Sunday, May 31, 2009

No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come: Greenhouse construction update No. 6:

That quote from Victor Hugo in the post title is a reference to succumbing to my wife's desire to move into the greenhouse before it is finished- I have held her back long enough. Although I'd just as soon keep building and fiddling with the greenhouse all summer, my wife wants to use it to grow some plants (the nerve of her!). I did build the greenhouse for her, after all, so yesterday she planted a bunch of peppers, eggplants, basil, and tomatoes we've been nursing along since January in the propagation chamber in our basement.
Although the greenhouse is not finished, it is in a usable state. I still have to add shelving to the north wall, find a small (30- 36") ceiling fan, run power out to the greenhouse and make all the electrical terminations- these will probably wait a while.

Like I have mentioned, apart from building a greenhouse that was energy efficient, met our needs for size and style, one of my main goals has been to build the greenhouse with reused or recycled materials as much as possible. This has been a fun and rewarding challenge. Although the cost savings have been substantial, the real reason for me to use recycled materials comes from reducing waste and reusing materials.
As far as style I wanted the greenhouse to be aesthetically pleasing and to honor the architecture and age of our house. Though our house is not really architecturally significant- a little house built in the 1940's, I tried to match many of the details. Also, I strongly believe that when you use recycled materials, they should not necessarily look like recycled materials (read: not look like junk).
Here is a list of the items I bought used or recycled, and those that I bought new. You can see that not only were most of the materials were reused, but the incredible diversity of used materials out there. I could not have completed this project without a store like Home Resource, though.

Recycled items

  • Framing materials:2x4, 2x6, ½” CDX plywood sheathing, 7/16” OSB, door jamb material,
  • Insulation:Rigid insulation for floor, fiberglass batt insulation, foam sill plate seal
  • Wall materials: green board moisture resistant sheetrock, metal exposed edging, drywall tape
  • Roofing: Delta rib galvanized metal roofing, roofing felt, ridge cap, flashing, downspout, gutter drip edge, concrete blocks (for rain barrel, olive barrel (rain barrel)
  • Finishing materials: Exterior semi gloss paint, drywall primer, exterior trim (primed), exterior fascia (primed), 100% silicone caulk, latex caulk, construction adhesive, window and door casings, baseboard mouldings, misc. trim
  • Door, windows and flooring: Windows, door, brick for floor, glass for repairing broken panes, window hardware (hinges and closing mechanisms), door hardware, sliding door hardware
  • Interior: Sink and sink base (potting bench), faucet, wire shelving, shelving brackets and standards, stair edge molding, threshold, weather stripping, garage door weather stripping, 2 x 6 redwood for raised bed, 1930's ice cream parlor chair

  • Electrical: lighting fixtures (pendants and light over sink), attic exhaust fan with thermostat, 16” louver exhaust vent, electrical boxes (2x4 and 4x4), 15 amp receptacles, GFCI receptacles, 1 way wall switches, waterproof outlet covers, electrical nailing protector plates, 12/2 cable

Items purchased new

  • Framing materials: Pressure treated 4x6x 12, landscape fabric, 2x8x12’ for ridge, framing lumber (2x4’s Good Wood from Home Resource), misc. hardware
  • Roofing: Gutter, elbows, caulk
  • Wall materials: joint compound, drywall tape, sheet rock (damaged)
  • Finishing materials: Paint, primer
  • Doors, windows, flooring: Sliding door hardware, solar window and louver openers , 12” louver intake vent
  • Electrical: 12/2 cable


  1. So pretty! (And functional). Can we get a tour when we're in town next week?

  2. It turned out beautiful! What a little treasure to add to your garden!

  3. Thanks for my beautiful greenhouse, sweetie!

  4. I am utterly in love with your gorgeous greenhouse! And now I am off to count the number of wonderful (trashpicked) windows I might happen to have... I agree with you wholeheartedly that recycled should not equal "junky," btw. And your recycling effort definitely does not!

  5. Hi Blackswamp girl,
    Thanks for your compliments, I am glad you enjoy the greenhouse, good luck building one of your own. Send some pictures when you do.

  6. What an awesome greenhouse - and I love the detail you've provided re: where to purchase the recycled products. I did the same thing with my cottage/office - using recycled windows. They not only look beautiful, but you're doing something good for the environment! Thanks for this blog - just beautiful!!