Ripping out the doors...HFGH

rosepedal(Four seasons zone4/5)February 26, 2008

The fiance is disgusted with all the problems with the doors and the snow causing havoc on them. He is taking the doors off this spring and building new ones on it. Has anyone tried this? And would you be willing to post a picture? Thanks as always for any help. Barb

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I will be standing by to see what ideas start coming for doors are less than perfect and I'm also looking for some suggestions.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:33AM
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C Schaffner

We've been thinking about this. We haven't come up with anything yet. I'm interested to see if anyone has any ideas. My husband came up with a great shade screen idea.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:14PM
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I hate to hear you're having door troubles Barb. I wonder if the snow weight has caused the top door rail to sag just a bit (in a permanent way?) Seems like that would really make it hard for the doors to slide easily, if that has happened.

There should be a way to do it, but I haven't measured the doors of the HF to compare them to standard doors available in the box stores. It's so windy here that replacing the sliding doors with hinged doors would make problems for me...I'd really have to be careful about opening and closing them on windy days, and I'd have to figure out a way to stablize hinged doors to stay open. (Right now, open doors are a big part of how I ventilate on hot days.)

The sliding doors are good for me, since the wind can just bear right down on them and they don't move. That would be one of my concerns about replacing them. But, you folks may not live in a wind tunnel like we do!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:31PM
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rosepedal(Four seasons zone4/5)

He came up with framing in it in and taking the poly panels and framing them as a door. Right now they are off the tracks and rocks are holding them against the wall so the wind does not catch them and fling them into kansas.

Yea this is extreme greenhousing...... Happy to say the plants arent minding it though. I hope we get some ideas and pictures...... Barb

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:33PM
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milwdave(Zone5 Milwaukee)

Hi Barb, I have the 6x8 HFGH and although at first I had problems with the door of that one. I adjusted it a bit and added some silicone GREASE...not the spray and haven't had a problem since. I'm in Milwaukee and we're all getting socked with the snow and ice this year...give it a try before you trash them.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 2:52PM
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rosepedal(Four seasons zone4/5)

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the advice on using the grease we were using the spray and it was not working. The doors were freezing together and you had to break them apart to get inside.

I know he is hellbent on trying something new. He is handy so I think he will come up with a great idea. I am hoping he would extend it. But I dont think he will be doing that. Drat...... I dont see why we could not just frame the opening and use the corrugated see through panels at menards and than place a regular screen door as the door. I might lose some sun but that would be it. I could also maybe place all my pots on the sides of this opening (shelves). I really do not want to deal with the snow issues next year.
I am not putting down HFGH doors. I belive any gh doors that are made of aluminium would have the same issues. Thanks Barb I will keep you all posted......

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 7:45AM
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You outta be happy about that Barb. I finally elimated my door and built a simple super thick poly door in which I made the seams of duct tape and forced air in so the door was about 3-4 inches thick of air and built my own screen door out of 2x4's and screen and screws and finally bought a huge clamp that held it all in place. My poly bag/door was oversized so I just clamped that behind the screen. It was air tight.

A real door would be better though...... with the screen option. cool. later..

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:42AM
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rosepedal: If you have a handyman- on-hand- the challenge will be in framing in for it, but if he rough frames to fit a standard width storm door, fitting it to the rough frame is the easy part- IF you have a door that can be trimmed for height and for that, buy a solid wood core, vinyl wrapped storm door. Then, if necessary, and I'm guessing it would be- shortening it to fit the height of the door opening on your GH is easy.

Remove the aluminum caps from both the top and bottom, cut down to fit and replace the caps. Just make sure to split the trims equally between the top and bottom to retain the center balance on the hinges. You can cut down the storm door frame from the bottom only, without disturbing the drip cap on the top. Once the door has been remounted to it's own the frame, installing it on the face of the rough frame of the GH will be no more complicated than mounting one on the door frame on any other building.

As long as the rough framing is dead plumb and secure from movement, your GH door will operate just like the one you likely have on the back door of your house.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:46AM
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rosepedal(Four seasons zone4/5)

Dax I saw your door on your hfgh on another post. This is where I came up with the idea it could be done......

Birdwidow you said it perfectly... Thanks for the knowledge. I will give this to him. Thanks once again.... Barb

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 12:05PM
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I remembered this post from Laserfan in TX, who had the same problem with the doors freezing together in a bad ice storm. Freezing Rain and 10x12 HFGH!

Sounds like this is not an easy problem to defeat, especially if you live in a climate where this can happen regularly. There you go Barb, going boldly where no man has gone before...I hope you will post pictures of your solution!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 12:16PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

When I had my HFGH I considered hinging the door/s, I had the same problem. What I thought was I would pop rivet aluminum angle along the sides and top of the door opening for door stops and weather striping. You would have to dissemble the doors and cut the 3 cross pieces and the sides to fit the new opening and hinge the doors to the angle.

The bad news is, I went to the HF web page to download the manual so I could sketch the modification Im talking about and the 10X12 model is not there anymore. I donÂt know if they have dropped it or what

Something you may want to consider because of the weather, I am planning on building a 4ft cedar shake extension the same width and profile as the GH to give me a buffer zone when I want to go in and out during the winter. I will also use it for storing potting soil and pots with a potting bench on the one side.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 12:51PM
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Hi John, I just went to the HF website, typed in "greenhouse" and you're right, the 10x12 didn't show up, just the 6x8! I called them to see if they'd dropped it, and they said no...gave me the item number and it came right up. Then we tried typing "green house" into the search box, and it did come up...without the 6x8. So it's a search engine glitch they need to fix. They said they'd make a note. I know the two sizes used to come up together on the site, weird!

Anyway, here is the link if you'd still like it:
10x12 HFGH

A buffer zone with a place for potting sounds wonderful!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 4:43PM
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yorkie89(z5 IN)

Hi Barb,

I totally understand your frustration with those HF doors. I had trouble keeping mine on the track. The wind would pick up and the doors would blow off! It finally got to the point where we decided to just take the doors and and replace them with a regular storm door we bought at Menard's. Here is what the greenhouse looked like in April 2006 before we replaced the doors.

My husband did a little reconstruction to the front of the greenhouse by taking the doors apart and making additional panels so the new door would fit in right. Of course he had to reinforce the front wall with a heavy piece of metal across the top of the door and secure it to the front wall. It made to whole greenhouse sturdier. This is what the greenhouse looked like by October 2006.

This HFGH really needs to be reinforced if you want it to last a good while. We added support across the back wall and also put a brace across the center inside. It made for a very sturdy GH once these steps were taken. If you are wondering about keeping the panels in, he used self-drilling screws on all of the GH panels. We've had some high winds here over the past couple of years since we first built our GH and it's not affected it in the least. This next picture was taken in February of 2007.

I guess I haven't taken any recent pictures of it this year. The one thing that we did add this winter was insulation on the inside. (Pool cover cut to fit) It's been a great investment. We haven't had to refill our gas tank yet compared to last year when we refilled 3 times!

Our newest addition to the GH will be making it bigger this spring. Once I can take all of the plants out and not worry about them getting hurt by any frost we plan to start adding on. My husband bought me another 10 X 12 HFGH for my birthday last October. I can't wait to make it twice as big as it is now! :)

I hope these pictures were of some help to you. Those doors really are a pain to deal with. Good luck to you and your husband!


    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:31PM
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rosepedal(Four seasons zone4/5)

Hi Amber,
Thanks so much for taking the time to post. That is exactly what we are looking forword to doing.

Your gh is awesome. It looks really nice the work he did to the doors. You are so lucky another 10 x 12 space for more plants. I wonder if I could talk mine into another one. LOL we havent even finished this one. We still have to install the ventilation he got me for christmas.

I also would have to cut down a very pretty red maple. It is one of my favorite trees here. I will keep you informed of the progress or if we have any questions. Thanks once again. Barb

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:41PM
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troykd(7b SE VA)

I love the storm door idea. We are having high winds today in VA and an hour ago my doors blew off along with a roof window. After a frantic 20 minutes we managed to get the shade screen over the roof and tied down. That should hold it for now. I believe I'll put in a storm door now.

Did you frame it in with lumber?

I'm also going back and putting in extra screws in the roof panels and I believe I'll figure out a way to tie wrap those roof windows down when they aren't in use.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 4:58PM
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I have had the wind blow my doors sideways...not off the track, just beyond where they are designed to rest to cover the door opening, so just to the left or right of the opening of course leaving a big gap. I have them clamped together in the middle with orange clamp at least it doesn't blow open ;)

Anyone have this problem? any suggestions?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 5:55PM
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Thought I'd give some high wind advice. We're in central PA and this has been our first winter with the 10x12 HFGH and lets just say it's been interesting. We had one of the ceiling panels on the back edge blow out twice and it was screwed down. The solution and I should mention we are getting very strong wind as I'm typing, was to put extra clips about every foot and we topped it with "frost king" weather tape. I really think the biggest help was the tape, it can be applied in sub-zero temps and it virtually eliminates the wind from getting under the panels. The tape is 2" wide and only a couple of bucks a roll at Lowes. I taped almost the whole GH with 2 rolls. Hope this helps and by the way I installed the shelf unit built into the rear of GH as documented on this site it definitley gives the structure the strenght it lacks.

Also yorkie89 if you have any additional pics of the overall construction of the new door I'd love to see them. These doors are a chore at best and really hurt the front wall strenght.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 6:46PM
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Wow Amber, that is one beautiful door modification! That looks great!

Man, I really hate to hear about all these wind damage problems. Troy, my roof vents could be picked up by the wind an inch or two even when they were in the "locked down" closed position, so this is how I tied them down for the winter. I found a box of old picture hangers in the garage (the kind shaped like little J-hooks with a hole to insert the nail into the wall?) I used two of those picture hangers to pull the bottom of the window frame tight to the window support beam (part 42). I just looped some baling wire through the holes in the hangers, and twisted it with pliers until the two hooks were pulled tight. If I decide to free up the windows in spring, I can just cut the baling wire. I did this in each bottom corners of each window. It's not very fancy but it was quick and cheap, and those windows don't move at all now, in any wind. Here's a pic:

Honestly I'm not very happy with the roof vents...if I free them up for use in spring, they'll be banging open at least an inch even when I have them closed. That seems like a big risk for losing a roof vent in a really bad wind gust...I may just leave them tied down and rely on my exhaust fan instead.

Rjinga, I do what you do, I just keep my doors closed with a clamp anytime they are closed. Mine roll easily so they can be pushed apart by a strong if they're closed, they're clamped. That way I know they'll stay tightly closed...and I also close down the air gaps that way because it squishes my door weatherstripping together.

bwright, man, that is really scary to hear that screwed down roof panels can blow off. Makes me wonder if I am too complacent about mine. Do you know if the screws broke off? Or, did they just pull right out of the aluminum frame? I think our clips are about 12" apart on the roof too...maybe a bit more.

That's also good to know about the Frost King weather tape.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 8:53PM
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Mudhouse, the panels pulled thru the screw and rubber washer. The screw doesn't have a chance if the wind gets under the panel. Extra clips and the tape have it pretty well tackled. We are currently having 30 mph winds with gusts up to 60 mph and so far so good. It sure is hard to sleep hearing the wind howl and I'll never say its solved, just hope so.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 9:51PM
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C Schaffner

I used bungee cords to secure my vents. I hooked one on one vent then stretched it across to the vent opposite. It worked really well and is easily removed. But we haven't had any really bad winds this year, so I don't know how they would do.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 10:21PM
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yorkie89(z5 IN)


Here is a picture of what the the greenhouse door looks like. Let me try to see if I can even begin to describe how my husband was able to put this door in. I wasn't really involved in the installation of the door, I just picked the door out at Menard's. :)

My husband disassembled the original HFGH doors, and cut the horizontal braces, which shorten the width of the door. (The small panels you see, those were the original doors cut in small sections) He then reassembled the doors and bolted them to the sides of the original front walls. He used a hacksaw to cut the aluminum pieces of the doors. This gave him an opening of 36" wide.

This picture shows the peek above the new door. He had to cut the two long veridical pieces of aluminum (that was already there) so that the new door would fit, since it was a bit taller then the original opening.

You may also notice a bar on the inside of the greenhouse that runs horizontal, from one side to the other. It is there for strengthening the front wall. It's hard to see due to the bubble wrap (pool cover) inside the GH.

I'm not sure how helpful this picture will be, but this is what the door looks like from the inside. The door is attached to the greenhouse itself, no wooden frames or anything like that was used to support it. He used self-drilling screws to secure everything together.

Now, my GH does set on 4X4 wooden posts as it's base. The brace for the door shock is secured to the wooden base with a couple pieces of heavy aluminum. I know this is an ugly picture, I didn't know how else to tell you, then to show you. (Don't mind the foil tape that is everywhere, it's holding up the bubble wrap, pool cover.)

Here is a picture of the bubble wrap Insulation we used in the GH. The north wall is insulated with a foil bubble wrap we bought at Menard's. The rest of the GH is insulated with a pool cover. Foil tape was used to hold the bubble wrap in place. We bought that at our local hardware store.

Oh, I nearly forgot... We also sealed all the panels with silicone in addition to using the self-drilling screws. Well, I don't think that I ever did get around to sealing the roof with the silicone, but all the walls are sealed. So my panels aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

As for heating the GH, we use an Empire Direct Vent gas heater, and sometimes a small radiator heater to cut back on using the gas heat. I didn't like the thermostat that came with the gas heater, so we replaced it with a digital one that you can get at any hardware store. It's a lot more accurate then the little slider thermostat that came with it.
Here's a link to the heater.

You can find a few more greenhouse pictures of mine on photobucket, under greenhouse.

I hope this was of some help. Feel free to email and I'll do my best to answer your questions.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 2:54PM
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troykd(7b SE VA)

Thanks for the info. Looks like a really nice set up. I' will probably duplicate your heater for my next winter.

Everyone, don't put to much faith in those clamps to hold the doors together. Mine were clamped but still blew out. My HFGH has been up for a little over a year now and this is the first damage we've had. It is reinforced with EMT which is what I think saved it from blowing apart completely. It's also on a 4x4 base that is anchored to the ground with metal fence posts.

I think I may add a bit more EMT to the structure and a heck of a lot more screws for the panels.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 8:47PM
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Amber thanks for the pics. The door really looks like a great alternative to the sliders.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 9:10PM
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Good pictures Amber...those are a big help in helping me understand how this might be done. I also really appreciate everyone who has posted about how things went wrong (much as I hate to hear it.)

Troy, do you have any theories about what went first on your you think the roof vent went first, introducing wind into the GH, which then blew the doors out from the inside? Or, would you guess the door clamp failed first, so the wind came in through the doors, blowing out the roof vent? Any guess?

Both are awful scenarios, but I'm staring at my GH as we approach our windiest time of year, and wondering where the weakest part is. That darned clamp of mine takes two hands to open and's hard to imagine the wind prying those doors apart, but I could add more clamps.

We also braced with EMT, and anchored to a 4x6 foundation, but based on this thread I'm wondering if I should add more screws also.

BTW Troy, I used your excellent HFGH website a lot when we were putting ours up, and it was a very big help...your photos of the assembled roof vents saved me. I hope you and bwright didn't have bad plant damage.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 2:04AM
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I agree that what yorki89's handy hubby did to fit a standard height door to a lower opening was a brilliant bit of reconfiguring, but it's a lot of work that can be avoided, if the door is one that can easily be cut down to fit the height.

Ergo: vinyl wrapped wood core by Larsen, available at most home centers for around $100.00. It only comes with one hydralic closer, but they are cheap and one each at top and bottom really does do a better job of having the door close properly on its own. Just buy the extra identical in size to the one that came with the door, so they operate with equal pressure.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 12:28PM
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troykd(7b SE VA)

My wife was near a window and saw it right after it blew. She thinks the doors went first then the roof window. The wind was blowing directly on the doors. Probably around 25kts with gusts up to 45kts. I have a fan in the peak opposite the doors, with wind blowing into the GH, the fan was spinning and the vent doors opened. Probably got some venturi action going inside. Fortunately we got the shade cloth on and it held it together but it was touch and go. The panels were flapping around as I had screw in the middle of them but not the ends. Might be worthwhile to put silicon on the ends of the roof panels. I'm glad I reinforced it like I did with the EMT. I'm putting more screws in the panels though this weekend. The clamp I was using was a big binder clamp and I was really surprised it came off.

Here's the strange part, the wind was blowing on the doors but they blew out, into the wind. Make me think the roof went first.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 4:25PM
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troykd(7b SE VA)

I'm going with a full size door like Amber has. I'll do the rip out this weekend. I believe I'm going to sink a coupel 4x4 in concrete to anchor the door too. That front of the HFGH is the least stable part of it. Cant hurt to tie it to some stout posts.

I'll take pics and post them up next week.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 7:15PM
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Troy, we have a similar set up. I also have strong winds blowing on the doors. I have a fan on the back wall, and the fan louvers bang open on windy days with the GH doors open. We also only used one screw on our roof panels, in the center brace (and extra clips.) I agree, thank goodness for the EMT bracing recommended by Gardenerwantabe and others here.

Im coming to two new conclusions. First, I think you're right about the unsecured bottom of the roof panels being a risk in some winds, based on your observations of the roof panel bottoms flapping up and down, and bwrights experience of losing screwed-down roof panels twice. (Thats the first post Ive seen about the loss of screwed-down panels.) I taped the bottom of our roof panels to the greenhouse frame, but only because we were one of the "lucky ones" whose roof panels were not quite long enough to project over the gutter as shown in the manual. Not everyone has this problem, but Laserfan used aluminum tape to bridge this gap on his HFGH, so I did too. I was not trying to prevent the wind from getting under the roof panel bottom, but thats probably been (accidentally) protecting our roof in high winds. This also fits with bwrights comments about using the Freezer King tape to similar advantage, to make sure all edges are sealed. Heres our roof panel at the bottom edge:

Second, Im starting to see the roof vents as a fairly big risk for people in very windy areas. My kit may vary from others, but the poly panels in my roof vents were a bit too short to prevent movement in the vent frame. They fit tightly from side to side, but after each window was assembled, we could slide the poly panel up and down in the window frame, about 1/4".

During one bad storm, I almost lost the poly panel from one of the roof vents. The wind had pushed the panel up in the frame so the bottom edge of the poly was exposed, and the wind got underneath and pried the panel part way out of the vent frame. I climbed up and taped it to get through the night.

Next day, we removed all four window vents, and I caulked each poly panel in place on the outside of the window frame. The poly panels no longer wiggle in the vent frames.

But, I still have the problem of bad winds lifting up the vent frames up (maybe ¾"?) even though the vent handle is locked in the last hole ("closed down") position. Wind picks up the vent frame, and when the gust stops, the vent doesn't always fall back in place correctly, so it's ready to be picked up by the next gust. If this happens over and over again in a storm, maybe its enough to shake the window stop out of the hole in the roof vent handle...? Once that happens, the whole vent frame could flip over backwards until it popped out of the roof peak channel (I watched that happen while building the GH, retrieving one vent window from our house roof.)

If a roof vent fails, wind likely rushes in and puts pressure on the weakest points from inside the GH. If all the panel screws hold, the doors become the next weakest point, so they blow outward. Thats one theory, anyway, and right now Im thinking the safest thing is to leave my vents wired down permanently, since I cant figure out how to prevent the frames from lifting up that 3/4" inch (or so) in a high wind. Wish I had a better solution, but so far Im stumped.

I'll add some of this info to my HFGH blog in case it helps others. Thanks for all the good posts here! Good luck with the door rebuilding Troy, looking forward to your pictures.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:00PM
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It sure is great to have a resource like this to exchange ideas. Just an update, we had very strong gusts this weekend here in central PA in excess of 40 mph and the HFGH is still in one piece with no issues... finally. I have to say taping down the panels was the ticket, with no way for the wind to get under the panels everthing stayed in place. The doors are definitely an issue and I really like yorkie89's storm door solution. It's a matter of keeping the pressure inside and out of the greenhouse stable. I can tell you the first time I lost a panel prior to taping them down was during a similar storm. I just had to check on the GH and it wasn't minutes after I opened and closed the doors that I lost a roof panel. I guess I disrupted the air enough to get things started. Lesson learned, this is a great GH given the right additions and proper attention, but it is a constant evolution to say the least.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 10:09PM
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Constant evolution is a great way to put it! I wish I was better at understanding air pressure and the dynamics at work here. That's interesting (in a scary way) that the panel was lost minutes after you opened and closed the doors.

I'm thinking the foam weatherstripping I put around the edges of each panel is helping too. I hadn't predicted it, but the pressure from the clips, combined with our heat, really seals the foam weatherstripping to the poly panel surface. In fact, when I remove the screws and clips from a wall panel to put my screens in place, I have to go inside the GH and pound the panel gently to break the seal around the edges (even though the sticky side of the weatherstripping is away from the poly panel.) I was thinking of retaining heat when I weatherstripped it, but that seal may also prevent any wind entering under an edge.

Local weather is predicting gusts over 40 mph tomorrow for us, and gusts over 50 mph for Friday. My first southern NM spring with the we go.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 10:40PM
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Bumping this up....anyone have photos or more ideas on ripping and replacing the HFGH doors?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 5:08PM
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