Four Tips for Preventing Rips in Polyethylene Builders Film Used for Greenhouses

Posted on: 12 April 2016

Polyethylene builder's film is a great option for a budget greenhouse. It insulates almost as well as single pane glass -- polyethylene film has an R-value of .83, while single-pane glass has a value of .95. Builder's film is also affordable, and it lasts three to five years. To ensure it lasts as long as possible, however, you should take some steps to ensure it doesn't get holes:

1. Invest in UV-stabilised polyethylene film.

If possible, look for UV-stabilised polyethylene film. That is designed for use outdoors, and it resists damage from the sun. Without that type of built-in protection, the film may wear down sooner as the sun's rays break down the material.

2. Place your greenhouse in a safe spot.

If you can, choose a part of your yard that doesn't have a lot of overhanging branches. That way, you don't risk the chance that they will fall on your greenhouse and rip the film. If you have to place your greenhouse under branches due to the layout of your yard, prune the tree first to remove dead or weak branches that are most likely to fall.

3. Secure the film tightly.

As you know, greenhouses made of polyethylene film feature a simple frame made of wood, PVC pipes, metal or a combination of those elements. Then, the film simply stretches over the frame. When putting together your greenhouse, make sure to pull the film as taut as possible. That prevents it getting caught in the wind, blowing about and ripping.

4. Use fasteners that don't penetrate your film.

When fastening your film to the frame, some people use staples, but ideally, you may want to use fasteners that don't puncture the film. Once punctured, film is always more likely to rip, as you've disrupted the integrity of the material.

Instead, consider using clips. For example, if you have a PVC frame, you can clip the polyethylene film onto the PVC pipes with small clips, which you can even make yourself. Cut a length of PVC pipe and make a slit vertically done one of its sides. Position your film over your PVC pipe frame. Then, slip the homemade clip over it. Storebought clips or clamps feature roughly the same design concept.

Alternatively, regardless of the type of frame you have, you can secure the polyethylene film by burying it. Pull the film over your frame and leave lots of excess along the edges near the ground. Now, dig a trench next to the sides of your greenhouse, put the excess film in the trench, pull it taut and put the dirt back in the trench to weigh down the film.