FAQs about Greenhouses

What is the difference between greenhouses and solariums?

Where should I locate the greenhouse?

How will snow affect greenhouses?

What different kinds of greenhouse styles are available?

What should you look for in a greenhouse design?

How big should your greenhouse be?

Why does Sturdi-built Manufacturing use wood for their greenhouses?

What glazing material is best?

What accessories are needed in greenhouses?

Do I need a foundation for my greenhouse?

Do I need a building permit for my greenhouse?

What do I get with my greenhouse kit?

How are Sturdi-built Greenhouses delivered?

How do I order my greenhouse?

What is the difference between  greenhouses and solariums?

custom garden sunroom

Greenhouses glazed structures primarily for horticultural use. Garden rooms or Sun Rooms are greenhouse additions, generally attached to the house, used for “incidental” living space such as a spa enclosure, sitting area or plant room in addition to gardening. Usually a wall or sliding door separates the sunroom from the house. A Solarium is primarily living space, an integral part of a house. Sturdi-built specializes in horticultural greenhouses for growing plants. Our Garden Sunroom is designed for incidental living space, separated from the house by a door. Custom situations can be accommodated. 
Click here for more info.

Where should I locate the greenhouse?

location of greenhouse

How your greenhouse will best fit in with your home’s landscaping, its exposure to sunlight, wind and weather, convenience of access and the physical ease of construction and installation. For sun exposure, generally a southeasterly exposure is best for gardening, with east, south, then west exposures following in that order. Adequate natural light is essential for successful greenhouse gardening, although it is possible to supplement with artificial lights. For solar heating, a southerly exposure is best.
More info.

How will snow affect greenhouses?

greenhouses in snow
There are primarily two factors to be aware of with snow. First, while Sturdi-built greenhouses are designed to support typical snow loads, it is important to prevent too much snow from accumulating on any greenhouse. A steep roof pitch (such as our Tudor model) will allow snow to slide off more easily. Keeping the greenhouse slightly heated in winter will also help the snow slide off. Be sure to remove shade cloth before winter because it will prevent snow from sliding off. Avoid locating greenhouses below a house roof overhang from which a heavy snow buildup might suddenly “avalanche” down upon the greenhouse. More info.

What different greenhouse types are available?

Free Standing Garden Deluxe greenhouse
There are many greenhouse styles. Lean-to greenhouses are attached to the wall of a building; often a convenient structure for access from the house and easier to heat because one side is a solid wall. A free-standing greenhouse stands on its own and can be located almost anywhere. The glass sides on greenhouses can be tall or short. A bench-high base wall (or knee wall) provides for storage under the benches and the greenhouse will be easier to heat because the base wall can be insulated. A shorter base wall allows for light under the benches for more growing space (although this lower space can be awkward to get to) and maximum solar heating. A greenhouse should be tall enough for you and your plants. All Sturdi-built Greenhouses are comfortable for people of average height and we have many different architectural styles, sizes, and decorative options in both freestanding or lean-to (attached) versions.
More info.

What should you look for in a greenhouse design?

interior Garden Sun Room
A good greenhouse structure must be able to handle wind, rain, and snow, and allow for benches, shelves, hanging baskets, light fixtures and other accessories, such as heaters, coolers and fans. We have 50 years of experience behind our designs. Interior moisture condensation control is handled with a smooth inside roof surface and sufficient roof pitch, to keep moisture from dripping on you and your plants. Ventilation is also important in greenhouses. Top-opening roof vents provide natural, gentle, quiet venting. When top vents are combined with base wall vents and/or Jalousie (louvered) windows, hot air exits through the roof and cooler air flows in at the bottom which helps preserve humidity. For ease of use, roof vents should be automated. Since Sturdi-built custom designs and equips our greenhouses, we make sure you get the best design features for your situation.
More info.

How big should your greenhouse be?

Select a greenhouse as large as your site and budget will allow. Greenhouse gardeners inevitably wish they had more space to accommodate their growing plants. Again, adequate height is important for your comfort as well as providing room for shelves and hanging plants. Additional growing space can be provided with a shorter base wall that allows for more under-shelf growing space as well as shelves along the walls.
More info.

Why does Sturdi-built Manufacturing use clear heart redwood in their greenhouses?

Beautiful All Clear Heart Redwood
Wood has a warm, natural beauty that fits well with residential architecture, complimenting your home and landscape. Redwood and cedar are naturally resistant to deterioration (specifically the top quality, All Clear Heart Redwood & Finest A Grade Cedar we use). Redwood can be oiled a natural color or stained to match the décor of your home. We strongly recommend oiling or staining the wood to preserve its good looks. Aluminum transmits heat 1400 times faster than wood which can be a significant problem in the middle of winter. Wood also allows easy addition of accessories such as shelves, hooks, hanging bars,light fixtures and shade cloth. Every wood piece of a Sturdi-built Greenhouse is custom molded to a smooth surface, sloped to drain water and contoured for optimal use.
More info.

What glazing material is best?

Alternative glazing materials
Glass is strong, attractive, clear and long lasting. Our glazing of choice is standard window glass. If there is a high risk of breakage (such as heavy hail or trees with large cones) or when overhead safety glazing is desired, tempered glass or twin-wall polycarbonate can be used as an alternative. Twin Wall Polycarbonate is translucent, more expensive but more energy efficent than glass and will last 12 to 15 years with UV treatment. Factory insulated glass, like that used for houses, deteriorates in moist conditions, so is not appropriate for greenhouse use. Sturdi-built will work with you to provide the best materials for your particular site. 
More info.

What accessories are needed in the greenhouse?

A well equipped greenhouse
Sturdi-built will draw on our 50 years of experience to set you up with the proper equipment for your situation. This usually includes:

Circulating fan: Air movement is essential for a healthy greenhouse environment and helps to reduce heating costs and condensation. We recommend continuous, gentle air movement 24/7 provided by an oscillating fan or quiet re-circulating type fan.

Heater: Type and size of heater needed depends of the size of the greenhouse and the inside and outside temperatures involved. Gas (natural or LP, vented or non- vented) or electric (120V or 240V) heaters can be used. To make a 120V heater more effective add an additional thermostat to turn the heater on and off at specific temperatures.

Coolers: In very hot climates sometimes positive cooling is needed. Air conditioners should not be used because they de-humidify the greenhouse, so we recommend evaporative air coolers which work by drawing hot air through wet pads using a fan or blower. Water evaporates from the pads, providing cool, clean, humid air.

Humidifier or mister: Plants need adequate humidity when greenhouse temperatures move up. Generally, wetting down a porous (bricks, gravel) floor periodically is the easiest method for creating humidity. An automatic humidifier or a misting/fogging system may be used if additional humidity is needed.

Shading: The need for shading depends on sun exposure and plants being grown. Ways to shade include shade cloth, shading paint, roll-up shades and fiberglass panels. Custom-fit shade cloth panels can be added to all or part of the greenhouse. Attached to the outside of the greenhouse, they are effective, neat in appearance, economical, reusable and available in a variety of densities.

Propagation Mats: With good bottom heat, propagation is easy and fast, even in a cool greenhouse. Propagation mats are great for supplying heat to plants in containers, seed flats, etc. 

Shelves & Benches: To maximize efficient use of your greenhouse, some type of benches and/or shelves will be needed. Many options are available and will depend on the size and style of your greenhouse. More info.

Do I need a foundation for my greenhouse?

a level & square foundation
Yes. This foundation can be an existing patio or deck if well-built, or a perimeter foundation which can be built from concrete, concrete block, railroad ties or treated timber. A Sturdi-built greenhouse can be adapted to fit many foundation situations. For the greenhouse floor we prefer gravel or bricks set in sand or other porous material. 
More info.

Do I need a building permit for my greenhouse?

Greenhouses tend to be in a building code “twilight zone”. Local codes and code interpretations vary greatly between counties and even between individuals within the same department! Compliance is the responsibility of the buyer. Generally we have found that a free standing greenhouse with a size of less that 120 sq.ft. usually does not require a permit. Lean-to Greenhouses attached to a wall of the house or garage, even if they are less that 120 sq.ft., are sometimes considered living space and subject to stricter rules. Getting a permit can be as simple as providing basic greenhouse plans and as complicated (and expensive) as having a state licensed engineer approve the plans. Should you choose to obtain a permit it is best to get it before placing a greenhouse order in case there are changes that need to be made to comply with codes. We will do our best to help you through this process.

How are Sturdi-built greenhouses delivered?

greenhouse ready to be shipped
Our greenhouses are delivered via truck. When you receive your shipment AND BEFORE YOU SIGN THE DELIVERY RECEIPT, carefully check your shipment for missing packages and/or any signs of damage and note it on the delivery receipt. Generally, shipments do not include unloading. Most truck drivers will help off-load the shipment but you should be prepared to assist. If you live in a remote rural location or other area difficult for trucks to access, you should be prepared for some extra costs. Sturdi-built crates every shipment in pine for protection and has the trucking company call you in advance to arrange a delivery time. Units delivered in the Portland, Oregon area are delivered directly by us. 
More info.

What do I get with my Sturdi-built Greenhouse Kit?

Deluxe free-standing greenhouse
Many greenhouse kits come in dozens of small pieces with a great deal of assembly required. While this saves on shipping costs, it costs you a great deal of time. We have tried to find a compromise between freight costs, size limitations and your time. A Sturdi-built Greenhouse comes partially assembled. End walls are prefabricated in large sections; the sides and roof are cut and marked, ready for your assembly; the door is pre-hung in its frame. We sell a complete kit, ready to be put on your foundation or base wall. The kit includes greenhouse frame and door, hardware, glass( or other glazing material), caulking, vents and instructions. You will be proud of the result. More info.

How do I order a Sturdi-built Greenhouse?

Call us (503-244-4100)to talk through your greenhouse gardening needs. We will talk through issues such as location, glazing materials, ventilation, circulation, heating, cooling, shading, etc., sharing our experience and knowledge to help you create the greenhouse you desire. Our greenhouses are not “one size fits all”. We work with each customer individually to put together the best greenhouse possible. We use our 50 years of experience working with customers all over the U.S. (many of whom we have visited), and apply this knowledge to your situation. Let us help you with your greenhouse dreams.

Visit Us

If you’re in the Portland, Oregon area, please stop by our showroom!
We’re open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm. Weekends by appointment.

Sturdi-Built Greenhouse Manufacturing, Co.

11304 S.W. Boones Ferry Road
Portland, OR 97219
(503) 244-4100 or (800) 334-4115

Get directions >

youtube facebook pinterest email Remodeling and Home Design