Need Someone to Replace Greenhouse Polycarbonate Roof

Started by Judy Glattstein, June 10, 2022, 05:03:02 AM

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Judy Glattstein

Here's the somewhat long back story. My 8 ft X 18 ft glass to ground lean-to greenhouse has a polycarbonate roof that needs to be replaced. I have tried general contractors, sun room companies, roofers, glaziers - no help.

Arnold Tractenberg gave me the name of the man who installed his greenhouse. Charming man, now retired, who gave me the name of someone who supposedly could do the roof replacement.

Spoke with the man who supposedly could do the work last year, 2021. Supposed to happen this year. I called him in April. He was supposed to call in second half of May to set up a date to come look and take measurements. Nothing. I called on June 3rd. He would call on June 6 to set a time to come on June 7. Nothing. Clearly he is not interested.

Greenhouse bought from Charley's Greenhouse Supply. They are on the West Coast. Called them. Unhelpful. I called the company that actually manufactured the greenhouse kit. They are on the west coast of Canada. Cannot help.

I am in Hunterdon County New Jersey, 2 miles from the Delaware River.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Judy, very discouraged


Try asking vendors at your local farmer's market if they know of someone that would do this kind of work.


David Pilling

Split the problem, locate the replacement material and then the person to replace it.

There are "maker spaces" and associated communities of people who like fixing things.

Judy Glattstein

Someone was supposed to replace the roof back in October 2020. I took the measurements, as he described to me. Man showed up with his reasonably adult grandson and a worker, and polycarbonate panels. Took the first unit off the roof - and the replacement unit was too short by just a few inches. They put the old unit back on, put all the polycarbonate panels in my garage. And left. I never got a bill, and have not paid for the polycarbonate.

The greenhouse roof has 9 units. Four are shorter, to accommodate the two 2-unit roof vents. The other five are, obviously, longer.

There is polycarbonate for the four shorter roofing panels. No idea if they are the correct length or not. There are two polycarbonate pieces for the roof vent units. And for all I know it is possible to fit something - ?plywood - to fill in the few inches between the roof and the five longer-but-still-too-short polycarbonate units.


Vocational Schools nearby?  I'm assuming this is extruded "twinwall" polycarb panels. I'd use a high-grade RTV polycarb adhesive to "scab" extensions onto the short panels. 

Judy Glattstein

Perhaps . . .

Completely unexpected call this morning. The man with whom I have been playing telephone tag is 12 minutes away. O.K. to stop by, see job, take measurements? Of course.

The polycarbonate I have on hand in too thick. He also wants to replace all the roof caps where the panels meet - they're old and tend to crack when removed.

He will bring polycarbonte and cut on-site. Will call next week with labor & material costs. Project to be done, one day job, by end of September, perhaps earlier if a day opens up.

It would be So Good to be done with this. Send positive thoughts in my direction.

David Pilling

Judy - wishing your project well.

Broadening the discussion, I have twin wall in my greenhouse roof. Hoping it provides insulation in the Winter time. Traditionally greenhouses had glass, and people would whitewash it in the Summer.

I wonder what the experts recommend now. I can imagine in Summer you don't necessarily want to trap every bit of heat.



I purchased an aluminized HDPE cover for the greenhouse.

it is available in different percentages of transmission.

I use 40%.

it's a pain to drape it over the greenhouse.  My greenhouse is a lean to and it's hard to get up on a small roof to drape the cover over the glass.

Arnold T.
North East USA

David Pilling

Probably these days someone could have those panels that you can change the light transmission of electrically "smart glass"  aka electrochromic glass.

That'd be fun to control with software. A lot of control systems for greenhouses, opening and closing windows. I used to have a purely mechanical system that opened the window - cylinder containing wax, when it is hot the wax expands.


Mark Akimoff and I recently visited Wild Ginger nursery and noticed that they had shade cloth put  up inside their poly hoop houses, rather than over the top. This would be easier, hanging it over hooks during the hot season. I don't know how available shade cloth is in other areas, but here it is sold in various proportions of shade. You can have grommets put in when you buy it. I used to put some over the solarium in my former home, but that entailed climbing out on the roof each June. I also hung the shade cloth at the edge of the west-facing veranda where I grew a lot of seedlings.

Judy Glattstein

Arnold, I also draped a large piece of shade cloth over the outside of the greenhouse roof. It required me and my husband to lay on the slanting garage roof and maneuver an 18 foot pole into clips on the garage wall close to the top of the greenhouse. It was clear that I would have to find a different way to shade the greenhouse.

I bought woven greenhouse shade cloth, one side green, one side silver, large enough to cover 8 ft by 18 ft greenhouse. Cut 9 pieces, each to the width of individual roofing panels. Sewed a small pocket in one narrow end. Slip a drapery tension rod in pocket and pressure fit into high point of roof. Use clothes pins to clip to framing member at lower end of roof where it meets front wall.

Did this in 2006. Still in good condition. I can put up / take down by myself.

Hope the two images I have tried to attach come through O.K.

Martin Bohnet


conventional physical wisdom would say that you'll get the greenhouse effect in between the PC and the shade cloth: Visible light passes the PC, is converted to warmth on the cloth, and infrared radiation is blocked by the PC. You might reduce the effect with a shade cloth reflecting in the visual spectrum, but it will definitely be more helpful to put the cloth outside of the Greenhouse.

Edit: ah, the joys of synchronous posting... "Silver on one side" - that's what I meant with reflecting in the visual spectrum.
Martin (pronouns: he/his/him)

Judy Glattstein

Trust me, Martin, laying on the garage roof dangling an 18 foot pole while attempting to spread the shade cloth outside the greenhouse was of negative interest to my husband. It might be more efficient if the shade cloth is outside the greenhouse. But there is no doubt that something in place inside is more effective than nothing at all. And I'm still married . . .

To clarify a previous reply - the shade cloth goes silver side towards the roof.

David Pilling

David Pilling

Always a temptation to invoke the sky hook solution for any problem. I've seen shade fabric devices for people in their gardens with pulley systems.

"How to Install and Use our Roman Shade Pulley System | Shade Sails Canada"

The Romans had them, and Canadians too.