djonathang

Top 5 Ways to Strengthen the HFGH 6x8?

djonathang
12 years ago

Hello All,

Anyone care to list of the Top 5 Ways to Strengthen the HFGH 6x8?

Yes, I know for some of you it's buy a different greenhouse. Now that we got that out of the way!

Thanks in advance.

DG

Comments (42)

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    Agardenstateof_mind, best wishes for your DH.
    The picture of the shelf I'm talking about was on another forum. No pipes.

    Funnylady, you go girl! Best wishes for a speedy recovery to your DH too.

  • agardenstateof_mind
    12 years ago

    Buyorsell - The shelf is just attached to the two vertical beams. Actually, being a leftover from an actual closet project (imagine that!) it's just a tad shorter than 6', so wouldn't reach the corners anyway. I'm not sure if we're referring to the same photo, but I did see one of an overhead wire shelf quite well-loaded. The secret is that the shelf is actually resting on two heavy metal pipes that run the full length of the shelf, front and back. So it's the pipes, and the rafters they're attached to, that are providing the strength.

    Funnylady - That's quite a project to tackle alone; more power to you! And best wishes, too, to you and your husband through this ordeal. My husband has just finished his cancer treatment (well, most of it ... he's still on certain meds and supplements and the very important and often-overlooked dietary changes; no chemo or surgery, though, just hormonal and radiation therapies). I think it's great that you have the gardening hobby ... can't think of a better therapy!

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  • ole_dawg
    12 years ago

    Having become a cancer surviver this year I also hope all goes well with DH. I didn't have to do cemo.

    1eyedJack and the Dawg

  • funnylady
    12 years ago

    Thanks for the info. Will try it as soon as I have time. Can't wait to get started on the enlargement of the greenhouse. That is what keeps me sain these days.

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago

    funnylady, here's a very helpful thread with good instructions on how to add photos from Photobucket: Photo Instructions

    I'm very sorry to hear about your husband's illness, and I hope you both have much better days together soon. Good luck with all your greenhouses. :-)

  • funnylady
    12 years ago

    Well I finally got my other HFGH 10X12 greenhouse to add to the on that I have. Have to get busy and dig up a lot of daylilies
    Have to move the gh I already have is I can get past a tree. And I'm also going to move it forward 4ft and put it on an angle so the doorway is still in my gravel path.
    This is going to be a slow job because my husband is on radation every day for cancer and last week he started dialysis 3 times a week. So needless to say this is going to take me a while. But I'll get it done as soon as I can and will post the before and afters.
    Thank GOD that I'm in good health, so I can still dig in the dirt. And build greenhouses.

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    I have seen a photo on another website of someone using one of the wire closet shelves in their shed and it is piled with stuff. Looks like they are stronger than we think.

    agardenstateof_mind
    When you put it across the back of the greenhouse, is it just braced at the two vertical beams or in the corners too? Do you have a photo? Dang, I see you don't.

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago

    I second that Funnylady, I'd love to see photos of your greenhouses. If you have trouble with any of the steps, feel free to email me and I'd be happy to try to help. I also use Photobucket.

    Putting two Harbor Freights together is an idea that pops up a lot...I think lots of folks would enjoy seeing photos of how hard (or easy) that is to do.
    Sheri

  • djonathang
    12 years ago

    Funnylady,

    You must post photos, as your setup sounds quite interesting. Someone on this site pointed me toward http://photobucket.com/ If you go to that site, you can setup an account, upload pictures, then direct people to your page. It takes a few moments, but just a fraction of the time it takes to setup those HFGH!

    Looking forward to seeing the pics.

    Cheers.

    DG

  • funnylady
    12 years ago

    I have 3 greenhouses. A Julian 7X9, HF 6X8 and a HF 10X12. I put them all up mostly by my self. DH thinks I'm crazy for having GH in Florida. Just because you are a woman don't think you can't put things together or change them around. I'm buying another HF 10X12 this week end,while the big sale is on. Am going to hook it to the one I already have, so it will be 10X24. Already have 40 orchids hang in it. Have many Xmas catci also. Have no grass in the back yard, it is all flowers and vegetables. Have to play in the dirt. Even the heat doesn't bother me too much. Don't know how to post photos or I would.

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    Thank you

  • djonathang
    12 years ago

    Mudhouse,

    "A third good idea I've read here is to just drill out the track so there's an opening large enough to accept the head of the bolt you want to use."

    This is a great idea. Simple and effective.

  • agardenstateof_mind
    12 years ago

    Mudhouse is right on all three points.

    That's where I have my shelf, buyorsell - at the height of the horizontal brace. I usually keep my culinary herbs up there, and had a cherry tomato plant up there as well, until it got too big for the space.

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago

    T bolts can be added after the fact; the head is shaped so it slips in the track one way, and then if you turn the bolt it can't be pulled back out. I've read you can get them at Fastenal or through Charley's Greenhouse.

    In a pinch, we've also modified carriage bolts to fit by just nipping off a piece of the head on each side using a bolt cutter. This allowed us to slip the bolt head into the track, and then turn it so it couldn't come out, just like T bolts. (Sort of a poor man's T bolts!)

    A third good idea I've read here is to just drill out the track so there's an opening large enough to accept the head of the bolt you want to use. You would drill one opening high or low in the track (somewhere where you would not want to mount anything in the future.) This drilled-out opening would then be the entry point for bolts you wanted to add to the track...you'd insert the bolts, and then slide them up or down to the point where you wanted to use them.

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    DH says greenhouse would have to be taken apart to put bolts in the tracks to hold up a closet shelf. I thought the T bolts could be added after the fact?

    I don't want to put heavy clay pots up there but hate the wasted space. I'm thinking 6-8" plastic potted plants up there. Putting the shelf at the level of the metal brace that is there.

    Might want to hang a light from the shelf too to get my tropical waterlilies to bloom in winter. I have a pond across the back of the greenhouse.

    DH wanted to put slotted posts up the back wall to use the brackets that go in slots to hold the shelf.

  • djonathang
    12 years ago

    Hey Nancy,

    No fear scaring me/us away. After putting together the HFGH 6x8, I have found new strength and confidence in my ability to handle any situation.

    Cheers!

    DG

  • imqtpi
    12 years ago

    Hi DG!

    I was afraid us "Girls" were scaring everyone away!!! ;-)~

    But, to answer your inquiry: I added eyebolts (from Charley's Greenhouse) to the frame before I completed assembly. The 'nuts' were just the right size to fit in the tracks (the bottom of the "We bought a Greenhouse" [GH assembly] page shows some of 'em). I have to be careful not to screw them in too far, otherwise they might bend the aluminum frame. So far, they seem pretty sturdy though...

    I'm using the eye-bolts for the fluorescent shop light (so far), and I might hang some *lightweight* plants from them, later on (or maybe run a bamboo stake through them, kinda like agardenstateofmind has indicated, to distribute the load more evenly).

    For shelving, I'm using a freestanding, relatively inexpensive shelving unit (also from Charley's). It's pictured in the link below. But I might also add more shelves (Home Depot - wire closet shelves) using t-bolts to hold 'em to the GH vertical studs.

    We'll see what I need, once I start cramming plants in there! Although most of my 'tropicals' are pretty big and will, most likely, live on the floor.......

    Other "stuff" I've added (so far) include some hanging mini-basket-like wire thingies I bought at Home Depot. They're intended for storing little 'gravy mix' pouches in kitchen cupboards. I hooked 'em over the horizontal supports in the GH. I'll use 'em for storing miscellaneous "crap." They are small - but you can hook one onto another and have a 'daisy-chain' of small baskets for 'stuff' (I'm thinking pruners, scissors, misc tools and such). You can see a pic on the back-wall of my GH, if you click on the link below.

    HTH!

    -Nancy

    P.S. As an aside to buyorsell: If you get your GH truly weather-proofed, you could move the TV out there! He could watch NFL and NASCAR to his heart's content!

    P.P.S. Aside for myself: I want to be able to run the laptop from out there!!! ;-)

    Here is a link that might be useful: 2007 Greenhouse Saga Continues

  • agardenstateof_mind
    12 years ago

    Sorry, don't have any photos, but I do have a 12" deep wire shelf, attached with T-bolts, running across the rear wall of my 6x8 HFGH, and have had no problems. 'Course, I wouldn't put any large clay pots up there!

    I have a rod running the length of the greenhouse on each side. I used sturdy bamboo plant stakes, since they were sitting around looking for a job to do. They're run through U-clamps that are fastened to the ceiling ribs with T-bolts, which spreads the weight a bit among the ribs. Several "S" hooks (going through the alphabet here) hanging from these rods makes it easy to hang plants, small tools and other items I like/need to have handy.

    When we built our pond - before I got the greenhouse - my husband and son rented a trencher (a large, slow-moving but very effective machine) to run electrical out to the shed and thence to the pond equipment. At the time, my son wanted to run a water line as well, so we'd have a spicket at the rear of the yard and I said nahhhh, not such a big yard, we'll be fine. So sorry I said that, as I've carried more water (can't leave a water barrel or hose out in our winters, but inside the greenhouse those plants are still mighty thirsty!) than I care to think about! Still, hate to think of the expense and trouble of renting again and tearing up another 75' of lawn to run a water line.

    Hope this has been helpful.

  • greenhouser
    12 years ago

    The U shaped benches in our 6X8 HFGH are on their own legs. Nothing is attached to the GH frame or roof itself. All hanging baskets of ferns and Impatiens went under the shelves where they thrived all winter. Even on the darkest days there were a few flowers.

  • greenhouser
    12 years ago

    Last winter I set all my hanging baskets UNDER the benches in my 6X8 HFGH rather than hang weight from the roof. Also there would be no place to walk had we done that. They did fine on the ground. :)

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago

    Hello DG, somehow I missed your post on this question. I'd also be very interested in what others have to show.

    My walls are still bare. :-(

    Regarding hanging pots (which can be heavy) we have some concerns about adding much weight to the GH frame, even on the EMT braces we added for side-to-side strength. We have concreted a few major bench posts into the ground, and I was thinking I could anchor an overhead frame to my benches (perhaps made of galvanized pipe.) This way the weight would go into the ground, instead of pulling on the roof frame.

    But this only exists in my mind. I'd really love to see what others have done.

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    I don't have anything attached. DH insists it isn't strong enough though I know that it is. If you use the search and put in HFGH you will get a ton of threads.

    No progress was made last weekend.
    I want a 6' wide wire shelf at the end of the greenhouse over the pond and know others have used closet shelves and T-bolts to hold the braces but he got all stubborn again.

    He has a huge bag of 1000 3/4" self drilling hex xcrews with neophrene washers so he is pulling washers off some to double up on the ones for the greenhouse.

    He did look at multiple photos on this site which is a big step for him. He doesn't do computers and thinks he knows everything. LOL

    I don't know why he is giving me so much grief over the greenhouse modifications. He gave me no trouble at all over the foundation. He always builds what I ask him to build.

    I have no problem visualizing projects and I draw them up and he does them.

    He didn't do the water or electrical either.

    If it isn't Nascar on TV it is football. I'd like to toss the garage TV into the garbage.

  • djonathang
    12 years ago

    Hello All,

    Since I didn't get a response in my other post regarding this issue, I thought I'd do it here considering you all seem to be quite active on this site. I am interested in seeing a few photos on how folks attach things to the HFGH on the interior (hanging pots, misters, wire for plants to climb, etc.). Anyone have a photo they'd like to share?

    DG

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago

    I agree Buyorsell, let us know how it goes!

    LOL Nancy! Yes, Jerry Springer moments happened. Well, no lawn chairs were thrown, but many decisions have required long and intense argu...er, I mean, um, earnest discussions. Arm waving, stomping off, kicking the manual across the yard...isn't that how it's supposed to go? :-)

    Honestly the electrical stuff has been the worst to figure out. I was never so happy to see three wires poking out of the ground in my life. It took less than one afternoon, preceded by two weeks of, um, earnest discussions.

    I water with rain water stored in milk jugs (high tech huh) so I wasn't considering water in the GH intially. But he offered, so I'm not arguing. Good thing is, our greenhouses don't have big deep foundations, so there's no reason you couldn't add water and electric stuff down the road. "Use it up, make do" is what I always do. Right now, I'm just striking while the iron is hot! ;-)

  • imqtpi
    12 years ago

    Oh suuuuure Sheri! Be a Show-Off!!! You and your "helpful husband!"

    I suppose next you're gonna tell us you never had any "Jerry Springer Moments" while putting the GH up!!! ;-)~~

    To be fair, my DH took 100% ownership of the solar fan installation, and he did a *very* nice job. No "JS Moments" (b/c I had sense enough to stay away)!!!

    You're way ahead of me on the electrical and water situation w/your GH. I've got an extension cord running to mine, snaking up thru the front of the door (which means I'll have a gap). The pool equip't and electric source is I'm sure most electricians would cringe, but I gotta make do with what I've got readily available...

    As far as water goes, I figure I'll just run a hose out to the GH and drag it in - when I need it.

    Anyway - Congrats on your progress! Love your blog, BTW...

    buyorsell: Keep us posted on YOUR progress!!!

    -Nancy

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    Good grief. I finally got DH to look at the screws and he has a huge bag of them in the garage. We are off to Home Depot for more neophrene washers and weather stripping.

    He is also finally going to run conduit from the shed for electricity and a water pipe too.

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    Thank you both.

  • imqtpi
    12 years ago

    Caulking:
    I agree with Sheri on the 'toothpaste tubes' of caulk for the visible gaps in the frame (I still need to do that myself, actually). SUPER easy to do (and caulking guns *can* be pretty intimidating - and messy - if you don't know what you're doing)! Just gooze it in, and smooth it with your finger after you've applied it.

    Helps to have a small bowl of water to clean off your finger between 'goozing' sessions, though. Otherwise you'll end up with bits of paper-towel poop stuck to your finger!!! ;-)

    Weatherstripping:
    Self-stickie foam weatherstripping doesn't necessarily require disassembly. I don't see any reason why you couldn't go around the insides of the panels (and supports) with self-stickie foam tape. Just stick it on where the panel meets the frame. Doing it that way wouldn't be a long-term solution, but I bet it'd last one season, at least (but I wouldn't be surprised if it started peeling off toward the end of the winter...).

    Better solution would be to remove the panel clips, remove the panel(s), and stick the weatherstripping on either the 'in' side of the panels or the frame (whatever is easiest for you), then replace the panel and clips. It'll be a snug fit - but that's what you want!

    Take your time and do 'em one at a time...

    It ain't rocket science - Go for it!!!

    GIRL-POWER ROCKS!!! :-D

    -Nancy

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago

    There are a number of ways to fill up those gaps in the frame, it really doesn't matter which way you go (whatever is easiest for you.) There's nothing magic to any of this...anything stuffed in those gaps would help, I'm sure. Wherever you see daylight, or wherever you see water coming in, it would help to fill that hole with something.

    Since you mentioned seeing gaps in your frame, I think Nancy meant you could stuff some weatherstripping in those holes. Once you peel off the paper back, it's just a soft piece of foam you can stuff anywhere. And, you could also take your panels out, if you removed the clips, and put the weatherstripping under the panel edges. Nancy put hers on the panels themselves, I put mine on the greenhouse frame. Both ways work! Then clip your panels back in place.

    I have some photos in this section of my blog that show how I applied some weatherstripping to the frame (under the panels) and also some places where I used another type of round foam called backer rod (round foam designed to be stuffed in gaps before caulking.) The backer rod stuff isn't sticky, you just stuff it in gaps. It's in the same section as the weather stripping in Lowes or Home depot.
    My blog, if it helps: Adding the Panels

    I had a pretty big hole in each corner of the frame, at the top. (Didn't I see you mention that somewhere too?) I put a tiny piece of aluminum tape over the hole, to give me something to push the caulk against, and then I put caulk on the inside, covering the tape and the hole, them moved the ladder outside and did the same thing to the outside of the hole. No more leaks.

    Caulk guns can be heavy and awkward if you're not used to them. Also, once they have the pressure going, you have to know how to click the pressure off, or the caulk keeps squirting out everywhere! It's only hard because you haven't done it much. But I think I have a better idea!

    I was in Lowes today, buying regular caulk, and I noticed they also have small squeeze tubes of clear silicone caulk used for Bath and Kitchens. I mean, little tubes like toothpaste tubes. You just nip off the tip and squeeze it where you want it, no caulk gun needed.

    I work with a paper towel in one hand when I use silicone. Squeeze the silicone where you want it, then smooth it with a finger, then wipe your finger on the paper towel. On to the next gap. Really, it's easy. You can do caulk, I promise! Just go look for those little squeeze tubes of silicone for Bath and Kitchen.

    Hope this helps!
    Sheri

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    Where exactly should I put the weatherstripping? I understand what to buy, just not what to do with it.

    I feel like an idiot. I swear I am not a helpless female. Except when power tools are involved.

    I tried to use a caulking gun with silicone caulk to glue flat edged marbles around the rim of a whiskey barrel liner I use for a pond. I got the freaking silicone everywhere. DH got frustrated and took it away from me and did it himself.

    Hmmm, perhaps I get out the ladder and start to drill holes.....I have never used a drill though.

  • imqtpi
    12 years ago

    Two words (or is it one???): Weatherstripping!!!!

    Self-sticky-stuff oughtta work wonders (and should be peel-off-able if you so choose!!!). Heck, you don't even have to remove the panels - just stick it wherever you see gaps!

    It comes in rolls @ Home Depot (or Lowes, or wherever!) and isn't that insanely expensive. Mudhouse posted a link for inexpensive w/s she found on ebay... At the very least, I'd buy some of that!!!

    I'd still recommend self-tappers if you've got wind issues.

    FWIW I am definitely the more "Artsy-Fartsy" of the two of us. I was okay with "eyeballing" where "approximate-center" was before I drilled the holes and screwed in the self-tappers...

    Hubbie's more 'anal' where "That's not exactly 'center'" is concerned, but I can always fall-back on the "Well, I *asked* you to help me, but you didn't want to..." argument!!!

    (I'm sure I mentioned in one of my earlier posts about how we are more suited to an episode of 'Jerry Springer' than 'HGTV!!!')

    Anyway, I would definitely encourage you to make the corrections yourself. It really isn't all that difficult! Trust me!!!

    (It may not be 'pretty' - but if it works, what the hey?!!)

    Good Luck - and Go For It!!!

    -Nancy

    Here is a link that might be useful: Good price on foam self-stick weatherstripping

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    I suck at measuring, math, cutting. I'm afraid I'd drill in the wrong place. I'm an artistic, visual sort of gal.
    I don't sew either. I can't cut or draw a straight line.

    DH is very handy. Works with tools for a living. Built our fences, shed, deck, pergola, trellises etc.

    Why he is not cooperating with me on the greenhouse is beyond me. He refused to tape the panel ends before construction and actually put it together when I was not home so I could not do it either. We did have panels blow out last winter. I'd prefer to avoid that happening again.

    There is no weatherproofing done at all. I can see gaps in the frame in various locations.

  • imqtpi
    12 years ago

    Self-tappers were easy to do (although I am, admittedly, semi-handy).

    Ours had hex-heads (similar to the ones in the linked picture), and we used the appropriate socket on a screw-driver handle thingie (as opposed to the ratcheting socket wrench thingie). Ratchet Wrench didn't provide enough "force-it-in" pressure.

    (I said I was "semi-handy" - doesn't mean I know the appropriate terminology!).

    Anyway, it does help if you drill pilot holes first. Just select a drill bit that slightly smaller than the tapping screw (or bolt). I did all of them myself, as I was putting in the panels. Wasn't difficult at all!

    -Nancy

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago

    Argh, how frustrating.

    We're not quite ready to add our panels, but I don't expect adding the screws to be difficult. You could probably install some screws on your own (at least the easy-to-reach ones!) If it helps, send me an email, and I'll be happy to email back with any step-by-step details that might be helpful (as soon as we get there.)

    Over the years I've gathered my own little collection of tools that feel good in my (smaller) hands. I'm not super handy, but I love my little 12v Hitachi cordless drill. Battery-powered independence! Maybe you need your own little tool box? ;-)

    Let me know if I can help.
    Sheri

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    Thanks, now he says he won't do it. Thinks it is too much trouble. I am bummed that I have read of so many improvements but he won't do them. He did build the foundation that I asked him too but nothing else.

    I'm not handy with tools at all. I am the designer/researcher and he is the builder.

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago

    buyorsell888, here's a picture you could show your husband: self drilling screws. These come in different sizes. We don't have our panels up yet on our Harbor Freight, but this is the type of screw we'll use. We plan to just buy them at Lowes. Hope this helps!
    Sheri

  • buyorsell888
    12 years ago

    I told DH about the self tapping screws and he doesn't know what they are even though he is very handy and actually works with tools for a living.

    Do they have another name? We did have some panels blow off during winter. I'd like to get him to screw them down while the weather is still nice.

    I tried in vain to get him to use tape on top and bottom of the panels and now I've got nasty algae. I wish I were better with tools myself.....

  • djonathang
    12 years ago

    Thanks All.

    Great ideas.

    DG

  • imqtpi
    12 years ago

    I wouldn't say that it "strengthens" it necessarily (of course, I think it's already purdy-sturdy on it's own), but I think the addition of 1/4" thick weather-stripping around each of the panels helps the spring clips hold the panels extra-tight...

    The panels still will "flex" however, so definitely go with the self-tappers @ top and bottom of each panel (and if you do both weather-stripping and screws, use 3/4" self-tappers. 1/2" was too short and tended to squish the panels).

    Just my $0.02

    -Nancy (aka IMQTPI)

  • milwdave
    12 years ago

    The biggest problems with flexing will be along the length of the panels, parallel to the spacers that keep the panels apart...but the same spacers keep the panel more rigid perpendicular to them....the extra clips are fine...but fastening the panels at the top and bottom is really more effective. I did no extra bracing.

  • alia
    12 years ago

    For mine, I purchased extra braces and did the back wall and roof, used polycarbonate caulk, bolted it to a heavy foundation, and added extra clips on all of the panels. So far, it has been very sturdy in the wind and snow, etc. I've been in it during some storms, and I could see extremely minimal flexing.

    Alia

  • milwdave
    12 years ago

    hmmmm...These little greenhouses are pretty sturdy on their own...the issues have been with the bigger one. As I mentioned in an earlier post, attach it well to a heavy foundation. Also, I used self tapping screws, one each, for the top and bottom of each polycarb panel. The panels are too flexible for just the clips to hold them in place. I used one at the top and bottom of each side/end panel and one at the bottom of each roof panel. That added greatly to the rigidity of the structure...other than that, I have done nothing special with it.

    Others will come up with more suggestions.

    Dave
    Milwaukee