pvc pipe greenhouse

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by DayBird, May 3, 2006.

  1. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    I know I could have (should have?) asked this question in the Gardening forum, but I'll get more answers here.

    How long can pvc pipe be expected to last as the framework of a greenhouse? 5yrs? 15yrs? 50yrs? I know that it has a limited lifetime due to ultraviolet radiation. I'm just trying to determine if the initial savings in using pvc would outweigh the long life of a metal framework.
     
  2. LagoVistaFarm

    LagoVistaFarm Well-Known Member

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    You can make it last longer with UV rated PVC. Does it freeze where you are at?
     

  3. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    that was a good question I bet it would only last 10 years tops if not UV. How much more is UV treated PVC?
     
  4. LagoVistaFarm

    LagoVistaFarm Well-Known Member

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    Material prices are so out of whack here I can’t give a realistic answer. The local Mom and Pop Lumberyard is breaking ground on a 20 acre site with a larger than Home Depot building just to keep up with the building boom.

    Check with a wholesale electrical supply for the price on the grey stuff. Its UV rated. Freezing is the real problem.


    Stan
     
  5. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    We've had PVC (1/2 inch) pipe over raised garden beds for 5 years now. No noticable deterioration.

    Mike
     
  6. Country Doc

    Country Doc Well-Known Member

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    I would go with metal if I did it again. Ice storm (light one ) mad it collapse. Google "Lost creek greenhouse tube" should bring up a company that sell a pipe bender cheap.
     
  7. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

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    Not to hijack the thread... I'm wanting to make a similar greenhouse-type structure using electrical EMT conduit. Pretty cheap and much stronger than PVC, no issues with UV or freezing. My hangup right now is that I want to flare/reduce the ends so that they insert into each other )like a tent frame) and can't find out how to do it. Anyone have suggestions?
     
  8. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Melt them a little in a fire on the ends and use pliers to crimp them?
     
  9. Tater'sPa

    Tater'sPa Well-Known Member

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    I built a hoop house a few years back using standard ¾" PVC pipe, The pipe held up quite well. A few of the fittings became brittle and cracked...somewhat stress related I believe and the standard 6 or 8 mil sheeting will only last about a year.
    I think my frame would hold up better had I used the 1" pipe.
    [​IMG]
    http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y233/freedomfarm/hoophouse1day1.jpg
    http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y233/freedomfarm/hoophouseframed1.jpg
    http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y233/freedomfarm/hoophousecovering1.jpg
     
  10. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Pa,

    At the top of your hoophouse there how did you attach the door framing to the PVC hoop?

    I like your design and may use it when I build my next bigger hoophouse. The one I have at the moment I'm just using binder clips to hold the end plastic on. If I go bigger I'm going to need a real door.

    Do you have any problems with the hoops shifting in wind or thunderstorm? I used t-couplings and braces between the hoops of my present house to keep the ribs in alignment.

    .....Alan.
     
  11. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    90% of the many hoop houses here in Kosovo have a center "ridge" board running the length of the house that helps steady/support the poles.
     
  12. Tater'sPa

    Tater'sPa Well-Known Member

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    Hey there A.T. I have a 12' 2x4 running from the center of the end frames to help support the ends, the hoops rest just above the 2x4 about an inch not touching the 2x4, only the two end hoops are resting on the frame....which I did notch out so as the end hoops rest in the notch. (just worked out like that)
    Once the covering is tight and secure the the structure holds up very well in severe winds and did well in a few ice storms we had here.
    This picture is just before I attached the 2x4 atop of the door end frame.

    http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y233/freedomfarm/hoophouseframed2.jpg
    here is a side view after covering, you will see the 2x4 attached a top of door frame center
    http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y233/freedomfarm/hoophousecovering3.jpg
     
  13. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Thanks Pa, that's what I wanted to know. So the PVC is just resting in a notch where it runs over the door frame, OK.

    At the rate I'm collecting cold sensitive citrus I may have to go to a larger hoop house this coming winter.

    .....Alan.
     
  14. cindyc

    cindyc Well-Known Member

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    What do you use this for? Is it just for early spring seeding, or can you actually use it for winter growing... without a heat source at all? I know I am a novice. ...trying to learn. :)
     
  15. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    It will let you extend the season a few weeks for warm weather things in the spring and fall, or grow a few cold hardy greens in it all winter.
     
  16. Tater'sPa

    Tater'sPa Well-Known Member

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    cindyc, I've used it all winter here in NC. We hadn't had to many very cold "freezing" days but when temps drop below 32º I just used a small ceramic (office space) type heater. It kept the inside 10-20º warmer & well above freezing.

    A
    Alan, The framed size of mine is 12 X 12, this works well for the arch and I didn't have to alter the 10' sections of PVC. The peek was is about 7' in the center.
    I would suggest using a greenhouse grade plastic, the sun really did a number on this after a year. I will re cover mine this fall.
     
  17. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    So how far apart would it be good to have them if they were 20ft lengths of pvc I thought that was the usual length if you dont cut them? I plan on making several when I get home from Kosovo
     
  18. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Mine is 8 x 10 and I had to cut down the length of the PVC. It's using only 1/2" stuff but is braced at the top of each arch with roughly a seven foot internal height. I'll either go with 3/4 or one inch pipe if I go with your size. Mine is covered with ordinary builders plastic like the smaller one I built the year before so it's good for only about a year.

    If I go with the larger house I'll order greenhouse plastic so it will last longer.

    Here in North Florida our typical lows are only down to about twenty five though we did hit twenty one once last winter. Two 250 watt heat lamps and a small fan are enough most nights. On the coldest nights I threw a couple of old defunct electric blankets over the top and clipped them in place. They made a four to five degree difference in heat retention. For next year I'll try to find some wide frost blankets and use a double thickness. I've got Key limes and stuff so I tried to keep the inside temperature at forty or higher which I was able to do for all but the very coldest night. When I go to the still bigger house I'll probably use a thousand watt space heater and the small fan again.

    Having a real door will make things nicer. Clipping and unclipping the plastic all the time is a nusiance. I may install a couple of automatic vents as well.

    .....Alan.
     
  19. Tater'sPa

    Tater'sPa Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how far apart to space if using 20' length, seems it might be less stable with 2-20' sections.
    I had some greenhouse plans bookmarked and can't seem to find them now....
    Here's another recource for plans.
    builditsolar.com
    I had taken a few different plans and ideas and went my own route.
    Here pvc comes in 10' sections (from home improvement stores)
     
  20. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I guess if you are using two 10 ft sections and it ends up being 12 ft wide than mine would be the same if I used a 20 ft length.I will check out the link I was thinking of using just one 20 ft length cant it bend enough to reach across?