mudhouse_gw

Another Harbor Freight 10x12 going up, thanks to you folks!

mudhouse_gw
13 years ago

Hi folks,

IÂm new to posting here, but IÂm a long time lurker. IÂve been reading about the HF 10Â by 12Â greenhouse here forever, and we finally have our framework up.

I donÂt know how to thank everyone who took the time to post their photos and share their ideas. I feel like I know you all personally because IÂve spent so much time reading your posts. Gardenerwantabe, laserfan, oraylawson, milwdave, troykd, and othersÂthanks for putting your ideas out there so others could benefit.

I post on some other gardening forums that donÂt have the wealth of HFGH info I find here, so IÂm keeping a blog of the assembly steps and modifications to be able to share tips with those folks. IÂve gained so much help here, IÂd like to pass some of it on.

HereÂs my ongoing blog. It starts with my most recent section, but if you scroll to the bottom of the page, youÂll find the archived sections so you can see them in order:

Building my Harbor Freight 10 x 12

WeÂre stalled right now as we figure out the heating and cooling needs so we can properly size and locate the electrical. ItÂs about 100° here lately so IÂm not putting up the panels yetÂweÂll work in an open breeze for a while! The doors and windows are built, the panels are taped, and I just need to wrestle some heater and exhaust fan questions to the ground. Then, on we go!

Thanks again for all your help. You folks have given me the courage to tackle something I wasnÂt sure I could. IÂm excited!

Sheri

Comments (23)

  • washoe_mark
    13 years ago

    Hi Mudhouse,
    I'm just starting my 10 X 12 HFGH. I must say your pictures & breakdown of how you did your HFGH is incredible.
    I was wondering how others did the thing with the EMT conduit. Now I know. I may be asking you questions as I go along if that's alright.
    I am also worried about it being blown about before I can modify it during the framing process. I think I'm going to have to use 2 X 4's as a prop like I think laserman did.

  • milwdave
    13 years ago

    Wow, WOw, WOW!!!! This is an awesome blog, Mudhouse! I have always regretted being in such a hurry to set up my smaller house that I did not document it. Keep this up to the end of construction, PLEASE!

    Dave
    Milwaukee

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  • greginshasta
    13 years ago

    Awesome - keep it up. This blog is going to be the "must read" reference for all HFGH 10x12 builders.

  • laserfan
    13 years ago

    Very nice blog Sheri, and it looks like it's gonna be PRETTY when it's done! The EMT brackets are fancy too--I just beat the hell out of the ends with a hammer and bent 'em over.

    Looking at all the reinforcements you've done already, I do hope that you don't have any trouble with squareness re: getting the panels in at the end. I remember having to do a lot of loosening of bolts and re-tightening. At one point I even had a ratcheting strap or two pulling the corners in while I tightened bolts.

    Anyway nice job and good luck the rest of the way!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Our 10X12 HFGH

  • mudhouse_gw
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Greg and Dave, thanks for the nice response! Actually you guys all wrote it...I just tried to put all the bits and pieces in one place. IÂm committed to finishing the blog. I just wish some of our solutions were as elegant as others here (LaserfanÂs back wall benches and foundation come to mind.)
    ItÂs a shame the manual is so pitiful, and itÂs a shame that people buy this kit without any warning it may not hold up to their winds without a few easy modifications. I do think itÂs a great value for people who can take the time to do a little extra work. This forum has done a great job of getting the word out.

    Hi Mark, sounds like you and I have similar windy situations! The only part where we had stability problems was when we put the corner posts up. IÂd strongly recommend fishing out the diagonal braces from your kit (parts 79 and 80) before you put the corner posts up. As you put up each corner post, stabilize it with the diagonal braces. (This kit is like a big tinkertoy kit, easy to bolt and unbolt as needed.) Put the diagonal braces on the corner post BEFORE you put the ceiling plates all around the top.

    When you start to add the vertical wall studs (parts 14, 16, 17, 28, 29) youÂll find you have to take the diagonal braces off again temporarily. But thatÂs OK, since the frame gains stability with every vertical stud you add.
    In all my reading, I managed to miss the good advice given by others to put up the diagonals early, so thatÂs why we were running around like idiots trying to catch the corner posts when a breeze sprang up. Duh.

    WeÂve had some winds here since the frame has been up, but no problems. I think people get in trouble when they put in the panels BEFORE they do the modifications for strength, because the panels provide wind resistance. ThatÂs why IÂm going to put the panels in LAST in my blog, and screw each one in as I go. We have so much wind here itÂs the only way IÂll feel safe.

    Oraylawson has a good clear photo of an EMT brace flattened, bent and bolted at the end in his photo album here: oraylawsonÂs photos
    Sheri

  • mudhouse_gw
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Hi laserfan, thank you! Actually I liked the method of flattening the EMT ends. Funny thing is, my husband's been a blacksmith for 25 years, and we made our living by beating the hell out of things with a hammer. I think he just wanted to try something different for fun.

    Using small L brackets to mount the EMT braces worked great for side-to-side strength (which was the goal.) But the braces do roll a tiny bit on the L brackets if you reach up there and twist them. I can't budge the walls in or out now, so this method works, but frankly I think flattening, bending, and drilling the ends is as good or better.

    I thought what you did with the benches on your back wall was fabulous.

    GOOD point about the squareness; I saw your photo with the ratchet strap. We've been checking for squareness as we go, and tweaking as necessary, but I completely forgot to mention that in the blog. You're right, one downside to bracing for strength before the panels are in is you could brace it out-of-square so the panels won't fit, which would be quite a pickle. Keep your fingers crossed for us, and thanks for the heads up!

    If you folks see things in my blog that could be added/improved/clarified, please feel free to let me know, and I'll make changes.
    Sheri

  • imqtpi
    13 years ago

    Mudhouse/Sheri, GREAT blog and Excellent pics!

    Reading your blog made me glad that I didn't have enough room for a 10x12! (Building the 6x8 was about as much "hassle" as I could tolerate!!!)

    ...And seeing your photos of building the foundation made me LMAO (Literally!). If you go to my site (/blog) of our 6x8 construction - our 'foundation' pics are almost identical, except that instead of General Omar Bradley, we had Annie (another Deutsch Dog - just significantly smaller) "supervising" the operation (Annie made several 'cameo appearances' throughout the site, actually)!

    Anyway, I am very impressed with your blog! I'm sure that it will be *extremely* useful for other 10x12 HFGH-ers!

    Thanks for posting it!

    -Nancy

    Here is a link that might be useful: We bought a Greenhouse!

  • mudhouse_gw
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Hi Nancy,
    Your greenhouse looks great, and so do your pics. I saw a lot of similarities there (including the canine supervision.) Our dog Bradley stopped holding down the interior dirt for us once the base was installed...he is old and gets annoyed about lifting his feet that high. (Well, so do I.) But my husband could not have completed the foundation without Brad's keen attention to detail.

    {{gwi:303236}}

    The weatherstripping has been in my plan too, and I just priced it the other day. Holy cow, I'm gonna need a whole shopping cart of that stuff. Ouch!

    I was not tough enough to prepare the panels outdoors in the heat as you did. I hauled them indoors to work on them while I watched TV. Our dining room looks like a polycarbonate warehouse.

    Thanks also for your second website page on the greenhouse accessories. My brain is a little boggled by the ten billion details and decisions involved (even in a small greenhouse.) It really helps to see what other folks are thinking and trying.

    I can't answer your question in your thread about screening the window vents...but I have a foggy memory of someone mentioning doing that...hopefully they will pop up.

    I don't think you were slow. I actually bought my greenhouse last fall (it was on sale and I had a discount coupon) and then let it age in the box until last month. Now, that's slow!

    Sheri

  • washoe_mark
    13 years ago

    Thank you for the additional tips Sherri. Ive just learned so much more. I'm sure our GH's will turn out great with everyone helping each other.

  • washoe_mark
    13 years ago

    Hi Sherri,
    Can you please tell me how the floor plates ( parts #1 thr #6) actually attach to the base. I don't see any bolts or screws etc. I am looking at yours I can't figure out how you did yours.
    I'm using the base that is included & I see how the floor plates rest on it but shouldn't they attach somehow. I guess I need to drill my holes in the base or is there something I'm totally missing
    Please help , Thank you

  • mudhouse_gw
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    before we bolted the base pieces together, we turned them over, one at a time, and drilled holes about 18" apart in the bottom of each piece (closer in the corners) with a cordless drill. Then we bolted Parts 1 through 6 together as per the kit, sitting the base on top of our wooden 4 x 6 foundation.

    Then we attached the steel base to the wooden foundation, using large roofing screws (the kind that are intended to pierce and attach sheet metal to wooden rafters.) Seems like I remember some folks using heavy lag bolts (some may have used stainless steel bolts because of the question about the chemicals in pressure treated wood.)

    My husband got ahead of my camera at that point, and I didn't have a photo of the drilled holes...that would have made it much more clear. (As we went on in the kit, I made him STOP so I could take a picture.) :-)

    Let me know if any of this isn't clear.

  • mudhouse_gw
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Here's a photo of the base after we screwed it down. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, I think you can (barely) see two of the roofing screw heads in the bottom of the base, near the corner. Also note that I put the blue sill insulation under the steel base first, and then we checked and RECHECKED the base for squareness before screwing it down. It took a lot of wiggling and readjusting to get it nice and square.
    Sheri

    {{gwi:303238}}

  • washoe_mark
    13 years ago

    Thank you very much,
    I got that part. What about the floor plates that go on top part of the metal base. Parts # 1,2,3,4,5,&6. I can't figure what attaches them.

  • mudhouse_gw
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Mark, I'm really sorry, I should have checked the parts numbers you mentioned. I misunderstood.

    The floor plates (parts 1-6) do just sit on top of the steel base, no drilling needed. They are simply "clamped" in place by the small Hold Down Connectors (part 47) that you place at the bottom of each Corner Post, and later at the bottom of each wall stud. Here's a photo showing a Hold Down Connector at the bottom of a wall stud. The small shield-shaped Hold Down Connector just hooks under the lip of the steel base, and is captured by a bolt that you slip into the track of the stud (or corner post.)

    {{gwi:303240}}

    Each corner post will be attached with two of these Hold Down Connectors, and that will start securing the floor plates to the steel base. Each wall stud will be attached with one Hold Down Connector.

  • washoe_mark
    13 years ago

    Thank you very much. That is so helpful & I made fast progress today.
    I have a simple little trick that I would like to pass along to help someone else. I have no assistance to help me with this & the wind is blowing 20 right now. I was able to get the corner post up easily by driving some re-bar stakes into the ground at each corner & then put the EMT conduit (that'll be used later for bracing) over it to set as a temporary post. Then just tie the corner post at the top & you can assemble at the base while it's held in place. The wind is blowing great right now (I should be windsurfing but I'm too sick) & it worked out fine.
    I considered the one idea that I read last night about caulking the floor plates to the base & I even bought some super duper exterior construction adhesive but I decided against it today. It seems that you may want a certain amount of give in order to fine tune for squareness or lining things up later into the project. Just my thoughts but I could be totally wrong.
    Now I'm ready to study up on everones tips for the next step.
    Thanks again Sherri, your picture was extremely helpful.

  • mudhouse_gw
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    No problem Mark. I think that's a good trick with the rebar and EMT in the ground to steady the corner posts. I think this first part (where you are now) is one of the toughest to do by yourself, and wind makes it much worse. Once you get the corner posts up, the top ceiling plates on, and start attaching the vertical wall studs, it will be much easier to work by yourself at a comfortable pace...even in a breeze.

    I'm guessing too, but it seems to me the floor plates did move a bit as we kept adding verticals and braces. A little wiggle room for squareness adjustments can't hurt, as you said. Let me know how it goes!

    My husband got our electrical and water roughed in today, hooray.

  • julinewsom
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hello! My husband followed your plan pretty much (with a few tweeks here and there) and our greenhouse has turned out awesome! We are so proud of it and Thank you! I need you to answer a couple of questions for me, though. You said you used the TS 100 coating. How did that work out for you? Also we can't figure out where to get replacement parts (clips and panels) when the time comes that we need them. The owners manual says nothing about it and our guy at Harbor Freight said the parts were on their website but they aren't! You are much appreciated from the Newsom's in Allen, Tx

  • Bill
    5 years ago

    Sheri, WOW, what an awesome project. And the time and effort to document it the way you did will surely help many folks through a very difficult construction project.

    OH, so many, many, years ago when I was still in the USN, I had redwood and fiberglass house that was about 8X10 feet. I grew orchids in SC, KS, FL, and VA in that little thing. We lived in a mobile home, so the greenhouse got disassembled and put in the home for transport, and the orchids traveled in a rented U-Haul.

    A couple of things I learned the hard way (you learned some of them also, I see) was that you need more shade than you ever imagined. I suspended my shade cloth above the plastic greenhouse (about 4 inches) and found that the air space actually increased the shade effect, and noticeably decreased the heat load inside the house.

    Another thing that would be difficult for you to do since your studs are so shallow, and metal, would be to double insulate the house. Mine had 2X4" supports that were wood, so I stapled painters sheet plastic on the inside, trapping four inches of dead air in the walls. You can't purchase better insulation than that, and it gives you a way to mount your electrical boxes away from the direct spray from watering.

    Another approach to cooling was to use a "Swamp Cooler"....to you westerners, an evaporative cooler. Mount the cooler on the ground outside the house and let it blow the cool moist air into the house. Cool moist air stays low, and the hot dry air is forced out the top vents. the vent opening at the top can be used to regulate the cooling inside the house. Also, I found the positive pressure in the house helped keep bugs outside.

    I don't know if HF sells different size houses, but I always suggest purchasing the largest house you can afford. The more inside volume of air you have the more economical the house is to heat and cool. Once the air gets to temp, the more of it there is the longer it takes for it to change temp, which means more time off for the heat and cooling.

    These are a few of the things I learned in my school of hard knocks, and pass them along for information to anyone who is interested.

    Bill

  • 4greenhouse
    5 years ago

    Nice to hear you also have a HFGH! I agree with everyone that they are definitely a challenge to get up.....and THEN the reinforcing begins and goes on and on. Other than adding the shade cloth on that I ordered....and doing some minor tweaking, I think I can now enjoy it for the season! This is my first season with the GH so it's surely a "work in progress" as far as what will grow etc. I am doing my veg in big pots and bins according to their need for root depth. We will see what produces! I have eaten quite a bit of salad stuff ☺️. How are you planting your veg? Do you have pics? I just finished (I think!) with a drip irrigation system. (I did this pano shot and am not sure why it's all distorted and wavy but you get the idea!)


  • mudhouse
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Also, julinewsom (in case my reply triggers an email to you about this thread) you have to call the HF 1-800 phone number to order extra clips and greenhouse parts. They are not listed on the HF website, as you discovered, nor are they stocked in the HF stores. I'm very sorry I missed your post and questions!

  • julinewsom
    5 years ago

    We found the 800 number and were able to order our spare clips. Thanks for all the great infor you provided in your original post! We are thoroughly enjoying our greenhouse. Since we grow vegetables it's pretty useless right now so I think I'm going to fill mine with one of those inflatable hot tubs! Ha! Husband says he will only use it for 3 months out of the year so I figure why not! Here is a picture of all our baby seedlings we grew in our new greenhouse all grown up!


  • mudhouse
    5 years ago

    Glad you found the solution! That is a very impressive photo, what great raised beds. Proof that even the simple Harbor Freight greenhouse can truly be used to advantage in the garden. (I think I will remember your photo the next time somebody posts that the HF structures aren't "real greenhouses.")

    Thanks for posting back!