Plexiglass instead of Solexx

brandond(6)January 15, 2009

I have priced some solexx panel material. Im going to build around a 10x10 greenhouse. This stuff is pricey. IM sure its good, but is it worth the price. The cost of the material that I needed is around 350 bucks. The 90 crate fee for shipping was what bothers me. I want to use my greenhouse yeararound. IM going to insulate it also. Im incorporating cedar siding and use the clear pains as large windows. If I used a thick plexiglass would that be of similar value in terms of insulation properties and still all the UV and protection for the roof. Plexiglass is so much cheaper, Im really considering just using it. thanks,brandon, PS I live in zone 6

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I would, it's at least worth a shot. I wanted to use the Solexx too, but it was so expensive, I just ended up doing a "greenhouse kit" with polycarbonate panels.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 9:27AM
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bcfromfl(z8a NW FL)

Check out the link below. I would estimate plexiglas as similar to the single-thickness 6mm polycarbonate listed. Compare that equation factor with that for 4mm twinwall.

Depending upon what you're planning on growing, the efficiency of your insulation, and size of heater you end up using, the plexiglas could be OK. The design of your gh is also very relevant. In zone 6, I would recommend a saltbox/lean-to design, facing SE, with the NW wall completely insulated. Eliminating a wall = fewer BTUs required to maintain a given temperature.

Another option is to use your plexiglas as planned, then add a second layer on the inside of UV plastic. Cheap, and essentially equivalent to twinwall.

BTW, I'm not confident that all plexiglas available is also UV-resistant. I've seen some old plexiglas exposed to sunlight that was yellowed, and crumbled easily. It's possible that acrylic is acrylic, and therefore UV, but I'm not sure. Warrants some checking...

You'll have to be careful using plexiglas as a material. Predrill all holes, as it cracks and splits easily. Also, if allowed to flex (wind, snow load, etc.) it could also encourage cracking at screw holes. Reinforce where necessary. In my opinion, plexiglas will give you headaches, and is more trouble than it's worth.


Here is a link that might be useful: Greenhouse heater calculator

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 12:33PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I agree with the brittleness of plexi comment.

You'll have to purchase washers with some sort of poly washer on them for all your screws, which will increase your cost.

This issue is you want a dead air space for insulating. So plexi/acrylic means you'll want to purchase greenhouse film for your second layer (for dead air, which will be a better insulator than thickness of one layer), and that cost + shipping may make everything close to even, on top of the fact that your film is subject to tearing.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 12:46PM
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I also agree on the plexiglass. The more it's exposed to sun and weather, the faster it will yellow and crack as it becomes brittle. Clear cast acrylic is another matter, but it's quite expensive and as air trapped between panes is the real insulator, UV resistant twin wall polycarb is a far better choice.

Actually, triple wall would be even better. The payback in fuel savings would come sooner than you might think and in the long run, no amount of insulation is too much.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 10:29AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Your longterm expenses will be higher if you use plexiglas. If you don't get UV-resistant material you will be replacing panels with regularity, and if you pay for the more expensive UV-resistant plexiglas, you might as well go with one of the products intended for greenhouse glazing in the first place.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 3:31PM
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