gardenfairy50

Anyone bought a Harbor Freight Greenhouse 10 x 12 recently??

gardenfairy50
7 years ago

I just purchased a HFGH 10 x 12. Been going over the older forums on this, was wondering if anyone has bought one recently and if they have any good tips on what to do and not to do.

Comments (80)

  • mudhouse
    4 years ago

    Thanks for the photos Harold, I am going over my manual and notes for this area, to try to understand why these parts would not install as per the manual, and I will post back.

  • mudhouse
    4 years ago

    Well, I've spent a few hours muddling over this part of the kit in both versions of the manual. I'm still muddled as to why it won't go together for you as per the manual...but I'm not surprised, either. This was a problem part of the kit in my older version, and it apparently continues to be a problem part of the kit in your newer version.

    If it helps, here is a photo from my blog, showing how ours went together (partially assembled, here.)

    And looking at the same point, but from the outside of the greenhouse. You can just make out the side of the connector 48 from this angle. The bottom two holes of the connector serve two purposes; they hold the connector 48 in place, to join the upper and lower parts of the wall stud (14 and 16/17). And, the same two bolts do double duty by holding the part 31 cross braces in place.

    But from your post above, it sounds like trying to assemble it this way just wasn't possible. I do know there are some parts changed to the back wall, in your kit; specifically, the length of some of the parts have changed, and I think holes are drilled in different positions from my kit.

    I'm not really surprised the kinks haven't been worked out of this part of your kit. In March 2015, one person resolved the problems with this part of your kit version by doing the following:

    "And finally, the dreaded rear wall braces 31 simply could not be
    installed without pulling the side walls in 1/2 inch. Every way I
    attempted to attach the braces 31, they pulled the walls out of square. I
    finally purchased a 16 ft. 1/8 inch thick piece of aluminum angle iron
    ($12) and cut it 117 & 7/16 inches long, clamped it into position
    resting on top of side braces 80. Then I drilled 1/4 inch holes in the
    appropriate places using the bolt holes in post 7 and the slots in post
    14 as guides.
    Everyone should plan on this remedy if your kit will not stay square when attaching braces 31."

    I'm sorry I'm not able to be more help on this point. From your photos, it looks like you've found a workable solution, though; everything looks square, and secure. It's just frustrating for the manual to direct you to connect the parts in a way that's not possible.





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  • Harold Wolf
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    No problem. It looks like it will work as is. I put a tape measure on several places and the frame is still somewhat square, The peak is the same, front and back. If the panels go in straight and square I will be happy. I have been pecking away on it a few minutes a day, got the cross braces on the rafters and though they did not go together like the instructions suggest ( too far apart) they are there and as long as the Poly will fit, I'm happy. Photos later. Will start putting the either the vents or doors together mañana. For now, Little bit at a time. Wolfie

  • Harold Wolf
    4 years ago

    I have another little SNAFU. Don't think it's gonna make any difference, Just not like it shows in the manual. Cross braces on the rafters:

    Attached to the only holes in gable ends (#8 & 9) Running square to the rafters.

    Have started building the vent windows and will install them next. But first, going to Lowes for some aluminum duct tape and more silicone. Only have 4 tubes and thinking I'm gonna need more to caulk all the panels

  • mudhouse
    4 years ago

    Yeah that sure doesn't look like my kit, or like any of the manuals I have.

    On my (Part 8,9) gable ends, starting from the roof peak, the first mounting hole is about 14", second one at about 34", and a third one at about 42". (These are approximate, best I could do with a tape measure in the air.)

    The first and third mounting holes on the gable ends are for the various vertical gable posts (parts 18,19,20,21.) The middle one, at about 34", is where the part 30 roof braces should mount, and the two Part 30 pieces should be snugged up to each other, side by side, overlapping in the center two roof bays, as shown on page 22 of your manual.

    Do you mean that the hole spacing on your gable ends is different from what I've posted above? Could you possibly measure the hole spacing, and post back, when you have time? Thanks!

  • Harold Wolf
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    For some reason I cannot get the photos to load so I'll try to tell it like it is. Earlier, I installed the roof (rafter) crossbars, Squaring them with the gable ends, rafters and the top of the side walls gave me an even 6"gap between the crossbars from one side to the other. I'm thinking this is not right according to the instruction manuaI. The only holes the Xbars could connect to Were 36" from the roof peak on both sides so I loosened everything, squeezed the cross bars together and was able to tighten the crossbars with no gap between the X-bars Everything looking good but putting a square to the x-braces, they are not square but look like the belong that way so I am going with that.

  • ricksindoorgarden
    4 years ago

    I bought and installed one of these 10 x 12 Harbor Freight greenhouses 6 years ago and last summer I took it down. Structurally it was fine, I had to anchor the panels better and I added additional ridge support because we get a lot of snow where I live. But after dealing with the lack of instructions I got it up and it performed reasonably well. (Keep in mind is isn't all that expensive for 120 sq ft greenhouse and it never fails, you get what you pay for!) The reason I decided to take it down was the panels yellowed because they were not treated with any UV inhibitor. The thing is they have a 90 day warranty and the yellowing took a year to start. While your kit is still under warranty make sure your panels have the UV resistant coating. Hopefully they corrected their problem and ship all of the panels treated but if they didn't, it doesn't pay to check while you can do something about it.

  • Harold Wolf
    4 years ago

    Rick, how do I find out if it has been UV coated? I'm sure HF will tell me they have. Is there something I can look for? A stamp or something?. I have started putting the vent windows together and did not see anything stamped, etched etc anywhere on any of the panels so far.

  • ricksindoorgarden
    4 years ago

    From what I have seen on other twinwall polycarbonate is a plastic sheet protecting the UV coating from scratching during shipment and installation. It has been a blue removable plastic on the sheets I have seen. The UV coating is sprayed on the extruded plastic and needs to be protected, hence the plastic covering. Since panels are only coated on one side, there has to be a way to tell which side goes to the elements.

    If you look up on this forum, a thead from 2008 called HFGH polycarb panels failing, you may get more information.

  • mudhouse
    4 years ago

    When the issue of panel deterioration first surfaced in this forum in 2008, I contacted Harbor Freight, by phone and by email. They emailed me back the following information:

    "Our panels are constructed to resist the higher ambient temperatures but
    that
    may differ depending on what state the customers are in. Places like
    Arizona, Las Vegas, and Texas may cause them to deteriorate faster.
    Unfortunately our warranty on the parts for this item is only 90 days
    and we take case by case in determining how we replace the panels for
    each customer. We know that the panels last longer than that but from a
    company stand point that is the warranty."

    Numerous other GW members tried to get HF to answer the question about whether or not a UV coating was applied (and if so, which side was it applied to.) In all cases I read about, the answer was the same from Harbor Freight: it doesn't matter which way you install the panels.


    The conclusion we all drew (and what I still believe) is this: the Harbor Freight panels do not have any UV coating at all, on either side, and that's why you can install them either way. During the manufacturing process it's possible they add some kind of UV protectant to the material itself...at most. I have never been able to get them to verify this. I feel certain no Harbor Freight panels have ever been shipped with a UV coating on either side, so in my opinion, there's no worry about looking for a mark or designation. It's not there, and neither is the coating.


    ricksindoorgarden is right; true UV protected twinwall polycarbonate (sold at greenhouse supply companies) does have a coating on one side, and you can tell which side to install out. That's why it costs so much more, and why it almost always has a ten year warranty. It's a totally different animal from the twinwall polycarbonate that Harbor Freight uses for their panels. Unfortunately!

    The inexpensive manufacturing process used for the HF twinwall poly panels is part of the reason the kit is so reasonably priced (again, I'm agreeing with ricksindoorgarden!) You do get what you pay for. Any other similar kit of this size starts at a much higher price point. Most of us didn't know this when we bought our HF kits initially, but it's just an unfortunate reality that came to light after the kits had been built for a few years, and people started posting online about the problem. Results seem to vary depending on geographic location, and sun intensity.

    Some people have suggested applying clear polyethylene UV plastic to the outside of each panel, somehow. This is sold by greenhouse supply companies, and often this kind of plastic is rated to last about four years. It truly does have UV protection, when you buy it from a greenhouse supply. I haven't tried covering my panels with it, but I imagine it would help buy you more time. I have some 6mm poly plastic on my greenhouse roof right now, on top of the failing HF panels (just to get me through the winter!)

    I'm really sorry there's not a better solution, currently. I'll be replacing all of my panels this summer, and I'll probably be ordering the real UV protected twinwall polycarbonate from a company like Farm Tek.


  • mudhouse
    4 years ago

    Also, forgot to add. I emailed my contact at Harbor Freight a few years ago, to see if they had any plans to improve or change the quality of their panels, because of the (by now, well known) deterioration problem. They told me nothing had changed, and there were no plans to make any changes in how the panels were manufactured.

  • ricksindoorgarden
    4 years ago

    The thing that sold me on the HF greenhouse was that sturdy solid 3 foot scale model of the greenhouse in the store. I pushed it and wiggled it and thought "Wow, this is a sturdy build!" Well I didn't take into consideration they used the same sized beams and struts as they use on the big house so they were essentially way oversized on the scale model. Note I am no genius, I went back and noticed all of these details after my purchase! But as I said, with reinforcing the structure was adequate (I did rebuild the doors to hinge out rather than slide) the only real disappointment was the glazing turning yellow and getting brittle.

  • ricksindoorgarden
    4 years ago

    I have often thought if I had that $700 back I could do much better building a boathouse like this http://www.by-the-sea.com/stimsonmarine/bowroof.html

    I helped a neighbor build one, the plans are very detailed and it is strong. And double plastic with a blower makes for decent insulation.

    Sadly there are no do overs in life!

  • mudhouse
    4 years ago

    I love the elegant shape of that bow-roof greenhouse in your link above.

    Well, I look at our investment in the HF greenhouse over a period of years (nine years in August.) I'm sure we have now invested between $2000-$3000, including electrical, plumbing, sink, fans, heaters, redwood benches, thermostats, shadecloth, screens, replacing panels, etc. But if you divide that by 9 years...it has been an amazingly cheap way to learn about having a greenhouse, without risking many thousands more, on a hobby I really knew nothing about. I would do it all over again!

    So, I think you should divide that $700 by the five or six years you enjoyed the greenhouse..a bit over $100 per year, how can you beat that? And, then go out and invest in another greenhouse, in a size and form to make you happy. (Maybe ask your neighbor to return the favor, and have him help you build it.) :-)

  • ricksindoorgarden
    4 years ago

    Actually you are correct Mudhouse, per year my cost of the Harbor Freight Greenhouse was low, everything I added into the house has been recycled so it is not lost. But it really only served as a season extender for me. I tried to grow in a cold greenhouse under a row cover on the raised bed inside and that winter 3 panels blew off and frosted everything. If it hadn't yellowed so badly I would still be using it for starting plants.

    My new plans lean towards a passive attached greenhouse because I'd like to dabble in year round aquaponics.

    I am curious as to Harold's options now. Has anyone priced UV treated panels for the HF unit?

  • mudhouse
    4 years ago

    Sometimes I wonder about building an attached greenhouse, too. And aquaponics is so interesting.

    Back in October, right after we were clobbered with two hail storms in two weeks, I did an online chat with Farmtek, for their 4mm twinwall polycarbonate. I'll need six 4x8 sheets of twinwall poly just to replace my roof, and their cost with shipping (to southern NM) was $432. That was $311 for the panels, and $121 for shipping. And that's just for the roof. This material has a 10 year warranty. Because of approaching cold temps, we decided to put off replacing the panels until after winter, so we covered the damaged roof with 6mm greenhouse quality polyethylene plastic.

    I'll have to graph out all the wall and door pieces to see how many more sheets I'll need, to replace the three deteriorating sides. Expensive, any way you slice it. This is why, three years ago, I just took the "easy cheap quick fix" approach and bought replacement roof panels from Harbor Freight. But I'm getting too old to enjoy the thought of doing any more temporary fixes. Emptying out the GH and replacing the roof isn't much fun for us.


    Another possible replacement material is Solexx. It's less expensive that twinwall polycarbonate, and you avoid some of the expensive crating fees, because it can be shipped in a roll. According to the Solexx website, it
    also has a higher R value (insulating ability) and lower U value (heat
    loss) than 4mm twinwall polycarbonate.
    Solexx greenhouse covering


    My only concerns about the Solexx are color, and flexibility. It's a translucent white material, not clear, so it would change the look of the greenhouse, and it would cut down a bit on light transmission. This means my current 60% Aluminet roof shadecloth might not work as well, on top of a white Solexx roof. I might need to buy a lower density shadecloth.

    Also, I've built screens for four of my six south wall panels. In the summer, I remove those four panels, and put the screens in. During transitions to spring and fall, I sometimes pop the panels out during the day, but put them back in at night. It only takes me a few minutes to back out a few screws and remove the clips to do this.

    But, the Solexx is a more flexible/floppier material, so I think it would be a lot less handy to pop these panels in and out. The rigid polycarbonate makes it easy. For most people this wouldn't be an issue at all, but in my hot desert climate, having the ability to open and close the south side has been a big help.

    Still struggling with decisions about all of this. Currently we are dealing with replacing the roof on our real house, due to the hail damage, so that's a good excuse for avoiding the tough greenhouse decisions! For now...


  • ricksindoorgarden
    4 years ago

    I have considered Solexx for a covering on my attached house and the white color turned me off. A large chunk of white plastic contrasting with a log home is too much to swallow for the wife and me. So the only option is polycarbonate sheet.

    The question I have about Solexx for a HF house is will it flex too much to span a 24" gap on the roof panels and remain in place? Polycarbonate is more rigid and while I've never held a piece of Solexx in my hand, from the install pictures I've seen it seems to be much more likely to bend. Possibly an issue.

    Considering the height of the sidewalls on the HF have you considered replacing the vertical walls with clear glass? These guys are pretty reasonable. http://kissourglass.com/ If you can match their standard sizes. Then some aluminum cross supports and Solexx on the roof. Then you still get that nice clarity only glass can give you. Just a thought.

  • mighty_turf
    4 years ago

    Hello All, I have been reading the conversation. It has been awhile since I spoke to anyone. Last spoke to mudhouse before the winter set in. Winter wasn't too bad and I did put on my new Magni-Clear 12 mil solar pool cover in clear. One storm received around 12 inches, slide right off , nice, no cleaning with the broom. Few other storms snow also slides off. I am thinking of keeping it on all summer. I have a new 40% shade cloth , may not need it. The only concern I have is my roof vents. If I keep the cover on the greenhouse I will have to cut the solar cover to allow the vents to open. I will then have a big opening for winter and the snow to get underneath the cover. I will have to figure a way to tape it down for the snow. I have installed my air vents down low and my exhaust fan up high so I know I should be able to pull out most of the hot air. I am also installing a mist system run off my garden hose with 10 misters and pipe connected to my hose. I will install a valve and timer. I bought most of the kit on Amazon. 33.00 cheap.

  • mudhouse
    4 years ago

    ricksindoorgarden, I'm glad I'm not the only one put off by the white color of Solexx. Maybe use it only on the roof, as you said. I just can't warm up to the look of white walls. My GH is very visible to a bunch of neighbors; everybody has been great, but I do think about the appearance (in addition to function.)

    We also have the same concern you do about the flexibility of the product, over the width of the panel bays in the HFGH roof. Like you, I've not held a sample of Solexx in person, but it does look like it would be a lot more floppy. We might have to add bracing, somehow, to be safe...especially for the times when we might get a little snow up there on the roof. I'm just not sure the upside of the material outweighs the possible downside...for the HF structure.

    Thanks for the link to the glass panel website. Really hadn't considered that at all. I spent a little time there, and will do more reading. And thinking.

    mighty_turf, sounds like your first winter with the solar pool cover went well. We had about 8" of a very wet, heavy snow, and I was out there pulling it off with a long handled tool we made...after every two inches or so! My poor damaged roof was too much at risk, otherwise. Also my (terrific) husband added emergency wooden bracing to the interior of the roof, to get us through the snow. Honestly I don't know how you folks in snowy parts of the country do it. My hat is off to you.

    I can see your dilemma with your roof vents, and keeping the solar cover on year round. I suppose you could cut flaps in the cover, and then carefully tape them closed for the winter, then untape or re-cut in the spring...but it seems like that might take a toll on the roof cover, over time. If a brilliant solution comes to me in a dream, I will let you know!

  • hemlock140 Zone 8B
    4 years ago

    By coincidence, I just built my greenhouse Saturday. I already had the soil beds from the last 4 years with a powder-coated frame 7'x11' that I bought online, which rusted out. This cost about $200 and took me a full day to build from scratch, using 1/2" PVC and 6 mil greenhouse plastic. It's a lot more structurally sound than the original and even if I have to replace the plastic every few years ($49) the frame should last forever.


  • gmclean47
    4 years ago

    Sun has deteriorated the panels on my harbor freight greenhouse only after 3 yrs. They are very crumbly would not recommend these greenhouse kits not worth the time or money to put them together ....Jim

  • gmcburb
    4 years ago

    To provide another data point for this thread, I purchased my HFGH on 22 May and received PN 93358 (the older one?) with matching instruction manual in revision 12i but there is no date associated with the manual. Perhaps HF is reviving the older PN.

  • mudhouse
    4 years ago

    Thank you for the info gmcburb. Yes, Model 93358 is the original older one, same as mine (creeping up on 9 years old now.)

    I think you're right. HF may be discontinuing the "newer" Model 69893, and reverting back to the older one. The only one currently for sale on their website is the original 93358, and that's the only manual available for download on their website too.

    I compared the parts list in the new 93358 online manual with my old dog-eared copy. All of the parts appear unchanged from mine, with the exception of the Parts 12 and 13 Side Ceiling Plates, which have a slightly different way of bolting together.

    I can imagine it has been confusing for HF to sell two different model versions of the 10x12 greenhouse (and inventorying the slightly different parts for each.) Maybe they're making this change to try to simplify future sales.

    In the mean while, anyone who happens to still buy the 69893 version (possibly sitting in a HF store, somewhere?) could have the same problem that Harold Wolf had, earlier in this thread. If their box doesn't contain the 69893 manual, they will have to phone HF and ask for the PDF to be emailed to them, as that version's manual is no longer offered online.

  • gmcburb
    4 years ago

    One additional note, I inventoried my parts and noticed the kit has spare parts included. Maybe I missed it but have not seen mention of this before.

  • mudhouse
    4 years ago

    Thank you! Someone else mentioned this to me a while back, but I didn't know which extra parts they were sending, and I never saw a photo. This is another change they've made recently, and it's a helpful one.

    As I recall we had to go buy a few extra bolts to complete our build (we had to modify carriage bolts by nipping the edges off the heads, so they'd fit into the tracks.) Never hurts to have some extra nuts and bolts. The extra panel clips (part 53) are definitely a good idea too; I ordered an extra set of 130 when we built our GH, and I was glad to have them. (Our winds here are pretty scary.)

  • Ben Gabus
    3 years ago

    Hi, Y'all. My original HFGH was put up (with the help of a neighbor) between 5 and 6 years ago. I'm 85 and my memory's not that great on things like that.I reinforced it with metal conduit crosswise. I cut the pieces a little long, beat the ends flat and fastened them ,as I said, crosswise. For a little more stability and, since we get no sun from the North, I built a cement block wall on that side, filled all the inside spaces with dirt and rock, painted the interior flat-black and removed all the panels from that side, attaching the frame to the block wall. I then built a lean-to out Northward and placed 9 solar panels on top, storing the deep-cycle 12v batteries on a chest-high large shelf under the lean-to. I then built a "swamp cooler" using an automobile radiator cooling fan and 12v pump to cool it in the summer, but the swamp cooler took up too much valuable space in there so it was moved up to m'lady's sittin' spot in the garden and replaced with a solar fan in the top rear of the unit.

    Now we've purchased another kit and I'm preparing the site in front of the standing one to attach onto it. BUT, Dummy me, I didn't bother reacquainting myself with the instructions. I went to the trouble of leveling up the front area (It slopes uphill as you walk forward away from it) aand embedding concrete blocks to rest it on. NOW I have to pull out that base and build up with bricks to put the two bases (the old and the new) on the same level. I'm keeping the doors on, as they've never given me any problem, and the rear main frame will attach to the old unit with a spacer-board thick enough to give the doors room to close or open. The new GH will grow lettuce, parsley, broccoli and other plants that will be able to take colder weather than tomatoes, Bell peppers and the like that are currently growing there.

    The new GH is still sitting in the box under cover and I pulled up the instructions off the net. We'll start putting it up on the next "heat wave" that'll be coming up shortly. I'm not sure if I'll need the Block Wall on the new one, though. That first one was a LOT of work.

  • mudhouse
    3 years ago

    That sounds wonderful Ben. I always thought it would be wise to have two different zones inside, so you could group the plants according to their temperature needs.

    I'm sure your first one was a lot of work, with all the extra features you built into it. But it sounds like it was worth it! Hope the construction on your second unit goes well. It's surely a good way to start the new year (as long as you get enough of a "heat wave" to work in.)

  • wishkahdude
    3 years ago

    I purchased the 10x12 greenhouse today and it is a model #93358. Looking forward to using the information from this site to build a dependable greenhouse. Thank You!

  • mudhouse
    3 years ago

    Hi wishkahdude, in case you haven't found it elsewhere, here's a link to the blog I put together about building our 10x12 Harbor Freight greenhouse. Ours is the same model you have (93358) although there have been some changes over the years. My blog is now a bit out of date in some respects, but maybe you'll find some help here too.

    (Over the years I've allowed folks to post comments and questions at the bottom of each section. Just scroll past the comments all the way to the bottom of each page, to find the list of links to allow you to move to whichever section you'd like.)

    Building our Harbor Freight Greenhouse

  • wishkahdude
    3 years ago

    Thank you mudhouse! Looking forward to gardening and not being in the rain... western Washington..... :-) Oh and my wife bought chickens last year, I call them "feathered rototillers"... need a space to grow and keep them out! LOL

  • hwgang
    3 years ago

    Dear Mudhouse, (whom I now know as Sheri!),
    I wanted to give you a big, ol' thanks. We have our HFGH because of you and your well-documented experience! We live in zone 5a in New England. We added composite deck flooring (a freebie from craigslist) and two conduit braces, which have proven mighty handy for non-structural issues and tweaked and reinforced a few things, like the doors, with 90 degree alumimum channel. We also added a big (52") ceiling fan for air movement and temperature control that has worked very nicely.
    We bought, symmetrical, Raingo gutters, (most gutters aren't symmetrical) from Lowes, had their 10 foot length cut in half and they have proven invaluable for planting in directly, or for holding the 3" square pots we use. We put them up on the conduit doing the bracing. Maximum use of space and controlled shade where we need it.
    We installed the greenhouse 7 years ago, as an anniversary present to each other. It paid for itself the very first year. (Big family, veggies and flowers.) Last year we noticed holes in the south-facing doors. This year a vent panel went walk-about, even though the GH has withstood 70 MPH winds in the past. This year a roof inspection revealed it was riddled with holes.
    I set about finding replacement panels. I found this thread.
    Last year, I found a NIB 10 x 12 HFGH on CL for $300 and bought it with the intention of expanding ours. In the meantime, we found a 26 x 12 foot glass and aluminum deluxe lean-to GH for $1000 that would fit perfectly on the south side of our house and allow us to have it heated all year. Be still my heart! (We heat exclusively with wood.) It was on a house owned by professional florists and unwanted by the new owners. We bought it. We have not yet erected it. As a result, expanding our garden-site, HFGH took a back burner.
    We have decided to install the new panels from our CL find and when we do choose to install the second HFGH, go with replacement panels from the Greenhouse Megastore, which are 8mm thick in 2 foot widths and offer a 10 year warranty, with very reasonable shipping costs. We will partially trim the vent panels to work. I particularly dread taping all the panel ends with aluminum tape, but hey, eyes on the prize.
    So a combo post of a shout out and some sharing back. I am having camera/phone camera challenges right now, but I hope to share pics of our set up soon-ish. :)
    Lynne

  • mudhouse
    3 years ago

    Dear hwgang (Lynne), what a nice shout out, and congratulations to both of you, on seven years with your greenhouse! It really makes me feel good to think about all you've been able to accomplish. Sounds like you made some excellent improvements and tweaks to the original kit.

    Sorry you've finally hit the darned problem with the deteriorating HF panels, but at least in your climate, they seem to last a lot longer than here in the desert southwest. I think they just cook here in our intense sun. I'm starting to move some of my plants from their winter greenhouse home to our patios, and after I have more elbow room in there, I have to deal with the renovation needed. Only thing I'm sure about, at this point, is no more Harbor Freight panels on the roof (too much work to replace in about three years.) I'll be going the ten year warranty route, too, and I'll check out the pricing of the polycarbonate at the Greenhouse Megastore.

    I've had to give up on using aluminum tape on my panel ends; the heat here seems to take a toll on that too, after a year or two, and it peels off. I have found I can get three or four years out of a good quality duct tape (I've used white, and clear) cut to a half-width. It's still time consuming though, no matter what you use!

    No doubt your in-the-box HF kit find on Craigs List will be put to good use. And congratulations also on scoring the nice large glass greenhouse to add to your house. Lucky you, for finding the unwanted deluxe greenhouse at a good price, and also for having a house that can be adapted to benefit from the south side addition! That's great.

    The nice thing is, you now have so much experience under your belts you can make wise decisions about how to best use all the great opportunities you've come across. Even with some of the inherent weaknesses of the HF kit, I still maintain it can't be beat (for the money) as a way to find out if having a greenhouse is a fit. I wouldn't trade the learning experiences I've had with mine for anything.

    I'd love to see photos of your new set up when you get things going. Meanwhile, thanks again for taking the time for your nice post, it really made my day! -Sheri

  • Linda Strawn
    3 years ago

    We just set up our HF greenhouse. Although some of the directions weren't clear, we didn't run into many of the problems listed in this forum. Maybe we have the newest manual (I'll check it out when I get home). Aside from the issues, there are some wonderful suggestions here. We live in the foothills of Shasta County. Usually it doesn't get into the triple-digits temps here, but this has been a hot summer. Yesterday it was 106 degrees. Low temps rarely get below 20, snow no more than a foot at a time, and we do get some gusty winds. It'll be interesting to see how our greenhouse holds up. We took precautions by driving 18 inch metal stakes through the base at each corner. Even though the directions said to install the base 5 inches into the ground, we weren't confident gravel fill alone would hold it. We also didn't excavate the entire area. Instead, we dug a five-inch deep perimeter wide enough to allow for installing. Our soil is mostly decomposed granite which compacts well. That combined with staking should keep it from taking flight during a storm. I'm going to implement the suggestion of screwing the panels into the frame. I don't trust those clips. Over all, the building was fairly easy to put up with no missing parts. I'll take some photos and post them later.

  • mudhouse
    3 years ago

    Hi Linda, glad your build has gone well! Yup I'm a bit of a wacko about adding those screws, to keep your panels safe. I also use extra clips, but I think they may be including more clips in the kit than they did in the early years. (My blog is linked a few posts above.)

    Just posting to say if you get as much of a foot of snow, be careful about damage to the roof. A foot of really wet, heavy snow might be too much to ask of those soft aluminum studs. The weak part seems to be the center of the roof studs; there have been older threads here about HF roof studs failing under snow weight. People have developed different kinds of internal bracing to deal with the added weight; if you haven't come across those posts, post back here and I'll try to round some up for you. Just a little heads up!

  • David Banda
    3 years ago

    Anyone have any recommendations on installing a fan in a HF 10x12 greenhouse?

  • mudhouse
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Hi David, we installed the 16" 3 speed exhaust fan from ACF Greenhouses, shown here, in our HF 10x12 ten years ago. I used the fan calculator from the same company to figure out which size to order.

    I thought I'd probably use all three speeds, but cooling is by far my biggest challenge where I live (southern NM) and I usually just leave it set to run on the highest speed. It's still working well with no problems. If I had to replace it, I'd probably just buy the exact same one. Most people couple an exhaust fan with a shutter for air intake on the opposite side, but I opted to just open my greenhouse doors when I have the fan running, and I hang an interior Aluminet curtain clamped across the doorway when the doors are open.

    Here's a link to the part of my Harbor Freight greenhouse blog that shows how we added our fan. My blog is old and I just noticed the links to ACF are now outdated, but the ones I provided in the paragraph above are current. (For some reason I am always finding things I'd rather do than update my blog, sorry!) Hope this helps.

    Part Seven, Greenhouse Enhancements


  • Jack Cumber
    3 years ago

    I have bought two kits. One a few months ago and the second a week ago. My plan was to join the two kits into one 10x24. You can see how I did it here https://www.houzz.com/discussions/joining-2-10x12-hfghs-dsvw-vd~4753622

    Both kits had all the parts and came with ample bags of spare hardware. Both kits came with more panel clips then the instructions called for. I have not put the panels in the second kit but it came with 2 bags (double ?) clips.

  • Linda Strawn
    3 years ago

    We had a gusty windstorm blow through from the north recently. Our neighbors heard the two window covers on the north side slapping and banging, so they came over and wired them shut. Now they're bent just enough to where they won't shut tight. That's what we get for not heading the advice on this forum in a timely fashion.

    We have some ideas to correct this which involves attaching a strip of metal to the bottom portion of the window cover and hardware to the adjacent frame we can slid between the window and metal strip to hold it closed. Hard to explain. If we go with this idea and it works, I'll post photos.

    We also had two panels blow out. Only two. Not bad. We have since screwed them all into place.

  • mudhouse
    3 years ago

    Hi Linda, sorry the wind got you, it happens. (Glad you have nice neighbors too!) I'll bet you can find a way to fix the damage to the roof windows. The good thing about this kit is it does lend itself to modifications when needed.

    Glad you didn't have damage to the greenhouse frame itself; having to replace those two panels isn't too bad. When we replaced our roof years ago, we missed screwing down one of the new roof panels (I hate ladder work) and sure enough, the panel got loose a few months later, and popped off all the clips in a bad wind. Even one screw in each panel has saved the day for me. Hang in there!

  • mattwenfran
    2 years ago

    Looks like this is a pretty old thread, I've read from the first post and have seem suggestions that I "thought" we had tried. Unfortunately, the roof caved in this past winter....like 2 days after I eyeballed it and thought it was clear of snow So I am trying to figure out how to rebuild the roof...all the metal trusses are toast. The sides appear to have held up. We had repeated problems with the slide doors in the prior winter and had replaced them with wooden ones that open out. (I think the cows getting in there didn't help the doors) So anyone have suggestion where to find the materials needed to rebuild the roof ?

  • mudhouse
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    If you want to rebuild using Harbor Freight parts, you should be able to call their 800 number and order all of the aluminum roof parts and roof panels. One tricky thing is, if you have a 10x12, be aware there are two different 10x12 models out there (with different model numbers, and differences in some parts)

    I think they still have a downloadable 10x12 manual on the Harbor Freight website. That will have a parts list, so you could at least call them up and have them price the various roof parts.

    If you still have your manual, it will have the model number for your kit on the front. If you don't, you could try asking HF if any of the roof parts vary between the two 10x12 models (I'm not sure.) I find some HF phone people are more helpful than others.

    I've put two roofs on my 10x12 using the HF panels, and they don't hold up well to my sun. Currently I have my roof (with deteriorating HF panels) covered with greenhouse plastic I bought elsewhere. Next time I replace the roof I won't use the HF polycarbonate panels; it's too much work for too few years, for me.

    Just saying, this might be a time to investigate the cost of replacing the roof with a better quality twinwall polycarbonate from a greenhouse supply company. That will definitely cost more than the HF replacement panels, but it would last longer. Not an easy choice because there's a big cost difference. I've also considered using Solexx, it's a translucent white material that has good thermal qualities, and should cost less...so you might research that as well.

    I'll bet cows don't help HF doors at all, lol! One of my sliding doors is giving me problems, and I know no cows have been in there.

    If you want to rebuild using your own building materials, I'm sure that can be done too, and maybe someone else will chime in here with some ideas about that (I hope, since I won't be much help in that department.)

  • mattwenfran
    2 years ago

    Thank you, my concern is how to replace the metal roof structure which is now all twisted and inside the greenhouse. Our usual carpenter is scratching his head on how to do this....


  • Thomas McManus
    2 years ago

    I've put two roofs on my 10x12 due to snow overload so this year I'm going to try Grandio Element Snow Load Kit for 6x12 it contains 10 eve braces and 5 Roof braces in addition to 4 corner stabilizers. Looks like it will work but remains to be seen. I have found you don't have to disassemble parts of the house just drill a hole in the slot big enough to accommodate the bolt and slide into place i have extra bolts and nuts from harbor freight. Here is the PDF https://www.greenhouseoutlet.com/manuals/ELEMENT_SNOWLOAD_KIT_MANUAL.pdf

  • Thomas McManus
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago








  • Thomas McManus
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Snow load kit fits perfect and used supplied nuts and bolts I just drilled a hole in channel rail and slid them up to place.

  • Kaleb Coleman
    7 months ago

    How has the snow load kit held up the past year, Thomas?

  • mattwenfran
    7 months ago

    Mine caved in the second winter. I had been keeping an eye on it and it did not look like it had snow on it, but went out one morning and there it was all caved in on itself. We had done reinforcement when we built it because of living in New England but alas, to no avail. I have not figured out how to fix it, most of the roofing frame and plastic roof/sides were destroyed.


  • Thomas McManus
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    The snow Load kit is amazing it keeps it so tight that I never lost a panel to high winds, we had 3 feet of wet snow and it did not flex a bit do not hesitate to install. It works. It not only strengthens the roof the corner struts prevent flexing. As for Mattwenfran I too did the reinforcements and had it collapse twice and had to rebuild by ordering additional parts from Harbor Freight but since installing the Snow Load Kit I can see I will no longer sweat every time it snows overnight.

  • mudhouse
    7 months ago

    Good information Thomas, thanks for posting the update here.

  • HU-871738122
    6 months ago

    hello thank you to everyone that has posted about this greenhouse, i would not have attempted this project without all the great help from people all over the world. So my question is about the braces with the dimples do the dimples face in the greenhouse or do they point out? Ive test fitted and stared at it with my father for many minutes lol thanks again for everyone's posts