January 30

Risks Associated With Various Greenhouse Structures

Greenhouse structures used by horticulturists tend to be one of the more prominent risks involved in the line of business and also one of the hardest exposures to assess risk on. One of the main reasons risk evaluation for greenhouses is typically a challenging aspect is because of the variety of greenhouse structure types used in the industry. The material, cost, and structural integrity of different types of greenhouses all contribute to the amount of exposure.

There are four types of greenhouse structures used in this class of business: Tempered Glass, Barrel-Vaulted Double Poly, Quonset-Style, and the Gutter Connected Gable with Polycarbonate Roof.

Tempered Glass

Tempered Glass greenhouses are one of the most traditional styles. They are large structures that are becoming more and more uncommon in the industry. However, large national greenhouse growers still tend to use them. Their prices can vary greatly but typically are in the range of $25 – $50 per square foot. With various upgrades to the structure, the price can jump to $60 – $65 per square foot. Proper evaluation and recognition of these “bells and whistles” is essential when determining exposure.

Barrel-Vaulted Double Poly

The barrel-vaulted double poly is a more commonly found greenhouse that is usually utilized by wholesale growers. The “double poly” refers to the structure’s use of a thicker plastic for the roofing. The price of this style ranges from $5 – $10 per square foot; hence the wider range of use.


The Quonset-Style greenhouses are also very common among wholesale greenhouse growers. They are the cheapest of the four styles coming in at $3 – $5 per square foot. However, they are the most prone to getting destroyed in rough weather due to the thin roofing. This kind of exposure needs to be thought through thoroughly, because though it may be the cheapest to replace, it is also the most likely to sustain heavy damage.

Gutter Connected Gable with Polycarbonate Roof

This style of greenhouse is uncommon among the industry, but just like the tempered glass, it is used by larger national growers. The gutter connected gable is top notch right beneath the tempered glass.  They are fully enclosed which is good during a winter hail storm or tornadoes because usually when rough weather comes through, if wind gets into a greenhouse it can cause it to implode and collapse from the inside. The price per square foot on this style is about the same as tempered glass, around $25 – $50 per square foot.

It is essential when evaluating the exposure on a greenhouse grower’s business to know the kind of structures being used. They play a key role in determining the risk associated with a client and not accurately determining the risk could end badly for either side. It is important not only to note the style of greenhouse being used, but any upgrades installed and the type of roofing being used in order to get an accurate evaluation of any greenhouse exposure.

For more information, visit GrowPro.

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