Tempered glass greenhouse

Do-it-yourself projects such as greenhouse or shadehouse builds and related topics.
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gerbmantz
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:46 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Tempered glass greenhouse

Post by gerbmantz »

Apparently I’ve gotten sick of moving plants in and out for the winter rains here in the Bay Area, so I decided to build a greenhouse. 4 large sheets of tempered glass popped up for free on Craigslist, and that sparked the actual concept and construction (although I only ended up using 2). Most of the wood framing I salvaged from the demolition of my kitchen last year. The windows have been sitting under my house from the previous owner, and the storm door was another free Craigslist score. The upper shelves I made with extra fence pickets from my neighbors new fence (or at least new 10yrs ago). I already own a fair number of tools, so the main cost was for the 5 sheets of white polycarbonate for the roof, and some stick lumber for rafters, purlins, and shelving. Oh, also, the 4x4 pressure treated foundation and one sheet of exterior grade paywall for the side walls. I estimate the costs were just over $200. The fiberglass faced drywall on the back wall was left over from my bathroom remodel, so not technically free, but no money out.

The dimensions are 8’9”W x 6’ D x ~7” to ~9’ H

The roof is 49% light transmission, and the glass faces southwest.

Despite having “cultivated” cacti and succulents for over 15 years, I’m very much an amateur, and only in the last several years has my interest exploded well beyond casuall.

I’m debating painting the exterior, I will definitely hold up better ,but I like the look of it now, I may investigate oil or polyurethane finish instead if I can figure out a cheap option. I have some extra exterior paint in storage that I can use if I decide to go that route.

Also the bottom shelf wire is as sturdy as I expected so I may make some planks out of additional fence pickets to lay across the top to beef up the load bearing capacity.

Planning to add some narrow shelving to the back wall and some pegboard, which I have also hoarded for years. This project has been great for emptying out my storage space.

Definitely some concern about the frame settling and putting pressure on the tempered glass. I debated adding some shearing across the bottom of the front wall, but forgot about it before I put in the shelves and now I like the way it looks. So I guess we’ll find out over time whether that would have been a good idea.

Thanks for looking and I welcome any feedback or advice!
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Sarraceniacrazy
Posts: 251
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:01 am
Location: Kentucky 6b

Re: Tempered glass greenhouse

Post by Sarraceniacrazy »

That is pretty awesome!
Pereskiopsisdotcom
Posts: 248
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:09 pm
Location: Ottawa - Canada
Contact:

Re: Tempered glass greenhouse

Post by Pereskiopsisdotcom »

Job well done! Quite attractive little unit. I love the chicken wire for holding plants. It holds well and provides adequate drainage and aeration.
http://pereskiopsis.com

Interests include: Rhipsalis, Turbinicarpus, Gymnocalycium, and Lophophora.
gerbmantz
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:46 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Tempered glass greenhouse

Post by gerbmantz »

Thanks Sarracenia and Pereskipsisdotcom!

I have some concerns about the wire holding up long term. I guess we'll find out. :)
DaveW
Posts: 7071
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:36 pm
Location: Nottingham, England/UK

Re: Tempered glass greenhouse

Post by DaveW »

Remember Tempered or Toughened glass is not unbreakable glass, it will stand greater impacts and just breaks safely. Sharp objects will break it where blunt ones usually do not. However it breaks safely into Confetti like pieces usually too small to really cut you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempered_glass

My friend had a greenhouse made of it and one day heard a bang and a roof glass had shattered covering all the plants below with Confetti, but not damaging them. He was still finding glass Confetti in the pots months later. Car windscreens used to be made of it, but it often obscured the drivers view when it shattered unless they immediately pushed it out. Therefore most windscreens now are laminated glass, being two layers of glass with a clear plastic in between so it breaks in larger pieces that you can still see through, although the plastic still holds it together. Bullet proof glass is the same, but simply more layers of glass and plastic, rather like plywood.

My friend had no problem with the other glasses therefore it may have been a spontaneous failure of that square, or the glass was in too tight and expansion on the aluminium bars chipped an edge and then it disintegrates.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EgAUhsiRQs

Anyway in spite of this it is still safer than ordinary glass in greenhouses that can break into lethal shards.
Pereskiopsisdotcom
Posts: 248
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:09 pm
Location: Ottawa - Canada
Contact:

Re: Tempered glass greenhouse

Post by Pereskiopsisdotcom »

gerbmantz wrote: Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:14 pm Thanks Sarracenia and Pereskipsisdotcom!

I have some concerns about the wire holding up long term. I guess we'll find out. :)
You've got the right idea by bracing it with another piece of wood in the middle. I've used it before with 1x6 pressure treated lumber as the frame and used 1x2 pressure treated lumber every foot or so for additional support. Pay attention to how much it springs down when watering. That will let you know if you need additional support. Otherwise, I've seen it used for years in greenhouses with no problems.
http://pereskiopsis.com

Interests include: Rhipsalis, Turbinicarpus, Gymnocalycium, and Lophophora.
gerbmantz
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:46 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Tempered glass greenhouse

Post by gerbmantz »

@DaveW Thanks for the anecdote, I am adding more plants in front of the glass on the outside of the greenhouse to keep anyone (primarily myself) from getting to clumsy close to the glass.

@Pereskiopsis I think I may add a couple more supports. I have extra 2x4 scrap so why not.
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Edwindwianto
Posts: 497
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:43 am
Location: Bangkok - Thailand

Re: Tempered glass greenhouse

Post by Edwindwianto »

You did that by yourself?
You have a very good carpentry skill...well done 👍
DaveW
Posts: 7071
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:36 pm
Location: Nottingham, England/UK

Re: Tempered glass greenhouse

Post by DaveW »

Being a joiner (carpenter) by trade until I retired, I made myself several progressively larger greenhouses in the past. However due to the British climate they all eventually rotted, not being cedar or a similar rot resistant timbers. Therefore I finished up with a maintenance free aluminium 12ft x 18ft greenhouse. Aluminium greenhouses are largely the norm in Britain and sold in most Garden Centres, being rotproof and maintenance free in our climate.

In warmer dryer climates the same as many of yours wooden greenhouses may not face that problem.

For those without construction skills you may find many suitable small frames and mini greenhouses on EBAY. This is British EBAY, but I am sure your local EBAY is probably similar if you put in "Greenhouses",

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from ... and+frames

I don't know about greenhouse availability and types in other countries, but in the past in the UK I put an advert for a certain sized one in the local paper and was offered a second-hand 8ft x 6ft one for £30 provided I dismantled it and took it away. People often loose interest in growing greenhouse plants, or others move into a new house with a greenhouse they do not want therefore an advert for what you want in the local paper can often work.
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