You purchased your greenhouse structure and finally decided on what cover to get, so next on your list is figuring out how to secure that cover to your structure. Before making your decision on which Poly-fastener you’re going to use, you should read this comparison of Wiggle Wire vs. Poly Lock.
Wiggle Wire (WW) is the most common fastener on the market for securing a greenhouse cover. It is a simple, inexpensive way to secure Poly Film and shade cloth coverings to a structure. It is a steel wire that is used in combination with an aluminum channel to secure the material in place. For installation, you simply screw the aluminum channel to the base of your structure and then literally wiggle the wire into the channel as demonstrated in the video below. WW comes as a standard galvanized steel or PVC-coated steel. If you are considering using WW, I highly suggest that you go with the PVC-coated steel to prolong the life of the wire and your cover.
The main advantages of using WW are:
- It does no pinch or bind the material it secures
- It can be formed to the top of curved bows
- It can be secured to any structural members
- It can be used to splice Poly
- It can be installed around gable-ends by cutting “V’s” out of the channel
- It can be removed and installed multiple times
- It can hold any flexible material or combination of materials from 2 to 20 mil think
Video Source: Agra Tech Inc.
How does WW hold up in extreme weather conditions?
In the video below, Dr. Nate Storey from Bright AgroTech explains his success with WW in harsh weather conditions. He states that his covers have survived 60-70 mph winds, and then shows his cover withstanding a heavy load of snow. He says that for his needs WW has worked perfect, and also agrees that it is essential that you get the plastic coated version if you plan on using it. WW may be the cheapest and potentially the best option for the scale of your greenhouse, however, Poly Lock fasteners outperform WW.
Video Source: Bright AgroTech
In my opinion, Poly Lock fasteners are easier to work with and are well worth the investment. According to reviews from the greenhouse community, Agra Lock from Agra Tech Inc. is the best Poly Lock fastener on the market. It establishes contact with three points of the cover, which is 50% more than WW, creating a strong weather tight seal without pinching or weakening the material. It can also be easily installed or removed by hand. Below is a video of Forever Flowing demonstrating the installation process:
Video Source: Forever Flowering
The greatest difference between WW and a Poly Lock fastener like Agra Lock is that Agra Lock seals your greenhouse cover at the contact points. As the sun’s UV rays beat down on your greenhouse cover it weakens it. Since the contact points for WW are exposed to the elements, they will eventually start to tear through your cover. Agra Lock is “self-shading,” meaning that the critical holding points are out of the sun’s path substantially increasing the lifespan of the greenhouse cover. In addition, dirt and debris often get caught in the WW channel which can also damage the cover. Agra Lock prevents this issue by creating a sealed contact point between the structure and the material.
Covering your greenhouse can get expensive, and installation can be a hassle. With that being said, I suggest that before you consider the cost of different cover securing methods, you consider which option is going to help prevent cover damage in the long run. Though WW has its list of advantages for certain scenarios, I see an opportunity to prevent cover damage by going with a Poly Lock fastener like Agra Lock.
FYI- If you’re working with a backyard do-it-yourself PVC hoop house then you might want to look into PVC snap clamps. These are used to fasten greenhouse plastic, bird netting or shade cloth to PVC frames. They easily “snap” over PVC pipe to keep the cover from blowing away. Usually these clamps are spaced out about a foot apart from each other, so they are not meant to create a strong seal, but they could potentially be all that you need for the scale of your project.
Do you have any experience with this topic? What type of Poly-fastener do you use? In your opinion what is the best fastener on the market? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.