How to cut polycarbonate greenhouse plastic

Written by kimberly johnson
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How to cut polycarbonate greenhouse plastic
Polycarbonate plastic retains heat in a greenhouse. (floriculture image by martini from

Polycarbonate plastic used for greenhouses is long, thin layers of semi-flexible plastic that comprise the greenhouse outer shell. This sheeting is extremely durable while still allowing adequate sun penetration into the greenhouse. It is manufactured in either large sheets or as a single roll; when putting together the greenhouse, the plastic is cut into the proper dimensions and then affixed to the greenhouse frame.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Polycarbonate sheets or roll
  • Saw
  • Saw blade, hollow tipped or carbide tipped

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  1. 1

    Determine the measurements of the greenhouse frame. Place one end of a tape measure at the top of the roof and extend the other end down toward the edge of the roof line to determine how long each plastic sheet should be. If the roof is rounded, follow the roof support braces to get an accurate measurement, then measure from the top of the greenhouse wall to the ground to determine how long each plastic wall sheet should be.

  2. 2

    Lay the polycarbonate sheets or roll on a flat surface and use a tape measure and pencil to draw the cut line onto the plastic.

  3. 3

    Install a hollow ground blade with 10 to 12 fine teeth per inch into a circular saw. A carbide-tipped saw blade is also acceptable.

  4. 4

    Turn on the saw and cut through the polycarbonate plastic by following the pencil line that was previously drawn. Always wear eye protection and a mask when cutting the plastic to protect against injury from plastic particles and dust.

Tips and warnings

  • Every piece of polycarbonate plastic contains a side with the words "This side out". This is the side which contains a protective UV coating and should face outward towards the sun when installed.

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