Cedar Greenhouses and their Replacements

Cedar Greenhouses and their Replacements

We have replaced many old Cedar Greenhouses over the years, sadly they eventually become beyond viable repair and the best way forward is to replace with a new maintenance free aluminium model. These are the stories of a couple we replaced in September 2018.

This was an old 14' x 8' Alton Greenhouse owned by a gentleman in his 90s who had lovingly looked after it for many years. It had become well past it's sell by date and any attempt to save it would have been extremely costly not to say dangerous as many of the roof bars were rotten. The size was a little too big for the garden as well so it made sense to downsize with the replacement. 

Altons are designed with a very heavy concrete skirt which allows assembly onto firm soil bases, they also sit onto pavers without the need for further anchoring. This particular model was a bit of a mixture of the two and pavers had been laid up to the outside as well as pavers and crazy paving laid in the middle of the greenhouse. As there was not a particuarly flat area of paving to rebuild onto we decided on a simple soil installation of a 6' wide by 8' long Elite High Eave. 

The pavers / crazy paving were to go so we ordered an 8 cubic yard skip and dismantled everything into this. There is little to be gained by attempting to save anything as the old glass is impossible to cut to a useful size and even the timber is unsuitable for burning in a woodburner etc. due to the years of preservatives that have been applied. 

We ended up with a fairly flat soil base which was an excellent start to the new replacement. As the original greenhouse was very close to the garage which made maintenance next to impossible we chose a 6' wide High Eave which was 8' long. This allowed access between the garage for cleaning and also access to the fence behind. As we had reduced the size considerably the greenhouse did not extend beyond the side of the garage and the whole look of the garden improved. The gentleman was reducing the amount of things he was cultivating therefore the new size was of little consequence. Generally the advice is always to go as large as you possibly can but every now and again it makes so much more sense to start again and really evaluate what you want from the greenhouse. A site visit and a trip into the Hull site with the customer was a worthwhile investment in time. The new greenhouse will be there for many years and not demand anything as far as maintenance goes. 

This one was slightly larger at 10' wide x 14' long and was laid on a block base firmly concreted into the ground. It was again well past it's useful life span and initially caused some concern as all the glass had been secured in the roof with silicone which is always a nightmare to remove. 

Another skip was ordered and the dismantling was not too problematic. The silicone in the most part proved to be of little hinderance as the wood was so rotten in the roof that the silicone simply pulled away from the wet wood and stayed stuck to the glass. This saved a lot of headaches and was almost as easy to remove as if it was still fastened by the original removeable beading. Greenhouse frames of this age and construction do not like to dismantle too easily as screws and bolts are generally well rusted in place. If you have a basic knowledge of how greenhouses are constructed and which order to tackle the demolition a heavy axe can make your life a lot easier. My risk assessement would have been fairly loosely worded however!

When we initially visited the site to quote for demolition and replacement it was not possible to accurately measure and assess the blocks to see if they would be suitable to rebuild onto. Once the greenhouse was removed though it was apparent that the blocks were exactly the right length for an Elite Supreme 10' wide and 14' long. The width was a little too much though and the right hand side missed the blocks and stood on another row of blocks that were already in place. As the blocks were not as level as the rest of the foundations it was simply a case of making good the undulations with mortar once the greenhose was in position. The customer was more than happy as we reduced the assembly bill from the original soil base quotation to the slightly cheaper solid base installation price.