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Look at what I built

Posted by goffmode z5 MA (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 18, 10 at 20:48

I want to thank many of you for the valuable informtion you have shared on this forum. In 2004 I studied this forum nightly, researched the web, and read all I could get my hands on.

With almost no previous experience using power tools, or even a hammer, I designed and built my 12' x 16' greenhouse myself. The greenhouse materials, including heater, fan and benches cost about $1950. Since I discovered that I could not nail 2 pieces of wood together, the entire greenhouse is screwed together.

Six plus years later, it still standing strong. I just wish that I built it bigger. If this 50+ something woman can do it, anyone can.

Here is a link that might be useful: greehouse album


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Look at what I built

  • Posted by mmmcm between 6b abd 7a (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 18, 10 at 22:48

Wow that is amazing. You have a gift. What did you use for glazing?


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RE: Look at what I built

Thank you kindly.

I used twin wall polycarbonate (8mm) if memory serves me right. I purchased the poly from Sundance and picked up the panels from their wharehouse in CT. I made sure everything would fit in my minivan and that I could handle it myself. The most difficult part was squaring and leveling the foundation timbers and shoveling the 2 ton of crushed rock for the flooring. After that everything else was easy.

Susan


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RE: Look at what I built

A big well-done. All that studying and research obviously paid off. You should quit your day job, and go into GH designing.


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RE: Look at what I built

What you built is super fantastic, however, (please don't take this as a criticism) the design is seriously lacking in structural stability.

Fortunately, it should not be too difficult to correct that.

If you agree, there will be a few people here who can suggest solutions.

dcarch


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i too think it is a wonderful job, you should be very proud!


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RE: Look at what I built

"Posted by eric_wa ---------
dcarch,

(please don't take this as a criticism) the design is seriously lacking in structural stability.

Is it obvious, maybe you should point them out, instead of pass it on. ----"


No. I don't want to be too presumptious. In case she feels she didn't need any help, after all the greenhouse has been up for six years.

I would never use a bench for structural support.
I would never use glazing for structural support.

dcarch


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RE: Look at what I built

dcarch,

Ok, I agree with your last two lines, but I'm still curious.

Eric


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RE: Look at what I built

Eric,

For instance, in your zone you don't have to worry about snow load much; but I am concern, in her zone and from what I can make out in the photos, the roof design is in need of modification.

dcarch


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RE: Look at what I built

Snow loading is a valid concern. But additionally, if that structure was planned to be built on my property - as is, it would never pass the local building codes. All structures built in the 120 mph + 110 mph coastal zones, must adhere to strict wind-resistance guidelines.

Not only do these common-sense rules protect anyone who may be in the structure during a storm, but people and property situated downwind of any potentially structural failure.

I would have built it much differently. However, the overall completed project is very impressive - considering goffmode's claim to have no prior experience with hand or power tools.


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RE: Look at what I built

For instance, based on the descriptions that the structure was built with screws, I am curious as to what kind of screws.
Driving long screws in wood without a pilot hole first is not easy. How long were the screws that were used?

I am not aware of many screws that come galvanized (lag bolts, yes). Did she use stainless screws? Coated deck screws are almost long enough, depending on how you use them. Using plain steel screws in a greenhouse environment is questionable.

Again, the good news is that remedies to what she has done should be relatively simple.

If everyone in this country can accomplish such an impressive project as she has, we would not be in such a terrible economic situation. Thumbs up!

dcarch


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RE: Look at what I built

I think you did a wonderful job! As another 50+ woman, it is encouraging to see what you accomplished.

And as for those two who highjacked your posting, turning it into a critique of your building when you just wanted to share, ignore them. Your greenhouse looks very nice and is still standing. That speaks for itself.


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RE: Look at what I built

"Posted by country_blooms 5 -----------I think you did a wonderful job! As another 50+ woman, it is encouraging to see what you accomplished.
And as for those two who highjacked your posting, turning it into a critique of your building when you just wanted to share, ignore them. Your greenhouse looks very nice and is still standing. That speaks for itself."

That is such an irresponsible post. The advices given are regarding safety and not about aesthetics.
For your information, there are licensed professionals here who are willingly giving advices such as these which normally you will have pay high fees to get.

dcarch


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RE: Look at what I built

dcarch

With all due respect, the original poster didn't ask for any advice or opinions. She is proud of her greenhouse, and was merely wanting to share with us what she has accomplished. IMHO it is arrogant and rude to respond with criticism, regardless of your credentials.


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RE: Look at what I built

You are entitled to your opinion, and your right to express it, I still welcome your criticism of my posts, which I did not ask for.

I remain convinced that the practice, when you noticed that safety is involved and still allow superficial politeness to overwhelm your human accountability, is unacceptable.

I apologize that you are so offended by my posts.

dcarch


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I am not the one you need to apologize to.


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RE: Look at what I built

dcarch,

I am the one to apologize. I re-read your post and realized when you said, "people" you were including yourself. I shouldn't jump to conclusion.

country bloom,
If you read my original posting I was deffending goffmode.

goffmode, If you are lurking, great job! Sorry about the photography comment. Where did you buy the bench tops?

I walk away with my head down mumbling highjack.
Eric


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RE: Look at what I built

Thank you for all your comments.

First I do have to apologize for the pictures. I had to dig up the ones that I took right after I first built the gh and it was an old camera.

I did study the snow loads for our area, and it was recommended that the studs be 2' on center. Even though we have had storms dump over 2' of snow, the snow seems to slide off after a 6" buildup. I will however add additional rafter bracing. That I can figure out how to do.

I am not using the benches for stability. I just built them to fit the gh. The gh is actually built into the slope of the hill, so the north wall is backed by 2 high of earth and a little of the east and west wall are anchored by slope. And yes, I did pre drill some of the holes, used the longest coated screws I could get,(I dont remember how long they were) and many of them. I double studded ( don't know the technical term) the corners, and of course primed and painted everything before it was constructed.

Before I started this project, I took my drawings and a sample of the polycarbonate down to the building inspector to find out what permits, approvals were needed. Since the structure was going to be built mainly of plastic, no permits were needed. He reviewed my plans and said good luck.

Thankfully, we live in a rural area, so there are no other structures, people, or animals downwind of the gh (smile) and I don't hand out in the gh in a storm.

On the down side however, when the last property reassessment occured, the town valued the gh at $12,000. The assessor assumed it was a kit gh. I had to fight to knock the assessment down.

I only posted this so that other people might become inspired and realize that they don't have to spend a fortune to have a gh. It may not be a dream gh, but it does get the job done.

Thanks again for your comments.

Susan


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RE: Look at what I built

Susan,
I just re-read the hastily posted comments I made yesterday and realized that people must think I'm a real jerk. That may still be the case, but I was being overly critical . . . :)

Your GH is very nice and the flowers look wonderful. I can only hope the custom one I'm planning on building this year works as well and provides me with as much enjoyment as yours obviously does for you. Nice work!

Steve


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On the down side however, when the last property reassessment occured, the town valued the gh at $12,000. The assessor assumed it was a kit gh. I had to fight to knock the assessment down.


Text generator

I know exactly what you mean. My 2009 structure assessment went up just under $22,000. 16 x 16 storage shed / greenhouse.

Eric


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RE: Look at what I built

Eric, I purchased the bench tops from Farmtek's Growers Supply. They are the polymax interlocking panels. They have worked well, are easy to clean, and if there is a little sagging at the end of the year, I just flip them over and they straighten out.

Dcarch, guess what I found in the corner of my basement this morning, 8 primed and painted 2x 4 all ready to be used for rafter bracing. I forgot that I was in the process of adding them when life got in the way. They were sitting there so long I forgot what I was going to use them for. So thank you for reminding me (smile).

Susan


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RE: Look at what I built

Susan,

The polymax tops are nice, but they sure don't give them away. 2ft x 8ft $154.00 and change. Wow! I'll have to stay with wood for now.

Eric

Here is a link that might be useful: Polymax


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"I only posted this so that other people might become inspired and realize that they don't have to spend a fortune to have a gh. It may not be a dream gh, but it does get the job done."

Mission accomplished! I am very impressed and inspired. You've shown us what can be done with a willingness to learn and a "can do" attitude. Thank you for sharing.


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RE: Look at what I built

"Posted by goffmode z5 MA --------------
Dcarch, guess what I found in the corner of my basement this morning, 8 primed and painted 2x 4 all ready to be used for rafter bracing. I forgot that I was in the process of adding them when life got in the way. They were sitting there so long I forgot what I was going to use them for. So thank you for reminding me (smile).
Susan"

Absolutely! That will make the roof load completely safe. You already have the top chords of the trusses, by adding the bottom chord, all of a sudden the roof is 1000% stronger.

The 24" spacing of studds is perfectly fine for the dead load. I believe that you don't need to have the rafter bracing (bottom chord)every 24". You can skid every other one. You can get pre-punched galvinized gusset plates so that you can use screws to install them.

If you want a cleaner look, you can also use steel cables and turnbuckles instead of 2" x 4"s.

You should have a video made of this project and post it on youtube. It will be a great leaning experience for all men.

dcarch



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RE: Look at what I built-

BTW, the town asseccor is all worng to say that the GH is worth $12,000

I think it's worth more than $50,000.

dcarch :-)


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RE: Look at what I built---

BTW, the town asseccor is all worng to say that the GH is worth $12,000

I think it's worth more than $50,000.

dcarch :-)


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RE: Look at what I built

The bench panels that I used were polymax bench panels #HA2215 and I got them on sale for $16.00 ea back then. I used 2 X 4s for the box frames and set them on top. I made a couple of 2 x 8 bench frames and a few 2 x 4 frames so I could move them as needed.

Dcarch - this project was fun. I had to design everything so that I could handle it myself - since all the money was for materials. Once I had the gh constructed, I added electric (yes - I dug a trench and used electrical conduit) and wired the gh myself. Adding the big exhaust fan was interesting because you had to wire the motor, and then wire the thermostat control too. I had to mount the heater from the ceiling (had my son hold it up) but the plumber had to hook up the gas line. Last I added a misting system, upper shelves, light, clock, cd player, and tool holder.

It was a true learning experience for this laid off business manager. I learned enough to move on to gutting out the bathrooms and redoing them.

Susan

Here is a link that might be useful: Bench panels


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Susan,

They are now $19.95 ea. If I bought 3 shipping would be another $32.00

PolyMax Poultry Overlapping/Kennel FlooringItem# HA2215

Looks good

Eric


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"----Dcarch - this project was fun. I had to design everything so that I could handle it myself - since all the money was for materials. Once I had the gh constructed, I added electric (yes - I dug a trench and used electrical conduit) and wired the gh myself. Adding the big exhaust fan was interesting because you had to wire the motor, and then wire the thermostat control too. I had to mount the heater from the ceiling (had my son hold it up) but the plumber had to hook up the gas line. Last I added a misting system, upper shelves, light, clock, cd player, and tool holder. -----"

Susan,

I am pointing a few things out quickly which you most likely have incoporated or already planning on doing.

Obviously this wonderful project may inspire many people to copy you; this is really meant for those who may not be as resourceful as you are.

I would get an inexpensive circuit tester to test out all the outlets and see if they are correctly grounded electrically. I would even install a GFP breaker back in your electric panel for the circuit running to the GH.

I see you have an exhaust fan; do you have make-up air vent some place? Do you have operable roof vents?

dcarch


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hubby here first let me say i have built houses and remodeled for forty plus years,I have seen worse framing in many structures people call houses. If she has screws every 8 or so inches in the sheeting she will have as solid of a structure as most houses. yes it is not proper construction but it should hold up

james


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RE: Look at what I built

james,
Since your wife had the guidance of a professional builder with 40+ years experience to oversee her GH construction, we should all hope it holds up. :-)

Besides a couple of constructive suggestions - due to some questionable structural and electrical installations in the photos, everyone who had posted in this thread has given Susan praise for her great accomplishment, and had offered their best wishes for continued enjoyment. My apologies If I overlooked anything contrary to that.

All best, Steve.


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RE: Look at what I built

Dcarch, Steve and James, I am always appreciative of your input. I can happily report that there is a GFP circuit breaker on that line. Ane yes I did test all the outlets. A good meter is one of the tools that I aquired along the way.

I installed 2 intake vents in the front of the gh (one on each side of the door) after I took those pictures. The only thing I didn't do was put in operable roof vents. I wish I did. I leave the door open a lot in the summer.

This gh has been been my haven. My youngest has CP and is a wheelchair - so for many years I have been on a short leash. The gh house allows me a little private oasis yet I am less than 25 feet from the house. I even have a phone/intercomm in the gh.

Building this gh was therapy, growing my plants is just pleasure. Being part of the Garden web is priceless.

Susan


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"-----My youngest has CP and is a wheelchair - ----"

The GH is a gift to yourself, but mostly it's a gift to everyone else around you. You have given them someone to be very proud of.

I am very proud of you. It has been a previlege to have a little cyber interaction with you.

dcarch


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Hi Susan,
I am late getting in on the conversation, but I have nothing but praise for your wonderful hothouse.
I have drawn plan for myself one and it is similar but
am a little nervous getting started. I am 15 years your senior and too a female. I was wondering if I could
talk to you by email for specific questions. wpledger@swat.coop Thanks Corine


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RE: Look at what I built reply

Also, I want mine to have the same emities? of yours.
Husband sleeps days, works nights so I can go in there every day (to keep from waking him up) and read, listen to music and watch plants grow. Maybe I will get a small fridge for pops and little debbies.:):) Corine


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I like your greenhouse! You should be very proud of yourself!
Brendasue


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I'd say a job well done! That's an amazing structure :) What plants have you grown so far with it? Have you considered using hydroponics?


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RE: Look at what I built

as another woman also around that age.. BRAVO...no matter what anyone says..that is an accomplishment especially if you did it all alone!


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