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Greenhouse - kit or build your own

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by Armando, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Armando

    Armando Hobbyist gone wild

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    Seems to be a popular question. My first greenhouse was a kit from BC Greenhouses and my second one was a build-your-own, so I would like to share my thoughts on this.

    I think overall the cost of building or buying a kit is approximately the same, in the long term. The kit is more expensive initially but because the frame is usually aluminum, it lasts longer. You can build your own with an aluminum frame but usually the final product doesn't look as nice as a manufactured aluminum frame. Also, a great part of the cost of building a greenhouse is for the foundation and plumbing and electrical so the kit doesn't cover that. Overall I think the pros and cons are:

    KIT

    Pros:
    - Easier to get it up and running, no need to hire a carpenter/framer, deal with constructions issues etc.
    - Lasts longer since most kits have aluminum frame
    - Customer Service can help you with issues you may encounter, at least if you buy from a great company like BC greenhouses

    Cons:
    - Difficult to customize openings for shutters, fans, etc.
    - Aluminum frame not as easy to attach / hang equipment as wood frame
    - More expensive upfront, especially with shipping
    - Is is a REAL PAIN to put together, unless you spend money and hire someone to assemble it


    BUILD YOUR OWN

    Pros:
    - Fully customizable. Easy to add options (double doors, back doors, exterior color, etc) without having to pay additional costs for kit add-ons.
    - Wood frame makes it easier to hang/ attach equipment
    - Less expensive upfront

    Cons:
    - Wood doesn't last as long as aluminum. DIY Aluminum frames usually not as nice looking as manufactured ones
    - It may take much longer to build than to assemble a kit
    - Most people can't build a greenhouse so usually requires hiring someone, sometimes not easy to find a professional to build a greenhouse depending on where you live
     
  2. Candace

    Candace Kept Woman Supporting Member

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    I didn't know your first one was a B C kit. What size was it and it did you move and not bring it with you?
     
  3. Armando

    Armando Hobbyist gone wild

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    It was a cape cod 8x12, i sold it when i moved because i wanted a larger one :D
     
  4. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    Great commentary, Armando!

    I used a kit for my greenhouse. It's my first, so I figured I'd see what I liked and didn't like. It's a Rion, and it just snapped together. I would recommend the kit to anyone who wants an easy-to-build kit. Because of my location, I had to double-up on the glazing, so it took some modification on my part. Next time, I will definitely build my own. There are a lot of things I would do differently, but all in all, it's a *very* good greenhouse.
     
  5. dounoharm

    dounoharm almost there

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  6. T&J San Antonio

    T&J San Antonio New Member

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    I have built both of my greenhouses using treated lumber that was painted completely prior to attaching the double wall Polly Carb panels. True, the panels are costly and somewhat tricky to install correctly but I found the over-all cost to be about half that of a kit house (not counting my labor).

    Now then for my second house, I call it my experimental house, I was able to find some one inch square poly carbonate tubing from a local plastic extrusion company. I used coated deck screws to construct and connect the wall framing together and fastened the twin wall panels to the outside. Using a screw gun made the job go quickly and I built a base wall for it out of 2 X 8s treated and painted with a good grade enamel primer and paint. I dug a shallow trench and laid one of the 2X8s flat while attaching another one to the outside edge and that gave me a base to attach my side walls to. I used 16 inch square stepping stones set in sand to finish out the inside floor bringing it up to the top leval of the flat 2X8s. The over all size of the house is 10ft wide by 12 ft. long. The roof was the tricky part but I was able to get some 2 inch square tubing and cut down some treated lumber to slide into the plastic shieths leaving only the bottom baseboards and the entry door framing to be made from wood construction. I found some poly propolyne twin wall sheeting to use for a covering that only lasted for one year in this hot Texas sun. Bit the bullet and bought the good stuff for the second covering. That was five years ago and the house still works well. I use a portable electric heater to keep the temps above 55 degrees in the cooler times and a cooling pad to keep the temps below 90 degrees in the summer. Total cost of this house (including the second batch out outside covering) was under $2500.00 and that included the cost of the interior benches made from coated closet shelving and 1" PVC pipe with rigid copper pipe used for hanging plants.


    just tom
     
  7. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    Sounds interesting. Do you have any pictures Tom?
     
  8. Clark

    Clark Gator Member

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    My first was a built it myself. Used some kit that would build a geodesic dome. Not a good idea as the air flow just doesn't work. I don't have this one anymore.

    Next on was purchased for Lowe's for way under cost at the end of the season. It is a hoop, 10 X 10 with an aluminum and PVC frame. I added the inflated roof with 2 sheets of polye. Bought it back in 1992 and have recovered it 3 times.

    The newest one was a kit from Atlas Greenhouse. Galvanized tubular frame with home made end walls. Uses a 2 ply polye roof and side walls. Benches are integral to the side support post. Solid piece that I put up in 2000 and measures in at 10 X 27.
     
  9. T&J San Antonio

    T&J San Antonio New Member

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    Picture test

    This is an early picture teken right after the house was completed with original polly-pro twinwall plastic that only lasted a little over a year. The current version has Polly Gal twin wall on the sides and clear Polly carbonate twin wall in the roof. I will try to get a current picture taken this week end

    Greenhouse#2 009a.jpg

    just tom
    Greenhouse#2 009a.jpg
     
  10. dounoharm

    dounoharm almost there

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    nice 'house tom...you did good! i would like to see it now, full of plants...
     
  11. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    nice. thanks for the pic.
     
  12. Clark

    Clark Gator Member

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    Ok, I can see Forrest likes photos. Here's a couple of my 10 X 27 with double wall uv protected polyethylene' I use one sheet clear and one that is 55% shade.
    greenhouse30.JPG greenhouse31.JPG
     
  13. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    Thanks Clark.

    What is the floor made out of there? It looks like concrete maybe? You need more plants.

    Can I see a pic of your other house too? You can start a new thread if you like, post them both in there.
     
  14. Clark

    Clark Gator Member

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    Forrest, The floor is a tight weaved, black polyethylene fiber that is used a a weed barrier. There's some gravel to fill in low spots. Inside shot of the other would be tough as its filled with a staghorn fern that's about 5' wide.
     
  15. Bob2741

    Bob2741 New Member

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    I think if you can stick build it its a great experience and you have what you want not what you have to take. I used western red cedar. It will be up long after I'm gone. When I built it last spring and summer If I didnt know how to do something I look it up on the internet,

    Since its on a hill the floors and 36" sideknee walls are tounge and groove Cedar they look like hardwood floorsand Super tight The Greenhouse is off level 1/2 bubble on level water drains to a drain on the left I have no standing water. I used Twin wall precut panels From Charlies no waste
    See it at http://www.bobweis.com/myorchids.html
     
  16. T&J San Antonio

    T&J San Antonio New Member

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    Very nicely done Bob! Looks like you have your ducks in a row.

    just tom
     
  17. Bob2741

    Bob2741 New Member

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    Thanks Tomits just a bunch of things I wanted after thirty years of Orchids, I decided that I didn't want to build somebodys elses dreams of what a greenhouse should be, I wanted it to be my dream. Took me 7 months weekends and evenings I made some changes as I put it up but that wasn't hard and thats what is nice about building your own. Kits are going up the way they are designed, if you make a change its a major thing.

    Building was actually pretty easy just take your time, think about your next move before you do it and measure 3 times before cutting.
     
  18. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Armando, have you considered Turner Greenhouses in Goldsboro, NC?

    When I built mine, they customized it for me with no issues or extra cost.

    The only negative is that they only sell single-wall fiberglass-reinforced acrylic or twinwall PE covers. I bought the frame only and added twinwall polycarbonate.