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Wooden Greenhouses Compared to Aluminium

A wooden greenhouse will cost more than aluminium but is it worth the extra investment?

Swallow Swan Greenhouse

Swallow Wooden Greenhouse on Dwarf Wall – photo courtesy Greenhouse Stores from their range of Wooden Greenhouses

Wooden Greenhouses

My very first greenhouse was a wooden one. We moved house and there it was, a magical white painted construction with crenellations along it’s high ridge. Sadly, once I hacked my way through the jungle of a garden to it, it was apparent it was suffering from neglect.

The amazing thing was that it had stood for 60 years and the last time it had been in use and cared for was about 10 years before. This goes to show that, with some care, a quality wooden greenhouse will last a lifetime.

Advantages of Wooden Greenhouses

  • Strong & Robust Construction
  • Long lived
  • Easily repaired
  • More complex and larger designs
  • More attractive – enhances the garden
  • Can be stained different colours
  • Pleasant to work in

Long Life

A friend of ours bought a large wooden greenhouse some 30 years ago and it’s still serving her well. During that time it’s moved between 3 gardens and two countries!

She tells us that it cost over double what a comparable sized aluminium greenhouse would have cost but can you see an aluminium greenhouse lasting this long, especially having been moved 3 times?

Another benefit she noted to her wooden greenhouse was that damaged parts were easily replaced. Any competent woodworker could replicate a part even if the manufacturer was no longer making that model or about.

Solid Construction

There is a feeling of being solid to a wooden greenhouse, it’s a proper building and there is a lot of strength is in the framework.

With an aluminium greenhouse the framework is fairly flimsy and much of the strength of the structure comes from the glazing. Should a pane be broken or blow out in a storm, the aluminium structure as a whole is at risk.

Larger & Complex Designs

This structural strength of the wooden framework enables larger structures and complex designs that are just not viable with aluminium.

Enhances the Garden

The wooden greenhouse blends in with the garden and naturally sits better, especially as the wood can be stained in different colours to work within a design scheme.

Swallow Raven Greenhouse

Swallow Raven Greenhouse

Correct Type of Wood for Wooden Greenhouse

It is important to choose a greenhouse constructed from the right type of wood. Traditionally this was western red cedar which is a light but strong wood, naturally resistant to decay and insect attack but there are other woods that are rot resistant such as spruce heartwood. The heartwood contains protective resins and oils that the softer sapwood on the outside of the tree lacks.

On top of this the wood should be properly pressure tanalised to maximise its life. Pressure treatment forces the preservative deep into the wood unlike dipping or painting which soaks in less towards the centre.

Softwoods needing annual preservative treatment will not last as long. It’s easy to coat the exposed parts but who is going to go to the trouble of removing all the glazing prior to treating each year?

A new system called ThermoWood® is now available. This new high-tech timber is specially heat-treated up to 215 °C to remove excess moisture and resin, preventing warping and protecting from rot. This timber is heated to very high temperatures to remove unwanted moisture and resins that can cause wood to warp and become susceptible to rot. This wood is specifically developed to out perform normal exterior use timbers in harsh weather environments. ThermoWood® is used widely throughout Scandinavia for construction and cladding as it looks superb and stands up to very cold and wet weather with ease.

It’s also important that rust-proof nails and screws are used in the construction. A rusted and rotten screw will not hold and eventually the framework can pull apart.

The full range of Swallow Greenhouses, prices etc. can be found in the Wooden Greenhouse section of Greenhouse Stores UK.

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