laserfan

HFGH Polycarb Panels failing!

laserfan
11 years ago

OK mudhouse (Sheri) and I have been discussing problems with the twinwall polycarb panels and it's time to make a new thread about it.

This spring I noticed several small holes in the roof panels, smaller than dime-size, in my just-one-year-old-10x12HFGH.

To which mudhouse replied:

I'm really disheartened by this...I'm worrying about the panels being manufactured in a defective manner...I have had a lurking concern that IF there is a panel deterioration problem, it may be heat related...I note that the three mentions of this problem so far (the Tucson person, yours, and Jamesy40's) have all happened in southern states.

Then I said:

Sheri we are in sunny So. Central Texas--yes it gets hot here, but frankly I suspect UV as the culprit. If you have looked at all at other types of plastic panels (that you get at Home Depot or Lowes) these typically have a side that is "UV protected" somehow, and they even state that if the panel is used in such a manner that the underside is exposed to light, that these can fail as well. Couple thoughts:

1. We should start a new thread!? OK I HAVE!

2. The holes are small and on one side only (so far) and limited to a single "channel" of the polycarb. Time to do something!

3. Given we are in the Sunny South and our GHs are overexposed to sun as it is, we should consider painting the roof.

4. There's a product out for GHs that apparently changes color; white-to-clear-and-back or some such magic. Prolly way expensive.

Gotta start researching what kind of paint(s) might adhere to the polycarb. Then my thought is to flip my damaged panels over and paint the good sides. Heck, even in the dead of winter the sun drives inside temps to >100 around here--we could use the extra shade that paint might provide (roof only I'm thinking, for now).

Need some feedback from anyone who's tried to paint their polycarb!!!

Comments (106)

  • mudhouse_gw

    Bluepine, thanks for the info on occasional free shipping offers from FarmTek (I'll sure keep that in mind if/when my HF panels deteriorate.) Good to know. The shipping fee (plus a separate crating fee) seems to be the real killer on ordering polycarbonate panels from the little checking I've done.

    I'd guess the panels are manufactured in China with the rest of the kit, so probably little hope of helpful info. The manual says "One Stop Gardens" but I believe that's simply a house brand that Harbor Freight uses for their garden-related items. I've read that HF uses house brand names that sound American (Chicago Electric, Drill Master, Central Machinery, Central Pneumatic, U.S. General, Pittsburgh Tools) although though most of their merchandise is made in China.

    Chris, lots of good suggestions, thanks. My panels are only 7 months old and don't show problems yet, but I seem to be in "trouble alley" according to HF, so I'd rather be ready.

    The parts list shows the roof panels for the HF 10x12 are as follows:
    quantity 8 - 1'11" x 5'9"
    quantity 4 - 1'11" x 3'4"
    quantity 4 - 1'11" x 2'6"

    An easier way to state it might be:
    quantity 12 panels - 1'11" x 5'10"

    ...a few passes with a box knife could render all the roof panels from those 12.

    The wall/door panels (heaven forbid, if some folks have to replace those as well) are more complicated, as they vary. I'm going to work out the requirements for those too for the heck of it. If Farmtek will quote on the pre-cut roof panels, I can also contact them for pricing on the rest too (just to see how much it would cost to replace all the panels, to scare myself to death.) :-)

  • mudhouse_gw

    Just to add...if we find that shadecloth on the outside of the roof helps extend the life of the panels in sunny climates, I haven't helped myself, because I currently have my Aluminet installed inside my roof (avoiding our winds.)

  • laserfan

    I bought qty 8 2x6' 8mm Heat Control twinwall polycarbs from Charley's for "only" $264 ($25/panel, $40 crating charge, and *only* $24 shipping). These 8 will fix my roof, less the 4 parts where the vents are located (and 8mm won't work anyway).

    BTW Sheri don't count on the parts list for accurate measurements. At least the roof panels need your closest attention and they are 23 1/4" wide (and make sure you get long enough this time)!

  • mudhouse_gw

    "...don't count on the parts list for accurate measurements...the roof panels...are 23 1/4" wide"
    Well, that figures. I will definately measure everything three times before ordering anything, thanks. ;-)

    That crating/shipping fee from Charley's is quite reasonable. I'll be interested to see how hard the installation of the 8mm is...would be nice to have the extra insulation up there. (Sorry you get to be the first in our group to experiment though.)

    If I have to replace my roof, I may consider doing away with my roof vents entirely, and just replace them with entire panels. I have them wired shut now. I never found them very effective in our extreme heat, and mine would blow open an inch or so even when "closed" in the tightest position. In big winds, they'd bang bang bang, and sometimes fall closed in a slightly open position. I finally decided the small benefit in cooling was not worth the risk for damage in our winds (gusts to 47 mph yesterday, normal spring stuff here.) I haven't seen many others complain about this issue though, so maybe it's just an odd result of my GH orientation, prevailing winds? Having a south wall of screens gives me some wiggle room too. On we go, weighing options, and watching the panels.

  • laserfan

    >I'll be interested to see how hard the installation of the 8mm is...

    You'd suggested maybe crimping the upper end to fit--it occurred to me that if you slit the panel across w/a box knife, then that part of the end should easily squeeze together w/out crunching. But I will probably still "slit and split" as I originally described.

    >I may consider doing away with my roof vents entirely

    Yeah one day one (or more) is gonna rip-off and self-destruct for sure. So... eliminating them makes a lot of sense, BUT I do have to say: just the other day (again) I found one of our recently-fledged baby Phoebes in the ceiling of our open-door GH. He-or-she was pretty frantically flying back & forth--the dummies don't even know how to dip-down and fly-out an open door! I had to open 3 of 4 vents until the little doofus found its way out. I think he was close to total exhaustion and possible death-by-fright.

    We love our birdies down here, and if you leave the door open this sort of thing happens a lot (hummers are the other little guys that get trapped). Among the many things to contend with and consider... :-(

  • mudhouse_gw

    Glad you got the little guy out! I keep my open doorway covered with a flap of Aluminet (clipped to the doors at the sides so the wind doesn't flip it up.) It's not the hummers; it's the long-beaked Thrashers that tear holes in my succulents (looking for moisture, I guess) or flip little pots over (looking for bugs.) I love birds AND my plants, so No Birds Allowed; they can hunt outside!

    Now I have a pair of Thrashers nesting in a tall yucca about ten feet from my GH, and I can enjoy their lovely song (instead of swearing at them.)

    The raw flap is just attached above the doors for now with C clamps, but I like it so well I might hang it from a cable using clips or rings, so I can slide it aside like a drape. So far no birds have ventured past, but Our German Shepherd has gotten quite skilled at flipping the drape aside with his nose when he wants to come stomping in!

  • vegomatic

    I wouldn't remove the inner layer of the 8mm twinwall to make it fit a 4mm channel. I'd be afraid that just one layer would flex too easily, allowing the panel to blow out in the wind or sag under a snow load.

    Compress or slit and bend inwards, either way, just retain both outer surfaces for their combined strength.

    Can the frames that the panels fit into be bent outwards to enlarge them a bit? Or perhaps an adapter can be made that has a 4mm tongue and 8mm groove?

    Or just attach slightly larger panels to the outside of the frame, using "Z" channel to secure it.

    The rubberized tape made to seal new windows to your home's vapor barrier is incredible stuff. I'd bet it would grip to both panels and frames in a gh application.

    I have a homebrew woodframe gh covered with polyethylene panels. It's a completely different arrangement for me, so I'm kinda guessing at what might work on the HFGH.

    -Ed

  • laserfan

    >I wouldn't remove the inner layer of the 8mm twinwall to make it fit a 4mm channel...
    >Can the frames that the panels fit into be bent...
    >The rubberized tape made to seal new windows to your home's vapor barrier is incredible stuff...
    >I'm kinda guessing at what might work on the HFGH.

    Thanks Ed for your comments. No, I wouldn't be "removing the inner layer"--I'll take pics when I'm done then all will be clear. The roof ridge opening that the roof panels slide-into can NOT be bent--I thought of that, but it's very stiff aluminum (which doesn't bend anyway--it would only fatigue & break). I know about that rubberized tape. It would be perfect to hold the long sides of the panels to the metal below, but like Sheri has mentioned I like the idea of being able to easily take the panels out for whatever reason. Ya never know...

    Sheri, aluminet over your door is a brilliant idea to scare birds off!!! You are a wiz with that stuff--I love the "screens" that you made too! We just got a 12x10 (finished) piece for the roof. After I've replaced my panels I'm going to make PVC "stand-offs" for over the vent ends, then I'll place the Aluminet over the top w/weighted pvc (water-filled) pipe holding-down the sides and ends (to protect from wind damage). Hoping the Aluminet will stretch over my vent standoffs (so we can open/close vents w/o risking the corners poking-thru the aluminet).

  • mudhouse_gw

    I appreciate the ideas too Ed. They're good, without your even seeing the details of these HFGHs!

    I didn't know about that rubberized tape. Did some research and it sounds like great stuff...even has UV protection. I went to Lowes recently to find tape to correct one occasional HFGH problem...roof panels just a TAD too short to overlap the rain gutters...and found no good solutions. Now I have a better option, thanks to your post. So far I've only found it available in black or blue, but I could live with that if necessary.

    As Laserfan says, you never know what will pop up next. I have a suspicion that construction tape will be good to have "in the tool box" for future HFGH needs.

    Aluminet is so easy to work with, and light as a feather. I'd consider it for living room drapes if it worked better with our decor. ;-)

  • jbest123



    It would be helpful if members would post photos of there polycarb panels stating the age and zone there in so we could judge when we could expect when to replace ours.


    The HFGH I had in this photo is about 3 years old. This is in SW Pa and you can see some yellowing occurring. After reading the post I checked the HFGH which is at my daughters now and about 5 years old and the yellowing has progressed and there are several small holes.

    {{gwi:295201}}


    I have included a photo of my Rion GH which is about 7 mo old just for reference of appearance of the polycarb with no other insinuations intended.
    {{gwi:295202}}


    John



  • mudhouse_gw

    That's really helpful info John. So, yellowing after 3 years, in SW PA, with progressive yellowing and small holes after 5 years.

    Laserfan has brittleness, yellowing and small holes, in Texas, after 1 year.

    Jamesy40 reported holes and cracks, in Arkansas, after 2 years.

    There was a post this morning on another gardening forum regarding yellowing and brittleness in HF panels, in Utah, after 1-2 years.

    Laserfan, any chance you could post a picture of what the holes look like...so I'd know what to watch for? I'm seeing what look like tiny bubbles in my panels, but I think they were there from the start. It might be good to have a pic of the holes in this thread, if you have the time to snap one...?

  • mudhouse_gw

    My contribution to photos...I have an 18" square scrap that we removed to install our exhaust fan. This piece was exposed to east sun for one month before we removed it, and since then it's been stored inside the house.

    I sprayed the roof with distilled water to wash off the dust. Don't know if you can see it in the photo as well as I can in person, but when I hold the scrap up to the roof, there's clearly a change already. The scrap retains the blue-white color shown so well in John's Rion photo above, and the panels on the greenhouse are starting to develop more of a yellow tone. This is after 7 1/2 months of exposure to the sun, in southern New Mexico (intense sun most of the year, occasional summer temps over 100°.) I'll take more photos periodically to monitor any progression.
    {{gwi:295199}}

  • jbest123

    mudhouse do a google search on window film+UV. Lowes has some but it is probably available 24" wide some where.

    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=65841-74130-CDB78&lpage=none

  • laserfan

    Am I the only one for which it's taking forever to open this thread???!!??? Not sure what's causing that.

    Anyway pics of a couple holes are on my Details page. I don't think you can see the yellowing very well in snapshots, and in our case our panels are very dirty as it hasn't rained here in months... :(

    Here is a link that might be useful: Holes in the roof panels

  • mudhouse_gw

    Laserfan, thanks for the helpful pics of the holes. Nothing like that showing up here, yet.

    I think this thread is loading slowly because it's getting so long. Hope nobody minds...I started a new thread: HFGH Polycarb Panels Failing, Part 2. Click here to go to the new thread.

  • laserfan

    Absolutely, please let's not post in this thread anymore!

    I wonder if the embedded pics have anything to do with the slowness i.e. the page has to check all the links before it completes or something? It seems the thread slowed down when the pics appeared...

    Regardless, again please let's try to leave this thread alone in favor of Sheri's Part 2 thread.

  • mud1

    I am experiencing same failure on the panel. majority on the west side of the roof. A few holes are on the east side, HF quoted an average price of $9.00 per panel. I have check several over location on the net and they have a min ordering cost of several hundred dollars.

    What source is everyone using to purchase repllcement panels? I hate to purchase the same problem from HF, Any suggetion would help. Anyone know the price of such etc

  • mudhouse_gw

    Hello mud1, I'm still watching my panels yellow and haven't replaced any yet. No obvious holes yet, but I now have 60% Aluminet covering the roof and west wall, and will do a better inspection after we get through our coldest months.

    When I do replace panels, I definately won't use Harbor Freight polycarbonate. They might be acceptable for folks in kinder climates, because of the low cost, but I know the HF panels would only be a very short term solution in my climate. I'd just be tossing money down the drain here.

    When the time comes I'll probably price shop with FarmTek and Charleys Greenhouse Supply. As you've found, the shipping costs can be very high, so be sure to ask about shipping AND crating fees when pricing. (Note Bluepine's post above, citing occasional free shipping offers from Farmtek.) I have not found an inexpensive source for twinwall polycarbonate (except to buy from Harbor Freight, which I've ruled out.)

    Earlier in this long thread, you probably saw Laserfan's comments about how the HF roof frame will only accomodate 4mm thick twinwall polycarbonate (without some creative re-engineering, anyway.) 4mm twinwall polycarbonate does not seem to be widely available; many sites start with 6mm and go up. Charley's Greenhouse Supply told me they'd probably be able to special order 4mm, so you could contact them for more info.

    One heads up...if you decide to go with HF poly panels for a shorter term solution, remember that they're notorious for not being honest about how long the delivery time will be. :-(

    This thread is SO long it's hard for folks on dial-up, so you might get more replies by starting a new thread, too. :-)
    mudhouse

  • mud1

    Well mudhouse I did contact HF about repalcement panel and did order 9 panel to get me going this for this spring. I was very surprise to reC . them with in 3 weeks . Prsently I have contacted Alro plastic , they claim to have poloycarbon sheet in 4 MM thickness , I awiating a reply from them . Thus far the best price I have found is from Charlies . Ihope to locate a good supplier so I can repalceall of them by late summer . I will get by with this 9 new panel until i find a better source, I let you know what I find . Wha treally stinks is I livE ABOUT 50 MILES FROM THE GE PLANT THAT MAKES THESE PANELS AND THEY WILL NOT SELL THEM TO THE PUBLIC !

  • gjfarm

    mud1--did you call their standard phone number? When I do that, don't get much of an answer. Their website does not show any panels. How was the shipping cost? WE had a major hailstorm last fall and did a number on some of the panels

  • mudhouse_gw

    mud1, thanks so much for posting back about the good delivery time on the panels! I hope that means they're including panels in the category of items they try to stock for faster shipping. I know any info you can post to the forum about your research on panels will be appreciated by HFGH owners.

    LOL about your local manufacturer refusing to sell to the public...that figures, eh? :-)

    gjfarm, I've used the replacement parts phone number listed on the HFGH manual with success in the past, 1-800-444-3353, although I don't know if mud1 used that number.

  • baileybear

    Just giving my 2009 report on 6 x 8 HFGH. I live in Phoenix and so far no holes. This is my third summer. I do not use the greenhouse in the summer and it does get VERY hot in there. I have not used a summer shade protection of any kind so I am worried about the holes. Do we have any further 2009 updates on quality of panels from different parts of the country.
    Mudhouse. I also used your directions in assembly. They were great. Thanks also for the updates on your shade panels and venting. You have saved us all from making a lot of mistakes. Thanks for taking the time to do so.
    I thought, if I do get a lot of holes I might just buy another greenhouse kit, when on sale with a coupon, and use those panels for replacement. It almost sounds cheaper than buying panels alone. There is enought polycarbonate in a kit to replace the roof a number of times. What do you all think.

  • mudhouse_gw

    Hi baileybear, good to hear no holes going into your third year, with Phoenix sun and no shade protection. Do you see signs of obvious yellowing? I suppose some of us could be dealing with variability in manufacturing...I don't know why some folks have problems sooner than others.

    I looked at the 6x8 manual and I think you're right, looks like you'd get three roof changes out of one kit. If you can get three years out of your roof panels, that would be a good deal, especially since you have an empty greenhouse for part of the year, and changing the panels isn't too disruptive.

    My GH remains stuffed year round, so when I replace my panels I'll need to remove 300 or so prickly plants to another sheltered area (out of direct sun.) Otherwise I can't get a ladder inside to have access to screw down the panels of the tall 8x10. The size of your 6x8 probably makes panel swapping a bit easier too, so I personally don't think it's a bad idea for you to consider just buying another kit on sale and robbing the panels...if you don't mind the work of swapping them out periodically.

    I think I'll at least buy good UV protected panels elsewhere for the roof...since that's the biggest hassle for me to change. But I can sure see your point!

    My roof is not the only part that is plainly yellowed and more brittle; my south and west panels are also. If you eventually have to change out other panels as well, that affects the cost calculation.

    I'm more spooked by the risk of brittleness than holes. I worry that brittle panels will break at the points where I've screwed them down, eventually, in ferocious winds.

  • baileybear

    So far no yellowing either. I have it at the southeast corner of the house. The south is blocked by a tree. The sun is overhead in the summer until about 1-2:00 so even though it is on the east it still gets that darn summer sun a long time. I was planning on using some sun screen this year. I was going to drape it over the gh and then grommet and stake it on either side. I read on one thread that if there is much movement of the sunscreen it will damage the finish on the greenhouse. I was wondering if others have experienced this. Where it is located I don't have a lot of wind but there is some. Your wind sounds bad. We just had a wind storm last night and it lifted one of the vent. Even with our dust storms that is the only damage I have had but I did make all the improvements.
    My major goal now is trying to cool the darn thing, both summer and a lot of the winter. I have been reading threads and have been getting some good ideas but any more will sure help. Happy Gardening everyone.

  • ms_minnamouse

    I'm thinking about getting one of these. The price is just so hard to ignore. Has anyone contacted the company with their complaints? What have they said? I wouldn't stand for paying for a defective product.

  • mudhouse_gw

    Harbor Freight is not known for exemplary customer service in many matters. ;-) If you put your cursor about 1/3 of the way down this long thread, and look for the post with the bold type, you'll find the exact response I got from Harbor Freight about this question. I frankly think it just goes with the price of the kit; if we want top notch responsiveness to any concern, we need to buy more expensive greenhouses.

    Whether or not the panels can be considered "defective" is open for discussion. As you mention, the price of this kit is so much lower than others, even if I have to replace some of my panels with more expensive (quality) twinwall polycarbonate down the road...I'll still be money ahead, although the labor and hassle will be annoying.

    The panels are what they are, and that's one way Harbor Freight keeps their prices low. This problem seems to mainly affect folks in very sunny southern states...and, as Baileybear's encouraging post above shows, perhaps not even everyone! As you've read here, some folks do have seriuous problems, and others don't.

    Shadecloth on top of the panels most affected by direct sun does seem to help. It's just something to take into consideration if you live in certain climates.

  • ms_minnamouse

    My climate is really odd. It's very cold during winter and very hot and sunny during summer. I'm not sure what to expect but when I have the money to get it (if that ever happens!) I'll keep all the suggestions from these HFGH threads in mind. It's just too bad that you guys have to go through this.

  • JamesY40

    When I reported the holes in the panels, they were on the roof of the south side. They were small holes that seemed to increase as the greenhouse aged. Then the greenhouse was destroyed in a hail storm. I am currently thinking of buyin another one. If I do, I will cover with shade cloth to prevent this from happening again.

  • JamesY40

    I just went out and looked at the remaining greenhouse structure still standing after the hail storm. I have side panesl on the north and south side still there. I noticed that there were many pin holes on the north side of the house. This is the side that gets the hot July and August sun. In my estimation, the greenhouse panels are good here for about 2 years.

    James

  • greenhouser2

    They must be defective panels. Mine are still like knew after several years. No discoloring, pitting - nothing! I do cover my HFGH for the summer with a queen size white sheet. It will come off for the winter if I have an overflow of plants from the larger Rion, also covered for the summer. Both GHs get washed with Palmolive every spring when the plants go outside.

    The climate here can go from 103F in the summer to 2 or 3 below in winter. The summer sun is grueling.

  • john_geary

    No posts since July, 2009. I am thinking about buying a HF greenhouse and would like an up date on the panels before buying. Any info would be appreciated.

    I am in hot, sunny and humid Mobile, AL.

  • joeurda

    I put my HFGH up in the Spring of 2007. In 2009 I noticed that there were small holes in the roof panels. Notice that I said roof panels. All of the roof panels have many holes in them and they are very brittle. Several have cracked.
    What's odd to me is that all of the wall panels show no sign of problems. They are still clear, no holes and are not cracking.

    To me, it's apparent that the ceiling batch were cut from a different batch that the walls were cut from. The ceiling batch is obviously defective.

    I've never complained to HF, but I really think that certain supplies of polycarbonate panels really are defective.

    Now, I'm debating whether to find some other material to replace them with or order another HFGH just for the panels.

    Joe

    Here is a link that might be useful: My HFGH

  • mudhouse_gw

    We put ours up in the summer of 2007. To date, the panels receiving the most sun (either from orientation, or from lack of any shadecloth protection) are noticeably yellowed, and probably more brittle (I try not to mess with the yellowed panels, for fear of damage.) The panels on my north side, blocked from almost any sun at all, still look pretty much like new.

    However, I still don't see any holes developing, or cracks, as Joe, Laserfan, and others have reported...even in my most yellowed panels. I'm thinking that Joe's suggestion of variation of manufacturing quality (and defects) may be the best explanation. It could also explain why some folks don't report any dissatisfaction with their panels, and others have some pretty impressive failures.

    Joe, since you seem to have such a clear indication of varying quality in one structure, I wonder if it would be worth contacting HF to see if they will send you replacement panels for the roof. When I contacted them about this issue some time ago, they said they were replacing some panels on a case-by-case basis. I have no idea what they're doing now, but it might be worth a phone call (and/or, some emailed photos?) before you shell out hard-earned money...?

    My greenhouse is still functioning fine, although not quite as pretty as it was when the panels had that nice new blue-white color. But, until cracks or holes develop, I'll live with these panels.
    Sheri

  • greenrhody

    After following these posts for a couple of years now with rising anxiety as I have seen my HFGH roof panels rapidly deteriorating.........it seems the only logical solution (imho)is new panels from farmtek.
    However with shipping costs to my area at $107.07 and an added handling charge of I believe around $60 coupled with a reasonable panel cost of $44.95....thats $212,75% of what I paid for my greenhouse.

    Possible solution........ Shipping costs from Farmtek are the same whether you purchase one 4x8 panel or 25, I assume handling would be the same.
    Has anyone considered a regional purchase that could spread the shipping and handling costs out.
    For instance, cost per panel at a purchase of even 10 panels would be $61 instead of $212......
    I'd be willing to do a southern new england group.

  • gardenerwantabe

    WOW this is a long thread.
    I have not been on this forum in awhile but I see that the panel problem still has not been solved.

    I'm in my 6th growing season with my 10x12 HFGH and have no yellowing no pin holes no problems of any kind.

    Where I live we don't have the heat of the south west but when mine was first built I put a pool cover on the roof and put alluvium angle pieces at each end of the gable to secure it.
    I leave it on year round plus a 50 percent shade cloth in the summer.

    The pool cover deflects the sun light so it is not as hot on the panels and I believe it helps the plants as well.

    If I lived in Arizona I would have the same set up as I use in Indiana not sure it would totally cure the problem but it sure would be better than what you people are using.

    One thing that you should think about is that just because you live in a hot climate you don't need insulation because it will insulate against heat as well as cold.

    If you buy 8mm panels don't worry about getting them in the grove just lay them on top of the frame and use screws to hold them down.
    Put pool cover over it like mine and NO RAIN can get to the roof panels to leak at the top and the pool cover will protect you panels.

    Here is a link that might be useful: {{gwi:287708}}

  • dennyg

    My greenhouse in located in Tucson and is couple year old. I have observed a few 3/16" diameter holes in the outer skin in a few of the panels. I'm sure with time there will be more and eventually I'll have to replace the panels. BUT, in the mean time, I'm thinking about placing a clear plastic patch over the holes. The patch might be 1/2" diameter. Has anyone tried this? If so, has it worked? If so, what did you use for the patching material and the adhesive?

  • gartenmiester

    Patch holes with 100% clear silcone caulk - squeeze it into the panel and smooth it off with a wet finger. For shade coating the house, purchase the cheapest white latex paint you can buy. Thin it down to 1 part paint to 6 parts H2O and apply it with an ordinary 2 or 3 gallon hand pesticide sprayer. Apply as many coats as you need to get the desired shading level.(latex paint doesn't adhere well to poly - rain, snow and frost remove it or you can brush it off.

  • dennyg

    gartenmiester, Thanks for the suggestion. The clear silicone caulk sounds like a relatively easy repair.

    I hadn't thought of applying paint for shading, but it's worth considering. I now have shade cloth on the inside, but it obviously provides no protection for the polycarbonate panels.

  • greenrhody

    Pool cover would be a problem over the two vent windows I have.
    Silicone would be a temporary fix at the onset of holes starting.
    My panels have dozens of holes,cracks,yellowing.......they are disintergratng!Silicone would be a band-aid at best.

  • laserfan

    Why are you worried about the vent windows if your panels are disintegrating!!!????!!! My panels are almost completely shot as well--I even have a garbage bag clamped-over a vent that blew-out so our GH is looking sorta sad these days! I think I mentioned earlier in this thread that I "snow-roofed" one side of our GH but that ultimately did not slow the deterioration.

    I'm with gardenerwantabe on a flexible cover solution. I've been thinking "clear reinforced tarp" but haven't found one in a suitable size. I'm thinking PVC pipe to protect a tarp from the sharp edges of the GH.

    I notice that HF is advertising "UV protected" for their GH these days--I suppose if you trusted them that they've improved their panels you could buy another GH and get fresh panels! But I don't believe them myself...

    If I find a nice cover I will take some pics and post-back here.

  • joeurda

    Time to bite the bullet and replace my roof panels. After a couple of years they were brittle and full of holes. I'm tired of patching them. Sides are just fine.

    I've been looking at Charlies selection of polycarbonate panels. Has anyone replaced their panels from Charlies? Did you upgrade to 8mm or even the 8mm Heat Saver ones or go with the normal 6mm twin wall? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Joe
    Finger Lake Region of NYS

    Here is a link that might be useful: My HFGH

  • mudhouse_gw

    Hi Joe,
    Just making sure you found this thread (also ongoing fairly recently) about the HFGH panel problem:
    HFGH Panel Fixes and Failures, Updates?
    Laserfan posted in that threat that he hasn't installed his roof panels yet, so you might want to watch that thread as well, to see how he deals with the roof panel thickness problem (roof channel of the HFGH frame isn't designed to accept thicker than 4mm poly panels, as noted earlier in this very long thread.)

    My (3 year old) roof panels don't have holes yet, but most of my side panels do. Currently they are patched with clear duct tape to get through the winter. I am considering Solexx instead of clear polycarbonate for replacing mine, but won't decide for sure until spring. I posted some info about Solexx in the other thread, if it helps.

    Merry Christmas,
    Sheri

  • joeurda

    I bit the bullet. After looking at Charlies and the material cost and shipping, I was almost as close to the cost of another HFGH. I called HF customer support and was able to order the replacement panels to cover all of the roof.

    ***Order Summary***
    4 13361-0ZZA 93358 ROOF WINDOW PANEL 1'11 X @ $9.72
    8 13366-0ZZA 93358 ROOF PANEL 1'11 X5'9 @ $9.41
    Subtotal: 114.16
    Tax Rate: 0.08
    Tax Total: 10.17
    Shipping: 12.99
    Handling: 0.00
    TOTAL: $137.32

    Received them the other day and now all I have to do is wait for a warm day to install them. We have had a real cold spell here with the temp staying in the 20's.

    These might not be the same quality as Charlies, but the same qty. would have been about $251 plus shipping. I'll take my chances.

    Joe

  • lauriann2

    I just bought a HFGH, and was wondering if anyone had tried putting on the clear adhesive UV film as was suggested earlier in this post before assembling the panels? I was thinking this might be a good preventative measure.. Also, thank you to all the contributing members for the informative posts on how to improve the stability of the HFGH, I am so excited to get started!

  • rtyu

    After reading this post three years ago while building the hf10'x12' gh I decided to order the "Top Secret Coating" and 1qt of suggested thinner, mentioned previously on this post. I'm at about 6000' near Denver. with the suggested 1 quart of thinner I was able to apply 3 coats to the outside of the panels with a paint roller, this may be overdoing it but I had no other use for it at the time. The results have been great no yellowing or holes of any type, we have high uv and summer temps up to 105f here. I think it all ran about $80, well worth it.

  • mudhouse_gw

    Hello rtyu, and thanks so much for posting here. That's really encouraging!

    I also applied a Top Secret clear coating to my new roof panels, a little over two years ago. The product I ordered was TS-100 One Part Epoxy Marine Coating, with the suggested thinner. So far I don't have any deterioration, but the roof panels are also under 60% Aluminet shadecloth year round...so they do have some protection from our brutal sun. I figured I'd need to give it another year or so before I knew if the coating was really working. So, I'm happy you started your test of the product a year before I did, that's great feedback!

    I only applied two coats with a fine nap roller. Should have applied three...as you did...because I have quite a bit left over. Next spring I need to replace the wall panels, and before I install them, I will be using more of the same product.

    I think my cost was around $100 or so for the gallon of coating, the quart of thinner, and shipping, several years ago.

    Thanks so much for posting and sharing your results. I will also post to the other (Part Two) of this thread, in case folks pull these threads up in the future.

  • johnnyq_627

    Resurrecting this old thread as my HFGH now has holes throughout the roof after it's 3rd year in PA. The panel prices have increased to $16 each from HF and there are options for 6mm panels with 10yr warranties for $22 each. I'm curious to get a few updates on what folks have been doing to replace their failing panels lately.

  • mudhouse

    johnnyq, I'm not much help, since I've been shamelessly kicking the can down the road for years now. Made it through the last two winters with a layer of 6 mil greenhouse plastic sheeting over my own badly damaged polycarbonate roof. We've replaced the roof panels once already, and I only get about three years in the HFGH panels before small holes start showing up in the outside layer of the roof poly panels (even with shadecloth in place all year.) I'm lucky we didn't have a wet heavy snow this winter, or we would have been out there rigging up emergency interior bracing!

    All of my wall panels are still original, and are now about ten years old. They've finally yellowed and developed small holes too, so I'm looking at a sizeable investment to replace all the roof and wall panels. To be honest I'm doing some soul searching about keeping the greenhouse, but I probably will go ahead with the replacement, since all is fine except for the panels. And I'm not sure I want to give up the hobby quite yet.

    My plan is to buy 4mm twinwall poly elsewhere (not Harbor Freight, as I'm just getting too old to deal with the work of replacing the roof so often.) Last time I checked, FarmTek seemed to be my best source price wise.

    Did you mean that HF is offering 6mm panels with a warranty now?

    One (potential?) heads up is there might be a slight glitch with getting 6mm thick panels to slip into the aluminum framing at the roof peak - as you know the panels slide into a channel up there - and there has been past discussion that anything thicker than 4mm might not slide into the channel easily. I don't know if this is a problem with the kits that are newer than mine, though, and it might not be an insurmountable problem.

    Maybe others will chime in with panel replacement updates.

  • Kapitan Deepblu

    Good evening to all.

    I just unloaded my HFGH 10x12. This has been on my to-do list for over a decade.

    I plan on retiring in 3 weeks. I've been reading all the posts on these 3-5 threads. It would appear that there are many things I have ahead of me.


    Since the panels seem to have issues on several users, I'm rethinking my response to the lady at the check out at HF. She asked me if I wanted the extended warranty. I am now regretting saying no, as it sounds like there are 2-3 year life span and 2/3/4 years were the options for the extended warranty. Perhaps I missed my chance to get my panels replaced the first round. Hmmmmm.


    Once I get all the foundation decisions made (type etc..) , I will look forward to sharing how these GH's do in Oklahoma. Plenty of wind, sun and heat to test the theories expressed in the posts to address the panel degradation issues.


    I realize this thread was being closed, or recommended to close, but it hosted the latest post, so I added to it.


    Thank you all for the numerous ideas and posts. I look forward to tracking this discussion.

  • mudhouse

    Hi Kapitan Deepblu, sorry I missed this post until now. Congratulations on your new greenhouse! There is, as you've found, a lot of information on the web about these Harbor Freight greenhouses, strengths and weaknesses.

    Mine is still standing, and full of plants snugged in for the winter; I keep nursing it along (only real problem being the panels, as I posted above.) My sliding doors don't work as well as they did, but they're usable; I replaced the roller wheels on one door last year, ordering replacements from Harbor Freight.


    When I bought my kit, 12 years ago, Harbor Freight offered no warranty. I'm glad to hear that they do now.


    Your kit probably has some variations from mine, but don't hesitate to reach out with questions. I'll be happy to help if I can. If I miss a post here in the greenhouse forum, feel free to ping a pebble off my forehead and send me a message through Houzz (I keep my messaging option turned on for this reason.) You can access that function by clicking on my avatar.


    Happy New Year!

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