Cost Factors for DIY Greenhouse Kits

When deciding on the kind of DIY greenhouse kit to buy, budget often interferes with our dreams. Passionate gardeners want as big a greenhouse as their backyard can accommodate. But, even if you can afford a large greenhouse kit, there are other cost considerations that might force you to reconsider your plan to go for the large size and settle for a smaller one.

The Size of Your Greenhouse

The larger the greenhouse, the more expensive the greenhouse kit is. For example, the price of two identical geodesic dome kits  varies from $8,950.00 for the 22’ diameter, to $10,950.00 for the 26’ diameter. The price difference between different size greenhouse kits is even bigger for the more complicated greenhouse types. Keep in mind that the larger size greenhouse kits will also require large sized foundation, significantly adding to the cost.

The Frame for Your Greenhouse

Your decision on a particular greenhouse frame will have large bearing on the kit price. For example, one aluminum-framed 8’x12’ greenhouse kit with polycarbonate glazing costs $1,749.77, while a simular  sized redwood framed greenhouse kit, also with polycarbonate glazing may cost almost twice that amount! PVC frames are by far the cheapest frames, but are not suitable or strong enough for polycarbonate or glass glazing. Although there are greenhouse kits with stainless steel frames, their weight makes shipping costs very high.

Glazing for Your Greenhouse

The majority of greenhouse growers use polyethylene sheets to cover their greenhouses because of their affordability. Poly sheets are good, economical option even for large greenhouses, but on the flip side are not long lasting (about two years).

Polycarbonate glazing is gaining popularity because of its great heat retention and light absorption. Greenhouses made of polycarbonate panels are extendible and suitable for people who plan on starting small and extending their greenhouses later. But, as with everything, you get what you pay for and polycarbonate is about twice the price of polyethylene.

Glass glazing is by far the most expensive, but it has the best light absorption properties of all the options available, is very durable and it does not change color over time. Many websites that offer different greenhouse kits will offer each kit in simular configurations. Take time to review the glazing type when reviewing one kit against another

Foundation for Your Greenhouse

The cheapest foundation to build or install is a simple wooden frame, or earth covered with plastic and a layer of gravel or rock. But, wooden frame foundations are not strong enough to support larger greenhouse kits, nor can they support greenhouses with glass glazing. Larger greenhouse kits have to be installed over cement or concrete wall foundation, which are significantly more expensive than simple wooden frame. The cost comes not only from the material like cement but from the labor cost of pouring the cement slab or for the renting of the cement mixer if you decide to take on the project yourself.

Greenhouse kits sometimes come with their own built-in foundation. Although they cost a bit more, it is a good idea to compare the price of building a foundation and paying more to get the kit with the foundation built in.

Climate Control for Your Greenhouse

To ensure an even temperature for your plants, you need to provide cooling or heating system, depending on your climate, and sometimes both. Although they are not expensive to purchase, they add to the cost of running the greenhouse. It is better to spend a bit more on double glazing and the right choice of framing up front to ensure better heat retention, than spending more money for electricity to heat or cool the greenhouse over the life of your structure.

Lean-to Greenhouse Kits

This type of greenhouse kit can be very cost effective for many reasons. The house or structure to which it is attached provides partial insulation, the costs of attaching electricity and water to the greenhouse are much smaller and the house already provides one greenhouse wall, cutting on the cost of material and time to construct.

Shipping for Your Greenhouse

It is very good idea to check the shipping costs of a greenhouse kit before deciding on the size, type and manufacturer. Unless the shipping is free, shipping fees grow exponentially with the size of the greenhouse and the weight of glazing and the frame. Stainless steel frames are very heavy, making their shipping almost cost-prohibitive. Glass glazing is not only heavy, but fragile, also adding to the cost. Additionally search for local greenhouse manufactures that may deliver or are within driving distance and you may save your self quire a bit of money.

Installing Your Greenhouse Kit

Some greenhouse kits are fairly easy to install and you might need only one friend to help you with the installation. Some are snap-on and do not require any tools, other require simple tools like a screwdriver or wrench. Some greenhouses however are much more complicated to install and may require professional help if your skill level is moderate to low. Keep this in mind when choosing the kind of greenhouse kit for you. Unless you are very handy and experienced, choose a simple to install greenhouse kit, or be prepared for a hefty fee for its installation.

Before deciding on the right DIY greenhouse kit for you, take into consideration all options that affect its cost, so that you do not have any unpleasant surprises down the road.

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