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Old 02-02-2013, 04:22 PM
Salt Creep Salt Creep is offline
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Default How do I clean the greenhouse roof?

Hello everybody,

I was wondering if someone could advise me on the best way to clean my greenhouse roof?

It's flat fiberglass and rather old, and now has lots of little cracks on the surface that collects dirt. This winter has been especially bad for it because a big ash tree nearby dumped loads of spent flowers on top of the greenhouse and even after I hosed them off the roof looks really dingy. I can't really get on the roof to manually scrub it. There are also plants in the ground around the sides that detergents and such will drip on to, so whatever detergent I use has to be safe for the plants.

Thanks,
Ken
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2013, 07:12 PM
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Saxicola Saxicola is offline
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Fiberglass doesn't last forever. It will get dingy and yellow over time from the sun (not just dirt and debris). It may be that yours is old enough that it needs to be replaced.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:41 PM
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wantonamara wantonamara is offline
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If you replace it, look into lexan or twinwall also called polygal.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:41 PM
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Matt Maggio Matt Maggio is offline
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I'll echo some of the statements about switching over to lexan glazing material. Although lexan does attract particulates, it's easier to clean than fiberglass, a distinction that becomes more pronounced as each material ages. I let my lexan greenhouse roof build-up some particulate dust Spring and on through summer for shading purposes, then wash each Fall when diminishing light levels become discernable. Sometimes, I've had to wash twice in a year, again in mid winter if Santa Ana winds have deposited a lot of dust. The last time we had major fires in the surrounding mountains, I had a decent layer of ash fallout on my greenhouse. When cleaning, I use a bucket of warm, soapy water and an extension mop. It's a pain, but I move the plants from under the greenhouse eves each time.

MM
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:36 PM
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wantonamara wantonamara is offline
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If you are in the desert and would like some shading effect, the lexan does come in a bronze color that might give some shade effect that is barely desernable to the naked eye when in place, but could be of use. I do not know how the color changes the light balance and the effect on plants. I am not biologist. I have used it on buildings that I have designed. to cut down on light into a structure. Poly gal comes in different colors also. Guys and gals, please chime in on this issue. I would be interested.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:59 PM
xslinky@dishmail.net xslinky@dishmail.net is offline
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I had the same problem using an old "greenhouse" which I didn't build.
The fiberglass sheets were no longer clear, very dirty, and even moss or something growing on it.
I used a nice wire brush with a long handle and cleaned and "polished" the surface. I was amazed at how clear it was afterwards. It was as if all the dinginess was scrubbed off. Then, I used clear concrete sealer as a topcoat.
I will say it was hard, sweaty work and I have to caution that a dust mask or something better like a respirator is a necessity, unless you like the health detriments of breathing fiberglass dust.
Also, I had to move all my potted plants outside the greenhouse far away as the dust would have coated them as well.
All in all, I saved considerable money, but I suspect the easier route would have been to replace the roof with something like lexan as otherwise already suggested.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:08 PM
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cabngirl cabngirl is offline
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Out of curiosity Slinky, how did you apply that concrete sealer-- spray? was that the lacquer variety? (sets up so fast!)... I salute you, that's quite a feat. Got me thinking, wonder if there would be any benefit in a light cover- ie minimal shade cloth that might be easily replaced or even removed/cleaned. Maybe that's a dumb idea... We used to have a greenhouse where I lived some years back, it was covered with lichen and moss and dirt. We cleaned it but eventually just replaced the fiberglass even tho we were just renters.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:39 AM
xslinky@dishmail.net xslinky@dishmail.net is offline
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Cabngirl, I just picked up some "Quikrete" concrete sealer at Friedman's. It was a bit pricier than some of the alternatives at about $30 a gallon, but I picked it because it has a wet-look, high-gloss, clear finish and since it's durable enough to resist gasoline, oil and salts, I could count on it to just hold up to bird poop and dirt, lol. It's waterproof, and a UV ray protector as well. My thinking was to fill whatever cracks and imperfections that was giving the moss a foothold to grow on. I just brushed it on with a wide paintbrush and gave it two coats. Nice also was that it cleans up with water.
I guess a shade cloth covering would help keep the roof clean some, although it is porous and I expect the dust and dirt would bleed through anyway, especially after a rain, defeating the intention to keep the roof clean. That's just my thinking anyway...
Best Regards,
Tom
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:48 PM
Salt Creep Salt Creep is offline
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Would using a pressure sprayer work ok? I won't be able to change the panels just yet, and some shading is ok (saves me from having to install shade cloth) but I do want to get most of the dirt out. I just wonder if a pressure sprayer would go right through the panels.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:11 PM
xslinky@dishmail.net xslinky@dishmail.net is offline
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Pressure spraying would definitely clean all the dirt off. Unless it's paper-thin, it should hold up to a pressure washer.
I have worked with fiberglass, especially in regards to boats and cars.
If it gets dingy and faded due to UV effects, that won't wash off. However, it can be sanded (wire-brush has a polishing effect as well) and painted with clear, UV resistant products, and made to look "newer" again....
Again, working with fiberglass is nasty, and you don't want to be inhaling the particles. You will notice the itchy feeling once it gets on your skin. A good shower takes care of that...
All in all, remove and replace could be the quickest and cleanest solution.
Occasionally, I will opt for the messier solution to save a buck, so long as I achieve a palatable result, though not always the "right" or best choice.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:31 PM
Dumitru Ivanov Dumitru Ivanov is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxicola View Post
Fiberglass doesn't last forever. It will get dingy and yellow over time from the sun (not just dirt and debris). It may be that yours is old enough that it needs to be replaced.
Most likely. In case you decide to replace them, may I recommend Agro fiberglass? It's a bit more resilient than regular fiberglass.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:52 PM
Viegener Viegener is offline
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I'm a new fan of poly gal. I've tried a variety of glasses/plastics over the years & it seems like a real advancement. It's lighter than Lexan plus has superior insulating capacity. Easy to cut, etc. One thing I'm not sure about is how it ages, but I've had some translucent white fences that have not yellowed or become brittle over the four years I've had them.
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