floor on solarium

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by sue currin, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. sue currin

    sue currin Well-Known Member

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    I am installing a solarium in my house, 10 by 24 for two purposes. Passive solar heat and use as a greenhouse. I'm not sure about the best floor. I've seen one used effectively for passive solar with a brick floor. I live in Maine, and want it to be warm, impervious to water, if the two can be achieved. Do I need to build a foundation that is insulated or put it on gravel or pour a slab? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. sue currin

    sue currin Well-Known Member

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    anybody know where I should look for an answer?
     

  3. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    I don't know but I hope you find out. We are planning to build one also, 10X20. We planned to use a gravel walkway in the middle, and dirt on the sides of that so we could maybe grow some small trees that normally don't work around here. Also, I had planned to put 55 gallon barrels against the back wall (against the house) and fill them with water to let them heat up daily and warm the room at night. We could use the top of them for a table to hold plants. Maybe a dirt floor isn't the way to go.

    How do you plan to keep it cool in the summer? When we unloaded the 8mm polycarbonate panels, it was about 55 degrees outside. The hand behind the panel got very warm with a mild fall sun shining on it. I imagine in summer, it is gonna be a bear in there.
     
  4. ttryin

    ttryin Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    No practical experience here, but I've been researching this for a while.

    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Sunspace/sunspaces.htm has lists of websites with information for sunspaces, greenhouses, etc. My favorite is: scroll down to: Instant Sunspaces, Laren Corie, http://www.rebelwolf.com/essn.html (Look for Feb 2005 issue in archives).

    Laren Corie has answered questions about individual sunspace designs at her group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LittleHouses/ You can ask your own questions there and search for "sunspace" in the archives.

    Balancing the humidity of a greenhouse as sunspace that is attached to a house in Northeast winter humidity (or any climate) seems to have many variables. So far, I definitely know I would want to be home during the day to adjust and appreciate the sunspace/greenhouse and be able to close it off from the rest of the house on cloudy days and when the sun goes down.

    Here's another website from Maine winter gardeners: http://www.fourseasonfarm.com/main/articles/articles/mother2.html

    Good luck and I hope you share on this as you go along ...
    T.
     
  5. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    Floors in solariums for passive solar heat are built for thermal mass (it's ablity to store heat). The denser the material, the more of it, the darker the surface color them more heat it can gain and store. Dark brick overlayed on a thick concrete slab works good, So does darker slate tiles. I've also seen conrete poored about 18" thick for the floor, then stained a dark color.

    If you don't insulate it you will lose all the heat gain to the ground and perimeter. I can even lose heat from the rest of the structure over extended cold spells.