DIY on a Shoestring Budget forum: Henry's Rooftop Greenhouse

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ImageBlissfulGarden
Feb 4, 2010 7:23 PM CST
Name: Evey Blalock
South Louisiana / Zone 8b

Howdy doo, Henry. I'm starting this thread in the hopes that you will show us step-by-step how to go about creating a rooftop greenhouse like yours. I have an area that I think would work, but I need a more definite plan formulated before I ask hubby to literally "raise the roof" to make it a reality! Here's the area I would want to put it... lots of year-round sun and not visible from the street. Also, it would be easy to create a staircase coming from the driveway to the greenhouse in this location.

Below is a really blurry Google image of the overhead view of our house. The red box shows where I'm thinking about putting the greenhouse. It's a small area jutting out on the driveway side, with empty attic space that is not accessible from inside the home. We can't even get to it for storage. Do you think this area would work? Would there be water issues in our bedroom below? Advice, please!

Evey =)

Thumbnail by BlissfulGarden

Imagecoconut
Feb 5, 2010 9:54 AM CST
Name: Melissa E. Keyes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Zone 11
I also want something like this. Weight would be a big consideration. I'll keep an eye on this thread.

Cheers,

Melissa
Melissa

ImageHenryr10
Feb 5, 2010 10:08 PM CST
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
Thanks Evey!

Can you get some shots from the ground?
I'm not a builder by trade but have a lots of construction and DIY experience and can definitely give you some pointers and things to consider.

Here's the GH to which she is referring.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rnranimals/sets/721576230750153...

Let me give you a history of the Roof GH.

The room below it was remodeled over the last year.
It's foundation was beefed up and the room was framed out to withstand a full second floor and attic.
The floor/roof under it is 2 x 10's on 12" centers covered w/ 3/4" OSB. Just like you would a floor.
It has a very light pitch at 1"/1' drop.

It was an existing grandfathered room and we couldn't change the 'footprint' so it's about 10' x 16'.
But we did 'Bay' the side away from the house.

The weight is definitely a consideration, as is water.
But as we over framed and covered the roof/floor w/ pond rubber not a issue here.

The GH is currently covered in two layers of construction grade clear plastic.
One layer inside and one out.
It will be glazed in GH grade polycarbonate by next winter.

This is basically just a standard 'ground' GH that happens to be on a roof.

Ric





“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal.”
C.S. Lewis
ImageBlissfulGarden
Feb 5, 2010 10:33 PM CST
Name: Evey Blalock
South Louisiana / Zone 8b

I will try to get photos of the area from the ground if it stops raining tomorrow!

Okay, so you beefed up the foundation and then added joists to support a second floor... did you do that yourself? We have a 1-1/2 story house and the area I'm talking about backs up to one of the upstairs bedrooms. It's directly over the back end and closets of our master bedroom. The surrounding exterior below is brick construction with concrete slab. I am fairly certain that the entire joist system is the same up there. I remember seeing 2x10's when I was up in that section of the attic... We currently have a cubby entrance to get into that space for inspecting, etc. (basically a 2x3 cut through with a door at the back of a closet that I can crawl through!).

Did you remove part of your roof to put in the greenhouse or just add onto the back of the house? That's the part that has hubby concerned. He is nervous that if we remove part of the roof, we will have a nightmare on our hands. I could use some advice on the progression for the project.
ImageHenryr10
Feb 5, 2010 10:51 PM CST
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
It was basically a lightly pitched flat roof to start w/ and already attached to the house.
Sounds a lot like yours.
An add on attached to the exterior brick wall?

Ours was made of cedar and on 24" centers.
We ripped off the roof....
repaired, removed or sistered the damaged existing joists.
Then brought in the lumber to convert to 12" centers.
Just basic repair and a bit of beefing up like occurs in a shingle job...lol!

Ric
“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal.”
C.S. Lewis
ImageBlissfulGarden
Feb 5, 2010 10:59 PM CST
Name: Evey Blalock
South Louisiana / Zone 8b

Actually, what will be the back wall of the greenhouse is not currently an exterior wall, but an interior wall. The entire height of the area I'm talking about turning in to a greenhouse is currently under-roof attic space that backs up to an interior bedroom.
ImageHenryr10
Feb 5, 2010 11:35 PM CST
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
So basically you're adding a HUGE Skylight and floor to ceiling Windows.... ;-)
“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal.”
C.S. Lewis
ImageBlissfulGarden
Feb 5, 2010 11:36 PM CST
Name: Evey Blalock
South Louisiana / Zone 8b

Exactly!!! *wink*wink*
ImageHenryr10
Feb 6, 2010 9:27 AM CST
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
Cool!

May I suggest a glass door upstairs from the house out to it.
There's nothing more impressive than walking into a room and seeing Summer out the door.
My house in Kettering had a Breezeway/GH out my bedroom back door.
Nothing beat the view waking up.
Especially during the Blizzard of '78'!

Ric
“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal.”
C.S. Lewis
Imagekqcrna
Feb 21, 2010 12:06 PM CST
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh
I remember the Blizzard of '78 quite well. I had just moved here from Pittsburgh a few months before. I was ready to move back!

That greenhouse is really cool, Ric. I'm afraid it wouldn't work too well on my sloped roof, though. You'd be a handy guy to have around. My husband isn't the handy type and doesn't like to mess with trying. It's a good thing he has always been able to earn a living with his brain, not his hands. Me, too.

Karen
ImageHenryr10
Feb 21, 2010 12:38 PM CST
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
It appears Evey's going to take off part of their sloped roof for her's.

Actually ALL projects here are a join effort.
I taught my S/O to use all the power tools so she did a lot of the work while I was working.
.... she won't touch the Table Saw but she's now a Master w/ the Tile Saw....
Most of the Tile and flooring work you'll see is hers.
She's also become a very good 'faux' painter.

I've been laid off so we had time to get a LOT done fast.
Well semi-fast we aren't killing ourselves.

Ric
“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal.”
C.S. Lewis
Imagekqcrna
Feb 21, 2010 12:53 PM CST
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh
Sorry about the layoff, Ric. So many people have been affected by the poor economy. My husband's company had unpaid furloughs one week per month all of last year.

I'm scared to death of power tools. I can't even use a simple drill well- I can't tighten the bit enough. I try to drill and the bit ends up stuck in the wood when I lift the drill. Pathetic.

Karen
ImageHenryr10
Feb 21, 2010 1:34 PM CST
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
Easy cheap fix Karen.
Get a quick change tip. I think Dewalt's is the best.
Then have your DH tighten that up.
All you do then is switch out the tips or bits.
They make sets of both.

http://www.dewalt.com/us/products/accessory_detail.asp?produ...

Ric
“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal.”
C.S. Lewis
ImageBlissfulGarden
Feb 21, 2010 1:55 PM CST
Name: Evey Blalock
South Louisiana / Zone 8b

Yep, I'll be taking off part of the slope. I'm the handy one here... my husband is an excellent accountant ('nuf said!). My dad has always been a do-it-yourselfer and I was a frequent partner in crimes with him growing up, so to speak! My attitude always was, "If it's broken, why not take it apart and try to fix it?!?" I mean, what could happen... I'd break it more??? =P So, I learned a lot about how things work with that process... from electronics to power tools and all points in between.

Our second house had been abandoned for two years before we bought it and had been severely vandalized. We purchased it because I was caregiver to my father-in-law (he had cancer) and this was the house next door. It was much more important for us to be close rather than comfortable. The kids were in preschool then, and I had a lot more time than money. I jumped right in with knocking out walls, redoing floors, repairing electric and water lines, etc. That house taught me a LOT... and starting with such a wreck, I wasn't nervous to try new things. I literally couldn't make anything worse. That was a great confidence builder.

Our third house was in great shape when we bought it, so all I did there was landscaping and redecorating.

Our fourth house (and current one) was a surprise. We THOUGHT it was in good shape, but it turned out that there were many, many, many hidden defects due to Katrina damage that had been covered up (i.e., lawsuit worthy). Unfortunately, we purchased from a very well-connected local attorney, so the legal process was long. I made many repairs myself during the last few years simply because our funds were going to pay legal bills. It's amazing how long a savvy attorney can drag out the legal process... especially when you are paying legal bills but the person you are suing (an attorney) is not!!!

ANNNYWAY, at this point, there is nothing I won't try on the house end of things. It's all a fun adventure!
Imagekqcrna
Feb 21, 2010 1:55 PM CST
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh
Well I'll be darned. I never heard of such a thing. Usually I just have my husband do the drilling. He really prefers it that way- he thinks I'm going to drill through my hand or my head or something. You would too if you'd see me. Smiling I'm best with duct tape, I avoid things requiring more dexterity than that.

Karen
Image1AnjL
Feb 21, 2010 2:00 PM CST
Name: AnjL/Annmarie
CA Sierra Mts
Wow Evey you and I are alot alike! Although, now that I am married to such a wonderful handyman I dont do as much structural work as I once would have Big Grin If I want something done now, I just grab his cordless and ask him where the nails are. He gets this really cute horrified look on his face, jumps up and volunteers to do the job for me Whistling
All Things Hobby
All the coffee in Columbia will never make me a morning person!
ImageHenryr10
Feb 21, 2010 2:08 PM CST
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
That's one of the reasons I started this Cubit Karen.

People like Evey and us all know what we want to do and MORE when NOT to do it ourselves.
Novices and beginners can easily get in over their heads or hurt.
Also, and to me worse, pay someone for repairs or projects that are easy DIY.

I've started a Forum to show what tools you should keep around.
When to spend the money, when to buy cheap and where.
I'm still wading thru that one but will have it done soon.
Hand Saws took a while...lol!
The quick change along w/ a Cordless Drill, is one Must Have.
But the Cordless Drill will surprise you too...

Ric
“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal.”
C.S. Lewis
ImageGymgirl
Feb 23, 2010 2:34 PM CST
Name: Linda
Zone 9a, Houston, Tx. (Hobby)
Godspeed & Good Harvest!
My DH is old school and cringes at the thought of a woman holding any power tool -- which is why I wait for him to go on fishing trips with his boat before I pull out my chainsaw and the sippy saw blades. I'm really a beginner with attitude. I've ALWAYS wanted to learn to use tools to make nice, simple things -- like build flowerboxes for the patio, or a trellis. And I wanna build things in the backyard to make it look nice. I have a 4-volume set of Simple Backyard Projects with oh, so many, wonderful projects...

Right now I've been walking around with an idea for a series of planter boxes with a hinged lid and a circular cutout in the top to camouflage my 5-gallon eBuckets.

And, would you believe that my DH has every power tool available to man in the garage? I mean it. I'm talking HEAVY equipment, and he won't show me how to use any of it! We could've built the deck together by now. It'd be totally different if I was running away from the buzz saw, but I'm a willing student and desperately WANT to learn.

I have a dear friend who's taken me under his tutilage with much patience. I just have to get my confidence level up when I'm all alone, 'cause I don't wanna mess up the materials. So it takes me a minute to do things...

So, I guess I'm joining this forum, huh? Thumbs up
ImageHenryr10
Feb 23, 2010 3:37 PM CST
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
Outdoor projects are very forgiving.
It's a GREAT place to start.

Most projects need minimal tool or construction knowledge also.
And you don't 'need' very many tools.

One of the least dangerous power tools is the cordless drill.
I find women have better luck w/ the mid size.
Try something in a 14 Volt range. 18V and up are MORE POWER but MORE HEAVY.
(Unless you have lottery winnings and get one of the new Lithium Battery ones.)

The other main tool we use in the yard is our Compound Miter Saw (not a Sliding CMS).
Short of a Hand Saw it's the least dangerous of all the corded saws.

(Well I take that back.
The Jig and Scroll Saws are probably the least dangerous but limited in usability.)

That said there is potential for injury.
But guards in place AND USED! Ear and Eye protection worn. All loose clothing secured.
And hands far from the blade. Saw ALWAYS unplugged before adjustments are made.
A Compound Miter is pretty safe and easy to learn.
I taught my S/O to use one in about 15 minutes, including safety checks.
I was comfortable leaving her on her own after about a half hour of use.
Our Boardwalk has hundreds of cuts.... mostly hers.

Probably the hardest to use and where most accidents occur is the simple Hammer and Nails.
I have many many whacked fingers to attest to that....lol!

Ric

“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal.”
C.S. Lewis
Imagemollyd1953
Feb 23, 2010 3:43 PM CST
Name: Molly Denza
Columbia, TN
I fell in love with my ex's chop saw. He was sure I was going to remove fingers or something. All it took was an ounce of common sense. Do not look anywhere but at your work even if someone is talking to you. That's when accidents are more likely to happen.

I refuse to work without power tools. The only one I still have trouble with is the table saw because he just wouldn't let me get my hands on it. I'd love to take some classes so I could learn how to handle it.

MollyD
RainDog Farm,Columbia,Tn
Goats




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