Greenhouse/Shed questions

milominderbinderMarch 2, 2010

Hi,

I'm getting ready to construct an 8x12' structure that will function as a storage shed and also serve as a place to do a bit of gardening and/or seed starting. The spot I have chosen places the long side of the structure facing south with a full exposure to the sun. The eastern side will be shaded and the western side will be partially shaded, so the south is where I'll get almost all of my light. I am planning to create a concrete floor (with a drain so I can hose it out) and masonry walls up to about 3' all the way around. The rest of the structure will be wood and the roof will be a gable with about a 4 x 4 pitch (I think that's how to explain the roof...).

I am planning to put mostly windows along the southern facing wall and also to have glass on the roof of the southern side. It will have power, but not water. I'll have a hose bib near the door.

My questions are:

I was planning to use regular double-hung windows that I could get at Home Depot. Is that a good or bad idea?

For the roof glass, I'll want something safe and non-breakable (which rules out real glass, I guess). Any suggestions?

Should I look into getting a roof system that automatically ventilates (i.e., windows that open on a thermostat - I think I have seen those somwhere), or should I use a fan instead?

Should I insulate the structure?

I'm open to any suggestions, especially if I'm forgetting something that might be useful.

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markmahlum

Hello milominderbinder,

I am a newbie to the greenhouse hobby but have designed and contracted homes for 31 years- that's my expertise. I believe you mean a 4:12 pitch which means for every 12 " of horizontal distance your roof gains 4" of elevation.

I recently built a 10'x20' solar greenhouse and I'll send you a picture if you'll send me an email address. I intend to use it year round with minimal heat importation and when I get all of my water thermal storage complete, I think it will work.

Mark

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 10:18AM
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Dan Staley

I was planning to use regular double-hung windows that I could get at Home Depot. Is that a good or bad idea?

Do some shopping first. Habitat for Humanity, Craigslist. Much cheaper.

For the roof glass, I'll want something safe and non-breakable (which rules out real glass, I guess). Any suggestions?

Twinwall polycarbonate panels fit this bill, ~US$2.50-3.00/sf. About R-1.5-2.0. You can gain extra insulation with a layer of greenhouse film below the polycarb in the GH.

Should I look into getting a roof system that automatically ventilates (i.e., windows that open on a thermostat - I think I have seen those somwhere), or should I use a fan instead?

For TX, probably both. You'll have an awful lot of heat to vent. Absolutely insulate the north side, esp if you are going to do year-round gardening. Sheathing insulation is R-3 and about 9.00 per 4x8' panel.

Mark's got a nice GH you'll enjoy.

My 2¢

Dan

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 5:55PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

milo,
This is my greenhouse / tool shed setup. It's footprint is 16 x 16. Half and half.

June 2009

The shed part is a typical post and purlin with metal skin construction.

The greenhouse is stud wall construction with rafters. The south facing wall and half east and west walls are covered with single pane storm windows. These ten windows cost me $35.00 at a consignment store. What's nice about storm windows is, two screws and the window comes out. The roof glass is from free sliding glass doors. I should have left them double pane, but I seperated. Just takes a box razer knife.

North wall and any part of the other walls, without window, is insulated and covered with plywood. North wall is white to bounce light. Man made stream in front of greenhouse to bounce light. Crushed drain rock floor for drainage.

Eric

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 7:23PM
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dadhaslonglegs

Eric-

I garbage picked a sliding glass door (very heavy duty, weighs a ton). Well... i got it all apart, but it looks like the glass is two panes... you said a utility knife will get them apart? I haven't tried it, but it looks like its some sort of rubber seal holding them together.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 6:37PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

dadhaslonglegs,

If I remember correctly its a combination of rubber seal and foil like metal. Take a razer knife with a new blade, any insert just under the glass. You should see the blade through the glass and push away from you. If you start at one end you can lift it slightly as you go.

Be careful

Eric

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:42PM
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dadhaslonglegs

I'll try that. The blade i was using at first was NOT sharp. Thanks!

My wife thought i was insane garbage picking this treasure...women!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 11:43AM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

You dumpster diver you. :~)

Eric

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 5:24PM
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sfallen2002(z5 IA)

Awesome pics - thanks for posting. Do you have a blog to go with that?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 8:46PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

milominderbinder,

Are you still around, I feel like I have high-jacked your post. It's been about two weeks, how are the plans coming along?

Do it now for there may not be a tomorrow.

I went out to a customers house yesterday, I do lawn and garden equipment repair, he had maybe twenty assorted windows stacked against the house. When he was younger, he thought about building a greenhouse. Now he's in his mid 80's and had a stroke last year. I think I'll make an offer.

sfallen, Thank you. Sorry no blog. Maybe one day.

Eric

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 11:39PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Eric: Love the greenhouse. I may have to steal that idea and make a similar one myself.

Jay

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 12:52AM
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jasoninbrla

I am in the process of building a greenhouse and using old plate glass windows, even for the roof. I know its a safety issue and plate glass runs $1 a square foot and tempered glass is about $9 a square foot which is way to expensive.

So, I am running some 2x2 fence along the ceiling under the glass to protect me in case it breaks for some crazy reason and tries to cut me up. Looks nice and will protect me at the same time.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 2:30PM
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