Nick Owen

Repurposing a greenhouse shell

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I have been looking into building a shop. I have posted before but I keep looking at a greenhouse shell that is sat in my garden. I know of at least one person that has converted a greenhouse frame into a workshop. 

I have the aluminium frame, I had the glass but not daft enough to use it. Has anyone got any ideas/photos for how I could potentially clad the aluminium frame with something? Xxxx I would just throw a tarp over the thing if it wasn't such a fire risk! Just looking for somewhere I can store my gear, isolate at least some of the noise and have somewhere I don't need to freak out if it starts chucking it down with rain onto a hot forge :) 

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Without seeing the actual existing frame, take these comments as only generic--

Use self drilling/tapping screws, preferably hex head, and you can zip panels over that aluminum frame in no time at all.  Basically it's how those carports and such in mobile home parks are whipped together in a day.  Don't forget that panels will add LOTS of wind load so the structure needs to be able to take that without collapsing or flying away. If it was designed for glass originally, it can probably take it but there are also those really crappy chinese versions sold now which a hard sneeze will take down so I wanted to mention the issue.

So..the real problem is finding and choosing cladding.  Metal roofing/siding material is pretty easy to get but adds up quickly when purchased retail.  It might be worth it to use new material for looks and ease.  Around here there are enough people taking down old clad buildings that one can put out feelers and get used material cheap.  That option may or may not apply in your area.

Same self drilling screws can work with wood siding like T-111 (the USA designation for a type of plywood sheet siding) also.  That would give some stiffening to the frame that might be of benefit--but wouldn't work as roofing. 

Cutting panels to size depends on what you can get hold of so I won't address it here.

pau232041-2.jpg

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I just looked into the pricing of panels... would probably work out cheaper to actually pay someone to build a wood shop than clad it with metal... *shakes fist at UK pricing* 

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What do you mean by "panels?" isn't something generic like plywood available?  Sheathing such as T-111 is made to be external siding on housing and is structurally strong. It will screw directly to an aluminum frame with the self drilling and tapping screws pictured above. 

On the other hand if you can afford to buy or have one built you're golden. I'm sure the time you'd spend building a shed spent on the paycheck job will cover it nicely. Better, you can spend the time it'd take to build the shed playing with fire and hitting things with hammers. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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48 minutes ago, Frosty said:

Sheathing such as T-111 is made to be external siding on housing and is structurally strong.

Natural/Rough Sawn SYP Plywood  Untreated Wood Siding Panel, $35.62 each panel. ( 0.563-in x 47.875-in x 95.875-in)  All wood exterior-grade panel that is ideal for siding applications from new home construction, utility buildings, planters, dog houses and other remodeling or do-it-yourself projects. Rough-sawn textured face for beautiful rustic appearance. Rich wood grain texture of Southern Pine.  Lifetime limited warranty

They have a common t-111 for $18.28 that is  0.375-in x 48.563-in x 95.875-in.  Requires primer and paint for proper finishing, Offers excellent impact resistance, Project panel for dog kennels, playhouses and other exterior applications. 1-year limited warranty

Vinyl Siding Panel 8 in x 12-1/2 feet is 10.44 each.

Lots of possibilities.

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I used hail damaged pro-panel (steel roofing) to do the walls on my 20x30 shop extension---I liked the "hammered look".  The roof was made from overruns from the local school buildings that had to have their roofs replaced after they had SOFTBALL sized hail in town.  (100% of the roofs totaled, most of the cars totaled).

I would talk with roofers or folks who demolish structures about getting used steel panels...if it's legal in your area to reuse such items...

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Honestly man, I'm in the same boat as you. If I were you, I would use what you have available. Self-tapping hex head screws, with some T-111 siding sounds like your best bet with that greenhouse. It'll weigh it down so you may not even have to anchor it as you might with lighter aluminum/metal siding. That, and it'll dampen the sounds of your anvil seeing as how metal siding will just amplify and louden the hammer strikes. The wood will absorb it. Now, if you don't wanna use your greenhouse for whatever reason, you can always rig up a shack like I plan on doing. Dirt floor, some 2x4 structural walls, T-111 for the siding, slanted roof with gaps at the top of the walls for ventilation. (I'm also going to run my flue out the top, don't worry.) In all I think in the US it's gonna run me around 200-300 dollars. (That's roughly 148-222 quid if I got my conversions right.)

Like Glenn said, there's lots of possibilities. It may be a hassle, take a lot of your time, possibly all of your weekend, but in the end you can look at it with confidence and say that you built it with your own hands. As far as tools go? Hammer if you're using regular nails, or a drill with a hex head bit if you're using any type of screws. You don't need a circular saw or a scroll saw. It can all be done with a hand saw (The former would just be a LOT easier on you). And lastly the materials, which are the most expensive part.

 

Happy building!

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Check the price per board foot of ship lap siding, as often it is less expensive than sheet goods (4X8’ sheets of ply are 32 square foot wile a 12’ long 6” siding board will cover about 5 square foot) some times classic siding is less expensive, as the panels are both manufactured and intended to save labor for construction. Aluminum siding and insulation are another option. Aluminum reflects most of the radiant heat, and tho I would still recommend insulation, it would be cooler in the summer.

as to the green house, if you have all the glass (they expensive part) could you sell or trade it for a good garden shed? 

 

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Before we go much further, can you share some pics of what you have? 

What I'm picturing when you say greenhouse frame isn't a pretty picture. I wouldn't trust one to hang an IKEA photo frame on, never mind adapting it for wood panels. One sneeze and it'll collapse. 

Unless it's a heady duty victorian style botanical garden type frame. 

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15 minutes ago, JustAnotherViking said:

Before we go much further, can you share some pics of what you have? 

What I'm picturing when you say greenhouse frame isn't a pretty picture. I wouldn't trust one to hang an IKEA photo frame on, never mind adapting it for wood panels. One sneeze and it'll collapse. 

Unless it's a heady duty victorian style botanical garden type frame. 

Oh no, it's probably exactly what you're thinking/ its simply and aluminium frame made to hold the weight of glass/plastic sheets and that's about it! 

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In that case, I'd leave it alone, plant some tomatoes and hope for an actual summer this year. 

Or dismantle it, stick it up on gumtree and have more space for a proper shed 

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It's not up at the moment, it's just sat in the garden waiting to be put up. Was hoping to repurpose it. I might still put it up and just put a roof on it just so I have some shade to see temperature colours in the meantime. 

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