Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about Solexx greenhouses and greenhouse covering
What makes Solexx Greenhouses different than others?
Our specially formulated Solexx greenhouse panels are polyethylene and not polycarbonate. We manufacture the material with a special UV formulation for longevity. The covering is insulated to cut down heating and cooling costs, but most importantly, the transluscent quality of the plastic provides outstanding light diffusion in the greenhouse. University tests have shown that plants growth is accelerated by 25-30% under diffused light. Solexx also is one of the highest insulated greenhouse materials available, saving you money in heating costs. Another feature that makes Solexx different is the built-in bench frames that triple or quadruple the available growing space. The benches will hold over 250 pounds each, so it’s easy to overwinter or grow in large and heavy containers. With almost all other greenhouse kits, benches are a large additional expense. Full-length hanging rods are also included to overwinter hanging baskets.
Where are Solexx Greenhouses made?
Solexx Greenhouses and Greenhouse Covering have been manufactured in the USA for over 25 years. We are proud to offer American made products at our headquarters in Salem, OR! What difference does this make to the customer? Our product instructions are written in English with detailed explanations. If you call us with questions, we are easily accessible, knowledgeable and happy to help. Should you need a replacement part, we can easily and quickly get you what you need.
Are Solexx greenhouses able to withstand high winds?
Solexx greenhouses out-perform all other greenhouses in wind. Our composite frame is extremely strong and durable. As long as the greenhouse is firmly anchored (which we can help you with), you should not have problems. The combination of a strong frame and flexible paneling works very well in adverse conditions. Because the greenhouse covering attaches over the top of the frame, there are no gaps for wind to twist or push the material through the frame. Many of our customers live on the coast and frequently experience winds of 70 mph or greater. We have had many customers report to us over the years that their greenhouse survived a hurricane with no damage from the impacting tree branches.
Are the greenhouses easy to heat?
Solexx greenhouses are easy to heat; in fact they are the most efficient on the market. The 3.5mm and 5mm twin-walled glazing material provides more insulation than most other hobby greenhouse materials. The cost of heating your greenhouse will depend on the temperatures in your area and the type of plants you plan to grow. Many plants require only a 45-degree nighttime temperature. Heating costs can be reduced by using buckets or plastic jugs of water or by lining the greenhouse with a layer of Visquine or bubble wrap in the cold months. In mild conditions, 5 gallon covered black buckets filled with water will trap the solar energy during the day and release heat for most of the night. If you would like to compare the insulation of different greenhouse materials, you can go to the USDA website and download the virtual grower software to compare energy savings along with other useful growing information, http://www.ars.usda.gov/services/software/download.htm?softwareid=309
Compare the insulation quality of Solexx to other greenhouse coverings on the market...
|5mm Solexx Panels||2.30||0.43|
|3.5mm Solexx Panels||2.10||0.48|
|8mm Triple Wall Polycarbonate||2.00||0.50|
|Double Pane Storm Windows||2.00||0.50|
|10mm Twin-Wall Polycarbonate||1.89||0.53|
|8mm Twin-Wall Polycarbonate||1.60||0.63|
|6mm Twin-Wall Polycarbonate||1.54||0.65|
|4mm Twin-Wall Polycarbonate||1.43||0.70|
|Single Pane Glass, 3mm||0.95||1.05|
|Poly Film 6mm||0.83||1.20|
R-Value - the measurement of 'insulating ability' of the material. The higher the R-Value number the greater the insulation value.
U-Value - the measurement of 'heat loss' through the material. The lower the U-Value the less heat is escaping.
*Independent testing, Solexx with caulked flutes.
How do I prepare the site for my greenhouse?
Very little site preparation is required for your Solexx Greenhouse. You can place your greenhouse on any leveled area such as your lawn, over bare ground, on a gravel base, over a wood deck, on a concrete slab, or a brick patio. We recommend a gravel base and 100% weed barrier for the best drainage. A south facing area is best to get the maximum sun exposure.
What tools will I need to assemble the greenhouse?
Assembling a Solexx Greenhouse is takes just a few readily available tools. You will need a screwdriver, variable speed drill, sharp knife or utility knife, tape measure, step ladder, GE Clear Silicone-2 caulk, caulking gun, clear PVC glue and a level. A greenhouse kit generally will take a weekend for two people to assemble.
Solexx Greenhouse Covering
I am interested in your Solexx covering. How do you install it?
They are much more flexible than twin-wall polycarbonate greenhouses panels and can easily be screwed onto an existing greenhouse frame. This covering is available in 4’ x 8’ or 4’ x 12’ sheets in 3.5 or 5mm thicknesses. Solexx greenhouse covering can also be ordered in continuous rolls up to 900 feet so you can conveniently cover just about any structure. For more information about installing Solexx, click here.
When designing a greenhouse frame, how much spacing should I leave between supports for the panels? How many screws should I use?
For maximum strength, we recommend that the framing (trusses) that will support your Solexx be placed 16" - 24" on center. If applying to a greenhouse frame with 4' or 6' centers, cross bracing is recommended to prevent sagging between the bows. Ask us about cabling over the bows to prevent expansion sagging. On the perimeter of your structure, we recommend attaching screws every six inches. For your supports, you only need to attach screws about eighteen inches apart. As a general rule, figure that you will need one screw per square foot of paneling. In extremely windy areas, you may want to increase the number of screws you use.
The panels are translucent? What makes a greenhouse with diffuse light better than a clear greenhouse?
Solexx panels diffuse the light evenly throughout the greenhouse eliminating "hot spots" and shadows. Also, a bit less light transmission will help to keep your greenhouse from getting too hot during warm weather and keep your plants from burning. Diffuse light is critical for optimal plant growth because diffuse light bends around corners and reaches all of the plant’s leaves instead of just the upper canopy. The additional light exposure substantially increases the plant’s photosynthesis, creating more energy and more robust, healthy growth. Additionally, plants will not burn under Solexx, making it the ideal choice for both shade and sun-loving plants. The unique Solexx greenhouse covering transmits 60-65 percent of the available light. Most plants only need 40 percent light to grow, but 60-65 percent available light is the optimal growing range. Even on cloudy days, your greenhouse has a pleasant, soft glow inside.
Does the covering break down in the sun?
Solexx panels contain UV inhibitor throughout the material; it is not simply a coating that can scratch or wear off. The covering has a 10 year limited warranty against ultraviolet breakdown. Solexx greenhouses have been in the field for well over 25 years and there has been minimal UV degradation. All plastics do eventually break down when exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time; however, these panels are easy and inexpensive to replace.
How do you clean the paneling?
Solexx paneling can be rinsed or wiped clean without worry of scratching. The panels are impervious to chemicals so you can wash them with a mild soap or a bleach solution. It’s a good idea to do this a couple times a year to keep your greenhouse clean and to maximize light transmission.
How does the paneling hold up in cold or snowy weather?
Solexx panels are very durable. Solexx greenhouses have been undamaged after being covered in several feet of snow and exposed to subzero temperatures for most of the winter. Snow tends to slide right off of the slick paneling material. Unlike many greenhouse materials, our panels will not yellow from the sun or cold.
Solexx Garden Master burried in snow on Mt Hood.
What are H-Channel and U-Trim used for?
H-Channel is used to join the panels together on the long side (another option is to overlap the panels). We recommend caulking the open flutes of the panels with clear silicone caulking to keep bugs and moisture out and maximize the insulation. U-Trim gives the 4’ ends of the panels a nice finished look.
What are the differences between polycarbonate and Solexx panels?
Solexx greenhouses are made with polyethylene. Polyethylene is much more flexible and is easy to cut to any size. Polycarbonate panels tend to be thicker, but have a lower insulation factor than polyethylene. Both materials diffuse light, but polycarbonate diffuses less (because it is more transparent), making the greenhouses much hotter in the summer. Polyethylene is very easy to clean and will not scratch like polycarbonate. Polyethylene does not contain BPA's that are found in polycarbonate materials and Solexx does not scratch.
How do you cut the panels? Is it easy to do?
Solexx panels can be cut with a simple utility knife. Because the material is so flexible, it’s also possible to bend it around the curves and corners on a structure.
Should I use 3.5 or 5mm paneling?
Solexx panels are available in 3.5mm or 5mm thickness. The 3.5mm panels are recommended in most areas because they provide more light transmission. The 5mm panels are used in colder climates (for added insulation) and for high altitude areas. It is also recommended on many custom structures for added support. Both varieties are available in 4'1" x 8'1" sheets and 4'1" x 12'1" sheets or continuous rolls.
Is Solexx Recyclable?
Solexx panels are high density polyethylene and have the same recycle number '2' as plastic milk jugs.
What can you do to automate the greenhouses?
Solexx offers many greenhouse accessories and supplies to help make your gardening experience easier. A solar vent opener is available and can be set to automatically help regulate the temperature. The heaters that we offer can be thermostatically controlled to help you heat only when it’s necessary, keeping your costs low. Also, our exhaust fans all come with thermostat controls. This will help push out stale air as your greenhouse begins to get hot.
Which basic accessories will get me started?
Gardening with a Solexx Greenhouse is easy. Although we offer a full line of greenhouse equipment, we do have a few recommendations that will ensure success. First of all, you want to make sure that your greenhouse is properly anchored. We offer a Deluxe Tie-Down Kit, which includes four anchors—one for each corner of the greenhouse. On longer units, or in areas that have exceptionally high winds, you may want to purchase additional anchors (which are available individually.) Also, ventilation is a key factor. Two base vents (or more on longer units) placed on each side of the door will ensure good cross-ventilation. Greenhouse flooring is also a good investment. It will help keep your maintenance down by blocking out weed growth through your greenhouse floor.
Where should the heater be placed in the greenhouse?
We recommend placing the heater in the back of the greenhouse, either at the end of the walkway or under the bench frames. It's best to leave some space around the heater so that the heat can fully circulate and so that none of your plants get too warm. Having a small circulation fan is a good way to ensure even heating in your greenhouse.
How should I place the vents in my greenhouse?
Typically, we recommend that you place a large louvered vent opposite the door, towards the top of the greenhouse. If you then place two or more base vents low to the ground (on either side of the door, for example), you get a natural ground- up ventilation. A solar opener can be attached to the louvered vent, in order to better regulate the temperature. We recommend that you close the base vents during cold weather.
Are there books that can help me get started?
Solexx offers several greenhouse books to help you get started. One book that we see as absolutely indispensable is Shane Smith’s Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion. It is loaded with information about greenhouses, specific plants, weed control, planting schedules… everything you would ever want to know. There are many great ideas that we use in our own greenhouses all the time.
What method of shipping do you use?
Greenhouses and panels are mostly sent UPS. Larger orders ship by motor freight.
How will my greenhouse arrive?
The greenhouse is sold unassembled. This helps us to keep both shipping and greenhouse kit costs low. Each kit comes with complete written instructions and computer generated drawings. The framing is color coded for convenience and of course, we’re always here to help. The greenhouses are shipped in a couple long skinny boxes and an octagonal box for the rolled Solexx panels. The 8' Garden Oasis, for example, comes in four boxes: Box 1- 23" x 23" x 43", Box 2- 99" x 7.25" x 5", Box 3 - 77" x 7.25" x 5", Box 4- 30" x 16" x 3".
Can I come see your greenhouses in person and what are your business hours?
Solexx is open 8am -5pm, Monday through Friday pacific time. If you would like to see us on the weekend, please call for an appointment. Visiting is a great way to see just how wonderful Solexx greenhouses are! Our factory is located just a quarter mile west of I-5 exit 263 at 3740 Brooklake Rd NE in Salem, Oregon. We’re located on the left. Hope to see you soon!