I'm certainly partially to blame here for choosing wood...which was a well researched choice at the time of building. But much of the blame goes to the manufacturer of the greenhouse. Too many joints and metal overlap created entryways for water and moisture. No amount of silicone will keep out moisture forever. I guarantee it. Add a lot of heat and moisture in the summer followed by even more moisture in the winter, you'll find that no kind of wood can stand up to this kind of punishment.
I've suspected this issue for several years now and could not build up the intestinal fortitude to tackle this distasteful project. I knew it was going to take a long time to complete. I knew it would be physically and mentally challenging. Why mentally? Well, I really had no clear idea at the time how I was going to go about this and not allow the structure to sag/shift resulting in shattering glass. But I had several friends I could bounce ideas off of and I eventually had a game plan.
Working with improper tools
Now it's time to remove my first section of the sill plate. How hard can this really be?
What I soon figured out was that I needed to get completely thru a section leaving a couple inches of gap. I then had these enormous anchor bolts that secured the wooden sill onto the block knee wall. It wasn't like I could just move the frame and unbolt them. Nope. I had to get the reciprocating saw blade between the board and block and then proceed to rip across the length of the board I was working on...having to cut off the bolts. I knew when I reached one because I would sit there trying to cut thru it...sometimes for 20 minutes or longer. I wore out a lot of expensive blades.
Once the cutting was done, I could pretty much pry the entire section out as you can see in the pic above. I got better and better at this, but cutting the bolts out never got any easier. That was the hardest and most physical part of this removal. It also aggravated my carpal tunnel to the point where my hands were not only burning and numb for the duration of the project, but for about a month after completion.
In the last pic you can see the buildup from all of the plastic I've been planing off the boards. I've only replaced a few boards and the idea of planing the remainder was giving me nightmares. This was not working. We even rented a big table saw and tried to rip some of the thickness from the boards. This was an even bigger failure than the planer. The blade would start melting the plastic and start binding. Thought we were going to blow the motor. I needed an alternative.
After several emails, the manufacturer stepped up and made good on the boards. They had 2x10" boards that were the same thickness as normal lumber. They not only offered to replace all of the boards needed, but would rip the 2x10's into 2x8's for me as well...and ship them directly to me. Now this is customer service.
The woes expand
After removing a bunch of the vinyl siding on the house, I removed OSB and used the drill to bore out any bad sections of wood from the frame of the home and its sill plate as well. I then used an epoxy resin system that was designed to penetrate the wood...moist or not...and make it rock hard. It also sealed the wood hopefully preventing any more moisture from getting in. As you can see in the pics, I had to remove one of the knee wall blocks from each end to give myself room to work and repair. Inside and outside had to be repaired since the damage was extensive.
After all of the bullshit inside the greenhouse and the corners, this was nearly the straw that broke the camel's back. It almost broke me. All of this shit on the house was stretching my abilities to the max and now having to dick around with a window, walls, more siding, and God knows what else? Fuck!
The funniest thing? I couldn't find anyone, professionally, to come out and tackle this for me. I really thought I just jumped into more than I could properly handle. Any company that actually called me back didn't have openings for at least six months! No way in hell could I wait that long. The greenhouse had to be buttoned up before fall. There was only one thing I could do. I had to do it myself.
It was time consuming and stressful, but in the end I was glad I did it. I knew how I wanted the end product to be and I doubt that anyone else would have gone to the lengths that I did. I pray that this is the end of my water/moisture nightmares.
All that gravel you see? That's the next project. All of that is coming out. But first I have to take a several week break in order for my hands to heal a little bit. The burning and numbness is well past an annoyance.
My own worst enemy.
I rerouted the block to create a border for the center path. I then removed the gravel either building up the center path or wheel barrowing the load where my rain barrels were set up. A lot of loads and trips! Man is that shit heavy.
While I like putting these plants in the ground and like the finished look, it did create issues with the remaining plants in containers. Easier to move everything and position how you want them when in containers. Now with more stuff in the ground, it is like space is even more hard to come by. But I'll deal with it.
I'll wrap this up with the same warning as I gave in the last blog that covered repairs. If you are thinking of building a greenhouse, my warning/advice is this: do not attach it to your home and do not use any wood for any reason. These two things can/will only bring you heartache. Man...if I could just have those beginning days to do over!