Completion — Summer 2015

As many of you will have experienced directly, we had a very hard Winter and Spring. Many are referring to June-uary, our  month of very cool, later Spring temperatures. I’ve opened the cottage for the season and have been working on cottage specific tasks at this point. Varathaning new kitchen cupboards, and a bow window area, rearranging furniture, building a shelf, and exterior steps, and helping a friend with an outdoor shower are the tasks at hand. Once I’ve finished the cottage specific tasks, I’ll turn my attention back to the greenhouse.

DSC_0101 DSC_0110

DSC_0115  In anticipation of resuming the greenhouse work, I picked up a 12′ step ladder in the late Fall to help me to be comfortable working on the eves of the greenhouse. I also purchased four vents with sliding closures to control air flow.


End of the Season




The window installations and boarding in are completed for the season, though not finished. I used 6″ tongue and groove Spruce for the boarding in. I used 2″ galvanized nails rather than screws as it’s been a wet Fall and I did not want to run electrical cords over the wet grass when working alone.

At the corners of the greenhouse, I’m adding 2 x 6″ lengths to finish the look of the wall exterior. This also increases the strength though the greenhouse is rock solid already.

Next Spring, I’ll finish the boarding in, caulk and seal around the windows and doorway. This winter, I’ll be carving vines, leaves and assorted figures to apply to the exterior of the greenhouse in the Spring. This has been a fun project and I look forward to completing it in the Spring.
Have a happy winter!

All A Board

ducks  ldybug

So, it’s been a little longer getting back to the blog than I thought it would be! Good progress is being made; and helpful friends and family have been a great assistance in the roof phase of this project! My Dad and nephew, Tom, returned to complete the second roof slope with me.

tomcut  dadtom

I hired a fellow to add the 1×8″ trim boards along the roof line, a drip edge to keep water from wicking into the wood of the roof, and tar paper, and shingles over the drip edge. It’s just too high in the air for my comfort.  My roof is 7′ x 9.5’x 2 slopes and took 4 bundles of shingles, 6 -10′ lengths of drip edge cut to length, 2 -10′ and 4 – 8′ lengths of 1 x 8′ knotty pine for the trim boards. We used 1″ recycled roofing nails, and tar paper contributed by my neighbour, Hugh.


I’m working on boarding in using 1 x 6″ tongue and groove Spruce.  Another few solid days and the greenhouse will be roof tight for the winter. I’ll likely fill in the doorway with plastic film and install the door in the Spring. I’ve carefully saved all the board end that I’ve cut. I’m planning to use these  to make some wood carvings this Winter and next Spring. These decorative carvings will be installed on the greenhouse. I’m hoping to have next to no wood wastage.

Hoping for some fine days in the next two weeks to finish up for this season.

Walls Two and Three

photo6Driveway volunteer.

Thphoto1e second (East) wall was built using the same techniques as the first (South) facing wall.







photo3 I tied the second wall to the first using screws.

The back wall design differs due to the type of window to be installed. I am measuring and cutting, but haven’t yet added exterior 1×6” tongue and groove boards or the windows to these walls. The recycled tongue and groove contains a lot of nails that I am pulling using a hammer, nail punch, and pliers. With a storm coming, I’m glad that the wind won’t be on the windows before I have them in and properly sealed.

I have a 65 x 30” window for the East wall. This Freecycle gift includes the window frame. It will extend completely through the wall and host its own sill. I built the studs, a header, and will build a below window block to measure. I’ll then screw recycled 1 x 6” tongue and groove boards to form the exterior wall over the studs.

photo2 The tongue and groove board edges are to be set 1/16” in from the window opening, and vertical wall ends. The upper horizontal edge of the tongue and groove will extend 1.5” above the top plate to accommodate reinforcing 2x4s that will tie the four top plates together, and add strength and rigidity to the walls.





Because the third wall will be heavier, I will need a crew of four to raise it safely into place. Hurricane Arthur is predicted to hit us within the next 48 hours, so I’ll wait until after that to complete and raise the third wall.

photo5Securing the existing two walls with additional bracing, and adding 2 x 10” to solidify the base to its 4x4s will be Friday’s priority.

Deck Finished and Adjusting the Level (Again)

Image These beauties sustain themselves at the end of my driveway. I also have a few on the driveway margins.

I’m finishing up the deck boards today, and hoping for a few days of sun to dry out the works. The boards have been sitting outdoors and off the ground, but are quite damp. I’ll then sand off any old, loose paint; and caulk between the boards with an exterior sealant.

Then, on to the walls! This will be a tricky phase for me as I’ll build them flat, raise them, and screw them into place. Wish me luck!

All Hands on Deck

ImageWith the insulation completed, I now turn to the decking. I was very fortunate to pick up almost enough 1″x 6″ lumber through a gift via Freecycle Halifax. A wonderful man who was moving and had also hoped to build a greenhouse, donated the wood he had collected for his project, as well as 13 of the windows I collected for the project.  Very generous and I hope that his move overseas brings him much success in his new work adventure. Most of the boards are 10′ and that gives me the needed 8′ of solid lumber when I trim the split ends of some boards.




ImageAs with the joists, I’ll place the boards crowns up. This allows the pressure of the walls and the traffic in the building to push down to flatten the boards, and so that any warping or twisting of boards occurs in the same direction, keeping the floor even.

I also was gifted, by the same gentleman, with a good supply of 1″x 6″ tongue and groove which I’ll save for the walls and roof.



ImageFor the most part, I’m using 2,  2.5″ screws manufactured specifically to withstand the interaction with the wood preservative chemicals of the pressure treated joists, the weather, and fungus.  Occasionally I’m using 3 screws if the end is a bit split.

Gravel Basics and Head for the Wood(s)


Gravel, if you do not have access to a small truck, can be an expensive business. It pays to have friends with old trucks; however, I do not and so, I purchased the gravel I needed to level my building site in 30 kg bags trucked from Laval, Quebec. So much for “Buy Locally.” Six bags of ¾” and 6 bags of ¼” at about $6.60 per bag were delivered with my purchased lumber order by my semi-local, rurally-located building supplier. I “trucked” 6 of the bags 30 highway minutes in my car, as I had underestimated the gravel need.

gravel A full load of gravel from a supplier within spitting distance of my building supplier would cost about $40, AND a $400 trucking fee. So, I couldn’t win on this one. Gravel is carbon footprint heavy!









photo1I had staked out a 9’ perimeter using some old slats from my storage shed. Those were quickly flattened as the gravel and then the patio stones became mobile. Not a great photo. Those patio stones have been on and off the piles of gravel more than a few time as I worked on the leveling of the site.

Using my “tools of ignorance,” I spread the gravel to level my building site, and topped it with 22” patio stones. I used an 8’ piece of straight lumber and my level to make the gravel level. Starting with the high corner, located at the front of the greenhouse, I laid down 4” of ¾ ” gravel and topped it with about 2” of ¼ “ gravel.

I borrowed a friend’s dolly which was a real help moving the 30 kg bags of gravel and the even heavier patio stones. I might have been able to use smaller patio stones; however, the 22” stones gave me a bit more “play-space” for the base of the greenhouse.

I then leveled the second front corner and proceeded to the back corners. I have to admit that it is not perfectly level; however, it isn’t out by much, according to the level. Hopefully these are not “famous last words!” We’ll see.


I used Wolmanized/pressure treated lumber for the base of the greenhouse. 2 – 4” x 4” skids and 9 – 2” x 6” pieces to form the base. You’ll likely need pliers, as I did, to remove staples prior to use.

pull ends


17Wear gloves and if you are cutting Wolmanized/pressure treated lumber, wear a mask! Regardless, be sure to wash your hands frequently and prior to handling other materials in your home. Pressure treated lumber extends the life of wood exposed to the elements and to insects and fungus. The upside is that the wood will last longer and therefore potentially less lumber is harvested. The chemicals used to preserve the wood have changed over time; however, you do not want to have the chemicals on your hands, in your lungs, or the leftover scraps in your fireplace. Check out this link for a quick overview of the hazards and benefits of pressure treated lumber: – retrieved June 10, 2014.


Use a pencil, ruler, and straight-edge to mark where the joists are to attach to the front and back boards that will form the platform (floor and base) of the greenhouse.  Joists are spaced 16″ apart as measured from the centre of the joist. To do this calculation, measure 1.5″ in from the end of the front and back boards. 1 1/2″ is the actual width of a 2″ piece of lumber. Draw the line. Then continue to mark 16″ measures. Each line represents the edge of the board. The “X” that you see represents where the lumber joist will actually sit. In the end, the “X” is covered by the lumber that you will nail or screw to the front and back boards. Place the joists with the crowns up. See here for information on identifying the crown:

11 Be sure to purchase screws labelled for use with pressure treated lumber so that the chemicals in the wood and natural weather will not deteriorate metals and weaken your structure.









10 Be sure the variable speed drill is unplugged when you insert the Robertson’s bit.







12  This is a Robertson’s screw.










13  I used 3 – 3” Robertson screws for each joist spaced 16” on centre to form an 8’ x 8’ base. Start by screwing the top screw, followed by the bottom and then the middle screw. Work your way down the front board, connecting the joists. Then do the same to attach the joists to the back board.








joists3  Tomorrow, I’ll adjust the frame on the patio stones, recheck level and make any adjustment that I can. Then I’ll use my Freecycle lumber to deck the joists!