mary_pacifica

HFGH question for Gardenwantabe

mary_pacifica
14 years ago

Gardenwantabe, I've enjoyed reading your many helpful suggestions for improving the HF Greenhouse. I've purchased two of them and I'm going to install them with the doors facing each other with six feet between the doors. Then I'll roof the space between them. I'm doing this so I can put screen in the doors and get good ventilation without having to worry about the rain getting in or the wind blowing the roof vents off. I'm in California and don't get much frost. In the past my husband and I built a 20x30' greenhouse from scratch. We made a foundation of 4x6" pressured treated wood which we drilled and pounded rebar through and into the ground making a very secure foundation. Now I'm getting lazy I guess and I don't feel like going to the trouble to add the rebar. Do you think it is necessary? I should add we live close to the ocean and we can get very strong winds.

I'll pay close attention to your suggestions when we get to the next stage. So far we've had to return one kit. It had holes in the box when we picked it up - it looked like a forklift had damaged it. Several of the aluminum parts were mangled past any chance of repair.

I've put one of the steel bases together and it measures a little less then the 10x12' but I'm still planning to make the base 10x12' so there will be a little extra wood on the outside. I hope all the parts are in the box.

Comments (17)

  • gw:plant_babies
    14 years ago

    I have a question about the extra wood on the footing -- will that wick water underneath the metal gh base?

  • mary_pacifica
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    In answer to the question about the wood wicking water under the metal. The wood will help keep the metal above the soil line and out of direct contact with wet soil so that it won't deteriorate too quickly but there does need to be a barrier between the pressure treated wood and the metal base. This is to keep the chemicals in the pressure treated wood from corroding the metal. There has been some discussion concerning materials for this purpose on other threads and I haven't as yet decided what I'll use. Probably it will be thick plastic sheeting or a roofing product. I plan on putting pea gravel under the 4x6" timbers to keep the wood from resting on wet soil. I hope this helps and I hope anyone who has been built a foundation and has suggestions will share them.

    I'm also going to add a moisture barrier which will be a sheet of plastic that covers the ground in the greenhouse. I'm doing this because I live in a damp area and I want to encourage a dry atmosphere in the greenhouse. I may use this same sheet to go up the sides and over the top of the pressure treated wood (this could also serve as the barrier between the metal base and the wood) but I'm concerned that this might keep air circulation from the wood and shorten the life of the wood.

  • gardenerwantabe
    14 years ago

    mary_pacifica
    You could use several methods to secure it to the ground.
    I did what I did because it was easy and I had access to all the metal fence posts that I wanted. I think they are less than three dollars new at LOWES. I drove a metal post down in each Conner The post will keep it from moving and I don't think the wind will lift it I have dirt up to the top of the timbers . If you want you can drill a hole in the top of the post and put a lag bolt through the post into the timber then it can not lift.
    I used strips that I cut from a poly tarp laid them on top of the timbers then put the base on that. I drilled through the base every two feet and be sure to use stainless steel bolts. The new treated timbers will corrode zinc coated bolts. Did you see the picture I posted of reinforcing the conner post to the base. This is a very badly needed modification. The instructions are very poor and the framing needs to be reinforced but after you work through these issues then you will have the same thing as a $3000,00 GH for about $700.00 For those who don't know how to do it or are not willing then they will need to pay the big price. For some of us this is a way to have the same thing at a far cheaper price. mine has survived 80mph wind with no damage but it did not get hit with the full force because of my location it has a good wind break.

  • mary_pacifica
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Gardenwantabe,
    I'm glad you saw this thread and responded. I've thought about your suggestion of metal fence posts to anchor the 4x6" timbers and I think I'm going to do that way. Too bad the ground is so hard right now (no summer rain in California) and I bet the fence posts are at the minimum 4' long. I guess I could cut them in half with a hack saw. I'll sure be happy when the wood frame is done!

    When I returned the damaged greenhouse kit, the replacement had updated instructions. I hope that means things will work a little better.

  • mary_pacifica
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    I was just reading the HF club posts and I was wondering if it is okay to have the wood frame an inch or so larger than the steel frame of the greenhouse. I don't know how the tracking for the door rests and I wondering if anything needs to extend lower then the steel frame. Thanks,

    Mary

  • gardenerwantabe
    14 years ago

    Posted by mary_pacifica Z10 CA (My Page) on Thu, Aug 17, 06 at 4:37

    I was just reading the HF club posts and I was wondering if it is okay to have the wood frame an inch or so larger than the steel frame of the greenhouse. I don't know how the tracking for the door rests and I wondering if anything needs to extend lower then the steel frame. Thanks,
    Mary

    You can set the base on top of whatever you want to it will not interfere with the door.
    Yes you can cut the fence posts in half. Cut them on an angle that will make them go in the ground easier. I used a 10lb. sledge hammer to drive mine and they went right in no problem. If you get three feet of post in the ground that will be enough to hold it. Remember if you put them tight in the Conner and bolt them then in order for the GH to move IT would have to pull all four posts.
    As a side note last winter when I said that I was going to use a ceiling fan to exhaust the heat a few here told me it would not work. Well this summer when the GH got hot and the fan came on you could feel the temperature drop almost instantly and within a few minutes you would see the thermometer dropping. This winter I plan on running it on slow speed and blowing down to keep the heat from staying on the ceiling and also provide air circulation.

  • jimmydo2
    14 years ago

    How Convenient:

    I was just gonna Post a Question to Pick Gardenerwantabe's brain ;)

    I dunno if you remember me, I am currently running slower than a Turtle making my Greenhouse, but I have legitamit reasons that it has taken me 4 months so far... (and no that should not put off anyone else who wants to build one...)

    Anyhow, I have a Couple of Foundation questions regarding your corner reinforcements. I can not tell for sure from your pics, but I was wondering if you had to Notch the floor plates to fit your 1.5 inch angle-iron (angle-aluminum?) on the corners?

    I did have to do this, but I am wonderering if it is because of the way I put on the Angle peices. The silly Angle brackets for holding the foundation corners togethor are made such that the Foundation pieces can not fit togethor flush. at first I ignored this, but when I wanted to put the angle peices on the corners, I wanted the tightest fit possible, so I redrilled each corner so that the foundation pieces fit flush togethor. I am wondering if it is because of this 1/16th of an inch on each corner, that I had to Notch the Floor plates?

    Thanks for your time

    Jim

  • gardenerwantabe
    14 years ago

    JIM sounds like the L brackets what you are calling Conner pieces were drilled wrong. The Conner's of my base were flush but I did find some other pieces that needed re drilled. Like I have posted before I regard the HFGH as an excellent buy for those who have the fortitude to build one but it would not be the best choice for everyone.
    When I installed my angle braces I drilled through the holes in the base into the angle then put the L bracket on the inside and the angle on the outside then drill through in both directions to secure the square tubing and the angle brace and the wall stud of the GH this ties everything together.

  • jimmydo2
    14 years ago

    That makes me feel better, I was concerned... If my Foundaition was no right, then the problem would compound with the build of the greenhouse. I have no problem haveing to redrill, After all as you say, with a few mods, it is a great greenhouse. I can not beleive how strong the corner supports are with those braces you came up with, makes a Huge Difference. I am Using Oray's Emt Bracing for the sidewall supports, and this thing is coming along just rock solid.

    Now if a City Inspector shows up in my yard, it is 119 Square feet ;)

  • gardenerwantabe
    14 years ago

    Jimmy I posted some pictures of the interior of mine after the braces where installed. Pictures at this site show the flat plates that connect the top and bottom lip on the base. This will stop the upper lip from flexing. One shot is hard to tell but if you look close right above the square tubing that goes across the back you can see a round tube across the back this servers two purposes it brace's the walls and I hang shower hooks on it and a shade curtain so not only do I have a shade cloth for the roof but i can slide one across the back which faces south.
    Also Check the three windows that I installed these came with screens and make a nice cross ventilation. Glad to hear that you are getting it together. These things can try your patience

    Here is a link that might be useful: HFGH Mods

  • jimmydo2
    14 years ago

    Yeah the clock is ticking, I have about 75 days till our First freeze. My primary concern is preventing freeze to overwinter my Citrus, untill Global warming keeps us from freezing here. ;)

    We really only need to warm up about 5-6 more degrees here, and then I have no more freezes ;)

  • mary_pacifica
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Gardenwantabe,

    Thanks for posting the additional pictures. I would also like to put windows in the back of greenhouses. It looks like you cut the polycarbonate and attached the windows right to the polycarbonate. I guess you felt it was strong enough - how is it working out? What type of window did you use?

    I'm making slow progress but I bought the 4x6 pressure treated wood and cut it to size. I got metal stakes to pound into the sides, but I bought some that aren't long enough - only about 18" which I will return for a longer size. It will be a little while before I have time to get back to work on it.

    Thanks again for all your help.
    Mary

  • gardenerwantabe
    14 years ago

    mary_pacifica If you look real close you will see metal strips on the inside of the windows. Putting screws into the polycarbonate will NOT HOLD the window in. I bought these windows at a scratch and dent type store for $ 20 bucks they are all aluminum with screens. These are like you would find in a travel trailer.

  • mary_pacifica
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Gardenwantobe, I can't see the metal strip on the outside of the window or maybe I'm seeing it and think it is on the inside. Did you cut the window and then attach metal strips around the hole using screws? I like the idea of having a window that is easy to close and has a screen. It saves having to create a way to screen and close a push out opening.

    With my two greenhouses, the doors will have screen instead of the polycarbonate and with a windows at the opposite ends, they will get good air circulation. But one of the ends will be facing the windy direction so the window will have to be installed so that the end is not weakened.

    Mary

  • gardenerwantabe
    14 years ago

    Posted by mary_pacifica Z10 CA (My Page) on Thu, Aug 24, 06 at 15:30

    Gardenwantobe, I can't see the metal strip on the outside of the window or maybe I'm seeing it and think it is on the inside. Did you cut the window and then attach metal strips around the hole using screws? I like the idea of having a window that is easy to close and has a screen. It saves having to create a way to screen and close a push out opening.

    The window has a flange and that is on the outside it lays up against the panel. I bought the metal strips at Lowes and put them on the inside. I used self taping screws and the windows already had holes but if you find windows without holes just drill through both and the PC will be sandwiched between the two metal flanges. If you look close at the photo you can see the metal strips on the inside in fact you can see that they where a little shorter then the window but rather than buy longer ones and cut them I just used these they are plenty long enough to hold. I cut the PC so the window sits on the cross brace and the screws in the bottom of the window are into that brace.
    I used silicone to seal around the window and after it was installed I used a drimel tool with a cutoff wheel to cut off the part of the screw that was sticking out. Not necessary but it makes it look better. Look closely at the picture and you will see the metal strip on both sides and on the top the bottom is screwed the the cross brace so no strip their.

  • mary_pacifica
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Gardenwantabe, thanks for the info about the windows. I've been away for a little vacation and sorry to say I haven't made any progress on the greenhouses.

    Mary

  • gardenerwantabe
    14 years ago

    MARY I checked and the place where I bought my windows still has some they are new and they sell for $20.00 a piece but you would have another 20 bucks in shipping.
    Are their any travel trailer manufacturing places near you they would have them. LOWE'S has small windows but they are about 80 and up. GOOD LUCK glad I could help