We know that the greenhouse plastic film used to cover our greenhouses will degrade eventually. However if properly taken care of, these films can actually last for years. Let me give you a few tips on maintaining greenhouse films so you can maximize their shelf life.

1. Install The Greenhouse Plastic Film Correctly

Correct installation of the film is the first step to maximizing the life of our greenhouses. Here are a few tips you need to keep in mind during installation.

a. Always clean the wooden frames and other parts of the greenhouse before installing the film.

b. Reinforce any supporting structures before installing the plastic films. This will prevent the greenhouse from collapsing and the film from tearing.

c. Make sure the edges of the greenhouse profile are smooth. This protects the film from being cut by sharp edges.

2. Keep Greenhouse Plastic Film Clean

Dirt and grime will degrade the layers of plastic films. That’s why we need to regularly clean the plastic covers of our greenhouses.

a. General cleaning of greenhouses may be done annually but periodic washing is necessary to promote adequate lighting.

b. Use a sponge and warm water to wash away any dirt and grime on the surface of the film. I suggest using a ladder to reach the roof of the greenhouse or the high parts of its walls.

c. Clean the greenhouse on a windy day. This will help the film dry faster. In addition, make sure to do the cleaning on a warm day. That’s because you’ll need to open the windows and doors to dry out the area and doing so in the winter or fall exposes your plants to icy winds.

3. Repair Or Replace Broken Films

Certain factors such as animals or strong winds can cause premature tears on plastic films. The good news is, it’s pretty easy to repair or replace greenhouse plastics.

a. If you bought the film as part of a kit, make sure to check your manual for any instructions on its repair or replacement. If there aren’t any instructions on the manual, try calling the company.

b. If you assembled, the greenhouse yourself, check to see if you have excess film lying around the house. Then measure the tear and see if your materials are enough. If not, you can just go to a hardware store and buy some more.

c. Cut your plastic film according to your measurements. Make sure to have an allowance of at least 1/4 in around the tear. Use packing tape to tack the patch in place.

d. Make sure to wash the surface with soap and water before patching up the tear. The film’s surface needs to be clean in order for the tape to stick to it.

4. Paint White Stripes On The Film

greenhouse_from_1500_trashed_plastic_bottles_image_title_a1vdsThe points where the film comes in contact with wood, metal and other materials are at great risk for excessive heating and degradation. Those areas should be painted white to keep them protected.

a. Use white water-based paint for your stripes. Oil-based paints may react with the materials of the film.

b. Before installation, make sure to paint the frame, crown and all other metal and wooden parts. After installation, paint the parts of the film that touch the wooden and metal parts. Do not wait too long before painting to ensure optimum paint adhesion.

Aside from these tips I mentioned, I’m sure you can find more tips and tricks to maintain your greenhouse plastic film and maximize the life of your greenhouse.

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