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How to buy the best greenhouse

Wooden vs aluminium greenhouse frames

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Wooden vs aluminium greenhouse frames

Not sure whether to choose a greenhouse with an aluminium frame or a wooden one? We take a closer look.

Once you've decided whether to go for aluminium or wood, check out the best and worst brands of greenhouse before you decide which model to buy, to make sure you get the right greenhouse for your garden.

Most greenhouse frames are made of aluminium, but wooden greenhouses are also available and many gardeners find them more attractive to look at, although they need more maintenance than metal frames.

Aluminium greenhouses

  • The main advantage of aluminium frames is the price as they're a quarter to a third of the price of an equivalent-sized wooden greenhouse.
  • They also tend to be longer-lasting then wooden frames, especially softwood ones.
  •  They don't only come in grey as powder-coated options are available in a range of colours, such as green, brown, black and blue, so they'll blend into your garden colour scheme. Bear in mind that these colours can add a few hundred pounds to the initial price. Alternatively plain aluminium is maintenance-free and fades to silver-grey.
  • Aluminium frames cast very little shade so the maximum light reaches your plants and the frame is light and easy to assemble.
  • You'll need to buy special fastenings to attach bubble plastic or shading material.

Wooden greenhouses

  • Even the cheapest wooden greenhouse costs more than aluminium, but timber is a natural material so tends to look more in keeping with a garden. 
  • Softwoods, such as deal (pine), are vulnerable to rot, even if the timber has been treated. Naturally durable timber – usually western red cedar – can be left to age to a silver-brown. For looks, a western red cedar greenhouse is hard to beat. Look for manufacturers that offer a guarantee against rot.
  • They can easily be stained to whatever colour you'd like or you can enjoy the natural colour of the wood.
  • It's easy to attach bubble plastic or shading material to the frame with drawing pins.
  • Opting for a metal base is a good idea as it'll stop the wooden frame being in contact with the damp ground.