building and improving the harbor freight 6x8 greenhouse - buy polycarbonate panels
6x8 Port cargo greenhouse kit for $299, always the lowest price
Enjoy a 20% coupon, the cheapest aluminum frame/polyester paneling unit on the market.
But entry-level costs bring some challenges that are well documented on many gardening sites.
These challenges include: 1)
The owner reported that in a hot/sunny climate, such as the 9a area where I live, the polycarbonate clear plastic board deteriorated prematurely.
Port freight companies claim that these panels are UV protected, but many owners have questioned this claim based on the rapid discoloration, crispness and pitting of the panels. 2)
The aluminum frame is very thin, the unit is fragile and unstable during construction, and it is difficult to assemble by one person.
Even if done, the unit is a bit flexible and vulnerable to damage in mild and moderate wind or rain.
The manufacturer even stipulates that the device can only be installed in the area of "avoiding wind. 3)
6x8 unit has the smallest clearance space (
About 6' at peak time ')
The door is only 5'4 "high and it is difficult or uncomfortable to get in and out. 4)
The unit is equipped with sliding doors instead of hinge doors.
Owners often complain that the sliding mechanism is often stuck and the door can be blown away from the track in mild to moderate winds.
This Instructable demonstrates how to reduce or eliminate these problems by: 1)
Cover suspicious polycarbonate panels with high quality UV-proof 6 mil plastic film. (
Building a rigid 2x4 frame consisting of benches and shelves, it can act as a solid internal structure, anchor the aluminum frame during construction and provide continuous stability. (
Let's say the benches and racks are planned and there is no extra cost. )3)
By using the edge setting of 2x12 at the bottom of the greenhouse, the "roof" of the HF unit is increased by nearly 1 feet. (
Compared to the alternative "base" system described in the construction manual, there is little or no additional cost. )4)
Reconfigure the inventory door so that it is securely attached to the frame, instead of operating as a fragile slider. (
The cost of hinges, latches and wind and rain is about $20. )
The tools and materials required for these improvements will be identified in subsequent steps.
It is worth noting that the assembly instructions attached to the HF greenhouse are notoriously difficult to follow.
The good news is that there are many owners on the network who have recorded their builds and provide useful tips for deciphering directions.
Just search a little and you'll be able to find these references and eliminate a lot of frustration during assembly.
Another consideration to remember.
Aside from the extra $80
The cost of upgrading the HF unit is $90, and these improvements are somewhat time consuming, especially with the application of UV-proof films on each pc panel.
I estimate that it will take at least 16 to 20 hours to build the unit, as described below, rather than building it in stock.
For some it may be worth upgrading to a more expensive greenhouse kit that includes panels with established UV protection. A)
4 foundation piers are laid.
HF greenhouses can be built on any number of "foundations.
I chose to use 4-
Dock technology, but other foundations are equally effective, and the directions for laying various foundations are provided in the assembly instructions.
No matter what foundation you use, just make sure it's horizontal and you can lay the base perfectly.
There are concrete docks in almost any building center, such as Lois, Home Depot or menazz.
I prefer the type where the wood block is attached to the top, not the type of metal strap, but both are OK. B)
Cut 2x12 base.
The four sides of the base are made of 2x12 treated wood set on the edge, so they are 12 high.
These parts must be cut to a precise length according to the four aluminum bases (
Marked 16, 17, 34 and 34 in my specific kit)
Supplied with HF equipment.
The HF assembly instructions say that the external dimensions of the wood windowsill frame should be 75 "x 98", but after multiple measurements, I'm sure it needs to be 74 "98 5/8 ".
To achieve these sizes, I cut my front and rear window sill pieces at 74 degrees "and 95 degrees.
However, do not use these dimensions until you arrange and measure your own aluminum frame.
Before assembling the wooden beam, make a preliminary door cut on the front 2x12 window sill (
The one on the entrance side of the greenhouse).
Later in construction, you will cut the entire doorway opening from this 2x12.
But do a 3 now "-
4 "at the top and bottom of the 2x12, there are deep cuts on each side of the door opening.
Will keep the 2x12 intact during the manufacturing process, but it will be easier to see the opening once everything is together.
The door opening can be positioned by temporarily plugging the aluminum door bracket (
Parts identified as 6 and 7 in my specific kit)
To the aluminum base (17 in my kit).
Marking aluminum base (17)
On the inner edge of the door support.
This position can then be transferred to your 2x12 window sill for cutting.
In order to increase the intensity and ensure that things remain square and horizontal, twist the processed 2x4 to the bottom edge of the front (door side)
2x12 window sill pieces. C)
Strengthen the brackets (
I bought it at Home Depot)
Used to connect 2x12 windowsill pieces to 4 docks.
Make sure the things on the windowsill are completely flush with each other and the square.
If these precautions are not taken, the aluminum frame will not be combined correctly
The holes on the frame are not aligned. . .
Let a lot of setbacks.
So, take the time and get it right.
Although I prefer to use 3 "trim screws, the 2x12 window sill pieces can be secured in the corner with nails.
Four aluminum bases in the kit (
S 16, 17, 34 and 34)
It can then be temporarily assembled, clamped or tightened on four 2x12 window sills. A)
Each corner has a 48 "length 2x4 screwed to the inside of the base.
Use level to make sure that 2x4 is completely vertical on each plane.
I used treated wood throughout the interior building, but normal wood is enough because it has very little contact with the elements. B)
Add 75 "vertical doorposts and horizontal bench support.
Then, using 2x4 materials, build the center bench/rack stand and similar stand at the other end of the greenhouse to the height and width of the rack you want.
My top shelf is 48 above the floor, 24 wide, but you can build it according to your own needs. A)
Now you can start assembling aluminum frame pieces as instructed in the greenhouse kit.
To stabilize the frame, the aluminum piece is fixed in different positions of the 2x4 Workbench/shelf structure with a 1 "round head screw.
To keep the aluminum sheet square and vertical, wood spacers are used between the 2x4 structure and the aluminum frame.
Quarterly inch mahogany slats in most cases (
Also called bender board)
Can be used for this task.
In some cases, you may need to cut the gasket to make it more precise.
After the aluminum frame is completed, all the components are square and lead, you can permanently connect the four aluminum bases (
16, 17, 34 and 34)
Connect to the 2x12 window sill using the 1 "screw. B)
This step is not required, but I installed a 4x8 foil surface 1 "insulation on the north wall of the greenhouse.
I'm also making my "floor" on weeds with washed stones"
Landscape resistant fabric.
Owners can choose any type of floor they want. C)
The bolts of the aluminum frame will protrude into the 2x4 frame and there are many points.
In order to keep everything properly arranged, either drill out the area behind the bolt or remove enough wood using a chisel so that the Bolt is not hindered.
After the aluminum frame is completed, use a military knife saw or a reciprocating saw to pass through the aluminum substrate, complete the cutting on the 2x12 window sill in front, and open the door part.
You can also use the angle mill as I did, cutting the aluminum base with a metal cutting blade.
The last photo shows what your structure should look like at this juncture.
I use a wire rack (
Available in hardware and building Center)
For benches and racks.
You can use wood, but the wire rack will reduce the shadow area, thus reducing the sunlight of the plants.
The top shelf is on both sides. by-
Each 12 "wide side unit.
They rested on 2x2 as it was screwed to my 2x4 frame for support.
In order for the shelf to remain horizontal, the center support of the main wire must be cut into a groove of 5/8 wide.
I cut this slot with the dado blade on the table saw.
If you do not have this device, you can use two 2x2 brackets, one on each side of the metal rod.
Each transparent polycarbonate panel in the HF greenhouse kit will be covered on the outside with a 6 mil UV-resistant plastic. (
Note: I do not cover 4 panels on the north side of the greenhouse that protect against sunlight through foil insulation. )
This is a greenhouse-grade material that can support at least four years under intense sunlight.
It can be obtained from many different network sources.
I bought mine from the greenhouse supermarket because they sell less.
My 12' wide x 25' long roll is enough to cover the cost of the HF unit, including shipping, for about $55.
I cut each piece of plastic film into exactly the same size as the polycarbonate panel.
The film is fixed on the panel with Nashua 322 HVAC foil tape, which can be found in or near the pipe/ventilation pipe section of most building centers such as Home Depot.
A roll of 15' is about $8 and should be enough for a 6x8 greenhouse.
The tape is 2 "wide and we will cut each piece vertically during the application.
To attach the UV film to the panel, first peel off the protective plastic coating on both sides of the HF panel.
Place the UV film on top of the panel and clamp it in place to keep it in place. Draw a line (
See the arrow in the photo)
About 3/8 "from the end of the panel to the end of the UV film ".
Sharpie super fine point permanent mark works quite well for this purpose.
Cut a piece of foil tape to the same width as the panel, and then cut the tape half vertically.
This will give you two pieces of foil tape about 1 "wide.
Mark the tape to track which is the cutting edge and which is the original straight edge.
Peel off about the first 6 inch of the protective paper on the back of the foil tape and carefully align the original straight edge of the foil tape uncut with the line you drew on the UV film.
Press the foil tape on the film and continue to apply the film, about 3-
4 inch at a time, then press it on UV film with your thread as a guide.
When you do this, you should have about half of the adhesive tape extending to the end of the panel.
Take the time to apply the tape, but be aware that no matter how hard you try, the tape will not be perfectly leveled without some wrinkles and defects.
So there is no need to shoot for perfection.
Start at the center of the panel, move outward, fold the foil tape at the end of the panel and firmly press it on the back of the panel.
Do not try to stretch or tighten the UV film.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that it is from the supplier, there will be wrinkles and creases in the 6mil film, and they are almost impossible to remove.
If you pull the film too tightly, it may cause problems later, because once the UV film is in direct sunlight, it will shrink much faster than the polycarbonate panel.
If the film is too tight, it will actually cause the polycarbonate panel to bend up or cause the stretching and deterioration of the film and foil tape.
Admittedly, it doesn't look great, but at least some folds will decrease once the film is released in the sun for a while.
Continue to apply foil tape on all four sides of the polyester panel.
After applying all the tapes, select the bottom edge of each panel (
Some panel shapes have natural bottom edges and some panel shapes just select bottom edges)
Use any sharp instrument, every 2-
3 inch so that any moisture that may accumulate in the panel channel can "flow out" from the bottom ".
Install the finished panel in the greenhouse frame using the clip shown in the HF instruction manual.
While I haven't done so yet, many owners recommend to go straight through the polycarbonate panel and put the screws into the aluminum frame.
Using the 2x4 interior frame shown above, the polycarbonate panel can be screwed onto this wood product for additional strength and to prevent the panel from being blown out in strong winds.
If this is done, please use the screws with plastic or rubber washers (
Usually used for metal rod construction or corrugated fiberglass panels)
It is sealed outside in case of rain and humidity. A)
Assemble the aluminum door frame together according to the instructions in the HF manual.
Door crane hardware is not installed (
Fragments marked with 14 and 19 in my kit).
Remove rubber seals that are likely to be pre-sealed
Installed on each side of the door frame.
The seal can easily pull out the channel from both ends. B)
Attach three hinges on the left side of the door frame.
I used Everbilt "narrow utility hinge "(shown in photo)
About 3/4 "wide 2" high.
The door frame itself has a small passage that is ground into aluminum and requires a gasket so that the hinge is laid flat.
I found 3 "boards (
The building center or hardware store is available with hinges shown in the photo)
Is the exact depth used for this purpose.
Unfortunately, the hole pattern on the patch plate does not match the hinge, so it has to be refilled
Drill holes that match the hinge.
This can be done by clamping the plate to the back of the hinge and then using a drill press or a normal drill to create a matching hole pattern.
The patch plate can then be clipped to the door frame and used as a guide for drilling holes in the door to match the holes.
I put a hinge halfway through the door, and the other two are about 3 inch from the top and bottom of the door.
The hinge is fixed on the door frame with 8 long bolts and nuts.
Before hanging the door, cut off the small plastic sheet protruding from the bottom of the door.
These rails are used to keep the sliding door on the bottom track and interfere with the opening of the door when using the hinge configuration.
If you have installed them, temporarily remove the polycarbonate panel on the left and right side of the door opening and give yourself some working space.
Place the door square on the aluminum door frame and clamp it in place.
Make sure the bottom of the door is the same as the bottom of the frame Side block (s 6 and 7)
Make sure it turns on and off normally.
Swing the hinges so that they are opposite the outside of the aluminum frame around the door opening.
Use the hinge hole as the guide and drill the mounting hole through the frame.
In my installation, the hinges are not very flat on the frame.
If you install the gasket behind the hinge, it may interfere with the installation of the polycarbonate panel.
I just left this slight angle in the hinge installation and the door works fine.
Attach the hinge with 8 bolts and nuts.
After all hinge bolts have been fixed, test the door to make sure it swings freely and is aligned with the surrounding frame.
In order for the door to be locked, the center panel of the door needs to be strengthened a bit.
I used the 1/4 Marlite and bolted it to the inner surface of the aluminum cross support.
Then, on the outside of Marlite, install the UV-covered polycarbonate panel in its normal position.
To lock the door, you can use almost any screen/storm door hardware provided by the home center (
Home Depot, etc. ).
I happened to use the Wright product model v6 70wh for about $10.
The HF greenhouse door is much thinner than the normal screen or storm, so a 3/4 mahogany partition is cut, drilled and installed behind the door handle.
The internal handle is installed when the direction is provided.
The latch is fixed on the aluminum frame with 8 bolts and nuts.
The finished door is displayed from the outside and inside photos.
Since our new door is 12 "higher than the original one, we have a fairly large gap at the bottom of the door.
In any case, we want ventilation, so this gap is covered with two layers of 6 mil UV film.
In order to reduce the flow of air, the film is opened about once every 3 inch, and the opening is offset.
Your port freight conservatory should now be able to grow in the sun for years.