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Restoring and Maintaining a Wooden Greenhouse

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 19 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Greenhouse Wooden Wooden Framed Frame

Wooden greenhouses have made a bit of a comeback in recent years thanks to cheap imports. Aluminium framed greenhouses had dominated the cheaper end of the market for many years because of their light weight and durability but a wooden greenhouse has a lot more charm and is generally considered more desirable.

There’s no denying however, that a wooden framed greenhouse will not last as long as a metal one, particularly if it’s not looked after. So regular maintenance of wooden greenhouses makes absolute sense, protecting an investment that looks good as well as being functional and useful.

Dealing with Glass Problems

The wooden frame of a greenhouse will probably require more attention over the years than the glass but there are still a few points to make about glass. Broken panes can be dealt with by a glazier or replacement glass can be ordered to size and fitted. Make sure you wear eye protection and thick gloves if you go down the do-it-yourself route.

The fitting process is a case of removing the bits of broken glass as far as possible then easing away the wood battens around the edge that hold the pane in place. The battens will usually be held in with small pins and there will sometimes be clips underneath the batten as well. Place the new pane of glass in the frame, get a helper to hold it in place then carefully hammer the clips and batten back into place.

Importance of Glass Cleaning

Cleaning the glass is important too. Rain on the outside and condensation on the inside will result in water running down the panes and settling at the base of each one. If this isn’t cleared, dust and small bits of debris will settle on it and be held by the moisture.

This creates damp piles of dirt that hold water at the base of the frame, allowing it to eat away into the protective layer of paint of varnish or stain and eventually lead to rot setting in. Frequent wiping of the panes and the base of each frame, probably monthly, will prevent this build up and also mean that you will spot any damage before it gets worse.

Damp and Rot

This leads us to the bane of wooden buildings, particularly garden buildings, and that’s rot. All wooden framed greenhouses will have a protective finish, either a wood preserving stain, a clear or stained varnish or perhaps paint. It is vital to ensure that this protective layer remains in good condition with annual or even bi-annual maintenance.

A good clean is the best way to start, using sponges or rags and either warm water on its own or perhaps with a weak solution of mild detergent. If you do use detergent, make sure you go over the frame again with clean water afterwards to get rid of any residue. Make a mental note of any areas that might need more attention, checking any areas where the protective fish looks cracked or damaged.

Fixing Wood Problems

Go back over the frame after it’s dried off, rubbing down those areas with medium or fine grade sandpaper until the damaged area has been pared back, revealing fresh wood. If the wood is damaged underneath then cut that out and replace it with wood filler or new wood, depending on the extent of the damage.

If the damage to the wood goes across a frame from the inside of the greenhouse to the outside, consider removing the pane of glass as described above. You can then be sure that you get all the rot out and weld tools with less danger of breaking the pane. After effecting the repair replace the glass.

Rub Down and Blend In

Once all the damage to the wood and the finish has been eradicated, rub the repair down with sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding frame and clean the area up again. Apply fresh paint, stain or paint and your greenhouse will look good as new and ready for another year of service.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Greenfingers81 - Your Question:
I have a large wooden greenhouse. Most of the glass on the roof is holding on for dear life as the wood is rotten. The large wooden panel that runs from the middle of the roof, from one side of the greenhouse to the other is rotten too as are some of the panels that run from the ground upto the sides. What I wanted to know is how much it would cost to repair. The greenhouse is 20ft long and10 ft wide. Any advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
We can't really give estimates of costs on this site. You'd be better asking a local expert. Try your local community notice board or facebook page to see if there are any renovators there. Local gardening companies may also be able to help or perhaps an allotment society?
AGardenBuilding - 22-May-17 @ 10:17 AM
I have a large wooden greenhouse. Most of the glass on the roof isholding on for dear life as the wood is rotten. The large wooden panel that runs from the middle of the roof, from one side of the greenhouse to the other is rotten too as are some of the panels that run from the ground upto the sides. What I wanted to know is how much it would cost to repair. The greenhouse is 20ft long and10 ft wide.Any advice would be appreciated.
Greenfingers81 - 19-May-17 @ 1:32 AM
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