The Right Metal For Your Greenhouse: Aluminum Vs. Steel
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The Right Metal For Your Greenhouse: Aluminum Vs. Steel

Choosing The Right Metal For Your Greenhouse: Aluminum Vs. Steel
Jun, 2024

Harvest Success!

When it comes to choosing the right metal for your greenhouse, many options are available in the market. But the two most popular ones are aluminum and steel. So, which one should you pick—steel or aluminum? Which is better for your greenhouse? Let’s give this a more thorough examination.

Greenhouse Metal Materials: A Comprehensive Comparison of Aluminum and Steel

Before choosing between the two, it is crucial to know their differences and their pros and cons. Let’s see.

Benefits Of Aluminum


Aluminum is much lighter than steel. In fact, it is 1/3rd the weight of mild steel. This makes aluminum ideal for the aerospace and automobile industries. It is much easier to handle and transport, which in turn saves time and money.

But hey, you don’t need to move your metal greenhouse building from one place to another!

Corrosion Resistant

When exposed to the external environment, aluminum forms a thin layer of oxide film on its surface. This prevents further oxidation of metal, making aluminum resistant to rusting. When exposed to water, it does not oxidize but undergoes hydrolysis, which forms a layer that blocks oxygen from entering its surface.

Easy To Work With

It retains its durability and shiny surface throughout its life. Being lightweight, it is easy to maneuver at the construction site.

Drawbacks Of Aluminum

Less Durable

Aluminum can’t withstand harsh weather conditions. It might struggle with strong winds, snow loads, and hail storms. One gust of speedy wind, and it may get airborne.

More Expensive

Aluminum is more expensive than steel. The reason is that the raw material (bauxite) and the extraction process are costly. Since it is soft, it requires more machining time, which further adds to the cost. Global supply and demand also play a role here.

Benefits Of Steel


Structural steel used in the construction industry is about 25 times stronger than traditional wood. Further, steel coated with molten zinc (galvanized steel) creates a protective layer that makes it rust-resistant.


Galvanized steel is extremely robust, which makes it the best option for greenhouse frames. A 12 gauge steel frame provides longevity and structural strength. Engineer-certified steel structures can withstand up to 190 miles per hour of wind speed and 80 pounds per square foot of snow load.

Cost Effective For Larger Structures

As the size of the metal greenhouse building increases, the cost per square foot decreases. So, don’t be afraid to opt for a larger size if you need more space in the future.

Drawbacks Of Steel

Heavier Than Aluminum

Steel is heavier than aluminum, so you will need lifting machines to carry frames and beams around the construction site.

Prone To Rusting

Since steel is an iron alloy, it tends to rust. However, there are many methods of making steel resistant to corrosion. Interestingly, all metal buildings are manufactured and installed with 100% galvanized steel which provides full protection against rusting.

Maintenance Requirement For Aluminum Vs. Steel Buildings Greenhouses


It requires occasional cleaning and inspection. However, it may get dents from hail or airborne objects flying with speedy wind.


Steel buildings are low maintenance. The galvanized steel prevents rusting, reducing the chances of repair and replacement.

Note: Metal greenhouse buildings made using steel are ideal for hot, humid, and soil-based environments, making them an excellent choice for growing plantations, crops, pink farming, and garden centers.

Factors To Consider When Selecting Metal For Greenhouse

1. Heat Retention

The aim of metal greenhouse buildings is to create a micro-climate that is warmer for plants to grow. The heat retention ability varies with the material. Aluminum heats up and cools down quickly, so it does not retain heat for a longer period of time. Structural steel has better heat retention due to lower thermal conductivity and high specific heat capacity.

2. Weather & Location

Consider your local weather pattern. If you live in a region with extremely cold winters or hot summers, you prefer a material with maximum insulation. Aluminum is a better insulator than steel since heat transfer is easy through it.

Note: You can opt for single or double bubble insulation to minimize heat transfer.

3. Frame Material

A 12 or 14 gauge steel frame can withstand local weather better than aluminum, making steel buildings an ideal choice for greenhouses. Opt for polycarbonate panels that let light through without degrading with time.

4. Lifespan

Durability is the key factor in greenhouse design. You can choose the material based on the size and use of the building. For instance, an aluminum frame is suitable for a personal greenhouse in your backyard, while a steel frame is suitable for a large farm greenhouse or garden center.

5. Glazing Material

Another key component of a greenhouse is its glazing material, which lets sunlight in. For maximum sun, opt for glass or polycarbonate panels. For better insulation, you can choose double-pane glass and polycarbonate with high heat retention.

Note: Polyethylene and fiberglass panels can diffuse light but allow more UV rays to pass through it.

6. Flooring

Prefer using concrete, brick, or stone for greenhouses since they absorb heat during the day and release it slowly at night. Wood flooring looks aesthetic but requires high maintenance and is not feasible for a large-scale metal greenhouse building.

As most metal builders recommend, steel buildings work best with a concrete slab.

Greenhouse Solutions, From Viking Steel Structures To You

If you are planning to install a new greenhouse with little maintenance, call us at 877-801-3263 for the best deals on steel buildings. They are durable, virtually indestructible, and a ‘superhero’ of all metal. Choose the right metal, live worry-free, and reap the profit of harvest!

Zoe Tomaino
Zoe Tomaino
I LOVE my Viking Steel Building, it is everything I hoped for. A well built building that was installed by an excellent crew. I have recommended Viking Steel Buildings to anyone who ask.
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Willie Baker
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Seth Stanley is a great salesman. Customer service was great! He was so helpful and flexible to meet our schedule and got our building up very quickly. Thank you so much to Seth!!
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Amazing company and amazing products. I worked closely with Seth Stanley who helped me design my dream building. Seth was amazing! He was patient and super helpful. He even helped my concrete guys with the perfect slab for my building. I HIGHLY recommend Viking Steel - Seth Stanley!
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