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Old 04-29-2012, 03:39 PM
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Greenhouse question

Does anyone know where I can find a site to be able to draw up my own greenhouse plans or that may have some plans I could look at? I have 10 4x8 sheets of glass that I don't believe I can cut. I have several general ideas of how I want to place them, but need to know if my ideas will be structurally sound. Hubby assures me that we will have it built by fall.
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:54 PM
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Jonada any home depot or lowes. Or barnes and noble by you ?? I ask is because I have a book I got there for building green ouses and storage sheds and it has plans in them its very cool I don't have the book with me at work but I can get the title when I get home tonight and email it to you. Or if you have a store near by like that brows the book section
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Old 04-29-2012, 04:39 PM
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Cutting glass isn't that hard as long as you are careful. My concern is if you are using standard window glass, that's a big surface area to support.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:10 PM
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I do stained glass so I have cut A LOT of glass. I am not afraid to cut it in general, but I am thinking that it is tempered which is a different story. I do intend to have it full framed with a center support.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:43 AM
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Yes, thats a different story. Should be ok with a centre support. If you had 12 sheets I would have suggested laying them "landscape" orientation as it would create less stress on the bottom of each sheet.

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Old 05-02-2012, 07:31 AM
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For drawing your own plans have you looked at Google Sketch, Under the More tab?
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:13 AM
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No, I haven't, Jack. Thanks for the info.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:22 AM
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Look, I am not being smart Alec. I am not being smart a**. I'm just suggesting...

Have you thought about a pencil and paper? There certainly are idea books. Lowes and HD probably have them. Amazon sure does. Structural details are not that hard.

On the other hand, some of the other details are very hard especially in a small GH. Is this to be attached to a house and utilize the home heating and cooling? If not how do you plan to heat and cool? I suggest to you that cooling is actually a tougher issue than heating technically. Example......when the sun shines brightly in the winter with snow on the ground and it's 20 outside, my ventilation fans run. It is easy to heat the GH 80 degrees above ambient on a sunny day. The trick is how do you keep it to 80 or 85 on a 100 degree day. What kind of cooling plans will you have? If it is to be attached to a house, will the heat from GH completely overload the home cooling system? We have an attached "sun porch" which is practically unusable. It will get above 100 degrees every day in the summer. If we open it to the house,the AC can't come close to keeping the house cool. Worse darn thing I ever did.

Heating..if it is to be a separate structure, how are you going to heat it? Take the same situation above, 20 degrees, snow, but cloudy and the heating load is God awful. My GH is probably bigger than you plan, but in the above conditions a 275,000 BTU furnace runs a lot to keep it to 60 degrees. At -10 ambient and cloudy it really runs a lot. What plan do you anticipate for a power outage? Those can be disasters winter and summer. Believe it or not summer might be the worst because the temp goes so high so fast.

I'm not trying to discourage you just giving you some things to consider. The structural details are the easy part because any contractor is smart enough to build the structure. You will need to be the GH expert because that knowledge is hard to come by. What kind of air flow do you want and need? What temp range do you want to maintain? What heating and cooling available? What capacities are required of them? What will control those heating, cooling, and ventilation units? A GH is a complex affair and a small one is especially challenging because conditions can change so quickly that a control system has trouble keeping up and can become unstable trying to do so.

I know..I 'm not much fun, but better to think about this than jump into it without the thought.

Last edited by JLu; 05-02-2012 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:48 AM
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JLu, I will admit that I was dreading reading your post. However, I found it quite informative. You can actually be a bit of a wet blanket at times, LOL. I plan to heat with wood heat. It is affordable for me and I do not have to worry about an outage in the middle of the winter. I am going to be my own builder, so that is why I was looking for something to help with the structural requirements. I don't plan to have it running until late fall, so I was mainly worrying about heating at first. I will be framing the 4x8 sheets of glass with white cedar and intend to have one of them able to be raised on each side of the roof for ventilation. I also plan on other windows being added that can be opened. Shade cloth is also in the plans. I have already sketched out a rough design on paper. I will try to make a bit better sketch and get it posted here and then I will welcome all critics and suggestions. You have given me plenty to think about and I DO appreciate it.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:49 AM
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Oh, it will be free standing so the house will not be a consideration.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:06 PM
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Jonada, I envy you and wish I had the guts to take on such a project. Good luck and keep us updated. My only hope for a new larger better GH is to save up the money to buy one. Ha! Fat chance when I keep spending on new orchids.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:01 PM
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The build will be as much of a reward as the owning a greenhouse. I love projects like this.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:44 AM
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Are your windows single or double pane? If single pane you will need to add bubble insulation on the inside to preserve heat and cooling which can be done with swimming pool covers. In the winter particularly you will not want to have moveable windows or vent openings in the roof.

The pictures I've seen of g/h's made with windows the ends of the structure are made of wood and the circulation/vent openings are in the wood ends. The door end is solid wood and the opposite end is either solid wood or windows on the bottom, wood on the top.

People with g/h's in harsh winter climates also remove the dirt from the floor of the g/h and use an insulation on top of the dirt, then add several inches gravel for drainage. Greenhouse floors can be unbelievably cold during the winter - just ask my feet on super cold days!

The other worry in your snowy winters is snow load. An A frame structure would be a necessity so you don't have to constantly remove the snow by hand.

Have fun in the process, the reward will be enjoying the g/h during a harsh winter day with blooming 'chids.

Brooke
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:57 AM
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Check out Arcadia GlassHouse's site for ideas. I don't know if the site will be helpful but they passed out brochures that give quite a bit of detail on heating, foundation, demensions, ventilation, etc. Here is the site:
High quality glass and polycarbonate greenhouses built with strong aluminum frames and welded truss construction for garden, hobby, residential and school greenhouses.
If we ever win the lottery, we are giving them a call. : )
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:33 PM
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Thanks for the link.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:29 PM
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If you have graphing paper, that might help to lay it out. You can use paperboard, glue on the graph paper, and 'build it', to get the pitch of the roof right, and lengths right. By 'laying out' the 'furniture' in the right dimension (wood stove, potting bench, fans, fogger(?), and anything else) on the 'floor', you can 'see' if you have the door, windows, outlets, and such in places that are covenient and practical. Graphing paper can be bought where school supplies are sold. This isn't as nice as a computer program and not quite as accurate but it can get you started.
I believe you are really going to build something wonderful. You should document everything. Your story might be of interest to a gardening magazine. Good luck!
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:14 PM
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Wow, Leafmite you have some real confidence in me. I appreciate it. I can't wait to start. We are also taking on the project of adding on bedrooms for the kids this summer. I am going to have a ball building things if I can afford them all.
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Old 05-22-2013, 02:21 AM
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"greenhouse", nice idea.
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