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Extreme weather conditions can wreak havoc in your garden! That’s why when bad weather is forecast, it’s advisable to take precautions to prepare your greenhouse for high wind.
There are a variety of protective measures you can take to prepare your greenhouse for storms. From wind-proofing your greenhouse to ensuring you’ve replaced or repaired any damaged parts, considering the type of greenhouse you’re selecting and where it will be positioned –many factors will help you properly prepare your greenhouse for storms.
In this article, you will find tips and suggestions on how to go about safeguarding your precious greenhouse and treasured garden space to give you security and peace of mind – whatever the weather!
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PREPARATION BEGINS BEFORE INSTALLATION WHEN WIND-PROOFING YOUR GREENHOUSE
Preparing your greenhouse for bad weather starts when you decide on the location and base of your greenhouse. Choosing an appropriate site is step one, so if you are thinking of purchasing, or are about to start your groundwork in preparation for installation, take these considerations into account:
- Avoid exposed areas of land when you prepare the greenhouse for storms.
Provide some shelter from high winds by placing it near something that will act as a windbreak, such as a garden wall, fence or hedge. If no protection can be offered, consider erecting a windbreak of some kind.
- Orient the greenhouse so the gable end faces the prevailing wind.
The front end is the most susceptible to high winds, while the gable end (or back end) is the strongest side of the greenhouse.
- Keep a clear perimeter when you prepare the greenhouse for storms.
This will allow you to make adjustments and tackle every side of your greenhouse (inside and out) if any extra reinforcements are needed.
- Keep away from overhanging trees.
Gales, storms and hurricanes might bring down branches or the entire tree. So assess your surrounding trees carefully when planning and wind-proofing your greenhouse.
- Ensure the base and door are square and level when you prepare your greenhouse for storms.
A well-built greenhouse should be level when installed, as it is essential to the overall structure and integral to the lifetime of the building as a whole. If your greenhouse isn't correctly levelled all around it is likely to create gaps in the framework and between the panes that will let the wind in where it’s loose or ill-fitting.
If your greenhouse isn't level when you come to prepare for bad weather, see if you can realign or bolster the worst affected areas of the greenhouse by filling gaps and wedging in loose components as a temporary measure.
Seek advice from your greenhouse manufacturer concerning appropriate ground preparation.
- Anchor it down well.
The more secure the better! If your greenhouse is sited straight onto soil, cemented anchors are best. And for those with a hardstanding base, drill down into it as deeply as possible. Make sure to place the anchors across all sides evenly to spread the load.
- Hard-standing bases are the most secure – a concrete/paving pad or perimeter supporting the greenhouse frame is ideal.
Hard-standing bases offer the most solid support, being easier to keep level and less affected by weather conditions that might shift a soil base.
UNFINISHED GREENHOUSES AND HOW TO PREPARE YOUR GREENHOUSE FOR STORMS
If your greenhouse is partly built, carefully consider the best way to protect your greenhouse as bad weather approaches. You don’t want to get halfway through installation only to have your pride and joy irreparably damaged!
- If the frame alone has been erected but not anchored down, move the greenhouse into a sheltered place, preferably inside. If it must be left outside, weigh down the frame as much as possible.
- If the greenhouse is too heavy to move, anchor it down immediately.
- If safer, consider taking the greenhouse apart and starting again when weather conditions have improved.
WIND-PROOFING YOUR GREENHOUSE
One of the most effective ways to prepare your greenhouse for storms is to batten the hatches. The most important thing is to secure the structure and make it as airtight as possible. If the wind gets inside the greenhouse, it can cause a lot of issues, so secure everything you can.
- Keep doors in a closed and secure position. Close all roof and louvre vents to prepare the greenhouse for high wind.
If you have a lockable door, lock it.
If you have storm locks on your roof vents, lock them. If applicable, refer to the section below on how to disengage any automatic openers before applying the storm locks.
- Disengage automatic roof vents and louvres to prepare your greenhouse for high wind.
After all your careful checks, the last thing you need is for an auto-vent to open in the middle of the storm.
Remove the wax cylinder and engage the storm locks if you have them (see bullet-pointed instructions below). Otherwise, tie down the arm of the vent to prevent the hinge from opening. The heavier the window (toughened glass), the less likely it is to be forced open by gusts, but tying it down is a good additional measure when you prepare a greenhouse for high wind.
- Engage storm locks (if you have them) to prepare the greenhouse for storms.
It is best to disengage the cylinders and engage the roof vent locks in strong winds. Here is a brief list of what you need to do when you want to lock your roof vents. The roof vent openers must be deactivated BEFORE locking your roof vents. Locking the roof vents without this could cause damage to your auto openers and potentially damage your roof vents.
- Remove the pin from the auto vent
- Once the pin has been removed, push the roof vent up slightly so that the cylinder drops out of the black cup
- Unscrew the cylinder
- Repeat on all other openers
- Now you can lock them down to help prevent damage
- Keep cylinders stored in a cool place until needed; cool in the fridge before refitting
- Remember to slide locks up out of the way when refitting cylinders
- If you have a polycarbonate greenhouse, tape the panels to the frame with glazing repair tape to ensure you’re adequately wind-proofing your greenhouse.
Polycarbonate glazing panels are the most vulnerable to wind, being lightweight and flexible. Panels can come loose from the greenhouse frame, or if the whole structure isn’t anchored sufficiently, the entire building is light enough to lift off the ground if the wind gets in. You might want to consider taping the polycarbonate panes onto the frame with a strong adhesive tape such as glazing repair tape.
- Replace any damaged or missing panes, or use glazing repair tape as a temporary measure when you prepare the greenhouse for storms.
Replace any missing or cracked panes or use tape to cover up cracks temporarily. Take care when handling panes of glass, and always wear gloves, even when handling toughened glass with bevelled edges. Replacement panes are often supplied by the manufacturer, or you can contact your local glazier.
If replacement panes cannot be sourced in time, cover the exposed areas with suitable, water-resistant material and tape it down securely.
- Replace any lost or broken glazing clips when you prepare greenhouses for high wind.
Spring clips or W-clips are the most common method for attaching horticultural glass panes to a greenhouse frame. They are easily lost and can ping off or snap if exposed to too much pressure. It is worth having more clips for each pane than is strictly necessary when dramatic weather conditions are expected. We’d recommend keeping a stock of spare clips available.
- Tape down overlapping panes.
It is common practice to overlap small panes of horticultural glass to cover the entire area. Tape down the places where they meet to prevent wind from getting in.
- Are the glazing seals in good condition when you prepare the greenhouse for storms?
Seals are used on your greenhouse to help secure the panes to the frame and keep the wind from getting in. If your seals are starting to perish, try to find replacements. You may be able to get replacements directly from the manufacturer. Again, glazing tape may be used temporarily.
- Ensure your greenhouse is properly anchored down when wind-proofing your greenhouse.
This should have been done during installation, but if your greenhouse is not sufficiently anchored for any reason, then take measures to make it so; otherwise, it could lift off the ground entirely.
Weight down the frame with sandbags or similar; add more anchor points by drilling into the base.
- When you prepare your greenhouse for high wind, check the surrounding environment for other risks.
Do you have any other fixtures in the garden that might be affected by the weather, such as a dilapidated shed, a trampoline or rotting trees?
Attend to all other potential hazards by weighing them down or moving to sheltered positions.
Miscellaneous pots, toys or tools should be safely stored in a shed.
Remove dead wood from trees and shore up young saplings.
- Take any precious items out of the greenhouse and bring them inside to prepare the greenhouse for storms.
Take the most important and fragile things out of the greenhouse and move them to a more secure location in case the worst happens.
PREPARE THE GREENHOUSE FOR HIGH WIND BY CHOOSING A STRONG "STORM-READY" GREENHOUSE
If you’re considering purchasing a greenhouse, remember ultimately, a good quality greenhouse is the best way to defend against extreme weather.
Some greenhouses have features that will improve their storm and wind resistance:
- T-section Bracing (Bracing at the eaves and ridge, creating a robust structure)
- Integral Base
- Window and Door Locks
- Toughened Glass
- Glazing Beads (instead of Spring Clips)
A stronger frame, toughened glass, rubber glazing beads and an integral base are all features that will help enhance the glasshouse's overall strength and important components to consider when you prepare a greenhouse for high wind.
Many greenhouses have a guarantee included, and it goes without saying that a longer guarantee means a better greenhouse that is more likely to withstand difficult weather conditions.
How do you make a greenhouse storm-proof?
All greenhouses are vulnerable to storm damage, so always prepare your greenhouse for storms by selecting the best greenhouse for your unique conditions and location, positioning it in an optimal place on your property, and maintaining and checking it on an ongoing basis.
Can wind break greenhouse glass?
The tremendous force and ease with which wind can fling heavy objects about is incredible, but even relatively light wind-borne objects can smash glass. Once the strong winds subside, cover gaps with temporary wind-blocking materials such as plastic sheets, tarpaulin or even an old blanket to prevent further damage.
What is the best greenhouse for strong winds?
When purchasing a new greenhouse for a windy place, choose toughened safety glass which is stronger and available in larger panes. It breaks into small pieces instead of large sharp shards and is easier to keep clean. Look for a strong frame construction and continuous strip fixings and bar capping.
In conclusion: with climate change causing more severe weather and more frequent storms and high winds, structures such as greenhouses are at increased risk of damage. Wind is by far the biggest concern for greenhouse owners. However, gale-force winds are always possible, and it’s only sensible to factor in the fickleness of the weather when selecting, installing and maintaining your greenhouse. Fortunately, Rhino Greenhouses offer superior quality, reliability, durability and longevity – giving you the complete peace of mind you deserve to enjoy many happy years in your favourite outdoor spaces.
Updated 6 March, 2023
Published November, 2020