We offer three different types of standard coverings for your shelter solutions.
We offer two types of 7.2 mil plastic and one type of 12 mil tarp.
All of the covers can be fastened to our structures using wirelock, which is a flexible steel wire, bent into an aluminum channel on either end of the structure.
The other key differences are price and life expectancy.
Plastic is the less expensive option of the covers that we offer and is 7.2 mil and available in white or clear.
It generally runs between 15¢-20¢/sqft depending on the size piece you require.
Life expectancy is 6-7 years for single-layer plastic or 6-8 years for double plastic.
7.2 mil plastic is also available with an anti-condensate and infrared coating for even greater drip control and heat savings (see below for more info on these).
Clear plastic comes with a 5-year warranty against deterioration by the sun, and white has a 4-year warranty against deterioration by the sun.
Plants need clear plastic to grow and flourish.
Clear plastic is also used for swimming pool covers, as both applications require sunshine to come through.
The white plastic is best when more shade is required and is ideal for livestock.
It is slightly cooler inside the structure than the clear option.
White plastic is also recommended for swimming pool applications where more privacy is required, as well as covering RVs or other equipment where fading would be an issue.
For greenhouses, swimming pools or livestock, we usually recommend a double cover, with roll-up sides and an inflator fan.
Double covers extend the life expectancy of the cover, reduce heat loss by 30%, which helps maintain the temperature in the structure, as well as reduce condensation.
The small inflator fan that we offer and include in the double cover package prices, uses very little electricity and is left running all the time to keep air between the two layers so you can reap the benefits of the double cover.
Plastic can also come with an anti condensate coating which will reduce or eliminate dripping in your greenhouse.
This is a detergent additive that will eventually work itself out of the plastic. This happens more quickly if you have very high humidity levels in your greenhouse.
The cost is roughly 10% more than regular 7.2 mil plastic and is only available in full rolls (100′ or more).
One other variation on greenhouse plastic is that with an IR (infra-red) coating.
The cell structure that this plastic is made from is significantly different from regular plastic.
This gives the plastic a much softer texture and feels and contributes to it not being as strong as regular plastic. With our supplier switching to 7.2 mil, it is now stronger and can be used as an outside layer.
The slight restriction for people with shorter greenhouses is that the IR plastic only comes in 100′ and 150′ rolls. You would either have a friend who can buy/use the extra or be prepared to “waste” some.
There are also not quite as many choices for available widths as with regular plastic.
The IR plastic can reduce your heat loss by up to 20% over a regular double poly installation.
Even though this plastic has a hazy look to it, the light transmission properties are actually a couple percentage points better.
This plastic comes standard with an anti-condensate coating which means there will be less dripping in the greenhouse.
All of these features make IR plastic an attractive alternative for many people even though the cost is roughly 20% more than regular plastic. This plastic does not have an inside or outside.
Please call Norm to specifically inquire about more information regarding these special coatings.
Over the last year, our plastic supplier has been transitioning to a heavier and stronger plastic film as a structure covering.
6mil mil UV stabilized plastic has been around for a long time. This has now been changed to 7.2 mil. This is a stronger material which is expected to last longer as well.
With the extra weight (20% increase) there is an extra cost but with the extra projected life span, the cost per year should be about the same.
This applies to both the clear and the white.
The IR plastic (infrared) has also been upgraded to 7.2 mil. This is a heat-saving plastic with anti-drip properties. Since it is also now stronger, it is okay to use as an outside layer.
The tarp is more expensive than the plastic options but is also more durable if equipment, car doors or hay might bump against the cover frequently.
It is a 12 mil three-ply woven material, available in white.
It generally runs between 65¢-85¢/sqft depending on the size piece you require.
Life expectancy is 8-10 years for the white tarp. It has a 6-year warranty against deterioration by the sun.
Our tarp consists of a white, clear and white layer.
It is less noticeable in the summer (than other colours) especially once it is not new and clean if camouflaging is a concern.
The white tarp also lets light in, making it easier to work inside the structure because it’s not as dark inside.
Tarps are fully waterproof.
Our white plastic is available in widths of 24′, 32′, 40′ and 48′.
Our clear plastic is available in widths of 25′, 28′, 32′, 36′, 40′, and 48′.
Our white tarp is available in widths of 25′, 32′, and 36′.
A full roll of plastic is considered as 100 or more feet and is sold in multiples of 5′ for length.
One of the less often used roof coverings is the twin-wall polycarbonate.
It is generally considered to be a 15-year material and it has extremely high impact resistance.
The double wall with honeycomb-shaped flutes also gives it very good heat retention properties for a light-transmitting material.
It is considered a rigid material but it does have enough flex to be installed on our gothic-shaped structures.
This material sells for $2.50 – $3.00 per square foot (please call to confirm as this has also been changing recently) and the structure also requires some modification.
This material can also be used as an end and/or door covering when durability and appearance are extra considerations.
We can assist you in weighing the options further, as well as provide you with a sample of each for your review. We look forward to helping you find the cover solution that best fits your needs.
I am in the process of building a small backyard greenhouse (6’x8’x9’high). I’m ready to cover it and long term would like to do the twin wall polycarbonate . Do you cut to specific size and if so what is the sheet size you work from? Is it UV coated one side?
I may be too late in the season to get that organized so perhaps I’ll opt for the 6 mil clear poly 25′ wide to get me going. Can I buy a short length of say 15′ (x25′)? I live in Hamilton and could pick up on Friday if that can work for you.
Thanks so much,
Hi Ralph, I hope you received the reply from Norm yesterday. Polycarbonate structured sheets come as 4′ x 24′ x 8mm thick (I don’t have any idea why part of the measurement is imperial and part is metric). One side has an anti-condensate coating and the other side has a U.V. coating. It is clearly marked on the protective coating which is which. We typically do one cut to the sheet to make transport more convenient. I hope this clarified things. Please let us know if there’s anything else. Thanks!
Our clear plastic is too hot. What covering options exist (it will need replacement anyway) that REDUCE the heat let into the structure? It is too hot in both winter and summer. It is used as a shed not a greenhouse.
When you are not using the building as a greenhouse (growing plants) you have a perfect application for the double white plastic. This way you will maintain all the “greenhouse” characteristics of reduced heat loss/gain, minimizing condensation and stability in heavy winds but without the excessive heat. The white plastic will also reduce the ultraviolet in the structure which is related to fading of objects inside.
It is important to include an appropriate size vent or opening near the peak at each end to allow the upper hot air to escape. This escaping hot air will also add to the circulation inside the structure.
If you’d like to give us a call at 1-866-838-6729 we would be happy to answer any more questions and get that ordered for you. Thanks for your inquiry!