(307) 429-0674

Mon-Sat 9am-5pm EST

Best Greenhouse Covering Materials for DIY Greenhouses

Greenhouse with Plants Inside with Text on the left : Best Greenhouse Covering Materials

Table of Contents

Choosing the best greenhouse covering material is critical because it will influence how much light your plants will absorb. There are various materials that provide a precise quantity of light to pass through and give different amounts of light distribution. You have to be vigilant when choosing the material for the cover because extreme lights can overheat your plants. Too much shading, on the other hand, can cause plants to deteriorate from a shortage of energy.

Building your own greenhouse from scratch instead of buying a complete kit is an option for DIY warriors who also love to have a year-round garden. You can have an amazing fruitful greenhouse even when you are low on budget. All you need is enough carpentry skills. For one thing, growing your vegetables and other produce can certainly beat the cost of buying them from the grocery store.

Another attraction is the opportunity of choosing your own design. Having a garden in all seasons for half the cost is an enticing project few DIY enthusiasts could ever resist. Here’s a step by step guide on building a small greenhouse.

Every greenhouse covering material has its unique benefits. It is vital to examine your particular site before arriving at a conclusion. Here’s a breakdown of things you might want to check before getting your greenhouse coverings.

Like it? Pin it!

Two DIY greenhouses with different covering material and the text: Greenhouse Covering - What's the best material for DIY greenhouses?

The benefits of using greenhouse plastic

Greenhouse plastic rolls and sheets are one of the best greenhouse covering materials that are way different from regular plastic. They are hardy and do not easily tear even when cut. This is because frays do not happen to the ends when they are cut up. They are also designed to stand up against all weather conditions. The woven greenhouse film design to the greenhouse plastic before they are formed into sheets or rolls is the singular feature that differentiates them from ordinary plastic.

They are an inexpensive option than purchasing a large frame of glass. They are also easy to set up, and can perfectly match different greenhouse shapes and sizes. These plastics are also capable of framing windows, doors, and vents.

Front view of a greenhouse showing coverings on door and window

Finally, the durability of greenhouse plastics means that much less plastic will end up as trash, reducing the amount of pollution in the area.

Different kinds of greenhouse plastic

These four different types of greenhouse plastics are all capable of lasting for two to three years before they need to be changed. However, extreme weather conditions such as severe frosting, tornadoes, hail, and hurricanes are factors that hasten the lifespan of the plastic.

Polycarbonate plastic

Polycarbonate plastic is considered as one of the best greenhouse covering materials. This plastic is a twin or double-wall made of Polyethylene plastic. If maintained properly, this type of covering can last for ten years or more. Year-round gardening is easy because of the heat and humidity-retaining feature.

Polyethylene plastic

There are two kinds of plastic strengths in Polyethylene. Large industrial projects usually use commercial grade Polyethylene. The utility-grade is the recommended strength to use for small or medium-sized personal greenhouse projects.

The most common one usually sold by online gardening sites is the utility grade. If maintained well, Polyethylene can last from one to two years. A poly repair kit is a handy thing to have around the greenhouse as a way of mending small tears.

Drilling and installing greenhouse covering

Polyvinyl plastic

Polyvinyl is a pricier plastic compared to Polyethylene. The hardiness of the plastic is the justifying reason behind the higher price. It is because Polyvinyl can last for five years or more if kept in optimum condition. This means regular checks and cleaning to maintain its durability.

Copolymer plastic

The Copolymer is a notch higher than Polyethylene plastic regarding longevity and strength. If cleaned and checked regularly, it can last for three years or more. However, the plastic has been seen to become brittle, frail, and subject to breakage after the three years is up. There is an expensive type of Copolymer variety that is as clear as glass and far stronger than the lower-priced kind.

Best options for greenhouse covering materials

It is exceptionally rare that there is a single product, in any market, that will fit everyone. The same issue is with greenhouse coverings. It is quite different if you need to have products that will cover large areas and be used together with other tools. Or you just require a cold frame that will protect young and delicate plants from harsh temperatures.

Before you make your choice, you will need to know exactly what is it you need. Once you have your requirements ready, you can either opt to buy prefabbed products directly or to purchase a larger amount of coverage. Additionally, different materials should be used as previously explained.

A man installing Solexx Greenhouse Covering Rolls

Covering rolls

Easy to install and perfect for those who operate with volume, the Solexx Greenhouse comes in either XP or Pro models that you should use depending on your area and other circumstances. The material is quite light and can be placed over any greenhouse structure. Additionally, it has a high rate of light diffusion and will ensure that all of your plants receive the full beneficial spectrum.

Finally, the twin-walled Polycarbonate is perfect at heat retention, and thicker layers will significantly decrease the price of heating inside the greenhouse. This fact makes the Solexx covering rolls the right choice for those who have serious produce production in mind.

Installed Solexx Greenhouse Covering Panels

Covering panels

This is a middle solution between highly adaptable rolls and full greenhouse panels. It is a perfect solution for those who want to bother more with the contents of their greenhouse than the covering itself. It is very easy to place and doesn’t require a lot of structure underneath to stay firm and propped up.

Additionally, it is flexible enough to bend completely over the corners and leave no spots uncovered. Finally, it is very easy to maintain while staying highly durable and resistant to almost all types of weather.

Solexx greenhouse panels come in two types of thickness, 1/8th of an inch for XP panels and 1/5th of an inch for Pro panels. Both are made twin-wall material that provides up to 77% of soft, diffused light, perfect for plant growth.

Installed Palring 146 UV, AF & IR Shiny Woven Greenhouse Cover

Woven greenhouse covers

For those who need a woven greenhouse cover, plant production is more than just a hobby. This is a professional product that comes in very large rolls and is best suited for professional greenhouse production. It diffuses a soft shiny glaze that is good for any type of plant. It provides exceptional defense not only from heavy snow and hail but UV radiation as well.

This cover is made with an anti-drip technology. It pushes all of the water right into the edges of the cover, preventing the formation of mold or any other pathogens. This is especially important for commercial grade greenhouses that are much taller than those found in gardens.

The light transmitted by the cover is reduced by around 30%. It focuses only on the visible spectrum. This ensures the safety of your plants from infrared and ultraviolet radiation. It only transmits the best wavelengths for plant production.

What do you think: Which greenhouse covering is best for your DIY project? Leave a message below and we’ll be glad to answer your questions.


  1. Ibrahim Sani Maude

    How could I obtain covering materials in my country Nigeria? I need one for students research.

    1. Greenhouse Emporium

      Sorry, but I have no clue. We are focusing on U.S. market.

      1. Does that mean you would not even consider trying to ship something to Nigeria to helpthem out?

        1. Greenhouse Emporium

          No, because we don’t own warehouses. We ship directly from the manufacturers (Polytex and Solexx). Maybe contact them if they are willing to ship to Nigeria. Good luck!

  2. Wolf Bennett

    I’D like to order polycarbonate sheets for my greenhouse project.
    roof is 12 X 24
    where do I order?
    and what is the cost? Thank you

    1. Greenhouse Emporium

      Hi Wolf, please check out our Greenhouse Covering collection. These are the only products we offer.

  3. AAA DIY-er

    Can I use coloured Polyethylene sheeting/film, e.g. green for a greenhouse or will the ‘light’ be depleted of the correct wavelengths needed?
    Thank you

    1. Greenhouse Emporium

      I’d say it wouldn’t work as well as real Polycarbonate (I am saying that while not fully knowing the product you’re talking about). It won’t let as much light through so it would be more like indoor gardening with a small window.

  4. Hooking on info for a small green house
    Just me and my wife in our 70s
    Live on the southeast Gulf Coast of Texas
    Want to raise a few tomatoes _ cucumbers in the winter months and used a raised hot bed to propgating my pepper tomato green seeds for transplanting
    I need general info on this I will build my own green house frame
    Thanks Tony

    1. Greenhouse Emporium

      Hi Tony, you might be interested in our article on building a hoop greenhouse, this sounds perfect for your scenario: How to Build an Inexpensive Hoop Greenhouse. Unfortunately, we don’t have additional plans for building your own. We hope you’ll find one so you can be a greenhouse gardener soon. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *