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Cold frames are a great way to protect your seedlings from the harsh elements and from pests to give them the best chance of surviving into full growth. Using polycarbonate instead of glass for your cold frame is a cost-effective option that comes with a range of other benefits, such as strength, durability and weather resistance. We offer cut to size polycarbonate sheeting in a range of thicknesses, so you can build the perfect cold frame for your needs that will fit the size of your garden perfectly without taking up too much space.
What are cold frames?
A cold frame is a simple box-like, enclosed structure that is built low to the ground and has a transparent roof. The purpose of a cold frame is to provide adequate shelter and warmth to seedlings, so they can ‘harden off’ before being planted outside. The name comes from the fact that, unlike a hotter greenhouse, they rely just on the temperature that’s gained from sunlight throughout the day, so they’re considerably colder than a greenhouse.
Cold frames are the half-way house between a greenhouse and planting directly into the garden. When you’ve reared your seedlings in a greenhouse, if you were to plant them straight away in the garden between April and June, the cold would shock them and stunt their growth. It’s possible that they wouldn’t grow at all after this shock in temperature change, which is why cold frames are used in conjunction with greenhouses. The most effective types of cold frames are those which have lids which can be either propped open or slid across and removed completely, to make them more flexible and versatile.
What are the benefits of using polycarbonate?
Polycarbonate cold frames are affordable and lightweight, so they’re easy to pick up and move around the garden. While glass is more traditionally used in cold frames, it’s also more susceptible to breakages and damage, which is why polycarbonate is such a great alternative material to use. It’s UV resistant to help protect your plants and it’s also weather resistant, so your acrylic panels won’t age or be damaged by the elements. One of the main reasons polycarbonate is such a popular material for use in greenhouses and replacement window panes is that it’s incredibly insulating, so you can be sure that your plants will be in warm conditions during the colder months.
Polycarbonate is up to 200 times stronger than glass, but half its weight, so it’s easy to replace broken glass panes with acrylic panels. Using polycarbonate also means you’ll benefit not just from impact resistance but also its shatterproof properties, helping to reduce the risk of accidents if it does break, which is particularly useful for homes with kids and pets. Because polycarbonate can be cut to any size, you can build your own bespoke cold frame to the exact measurements you need.
For advice on the size or thickness of the polycarbonate you need for your cold frame, you can give our team a call or drop us an email and we’ll be happy to help you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tolerance do you cut to?
We cut to a tolerance of +/-3mm.
What is your delivery timescale?
3-7 working days.
Is mirrored acrylic like normal mirror?
Mirrored acrylic is a flexible material, and needs to be attached to a perfectly flat surface. We recommend attaching it to MDF or something similar, making sure the adhesive is spread in a thin even layer across the acrylic. we also recommend using the 5mm thick acrylic as it is more rigid.
Can you cut any shape?
Yes, in acrylic. We will shortly be able to also cut any shape in polycarbonate as well.
What's your standard radius corner?
20mm, but we can cut to your requirements.
How many holes do I need in my acrylic?
1 per corner should be sufficient for smaller pieces. You might want to consider an extra hole in the middle if your sheet is larger.
Can I cut acrylic?
Yes, you can. Just take it slow and easy.
Can I put acrylic behind a hob?
Not if it is gas or electric. You need a gap of 5cm between an induction hob and the acrylic.
Do you fit the acrylic?
No, we don't. We do provide some templates which should help you to take your measurements. The acrylic is easy to install by any competent DIYer.
What's the difference between acrylic and Perspex?
Perspex is a brand name. It is the same as acrylic.
What's the difference between acrylic and polycarbonate?
Take a look at our handy guide here.
Can I change my order after it's been placed?
There will be a £6 processing fee for any amendments needed after placing your order.