Many of our customers are confused as to the relative merits of timber and aluminium framed greenhouses, here Nathan James Dodd answers some of your frequently asked questions.
Buying a greenhouse is not easy. We understand this. A great deal is rightly made out of the cost and stress in buying a house or maybe a car, or even car insurance but not a greenhouse?
Okay, the cost of a greenhouse is not that of bricks and mortar, but it can still be a significant outlay, particularly if you are retired, and are living on a fixed budget.
It could be several hundreds of pounds at the least, but quite possibly several thousands of pounds as well. The cost is not just in money either as a greenhouse may be an investment in a lifestyle or an economic purchase if you are hoping to grow food to help feed yourself.
Whatever the reason or cost I want to help you make one decision based on knowledge rather than intuition: silver v green!
When aluminium became a viable alternative to wood as a construction material for greenhouses there was only one colour, and that was silver, or more precisely, milled aluminium. Aluminium is a relatively soft metal but has the massive benefit of being very light. Once exposed to the elements it starts to weather down to a matt grey colour. It also oxidises.
Mr. Topliss, my old chemistry teacher would know exactly what this means, and I probably should, but chemistry was not my strong point. The reality is a powdery, slightly unsightly bubbling on the surface of the aluminium during the process.
Today this process can be significantly eradicated if the aluminium is anodised. This is a process that Vitavia greenhouses adopt as their default procedure. It is worth remembering this if you chose silver, as the extra cost is not significant, but the effect is.
Powder coating, with a colour has been the popular alternative over the last 20 years. When Halls greenhouses first introduced a green powder coated greenhouse they decided that it should be called a Highgrove greenhouse, with a nod in the direction of Prince Charles. This was an upmarket product now, without doubt.
The cost of powder coating is not insignificant, unfortunately. Each individual piece of metal has to go into an industrial ‘oven’ to be powder coated. The finish is then baked on to get the final matt lustre that we are now familiar with. As the powder coating encapsulates the aluminium there is no oxidising. All that is required is an annual brush down with a broom and some soapy water to get the greenhouse looking as good as new.
Halls greenhouses experimented further and trialled Aubergine and Lavender amongst other colours for their 6x4 Popular Greenhouse. These were designed to appeal to the ladies or those that literally wanted a splash of colour in the garden…. all year round.
Elite Greenhouses currently offer a minimum five different coloured powder coated options across their entire range. Buy your Belmont Greenhouse in green, black, white, terracotta or brown. In fact you can choose your own RAL colour if you wish (at an extra cost).
If you want further details about powder coating techniques Hane Paint & Powder Finishers of Stirling Road in Berkshire are a great place to start.
Powder coating comes at a cost, but it has significant advantages too. I would choose a powder coated building if it was going to be within sight of the house and easily viewed through the windows. If the greenhouse was tucked away out of sight I would probably choose silver.
However, my wife’s opinion may be completely different altogether…..?
Robert's guide to Which Greenhouse Should I Choose and Why?
Robert Hall, senior partner at GardenSite.co.uk has been elected to sit on the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) Judging Panel for 2017. The news was announced on 31st March 2017 on the GIMA website.
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