Driven Up the Wall

This work took place over a few days and with some intervening days off! All work and no play kind of thinking…

photo2I’ve leveled the decking, and I’m working with the windows I received from the wonderful gifters I’ve met through Freecycle Halifax, to build the wall.

Freecycle Halifax, like all Freecycles, is a Yahoo listserv where participants post items that they are willing to give away, or items they are seeking for free. It is a wonderful way for people to recycle and reduce purchases, and to avoid extracting additional resources. As I have mentioned before, the greenhouse windows, and much of the lumber were obtained through requests to the Freecycle Halifax listserv, located at: The Freecycle Halifax group is one of 5140 Freecycle groups across the globe, with a collective 7 500 000 members. I’m also a member of Freecycle Lunenburg and Freecycle Queens counties. I’ve been able to give away a working 2-burner stove and a brass and glass fireplace closure with metal screen. What comes around – goes around. Good form means that you ask only for what you need, distinguish between recyclable and end of life materials in your give away offers, that you are available and prompt to pick up items offered, and are respectful of the time and property of the person offering to assist you. I’ve had good success in this way as both a giver and receiver.


The gravel beneath my patio stones had settled further. I used scrap lumber to temporarily screw the 4x4s to the joists and then used a car jack sitting on a patio stone to raise the back end of the deck to level. I added bricks and then lowered the deck. Once the walls are up and screwed in place, I’ll use pressure treated 2 x 8s to fasten the 4×4 and end joists together. I’ll add more screws along the end joists to make a double thickness of joists at each outer edge. It will add strength and rigidity, and form the lower edge of the picture frame design of the perimeter of each wall.

I removed old closure hardware from the windows; washed the windows, and laid them out on the base of the greenhouse. My greenhouse will be an 8’ x 8’ structure with 8’ walls.

Here’s the window layout

South – 2 rows of 3 windows facing Solar South.

East – 4 windows in the East wall, 1 in the East eaves

West – 2 windows and a door in the West wall, and 1 window in the West eaves

North – no windows facing directly North; however, 1 large window in the East side of the back “North” wall to catch the rising sun.

I’ve cleaned and sanded the windows and the decking.

I built the frame for the 8’ x 8’ South wall, laying it flat on the deck. Four on my South facing windows are 30.5 inches wide by 27.5” inches tall; two – which I’ll place in the centre of each row of three, are narrower at 26.5 inches, and 27.5 inches tall. The South wall has four studs to accommodate the spacing of the windows. I cut three headers for the top row of windows and screwed them in 8.5” down from the bottom of the top plate. I then placed a 8.5” cripple stud over each window to secure the top plate to the header. The studs and cripple studs ensure the weight distribution of the roof is spread evenly through the wall.

I next used a jigsaw and a plane to create a 22 degree beveled edge for 3 window sills and cut each to fit between the studs. I also cut blocking to fit between the studs and under the sills for additional strength and rigidity.

I have not yet screwed the sills or blocking into place as I want to ensure that each sill and block is level and that cannot be done until the walls are vertical. As well, I don’t want to add any more weight to the wall until I have it lifted and secured into place. And that is the next step.

I’ve cleared the deck and work area of all debris and tripping hazards. I set one screw near the top of the wall, securing an 8’ length of 1 x 2 bracing to each outer stud. The brace was used to raise the wall into place and to secure the wall temporarily to the deck. I screwed a stop board to the front board of the deck (south facing) to ensure the wall does not slip from the deck as it is raised into place.

To raise the wall, my fellow cottager Nancy and friend, Brenda and I formed a crew of three. Two to lift and manage the braces and one to ensure level and plumb, and to screw the wall into place through the base and braces. It took less that 15 minutes to raise the wall and screw it into place.

I’ll make a header, sill, and block for the lower row of windows once I’ve leveled and screwed in, and sealed the upper window sills and blocks. Once the first two walls are up, the sills and blocks leveled and windows installed, and I can avoid standing on the deck for a day, I’ll complete a major amount of sealant work on the deck.

I have to admit that I do not like using a circular saw. They scare me! I’m comfortable with a jigsaw, handsaws and hand planes; however, I may need to use the circular saw to rip interior and exterior strips of wood to hold each window in place within its frame. I’ll take my time and triple check my work area to ensure that I’m working safely. The jigsaw and plane worked well in making the beveled edge of the sills though it did take much longer than it would have taken a skilled and less fearful user with a circular saw. You might choose to use such a tool!

I’m wondering whether I can make the horizontals level and use shims under the sills to create a slight angle to support water hitting the outside of the greenhouse to stay out, or leave the building. This would mean that the windows are also slightly canted outward. Not likely a “bad thing” if I use sufficient sealant to account for the gaps I’d create.






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