily be removed without fear of damaging the surrounding panels and replacing the panels can easily be done at home with the previously mentioned box cutter. Glass is harder to work with and you may need to go to the manufacturer or to a glassmaker to get exact measurements.

Overall Safety

Woman checking flowers

For pets and toddlers, being around glass can be dangerous. Even if the glass doesn’t break, the rigidity of the structure can cause significant damage to a speeding toddler. If it breaks, then the situation becomes even more dangerous.

Polycarbonate greenhouses eliminate these risks. Polycarbonate sheets will not shatter and their softer surface is less punishing than rigid glass. If your kids play in the garden — then safer plastic sheets may be a better option.

Traditional glass houses have a certain charm to them — but aesthetics isn’t everything. Polycarbonate greenhouses outperform their traditional glass counterparts in every important aspect of crop and plant production. They are better for your plants, more efficient, less expensive, easier to install and repair, and are safer for the kids.

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