Is It Cheaper to Build or Buy a Greenhouse?

A gardener without a greenhouse is like a chef without a stove.

Greenhouses are a priority for every farmer intending to maximize output and enjoy harvest throughout the year.

But the question is, “Is it cheaper to build or buy a greenhouse?”

Because every person has different preferences, budgets, etc., different people will have different opinions on this.

Here’s all the information you need to make this decision.

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Is It Cheaper to Build a Greenhouse or Buy a Kit?

It’s impossible to have a one-answer-fits-all scenario in this case.

But one thing is for sure. Evaluating the cost of the venture is a must!

For many gardeners, building a greenhouse is cheaper than buying a greenhouse kit.

But don’t take this for the gospel truth.

There are instances when building just a regular greenhouse with barely no additional features turns out more expensive than ordering a kit.

Especially if the kit is sourced directly from greenhouse manufacturers, with no middlemen.

If you intend to build a customized greenhouse, building one will most likely be cheaper than buying.

The trick here is to first decide the size and features of the greenhouse you want.

Then determine how much it will cost to build one.

Compare the total cost with the prices of similar greenhouse kits from several manufacturers.

Factors That Determine Your DIY Greenhouse Cost

The Local Building/Engineering Codes in Your Area

When setting up a greenhouse, you’re expected to follow local building/engineering codes.

For instance, you need stamped engineering to get a permit.

This is not a cheap affair.

Building codes also determine the structure size allowed in your area, fire safety regulations, etc.

So, before you decide whether to build or buy, check with your local office.

Compare the prices after incorporating such factors.

Fortunately, if you decide to buy, just select a code-compliant greenhouse and you’re good to go!

What’s the Warranty?

I’ve not found a greenhouse manufacturer that doesn’t give customers a warranty.

The difference is the period of warranty.

Most of them give a 2-year warranty, which makes a lot of sense considering the money invested in the project.

You’ll be sure that if you decide to buy a greenhouse kit, you’re safe for at least 2 years.

This is not the case if you build one for yourself.

In case something doesn’t work as it should, you’ll have to either fix it yourself, or hire a professional to do it for you.

So, as much as building may seem cheaper, it might have ‘hidden’ costs.

The Design of the Greenhouse

Do you have experience building greenhouses?

If yes, building a greenhouse with a unique design should be such a hassle.

However, if you have no experience in this field, just leave it to professionals.

Otherwise your dream of building a unique greenhouse may be a little far-fetched.

What’s more, if you’re planning to have a greenhouse made of high-quality materials such as steel and aluminum, accessing these materials may be difficult.

I’d advise sourcing them from a re-known greenhouse manufacturer for guarantee on the quality.

Now, whether you decide to build or buy, what materials do you need?

Let me give you an idea.

What Materials Are Needed to Build a Greenhouse?

When building a greenhouse, you’ll need the following.

The Frame

  • The frame of a greenhouse consists of:
  • Pillars, supports and reinforcements
  • Beams and in-straps
  • Arches
  • Canals and crop wire

According to Novagric, a well known greenhouse manufacturer, all the above can be made of iron, wood, galvanized steel or aluminum.

Other options include:

  • Galvanized steel or aluminum wire to secure the cover
  • Concrete foundation bases/supports

Glazing/Covering Materials

The choice of greenhouse covers depends on your budget and preferences.

The materials include:

  • Plastic films – polyfilms are preferred for ultraviolet rays’ protection
  • Patterned glass
  • Rigid plastics such as polycarbonate
  • Recycled old windows are also a fantastic alternative for unique greenhouse covers!

Greenhouse Equipment/Supplies

There are two mandatory supplies – heaters and ventilation packages.

  • Think about:
  • Roof vents
  • Misting systems
  • Intake shutters
  • Fans
  • Shade cloths
  • Benches
  • Hand trowels
  • Seedling flats
  • Pots, etc.

Finally, let’s make a sturdy greenhouse.

Read on!

How to Build a Sturdy Greenhouse?

Heavy duty aluminum is the deal.

The best thing about aluminum is that it doesn’t rust! What’s more, aluminum is the ideal frame for glass panels.

Avoid galvanized steel – because of the high humidity inside the greenhouse, the steel will definitely rust very fast.

As for wood, despite its beauty, the high humidity will make it rot. 

Unless you use timber varieties that are resistant to rot and moisture – like cedar – for the foundation.