What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Gothic Arch Greenhouse?

Dennis Howard
by Dennis Howard

One thing that is on the want list for almost any gardener or plant enthusiast is a greenhouse. Among the popular styles of home and backyard greenhouses is the gothic arch design. Many gardeners considering their first greenhouse wonder about the advantages and disadvantages of building or buying a gothic arc greenhouse.

Gothic arch greenhouses offer several pros and cons. Among these are structural advantages and disadvantages. There are maintenance pros and cons with gothic-style greenhouses as well. Typically, gothic arch greenhouses are a bit more expensive than traditional hoop houses or post-and-rafter construction. Gothic arch greenhouses may also offer less interior room than a straight-walled greenhouse design.

Gothic arch greenhouses present a more elegant look to some people than a pure arch design or the straight lines and angles of a post-an-rafter design. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the gothic arch design greenhouse is important to make your decisions. Knowing the differences in the types of greenhouses can help you as well. Familiarity with the accessories you may want in your greenhouse can help you as you make your plans.

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What Makes a Greenhouse a Gothic Arch Design?

Greenhouses come in a plethora of different styles, sizes, and construction techniques. The striking pointed arch of the gothic arch design sets these greenhouses apart. Instead of curving over to meet the opposing curve of the arch, the gothic arch greenhouse turns the bow of the greenhouse upwards to meet in the center at a distinctive point.

This design offers some advantages over other greenhouse designs. These advantages are factors you should consider when deciding which style of a greenhouse works best for you.

The Pros of the Gothic Arch Greenhouse

Beyond the classic look that many gardeners find attractive, the gothic arch greenhouse offers advantages that many people overlook. Among the many advantages of the gothic arch greenhouse design are:

  • Structural Integrity – The gothic arch design creates a solid structural element in the frame. Many gothic arch design greenhouses don’t require interior trusses or cross bracing to be stable and rigid.
  • Roof Load Management – One of the biggest problems in some areas with traditional greenhouses is managing snow or rain loads. Plastic-covered flat roofs can sag and collect snow and rainwater to the point of frame failure. The arch design of the gothic greenhouse allows snow to slide easily off the roof. The slope also sheds rainwater effectively without creating pockets that hold water and increase the weight load.
  • Cost-Effectiveness – Gothic arch greenhouse can require fewer materials for the frame construction, reducing the overall cost of the greenhouse.
  • Efficiency – Gothic arch greenhouses tend to be efficient at the collection and conserving heat. When properly placed, a gothic arch greenhouse offers minimal heat exposure ensuring maximum heat retention.

The Disadvantages of a Gothic Arch Greenhouse

When deciding on the greenhouse style you want to install consider the disadvantages. Gothic arch greenhouses may not work for your intended uses and meeting your expectations must be a priority during the decision process.

  • Lower sidewalls – Any greenhouse with curved walls gives up some usable space on the sides. The gothic arch greenhouse is no exception. This inward curving wall can be a problem if you intend to grow on racks along the walls.
  • Larger greenhouses get more expensive – The gothic arch design is scalable to almost any size. However, the most economical sizes are those intended for backyards and small gardens. As the arch size grows, you must use larger and heavier frame members, which increases the cost.
  • Adding accessories or other equipment may be difficult – If you want to extend your greenhouses capabilities, you may want to install vents, fans, or even heaters. Adding these accessories to a gothic arch greenhouse can be more difficult and more expensive.

Can I Build My Own Gothic Arch Greenhouse?

It is possible to build your gothic arch greenhouse. Many websites offer plans and advice on constructing small do-it-yourself greenhouses. The gothic arch design is probably the most labor-intensive of all the designs. Creating the distinctive gothic arch frames presents challenges.

Many plans for gothic arch DIY greenhouses use laminated trusses. Constructing these laminated arch beams is labor-intensive and may need special tools. Bending metal or pipe to these complex curved shapes is generally beyond the capabilities of most homeowners.

For these reasons, we suggest investing in a gothic arch greenhouse kit. These kits come with the arches pre-fabricated and ready to assemble. You get the satisfaction of erecting your greenhouse without the complexities of building or bending frames.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Gothic Arch Greenhouse?

Costs to build a Gothic Arch Greenhouse vary depending on several factors. Included in these cost factors are:

  • The size of the greenhouse is a major cost factor
  • The construction materials affect the final cost
  • Labor can be a cost issue if you hire someone to do the construction or installation
  • Additional accessories or features add to the overall cost of the greenhouse

Generally, the costs of building or installing a gothic-style greenhouse range from $200 to $50,000. The cost breakdowns follow these trends

Design FeatureAverage Cost RangeConsiderations
DIY Small Gothic Arch GreenhouseAs low as $200· Plans are available on the internet

· Requires some higher carpentry skills

· Best for small hobby greenhouses

Small Gothic Arch Greenhouse KitsFrom $3,000 to over $20,000· Cost is dependent on size

· Assembly by homeowners is possible

· Some kits may require additional foundations that add to the cost

Large Gothic Arch Greenhouse KitsFrom $10,000 to 30,000+· Larger greenhouses must have foundations that involve extra cost

· The larger frames get heavy special equipment to install

· Shipping on larger greenhouse kits can be expensive

Accessories and Add-onsFrom $ 500 to $25,000Accessories can include

· Electrical service

· Plumbing

· Heating and cooling equipment

· Plant racks

· Vents and fans

What Should I look for in a Gothic Arch Greenhouse Kit?

Adding a gothic arch greenhouse to your garden is a dream come true for many gardeners. However, you want to make sure that your dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare. Knowing what to look for in a good greenhouse kit can help prevent unexpected problems in the future. These features should be on your list when searching for your gothic greenhouse kit.

Pick a Reputable Manufacturer

Do your research on the company that manufactures the gothic greenhouse kit. Selecting a reputable company will save you heartache and money in the long run. Reputable manufacturers offer quick and easy customer service and will work with you to ensure your greenhouse is everything you want.

Avoid cheap foreign manufactured greenhouse kits. These cheap kits often use inferior metal for the frames, making them weaker and less stable.

Frames and Hardware – Steel, Aluminum, or Wood?

Gothic greenhouse kits are available in several different materials. Picking the frame material is as much a personal preference as it is a financial consideration. The three most popular materials for gothic greenhouse frames are:

  • Steel – Larger gothic greenhouse frames may require steel for their strength. Steel frames can span longer distances without additional supports. Steel is also easily bent and shaped into special shapes. On the downside, steel is heavy. You may need special lifting equipment to put the steel frames in place during construction.
  • Aluminum – Aluminum is probably the most popular material for all greenhouse frames. Gothic arch greenhouses are no exception. Aluminum is easy to shape and bend, reducing manufacturing costs. Erection of aluminum frames is easier because of the lighter weight.
  • Wood – Wood gothic greenhouse kits are the most expensive kits on the market. The time and skill needed to construct the wooden frames drive the cost up. Many people prefer the look of wooden frames. Wooden frames can add a distinctive and beautiful look to your greenhouse and your garden.

Ease of Installation

Some kits are easier to install than others. Check out the kit you like to find out if others who purchased the same kit had problems during installation. The quality of the frame construction can be a significant factor in the installation. Frames parts that don’t align or fit well together can be frustrating at best.

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Gothic Arch Greenhouses – A Statement in Your Garden

You may choose a small, inexpensive aluminum gothic greenhouse kit. On the other hand, you may splurge on a custom-built large gothic greenhouse for your garden. In either case, the addition of a gothic greenhouse in your garden makes a statement. The enjoyment you get from your gothic-style greenhouse is the most important consideration.

Dennis Howard
Dennis Howard

Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.

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